Networking: Men, Women, and Diversity

Charlie&Ivan-MvWIN

 

In this video (click on the graphic above to access the video), I speak with Charlie Lawson, networking expert and National Director of BNI® UK & Ireland, to unfold the differences between men and women in networking.  While men tend to be more transactional in the way they network, women are more relational and understanding these differences can really be an advantage when it comes to achieving success from your networking efforts.

During a survey of 12,000 people, it was found that those who are more relational gain more business and are overall more proficient networkers.  However, just because women are more likely to generate new business through referrals, this doesn’t mean that only they should have a place in networking groups.  In order to have the most successful networking group possible, there needs to be a great amount of diversity.  It’s ideal to have a blend of different people because that diversity is an important aspect of successful networking.

The more diverse a group is, the more connected it becomes.  When networking groups become more connected, deeper relationships are formed, ultimately leading to more referrals and greater success.

Do you or your networking group have any good tactics for seeking out a diverse array of professionals with whom to network?   If so, please share them in the comment forum below.  If not, make it your goal this week to come up with some ways to do so–you have nothing to lose and a whole lot of untapped potential for new referrals to gain! 

NetTime: How Much Time Should You Spend Networking?

The secret to getting more business through networking is. . . spending more time doing it!   OK, well, it’s a little more complicated than that because you have to spend time doing the right things.  However, devoting the necessary time is the starting point.  So how much networking time (or NetTime) should you spend developing your personal network and what kind of results can you expect to see?

Based on a survey that I helped to write and conduct of over 12,000 business professionals from every populated continent in the world, we finally have a definitive answer to those questions.  The study found that people who said “networking played a role” in their success spent an average of 6.3 hours a week participating in networking activities.  On the other hand, the majority of people who claimed that “networking did NOT play a role” in their success spent only 2 hours or less per week developing their network.  

Clearly, those people who spent very little time engaged in the process felt that networking was not an effective way to build their business.  As with many other aspects of life, you clearly reap what you sow.  It’s no wonder that the people who didn’t invest as much time also did not realize as much reward.  This demonstrates the direct correlation between the amount of time you devote to the networking process and the degree of success that you will likely realize from it.

The typical person in the survey who spent a little over six hours a week networking generated almost 47 percent of all their business through referrals and networking activities.  Of the 12,000 global participants in the survey, women spent less time networking (6.19 hours compared to 6.44 for men), yet generated a higher percentage of their business through the process (49.44 percent compared to 43.96 percent for men).

Why would women spend less time and get a higher percentage of their business from referrals than men?  Well, we discovered that men tended to be more transactional in their networking activities.  That is they were more likely than women to be focused on the “business first and the relationship second.”  On the other hand, women were more likely to be relational in their networking activities.  In other words, they were more likely than men to “focus on the relationship first and do the business second.”

An emphasis on relationships first was clearly and undeniably a key factor in determining whether people were going to identify  networking as having played a role in their success. When we looked at the responses from all the participants who said that networking had played a role in their success and then compared them to those people who focus on relationships first, we discovered that the majority of respondents who felt they’ve achieved success through networking also felt that it was better to build the relationship first and then focus on the business.  Consequently, regardless of gender, business professionals who focused on the relationship first and the business second tended to do better than those business people who focused on the business first.

In other words, relationships beat transactions when it came to networking.  The reason that women seem to have done better in the global study was that women tended to be more relational then men.

Those who skip the relationship building and attempt to establish an “all business” interaction often discover that trust and goodwill are more than just window dressing – they are part of the social capital that energizes a mutually rewarding business relationship.  People who bypass relationship building are more likely to feel that networking has not contributed to their success, and they are probably right – because they’re doing it wrong or at least not doing it enough.

You may be reading this article and thinking – OK, I now know that I need to be spending at least 6 ½ hours a week networking.  Well, that’s true IF you want to be average (and what successful business person wants to be average)!   If on the other hand, you’d like to be above average – you need to devote more time than that to the cause.  The optimum amount of NetTime is more likely to be 8-10 hours a week if you want to be one of those people that are generating well over half their business from referrals.

How much NetTime do you spend each week?  More?  Less? and what percentage of business (total) do you get from your networking efforts?  Comment below.

Women Are the New Men

 

I was recently interviewed by Bill Moller on the “First Business” news show about men and women in business. 

The host said that “women are the new men.”  It’s an odd statement, I know, but I promise that if you take a mere three minutes out of your day to watch this video clip of the interview, you’ll understand what he means by this and you might not think it’s such an odd statement after all.

I came to the conclusions I talk about in this interview based on many recent statistics and findings by esteemed business publications and I think it’s a really interesting and noteworthy topic.  What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree? Disagree? . . . I’d love to hear your input so, by all means, please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

No Knight in Shining Armor?

This blog is an excerpt from the book Business Networking and Sex (not what you think)the book I co-authored with Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker.  Enjoy!

Bill asks Candace out on a date. They have a great time. They then start to date regularly.

Six months later, while driving home from their dinner date Candace says, “Do you realize that tonight is our sixth-month anniversary?” For a few seconds, there is silence in the car and to Candace it seems like deafening silence. She thinks to herself, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship. Maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.

Meanwhile, Bill is thinking, Hmmm, six months.

Candace is percolating away in her head with, But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily forward. Where are we going with this thing, anyway? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Children? An entire lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

At this point Bill is thinking, So that means it was . . . let’s see . . . February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means . . . lemme check the odometer . . . Whoa! I’m way overdue for an oil change!

Candace is now at the point where she’s thinking, He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment. Maybe he’s sensed it, even before I did, that I had some reservations. Yes, I’ll bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.

Bill is thinking, Yeah, and I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold  weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

Candace is thinking, He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.

Bill is thinking, They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty. That’s exactly what they’re gonna say, the scum.

Candace is thinking, Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, truly do care about, and who seems to truly care about me. And now this person is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

Bill is thinking, Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a warranty. I’ll take their warranty and…

“Bill.” Candace says aloud.

“What?” answers Bill, startled.

“Please don’t torture yourself like this.” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears, “Maybe I should never have. . . Oh, I feel so. . .”

She breaks down, sobbing.

“What?” Bill asks, wondering what just happened.

“I’m such a fool.” Candace sobs. “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.”

“There’s no horse?” says Bill and wonders, What horse?

“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Candace asks in self-blaming tone.

“No!” says Bill, thinking, Why should I?

“It’s just that . . . it’s that I . . . I need some time.” Candace says.

Dead silence again. Bill is trying to find what the right answer is here. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.

“Yes,” he says.

Candace feels so touched that she puts her hand on his.

“Oh, Bill, do you really feel that way?” she says.

“What way?” says Bill, thinking, What are we talking about?

“That way about time?” asks Candace.

“Oh.” says Bill. “Yes. Of course.”

Candace turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.

“Thank you, Bill.” she says, lovingly.

“Thank you.” says Bill, thinking, Whew. Got that one right.

Then he drops her off at her house where she lies and weeps on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, whereas Bill back at his place opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he’s never heard of.

A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he’s pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.

Candace calls her closest friend and they talk about this situation for two hours. They analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it many times, considering every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, and any possible ramifications. They’ll continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe even months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, Bill, as he plays plays racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Candace’s stops before shooting a basket and says, “Steve, did Candace ever own a horse?”

Does this story have just a little ring of truth to it? It seems that often men and women communicate differently and define relationships differently.  

Do you agree or disagree?  I’d love for you to share an example in the comments section of a situation which has formed your opinion about the ways in which each gender communicates and defines relationships.

Business Networking & Sex: Survey Says . . . Time Spent Networking

In this short video, I share a portion of the results from the survey of 12,000 businesspeople on which my most recent book, Business Networking and Sex: Not What You Think, is based.   The results I discuss here indicate that there is a very powerful, direct linear correlation between the time spent networking and business success.

You’ll also hear some colorful comments in the video relating to the book and my co-authors (e.g., “Frank, you’re a bad, bad boy . . .” ;-)).

After watching the video, please leave a comment explaining whether you feel the indication of the statistics is true or lacking based on your personal networking experience.

Business Networking and Sex: Survey Says . . . Transactional vs. Relational

In this short video, I share a portion of the results from the survey of 12,000 businesspeople on which my most recent book, Business Networking and Sex: Not What You Think, is based.   The results I discuss here indicate that men and women act differently when it comes to the VCP Process®, transactions, and relationships.

Based on your experience, would you say these results jive with what you’ve found to be true in the networking world?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section–I’d love to hear them!

Business Networking and Sex: Survey Says . . . The Exception Becomes the Perception

In this video, I talk about how the exception really does become the perception and  I share the statistically significant differences between the way men and women do business.

I’ve often said that “Mars and Venus, from a perspective of business aren’t like two planets . . . they’re more like two cities in the same county” . . . to find out why I say this, watch the video now and then come back and leave your feedback–do you agree?

Video: Last Week’s “Today” Show Appearance

It was truly an honor to be interviewed on the “Today” show last Tuesday (2/21/12) by Kathie Lee and Hoda.  It was such a great experience that I’m going to post a blog next Monday about the interview and what happened behind the scenes. 

For now, I’d like to share the 4-minute video clip of the interview here and please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section–I’d love to hear your thoughts on the information that was discussed in the interview!

CLICK HERE, or on the image below to watch the video now and I welcome  you to come back to this site on Monday to read my “behind the scenes” report.


 

 

Video: Learning to Network–What’s Your Tactic?

 

How did you learn (or how are you learning) to network?  Do you think there is a difference in the way women learn to network vs. the way men learn to network?  If you think both genders learn to network in relatively similar ways, let’s just say you’re in for a surprise . . .

In this short video, my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I discuss five different ways of learning to network and how, based on our worldwide survey of over 12,000 businessmen and businesswomen, one of the genders generally utilizes almost all five ways of learning to network while the other gender is not so diverse with their learning strategy.

Can you guess which gender dabbles in a wide variety of ways of learning to network and which gender keeps a more narrow focus?  Watch the video and then let me know whether your predictions prior to watching match up with what we reveal in the video and whether the way you learned/are learning to network jives with what our survey results specified about how your gender learns to network-I’d love to hear your comments!

Business Networking And Sex (not what you think)

Business Networking and Sex (not what you think) is officially released this week in bookstores.  This book was more fun to work on than any book I’ve ever written.  My co-authors: Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker were fantastic to work with.

You may be wondering what sex has to do with networking.  You may also be excited to learn how to use your sexual prowess to influence business deals.  Well, get your mind out of the gutter!  Sorry to burst your bubble, but this book is really more about gender than sex, but who’s going to want a book called Business Networking and Gender (do you hear the crickets chirping)?  Not many people walk around thinking about gender, but many people think many times a day about well, you know.

The book is based on the findings from a survey that we conducted.  Over a four-year period, more than 12,000 businesspeople from every populated continent of the world participated in a study focused around 25 simple questions.  Beyond irritating you, the answers may also make you excited and motivated to learn how to work with the opposite sex.

So, pick up a copy of the book – if you dare.  But be WARNED.  It might make you angry.  Oh, and there’s some statistics too.

If you would like a sample chapter or would like more information, go to www.BusinessNetworkingAndSex.com If you have an advance copy of the book – tell me what you like most about it.  What surprised you?  What annoyed you?

 

 

Do Men or Women Spend More Time Networking?

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew6Wf9k7dKc[/tube]

Business Networking and Sex is the book that my co-authors (Hazel Walker and Frank DeRaffele) and I have coming out next January and in this short video, we talk about an interesting research finding that will  be published in the book.

There’s one specific question that we are asking BusinessNetworking.com blog readers to weigh in on and it’s this:

Which gender–men or women–do you think spends more time networking, and why is it you think that?

When you watch the video you’ll see that my co-authors each have definite opinions on this, to say the least.  I felt like I was watching a tennis match watching them banter back and forth but, one thing is for sure, I’m never bored around these two and they sure know how to get a lively conversation going!  Now, the three of us want to keep the conversation going and hear opinions from readers all over the globe, so please leave a comment here and let us know what you think!

Do You Stand Out in a Crowd?

The following is a guest blog entry written by a friend and colleague of mine, Elaine Betts of Go Far Consulting.

I came across this piece by Elaine through the research I’ve been doing for my upcoming gender book and I wanted to share it with my blog readers because I think her insight into the topic of women in business is excellent and the tips, though written specifically for women in business, can be valuable to men as well.

If you are a woman in business and have advice for other women in business, if you would like to share a particular challenge to invite encouragement from others who may have valuable solutions, or if you would simply like to leave a comment, please drop us a note in the comment section.

“Do You Stand Out in a Crowd?” By Elaine Betts

Julie paused, stood outside the door, took a deep breath, straightened her jacket, and walked into the room where many of her co-workers were.  She looked around to see that, as usual, she was the only female present.  I wish I had a few allies, she thought to herself.

In situations like Julie’s, where the majority of a woman’s co-workers are male, some women tend to feel a certain vulnerability as the gender minority in their working environment.  When women constitute less than 25% of the total number of employees in a given industry, that industry is known as a ‘non traditional occupation’.  There can be many advantages as well as disadvantages for women working in non traditional occupations,  or in environments which, for some reason or another, have a gender imbalance.  However, the main factor in how a woman determines advantages from disadvantages in these situations is her individual outlook or perspective.

For example, sometimes it can seem intimidating or stressful to be the only female present.  On the other hand, the advantage for the woman in this situation is that she is easily remembered because she stands out from the crowd. This means that if one of her goals is to make a difference and bring about positive change, she already has an advantage because she is in a position to be noticed.  Women who confidently embrace the opportunity to stand out from the crowd often wear bright, bold colors and use the fact that people notice them to achieve great things.

Women in the world of business who take the attitude that being in the gender minority can be an advantage have definitely had a positive influence on not only the business world but the economy as well. According to the U.S. National Women’s Business Council, women-owned businesses are responsible for employing 16% of all U.S. jobs with an economic impact of $3 trillion annually.  How’s that for standing out in the crowd and making a difference?

If you are a woman in the working world, ask yourself if you are taking advantage of your opportunity to stand out from the crowd. If the answer is no, I encourage you to take a cue from the women in business who welcome the chance to confidently stand out and be noticed.  Following their lead can bring great rewards in both business and life.

Now, don’t get me wrong . . . I am not saying that being a woman in business is without its challenges. Speaking from my own experiences, as well as from my experience as a consultant to several women in business, I can tell you that women employed by larger business companies often feel encumbered by a seeming lack of opportunity and flexibility.  They can feel more pressure to perform and end up working much harder to prove themselves in their work environment.  However, this type of pressure has often served as the motivation for women to start their own business or make the change to a work environment where results and performance are highly valued and consistently rewarded by more opportunity.

Additional challenges for working women are evidenced by the fact that most of them have several roles to play. On top of the role a woman executes in her job, she often plays one or more roles such as romantic partner, mother, homemaker, student, caretaker, etc.  Each role has unique and very real demands and combining them all together can create significant stress.  This stress brings even more opportunities to stand out and make a difference though, as long as a woman makes a continuous effort to find ways to excel in all her roles.

Here are 10 tips to help women maintain stand-out success in every role:

    • Know your priorities, who and what comes first in your life.
    • Remain focused on what you want to achieve.
    • In each role you play, focus on being present solely in that role while you are executing it.
    • Plan the week ahead by scheduling car pools, kids’ after-school activities, day care, babysitter, etc. in advance.
    • If your job requires continuing education (always a good idea), see if you can get education classes in an audio version or via a podcast–something that can be downloaded and played in the car or on an iPod to and from work.  If this isn’t an option, allocate regular time frames (perhaps 30 minutes, 3 times a week) and plan to learn when you are able to achieve your most focused frame of mind.
    • Invest time in personal development and know who you are.
    • Know your trade and keep up with industry standards.
    • Plan time for yourself, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes for a walk or to sit in a quiet spot reading a book while you drink your morning coffee. This is very important because if you do not take care of yourself, you will not be in good shape to help others effectively in your various roles.
    • When it becomes difficult to know what to do next, enlist a mentor, coach, or colleague.  These people can  hold you accountable, cheer you on, and give you the kind of  ‘tough love’ that will keep you on track.  In short, they can be life savers.

The common thread among women in business who stand out from the crowd is that they are confident about themselves and courageous about what they do, regardless of their environment or its gender ratio. Successful business women stand out from their sea of colleagues by facing challenges head on.

These days we live in a big melting pot where, over the years, transport and the internet have made the world a much smaller place.  As such, the dynamics of how we do business are ever-changing and allow for much greater ease of communication than we’ve ever had before.  This is a perfect time for business women and female entrepreneurs to utilize the advantages available to them in order to stand out,  be heard, and make great things happen.

So what are you waiting for?  Now is the time to become the  stand-out business woman you can most definitely be.


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