Contrary to what has become mainstream in building businesses, there is one thing they forget to tell women. If you go into business trying to do business like a man, you are slowing down the process for all of us - women!
Men don't do collaborations; they do superiority contests!
For us women, the prerogative is to thrive in a more sophisticated way without burning bridges. A couple of months ago, I asked an old colleague to share an external contact to expand our clients' business discussion further. She shared that she was working an angle to be featured and declined. We both worked for this specific client, and it was the missing piece to move forward with the contract successfully. Unbothered, I thought to myself this is isn't worth the headache. Two weeks ago, the same contact reached out to me to ask me for an interview.
I declined on principle, but here is what I learned a long time ago… what is meant to be for you is already yours!
As we flow through the notions of figuring out our own businesses - here is a piece of unsolicited advice - don't let it change your principles. I have learned that to thrive in business, building relationships is a must! Sometimes building those relationships means expanding your colleagues' networks. Poetically, think of your contacts as the mouse on your computer and you being the keyboard. You can enter all kinds of information on the keyboard, but it isn't going anywhere without that click or navigation. The information won't be sent, received, or explored - therefore pointless and stuck nowhere.
Trust the process. Everything done in good faith will eventually reward your efforts for being a genuine connector that people can trust. In the past year and a half with She Alpha, our track record of connecting and referring business leaders to other individuals has only helped build our business and take it a step further. Seriously, share the contacts!
And if you are one of the skeptics…
We announced yesterday at our first networking event that we will be providing a contact list to those who attended with information of those that wanted to share their contact info for follow-ups! There is no point in going to a networking event if you don't follow up, and you can't follow up without information. In case you missed the event, here is your own personalized contact list freebie. Download below...
Of course, it doesn't come with already filled-in contacts. You'll have to catch our next event!
Oh yes, before I forget! I shared at our networking event some words from an article titled "Why Women Build Less Effective Networks Than Men: The Role of Structural Exclusion and Personal Hesitation." Two things really stood out about this article, relational morality, and gendered modesty.
Relational morality is just another fancy way of saying women prefer authentic relationships and not connecting with people just for the sake of getting something in return. On the other hand, Gendered modesty describes the oh-so-famous imposter syndrome that many women face. Either they believe they are not good enough or don't have anything valuable to bring to the table.
Contrary to what we've all learned in school, you will not always be ready when it is your time to shine, and most importantly, when networking, you don't have to do the "give and take." If you are serious about building those connections, share your wisdom, share your knowledge, and bring your whole self because, girlfriend, you are what they have been waiting for!
As I sit here sipping wine and writing you in my Carrie Bradshaw outfit, need I say more? Seriously, just share it! Your contacts, wisdom, and knowledge... who you help can be your next biggest asset!
PS... I'm definitely more of a Miranda kind of woman!
Jenny Ramirez - a business leader, mental health advocate, women empowerment activist, and writer on women issues across the globe. She is an adventurous soul who enjoys exploring different cultures and connecting with women from different walks of life during her free time.