Today’s post is written by Savvy Working Gal who strives to inspire women one post at a time! Congrats to her for joining the 4X4 networking challenge. If you are interested in joining, just read about the networking challenge here and leave a comment. I am keeping tabs of other bloggers taking the challenge here. Good luck Savvy!
Ever since I read Frau Tech’s post Blaming Women Entrepreneurs, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about networking. Here is the section of her post that had the greatest impact on me:
Starting a business is like getting a job. It’s more about who you know than what you know. Many of my male colleagues have networks and contacts built up within the industry. Their opinions are trusted more on technical matters than mine are.”
I even asked Anna Runyan of Classy Career Girl to write a guest post for me on Why Networking is Important. Anna mentioned some interesting points about barriers that hold you back from networking. I could relate to all of them. Her post also got me thinking about another networking fallacy:
Networking Fallacy: Networking is only important when you are looking for a new job
The truth is you should be developing and nurturing your network on an ongoing basis. And networking is a two-way process. The most successful networks are ones where you give your network more than you receive.
I realized I have been neglecting my own network. Over the past couple of years I have become increasingly disillusioned with my accounting career. So much so, that I have been contemplating a career change. The practical side of me, however, realizes I still need to support myself and a career change is most likely a pipe dream. Not wanting my accounting network to know I want out I have been ignoring it. Also being an introvert, it is easy for me to sit in the corner allowing others to sit at the table.
It is time I get back in the game
I have decided to join Anna Runyan’s Networking Challenge. Here is the challenge Anna created for herself:
Every month I would meet with four people I already knew but would like to get to know even better. I also made a point of meeting with four new people. My goal was to learn from each person I talked to and ask questions about how I to get to the next step in my career.”
Anna says we don’t have to start with 4 people right away she recommends we begin with just a couple of people the first month and grow from there. Her most important tip is to plan ahead, write down who we want to meet with and email them before the month starts. Her second tip is to find someone to keep us accountable. For her accountability, she shares her progress with us on her blog and we keep her accountable.
My Networking Challenge
I am going to begin with meeting two people I already know and two that I don’t each month. These will be people in my community. I too, am going to use my blog audience to keep me accountable. I am also going to try to attend two local events each week. These could be meetings at trade associations or book events at book stores or libraries. Lisa Bloom author of the book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World (which I wrote about here) has challenged us to attend one book event a month. I am going to take her up on it.
As part of this post, I was going to link to Getting my Ducks in a Row, a previous blog post where I introduced a similar challenge. In rereading that post, I noticed how similar it was to this one. As I recall, that particular challenge did not last very long, which just goes to show how hard networking can be for people like me. I think by actually joining Anna’s challenge and having this post listed on her site I will feel much more accountable this go-round.