The Benefits of Female-only Networking Events

Importance of female only networkingNetworks are important for ensuring you not only thrive but attain great success throughout your career or in your business field as the more people you meet—and make a positive impression on—the more doors will open for you.

While you will meet plenty of people willing to help you out at a mixed-gender networking event, especially if you follow these useful tips on how to make the most of your experience, many women prefer female-centric networking events for several reasons.

Below are several of the advantages of female-only networking events.

They Help You Build Confidence and be More Comfortable

Female-only networking events create a community in which women can feel comfortable asking their peers for assistance. Whether by nature or nurture, men tend to be more forward in pursuing what they want, according to authors such as Suzanne Doyle-Morris, who wrote about this factor in her book Beyond the Boys’ Club: Achieving Career Success as a Woman Working in a Male Dominated Field. In contrast, some women feel less confident about shouting from the rooftops about their excellent skills and experience, thus possibly hindering their career progression—and their effectiveness at networking. Put simply, men are more likely to ask others for help or to partner to attain more success, while women prefer building relationships. The problem is that, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Female-only networking events make it easier for you to be more confident about presenting yourself, asking questions, and promoting your skills and ideas. Since you’ll be together with other business or career women who might share the same experiences and needs, you’ll be more encouraged to speak out knowing that they’ll understand and relate to what you have to say.

It Levels the Playing Field

“Women value authenticity in relationships,” according to Deborah Gillis, COO for Catalyst, a business research and advocacy group for women. According to Deborah, women can feel out of their element asking for assistance or advice from fellow businesspeople after just meeting them whereas men “seem to do it much more naturally.” A female-only networking event means that you’re not fighting for attention with men. It’s a much less intimidating space as a result, making it easier to achieve your networking objectives.

Especially for shy women new to networking, female-only networking events help you open up, training you to enhance your communication skills. Once you’re able to build confidence and acquire networking experience, you’ll be able to more effectively maximise the advantages of networking events—may it be female-only or mixed-gender.

It Expands Your Personal Network

According to this report from CNN Money, women still currently hold significantly less leadership positions compared to men. Because of this, many business and career women might have a smaller pool of talented people to create a natural network from. Female-only networking events allow women the advantage of meeting other women, allowing them to tap into a network of like-minded, ambitious people who are willing to help each other.

A female-only networking event also gives you the opportunity to meet other women with the same needs and interests as you, possibly even a similar professional or business journey—without the need to adjust being in a mixed-gender networking event entails, especially in terms of communication. As such, it not only helps expand your network, it’s also a fantastic place to find a mentor who understands you.

It’s a Time-saving Mechanism

The 2016 Australian Census reported that women still complete more household chores per week than men, on average about five to 14 hours per week compared to less than five for their male counterparts. This means that networking events specifically aimed at women help them get a step in the right direction when it comes to their careers, cutting out a lot of time trying to forge a professional network holistically at work—which can be challenging.

Also, make sure you already have your own networking goals and strategy before you attend the event. Doing so gives you an idea of what you have to do during the event allowing you to spend your networking time more efficiently and effectively.

It Will Motivate You

Seeing other successful women and hearing about their success stories really helps in terms of motivation—it basically tells us that we can have the same level of success as well! Anna Forster, an entrepreneur in the making, told The Australian that she attends women-only networking events in Sydney for motivational purposes. “When I hear about the success of the women at these meet-ups, it gives me something to benchmark to and to inspire me to work harder,” she said.

Not only are they motivational, female-only networking events, through the women who share their experiences and key advice for success, give us valuable insights for taking your career or business to the next level. So don’t just listen—ask questions and take notes as well! In the grand scheme of things, working together helps career or businesswomen create opportunities in different fields and industries. Female-only networking events help in this endeavour through the power of motivation, shared knowledge, unity, and collaboration.

Joining leading networks aimed at women such as Behind Closed Doors is a recommended first step if you want to maximise the benefits of networking. Being a member gives you access to resources, mentorship, advice, and other tools to help you develope your career or business.

Donny

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How Do I Create an Effective Personal Brand?

Creating an Effective Personal BrandBranding is all about image. Tom Peters, an American business writer and author of In Search of Excellence, first used the term in 1997 to describe the concept of self-packaging. Today, personal branding is a way to market one’s self or career as a brand and establish a specific image or impression of your business or expertise in the minds of others. It is particularly important for women entrepreneurs and businesswomen who want to stand out from the crowd.

The tricky part is, how do you establish a personal brand that’s effective and will benefit your business or career? Below is a list of ways to help you make this a reality.

Include a Personal Story

Your personal story is what makes you unique. Who are you; where do you come from; what sets you apart? People learn from storytelling; the emotional and human connections involved have a powerful impact, especially to those who can relate to your story. Your first step on the road to establishing an effective personal brand is to answer all of these questions and more. You must be able to tell your story and then use what you’ve learned to represent your values and explain your expertise. Making your personal brand relatable through your experiences will make it more meaningful and memorable enough that more people will take notice.

Make it Authentic

You can’t promote yourself as someone who’s authentic unless your actions are aligned with what you preach. Authenticity isn’t something you force, but it is something you have to be conscious about in terms of building your personal brand.

For example, if you genuinely advocate helping the environment—whether it’s through educating or selling products or services—be sure that what you provide are pro-Mother Nature. This means avoiding selling or promoting things that might harm the environment. People like authenticity because it demonstrates who they can trust. If your personal brand shows authenticity, then you will certainly be more credible to more people.

Be Consistent

Consistency plays a major role in packaging your image. For example, if you have a presence on multiple social networks, each should contain core information that makes it easy to recognise you and your brand. Use the same profile picture, the same logo, and specific colour schemes. A consistent dress style or outfit can also help make you instantly recognisable.

Consistency is also an indication of integrity for many people, and it must be reflected with what you do or say as well. Constantly changing opinions or stances on different topics or having conflicting views can have a negative effect on your personal brand and lead to more people trusting you less.

Prioritise Visibility

The issue of visibility covers two areas. The first is getting your brand out there—market and promote yourself online and in person. Use social media platforms and, if possible, arrange or attend targeted events where you can connect with more people and introduce yourself. You can also use paid promotion techniques such as engage a PR specialist if you really want to jumpstart your personal brand, but if you’re already active in the community, socially-engaged, and giving interviews and presentations, it may not be necessary. The other issue of visibility is that you must always assume someone is watching. Avoid doing things that might be detrimental to your image online and offline. As they say, a personal brand or image may take years to build but a single mistake can ruin it in minutes.

Spread the Word on Your Expertise

Expertise is what makes people get and stay engaged. This is the primary reason why they’ll want to hire or work with you. Position yourself as an expert. You might create a blog or guest post on other websites and regularly post articles related to your area of expertise. Educating and public speaking are other good ways to get your messages out. Participate in discussion groups on social media channels as well and through webinars so you’ll reach more of your online audience.

Don’t Forget Respect

Sadly, in today’s world, treating other people well is not all that common. Remember, running down competitors doesn’t build you up. Being rude to a Personal Assistant means you may get stonewalled next time you want to talk to her boss. The co-worker you disrespected in your last job? He or she might be the person who decides whether or not a new company hires you today. Follow the basics with everyone: be polite, return emails and phone calls promptly, show consideration and listen carefully. Also refrain from spreading rumours and false news, especially about your competitors. Remember, it’s always better to have rivals that respect you instead of enemies in your industry. And never burn bridges!

Katie Bressack, health coach, corporate wellness consultant, and American Express OPEN CEO BootCamp ambassador, noted in an interview with Business News Daily that “It takes time, energy and focus to truly create a personal brand. Entrepreneurs must not only become experts in a particular field or subject; they must also be able to sell themselves by creating their own unique value. Rachael Ray was always a great cook, but her real success started when she took things to the next level and let her personality shine through her craft.”

Women are sometimes socialised to believe that they shouldn’t self-promote. As a professional woman, however, who and what you are is critical to your success. You are the face of your business. As Bressak says, “When you speak about things that truly matter to you, you develop a sense of authenticity with your audience that can’t be matched by any formal training.”

Once you have developed your personal brand, own it!

If you need expert advice our guidance in creating a personal brand, Behind Closed Doors has the tools to help you build one that’s both effective and authentic and will help take your business or career to the next level.

Donny

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