In the LinkedIn age, networking has become a currency in itself – and as new research shows, apparently women are doing it better than men.
Based on the results of a 12,000 strong survey, professional networker Ivan Misner has published findings that reveal when it comes to making business connections, men and women go about the process very differently.
For men, networking is a transactional process, and they have the tendency to get straight down business. “[Men may say] ‘Hi, my name is Joe, let’s do business’ and get right to the point…women have a tendency to get caught up in building the relationship and find it difficult to say ‘Hey, we should do business’,” Misner said.
Yet far from being a less effective strategy, it was found that in terms of establishing meaningful connections, the relational strategy common to women was in fact more effective. Misner found that women generate an average of 49% of their business through networking and referrals, compared with 44% among men.
So far from being a productivity drain, women who chat may actually be generating important connections, and in turn, dollars. “Women look for common ground and find places that they can support and collaborate,. women socialise, they connect, ”Misner said. “Men always called it gossiping – but that’s not necessarily the case.”
From this research, some professionals might be inclined to ask ‘what’s wrong with cutting to the chase?’ but according to Misner, when it comes to building strong, productive relationships, time spent building common ground is an essential ingredient.
However, for Australian networking coach Robyn Henderson, it’s really about striking the right balance in the approach to networking. Henderson told the Australian Financial Review that she has encountered many women at networking events who downplay their professional title or the number of years of experience they have. “It’s because they tend to be more humble,” she said. “But what they don’t realise is that they’re losing out on getting the credibility they deserve.”
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