The male networking model is something women need to think about, because in the world of work, the larger your network, the more career capital you will have. Networks are powerful because of their size and range, and the comfort they provide for making and accepting professional contacts.
Here are some thoughts on how to get into the right mindset for networking:
• Run in packs – just like men do. Since women are masters of deep relationships, there’s no reason we can’t expand our relationship model to connect with more people on a less personal and less intense level. Of course, many successful women have, and it’s a smart strategy because the reality is that you can’t do as much on your own with a small network of supporters
• Think of networking as an economy – an economy of favors. Networking involves an economy – an economy of favors. It’s a hidden economy, but a powerful one. The networking trade works like this: I do you a favor, and there is the unspoken understanding that you will return the favor if there is an opportunity. A networking economy only works if there is active trade back and forth. Favor givers are attracted to those who reciprocate, and punish those who take a favor and don’t reciprocate. Believe me, word will get out on what type you are. It’s an economy men know well. Women have all the right skills to be excellent players too.
• Realize that a big network gives you career capital. A large, robust network is career capital that you can practically take to the bank. The bigger your network, the more success you are likely to have, because you will have access to more options. Realize too that an all-female network equals a weak network. After all, there are more men in positions of power, so you’ll want men and women on your networking team. Don’t think they don’t count if they are soft links – people whom you don’t know well. Every job I have gotten was through people I didn’t know well.
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