Finding a job or getting a promotion is no longer about who you know, but who knows you, which makes networking a vital skill for women to master.
This is the premise of a session on successful networking, which will be part of the Women, Management and Work conference at Macquarie University this July.
“The ability to collaborate, to share information, and to connect are the three most important things we need to thrive in business,” networking strategist Julia Palmer told Dynamic Business, who will be running the session.
As chief executive of the Business Networking Academy, Palmer was inspired to pursue speaking about networking after her experience in the events industry.
“I was at a trade show, a conference, a networking event two to three times a week, and in the course of doing that all around the world, what I noticed was that there was a real disconnect between buyers and sellers,” she said.
“Obviously they were there to connect, but they just didn’t seem to know how.”
Palmer believes successful networking is a learned skill, and that diving in without a networking plan is the biggest mistake people make.
“People just go out looking for results without realising how to actually create a connection or relationship first. Most people don’t have a networking plan, and therefore their activity isn’t aligned to any certain outcome,” she said.
Despite the stereotype that women are better communicators than men and naturally good at networking, Palmer believes women aren’t networking to the best of their ability.
Palmer said, “They’re very good at starting conversations, and they’ve got that warmth about them, they’re very happy to go up and chat to people, but if we align it back to the networking plan, often a lot of women’s networking isn’t strategic.
“Sometimes women don’t have the time, they’ve got competing responsibilities, and sometimes they just don’t maximise the opportunity they’ve got in a room, and they shy away from it for a multitude of reasons.”
Through her Invest In Your Network and Reap Your Rewards talk at the conference, Palmer wants to give women the tools to change their behaviour and start implementing a plan.
Palmer aims to teach women better communication techniques and behaviours, and to help them understand the dynamics of how connecting works face to face.
Jenny Morawska, conference director and president and CEO of The Morawska Group, hopes the conference inspires women to make their mark in corporate leadership.
“It’s not enough to just discuss why women should be involved in more leadership positions. We need to inspire and empower women to start doing,” she said.
As well as networking, the conference will also discuss the emerging future of corporate leadership and tips on how to become an influential and successful leader.