Week 5: Women and SET – Finding support – networking (II)

Formal networks are organisations that bring together people with a common interest. There are a number of networking organisations which have been set up to support women in building formal networks.

The reasoning behind developing women-only networks appears to be:

  • Women need to be encouraged to make time for themselves and to invest in both their personal and business development.
  • Women often feel more comfortable and safer in a women-only environment; it can be the only option for some cultural groups
  • Women’s networks can act as a stepping stone, developing networking confidence and leading to the eventual introduction to other networks.
  • Networks run by women for women are more likely to consider the demands of life’s wider commitments.
  • Group dynamics are key and women often provide a nurturing and educating environment.

In practise:

I attended an excellent networking event run by Dinah Bennet of Women into the Network. Titled ‘I hate Networking’ it was a chance for a group of women to learn and practice networking skills and develop the self-confidence to take those skills into a less ‘safe’ environment.

Women Into the Network is an initiative which assists the integration of women entrepreneurs, both aspiring and practising, into existing business networks. There is a clear opportunity for women to take advantage of the broad range of support available to them, but many are unable to overcome the barriers that arise. Open to men and women, WIN supports the creation and management of businesses by women, through addressing & overcoming these barriers.

Women into the Network offers their 20 top networking tips as a starting point.

Probably the most useful tip I received was from another delegate: groups of three or more, or people on their own, are far more likely to be open to your approach.

Other networking opportunities:

The OU suggests a number of other starting points:

For further tips, the OU suggests:

Timperley, J. (2002) Network Your Way to Success. London, Piatkus Books (ISBN 0 7499 2283 4)

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