Networking has changed significantly over the past few years as we all navigated our way through a global pandemic. Everyone had to embrace a new way of connecting with clients, colleagues, and peers, from CEOs to small business owners.
Here at Woman Who, we adopted a similar approach and launched monthly virtual networking events to help support our community. I was thrilled to see so many ladies attend, meet new people, enjoy the inspirational guest speakers, and engage in the break-out rooms.
I’ve witnessed new friendships being forged alongside incredible collaborations between entrepreneurs.
Networking became more accessible to a broader audience.
However, despite being able to attend a session in your loungewear, some people still found it difficult to enter the virtual room, just as much as they did when we held our meetings face to face.
Can you relate to that?
Have you struggled to walk into a networking event full of new faces?
It’s all about your mindset
It takes courage to enter a room full of strangers and introduce yourself, but the benefits to your business outweigh the discomfort. Confidence plays a significant role at this stage
Think about the women in your network who seem to ooze confidence. What do they do? How do they act? Who do they surround themselves with? Projecting confidence is a wonderful way to make a powerful impression. I’m not talking about ‘fake it until you make it’ here; it’s more about playing to your strengths.
You know your business better than anyone, and you know how your products or services can offer a solution to your potential audience.
Self-belief gives you the boost you need to step up to a stranger in a networking room and talk about what you do and why you do it.
Mindset and confidence go hand-in-hand, in my opinion. You can increase your confidence by changing your mindset, and that includes thinking about networking from a positive place.
Before you join an event, whether that’s virtually or in person, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why are you attending this particular networking event?
- What do you want to achieve from the session?
- Who do you want to connect with?
I appreciate that the pull of a specific guest speaker or theme/topic may be the reason you registered for a ticket, but what else has drawn you to attend?
There are hundreds of women in business networks across the UK, each with its own unique way of working. I’m the founder of Woman Who, but that doesn’t mean I don’t engage with other networks. That’s how you expand your community. I want to spread the word about the Woman Who community and build an engaging group. That’s my why for attending other events, so take some time considering what your why could be.
Thinking about what you want to achieve from a session ahead of visiting puts you in control of how you network. If you want to come away with three new connections, one meeting, and a guest spot on a podcast in a specific industry, then you’ll be able to attend an event with a clear goal. That goal can be enough to break through any nerves or anxiety.
The virtual networking sessions have been powerful, but the ability to speak to a certain individual isn’t always possible unless you happen to be placed in the same break-out room.
With face-to-face networking, the opportunity to seek out the right people increases. Who do you want to connect with? What do you want to tell/ask them? Think about this ahead of the meeting, and it can make the entire event feel more sociable.
Who are the right kind of people?
It may seem strange to think about meeting the ‘right kind of people’ when attending a networking event. Indeed, the whole ethos of networking is interacting with everyone you meet and expanding your contact list?
Whilst that is true, it’s also essential to connect with people who will drive you and your business in the right direction.
This can mean linking up with other businesses where collaboration would make an impact on your industry. Or perhaps you need guest speakers or bloggers to add value to what you offer your clients. There is also the opportunity to meet potential clients and build relationships that benefit your business and help you make money.
Think of your networking in layers.
The first layer contains the ‘right kind of people’ who will enrich your personal and professional community.
The second layers are the individuals and businesses that you can connect with outside of your own world. For example, let’s say you connect an accountant who needs organisational help with a VA in need of a new client. You may have come across both the accountant and the VA at an event but do not need either service yourself. By introducing the two parties, you help solve their issues and stay in their memory as a helpful networker. They may send business your way in return.
It’s up to you to decide what kind of networking you want to do and actively engage with your top layer connections or make new acquaintances.
How awards help with networking
The Woman Who Achieves and Solopreneur Awards honour the achievements of Women in Business. The awards encourage women to recognise, celebrate, and inspire others by becoming role models.
Nobody can deny the power of networking, but when you find it challenging to enter a room full of people, it can prevent you from taking an active part.
Awards are an excellent way of breaking down those barriers. Our awards lunch is an afternoon of inspiration and celebration, as well as networking. It’s a safe space to connect, learn, and build your confidence.
Surrounding yourself with women who embrace their achievements, celebrate their successes, and lift others is an effective way to network.
Why not join us for our finalist announcement on Monday 6th September at Coombe Abbey Hotel, or join us online from 9.30am to follow the event, listen to the keynote speakers, network, and hear the all-important announcements.
This is a wonderful way to start your networking journey, or pick it up again if you’re just starting to return to face-to-face events. You will receive all the support you need to feel confident about networking effectively.
The next step is to BUY YOUR TICKET for the main event: The Woman Who Achieves Awards Lunch 2021 takes place on Friday 1st October 2021 in the Marquee at Coombe Abbey Hotel, Warwickshire.
Guests will enjoy an afternoon of networking, inspiration and celebration and an extraordinary power-up networking session, so you know exactly who is in the room.
Tickets for the Woman Who Achieves Awards Lunch are on sale now.
Buy an all-day pass to enjoy a morning of personal development and business growth at Woman Who Live or simply purchase a ticket to join us for a sumptuous award lunch for an afternoon of networking, inspiration, and celebration.
Woman Who Live and the Woman Who Achieves & Solopreneur Awards Lunch is on Friday 1st October at Coombe Abbey Hotel.