If you think about it, a great networking event can be career-changing. When this kind of magic happens, you connect with people that “up” your skills, you form lasting alliances—you may even engage those with the power to expand your career options and mobility.
JK Rowling pitched the Harry Potter book series to twelve publishing houses. And ALL OF THEM rejected her manuscript. She persevered and it was finally lucky number 13, a very small publishing house in London that took a chance agreeing to publish the work. Suppose JK had given up after 6 “no’s” and scrapped the project, stuck with her secretarial job, and gave up on writing?
Sometimes the best way to improve your game is to get out of your own head. At the New Jersey Society of CPAs women’s summit last week, I delivered 2 keynotes on how to be an unstoppable negotiator and on being receptive to risk-taking in your career. In between, I had the rare treat of developing myself – learning from 4 top women teaching mindfulness (Joy Principe), power (Kathleen Cashman), gender dynamics (Rita Keller), and self-branding (Eileen Monesson).
My lasting takeaway?
Wondering how to maximize your time on LinkedIn? If so, check out my latest podcast for the Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women. In it, I talk about how to improve your LinkedIn profile and leverage LinkedIn when networking. See the full writeup below and click the link here to take a listen. What LinkedIn tips would you add?
More and more groups are recognizing the need to develop the next generation of women leaders. Not just for the sake of seeing women network with peers at the same level, but instead in a cross-functional, cross-hierarchical type format. Two recent examples that crossed my desk include The Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs at Wellesley University and the Women's Mentoring Partnership, a collaboration between Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit and the U.S. State Department.
Too often, we work valiantly trying to sell an idea internally with no success. Over-focusing on our tasks or intended outcomes without engaging coworkers’ hearts and minds is often the biggest culprit. Next time you have an initiative to sell internally, consider engaging your network first.
Let's face it: corporate women's networks don't have the best reputation. These developmental forums for women―called affinity groups, diversity councils or employee resource groups (ERGs)―are all too often typecast as social hours. Even the best laid plans at many companies have left male and female employees seeing women's ERGs as less-than-credible gatherings where the meaty issues go unaddressed.
The savviest leaders don't look to one point-person to satisfy all of their development needs. Instead, they seek out the consultation of many mentors and advisors. Your "personal board of directors" should serve you the same way that a typical board serves a company: surrounding you with diverse expertise and helping you with important decision making.
No matter what the personality of your organization, take some personal ownership in helping to create improvement. When interviewing executives for my book, Rosslyn Kleeman, Chair of the Coalition for Effective Change encouraged, "Be outgoing, confident, and daring in your thinking. Even if there is no collegial atmosphere in a workplace, do it yourself and create one. It will make politics much easier to navigate." Rosslyn's advice to "do it yourself" is so right. It is up to you to create the kind of changes you want to see more of in your workplace. Strategies to keep in mind as you maneuver through politics include:
While we use the term networking often, it's an elusive term that people understand differently. Many wonder how to actually network effectively at events.
The key is to verbalize your interests, needs, or hopes in a way that speaks to people. Once you do, you have a much better chance of getting what you are looking for. Following are some simple strategies that will improve your networking prowess and open up communication.
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