Women networking events are commonplace these days. Women attend these events in droves and express excitement about the opportunity to connect with other business women.
But, why are these events so successful? And how do women network differently than men?
We ask Trine Tveen Nielsen, Co-Founder of LinkMotility, who has run Networks for Professional Women for several years. Her network concept brings together female entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and business women into a buffet of career opportunities where also Expat Spouse's are able to refind their professional identity by cross cultural network meetings and customized workshops, courses and seminars.
In the safety of these arrangements, women are encouraged to set business goals, design strategies and explore their business challenges. With the mentoring and input from carefully chosen local institutions, corporates, specialists and other group members, women use the network to advance their business skills and results.
What is the idea behind a network for professional women? Do women network different from men?
Women network quite different from men, that's a fact! Like women men generally go into networking opportunities with clarity of what they want to achieve, but men usually focus on their professional needs, while women often take a selfless approach and are more apt to consider what they have to give others. Women also tend to seek advice for both personal and business requirements, where men prefer to build up a trusted relationship before asking for advice. One other differentiator I’ve noticed, is that women hesitate to ask for what they want, whereas men are more comfortable making direct demands.
How does this affect both men and women in conducting their business?
While both men and women run successful businesses, there are differences between the sexes that do affect how day to day business is conducted. These differences are also evidenced in how women like to network with each other, and what they gain from it. Running a business is challenging and often lonely work, especially for women who are emotionally wired for connection.
Could you explain a little bit more about this ‘connection’ between women?
Women are wired to connect with each other, not just business wise, but on multiple levels. I believe this is what makes networking amongst women strong. Even though many women are interested in learning more about business and how to improve their own, they also want to share a more personal component. For instance, the challenges they face when running both a business an a family at the same time. In a women’s networking group, women feel safe to express how they feel about their work-life challenges and look to other women with similar experiences for support and advice. They connect with each other through business challenges, successes and a desire to mentor upcoming business women.
How do you notice these differences during events?
Women are wired to connect and can be natural networkers. In watching women at a networking event, you see that they are asking questions, coaching and encouraging. In my experience women want to see other women succeed. While they do acknowledge competitors, they prefer to build capacity over competition. In some cases, I have also seen women try to work with their competitors, finding ways in which the two businesses can align to mutual benefit.
Have you seen women with opposite networking behavior as well?
For sure, I won’t say there are no competitive and non-supportive women. There are women who will model their business personality after what are considered traditional masculine attributes. Such women have been described as having the ‘Queen Bee’ syndrome. Queen Bees are women who will not promote or support other women working with them. Competitive and unwilling to mentor other women beneath them, the Queen Bee can be cut-throat.
Have you met such women?
Yes, over many years of networking with women, I have experienced some business women that exhibit competitive and hostile behaviors. However, I have found this to be the exception rather than the norm. In general, women are still trying to define their place in the world of business. By connecting and networking with peers, they are validating their important role and also beating the loneliness that can come from being a woman in business.
If you have a favorite quote, what would it be?
I love quotes, which make it hard to chose, but i often repeat this one: "Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women - who have her back!
It is exactly what LinkMotility is all about. Networking, build on relations trust and support. When one of our members succeed - we all celebrate! And when a member struggle, we support!
This is what women do best, we only set up the forum from where they can do it!