Today was another experience of pride and exploration for me in terms of being invited to speak at the “Success Women’s Networking” Event in North Ryde. Under the leadership of this fine operator by the name of Natalie Moutia, it has been my second group of SWN that I have totally enjoyed to speak at.
Talking to my own Business Networking Leadership, it’s a very common question to hear “Gender” come up in this area. Quite fair questions I receive are “So Edward what are the difference between Men & Women in Business Networking?”. Totally reasonable question.
I think totally unfair questions that really borderline on sexism is when I get asked something like “So are Men / Women better than Women / Men at Networking?”. For whatever reason (probably being Persian and wearing loud shirts) I do often get asked unfair questions which I enjoy in that it gives me scope to give back cheeky / “Getting Smart” type of answers.
Firstly in putting my peg in the sand and answering that unfair question – when it comes to Business Networking – I must say that I have a lean towards working with women and networking with women. I am not the only one that has this view in that many men I work with take that similar perspective.
When it comes to too much “Men” in Business Networking, one can find that it can go to the “You must give me Referrals / Hire me RIGHT NOW extreme”. This is not fun for anyone and I remember that one awesome man that first taught me business networking was Jim Vass from ATB Partners. He said to me:
“Edward focus on the relationship and giving first then the results will come”
Generally speaking here (where I am so going to be a hypocrite and get accused of sexism against men) is that women naturally focus on relationships before Sales / Referrals. This is totally in line with the original advice above from Jim in being a “Man” myself and being quite a “Director” personality I can relate in that one.
People like me at times can just be too “Focused” on immediate short-term results. When I first started business networking, I was exactly like that. For the first few weeks, I was all about “Sales” and after getting that great advice from Jim Vass and Grant & Karen Dempsey – I went in the Relationship direction.
This was amazing for me and I think those are the broad differences in styles for the genders. Men = Results / Sales Now, Women = Relationships / Sales When they Come.
Yes, I am a dude. Yes, I am Middle Eastern / Persian. Yes, the Women with default Relationship Building win this one. Yes, I have generalized like crazy. I know plenty of men which build relationships first and plenty of women who just chase sales in business networking and get nowhere.
My advice & thinking? Dude or Chick x x Listen to Jim Vass’s original advice and focus on the relationship first. This may be natural or not-natural for your style so keep focusing yourself that way and you shall get there. When you first start networking, don’t expect any sales for at least 3 – 6 months! That may shock you if you want SALES NOW, but too bad – this is just the reality of how things work. So slow down, enjoy it and respect the process.
I trust that helps and thank you for the read fine friends! A big thank you again to Natalie Moutia and Success Women’s Network – they rock and I learn something new every time I visit them.
Edward Zia – Marketing Mentor and Persian Man who loves Business Networking with Women!