In this session, Andy Lopata, Business Networking Specialist, shared common misperceptions of what constitutes effective networking and tips to improve networking skills. Women tend to be great at the difficult task of building deep relationships within their networks, but they can struggle when it comes to leveraging those relationships to help them succeed in business.
Contrary to what many may think, networking is much more complex than simply handing out business cards or growing your Twitter or Facebook followers.
The word “networking” has become a dirty word over the years, and many feel anxious when they hear it. People feel the responsibility to sell themselves, their products or their services – but if everyone in the room is selling, no one is buying.
Networking is about building real relationships, which women tend to be very good at.
In their common form, networking events are not opportunities for real networking. Networking websites also don’t provide the opportunities for robust networking needed to truly build relationships. They are simply tools to help you meet more people and stay in touch with more people.
Networking focuses on visibility, credibility and profitability. Women often get stuck at the visibility and credibility stages, asking “What can I do to help you? How can I support you?” Women often know how to nurture their networks, but they tend to get stuck at the profitability stage. It’s important to ask for the support you need and be willing to let others help you.
The three key benefits of networking are that it helps you become better known by others, better connected with your ecosystem and better equipped for success.
Diverse networks are critical to innovation: If you only ever talk to people like you, you only ever get the same ideas.
Business Networking Specialist
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
— Andy Lopata
It’s not what you know or who you know. It’s who knows you and what they say about you when you’re not in the room.
— Andy Lopata