When it comes to networking, there’s a lot to consider. In order to find the best methodologies behind successful networking, we reached out to female entrepreneurs to get their insights on the “dos and don’ts” of networking. Here’s what they had to say:
Lauren Chiren, Founder & CEO, Women of a Certain Stage
DO recognize what goes into networking: Over the years, I have realized that networking is equal parts art and science. You have to work the numbers; equally, you have to put yourself in the right environments.
DO use LinkedIn as a networking tool: LinkedIn has become my number one playing field. Reaching out to ten new people each day and following up with all new contacts is paramount.
DO invite people to a quick call: Inviting people to 15-minute intro calls online works wonders. You know straight away if you click and if you’re likely to explore synergies. At the start of the pandemic, I held over 500, 15-minute calls over three months, to explore how people were adapting and how they viewed what lay ahead.
Sarah Moore, Founder, Sarah Moore, LPC – Psychotherapy
DO give to the community and others in your field: When I connect with a referral source, I focus on how I can give to them—by working with their patients or clients who need mental health counseling. I don’t start by asking them to send me clients. I also add an incredible baked good when I give them my card!
DON’T assume that you aren’t networking when you do something fun: I played in a tennis tournament and met someone who connected me with a great referral source. This tennis tournament was not even remotely about work, I just lucked out to play with someone who is a natural connector.
Kate Zhang, Founder, Kate Backdrop
DO be prepared: Have business cards and other marketing materials ready to hand out.
DON’T forget to follow up: Send a thank-you note or email after meeting someone new.
DON’T come on too strong: No one likes to be sold to, so avoid being too pushy.
DON’T be a know-it-all: We all have something to learn, so be open to new ideas.
Adelle Archer, Co-Founder & CEO, Eterneva
DO keep notes on new contacts: Many networking opportunities are lost because people fail to retain information on who they met at an event. That’s why keeping very detailed notes on contacts, and then creating specialized ways to reach out to them later, is the best networking technique. Sending out generic emails or handing out your business card will not suffice in establishing memorable interaction, as people receive dozens of those a week, therefore, you have to make yours more individualized.
DO send personal notes: Send a personal note that highlights the specifics of your conversation, referencing details of their business, and mentioning unique details of yours they expressed interest in. This demonstrates your attention to detail and your ability to be human. By customizing your communication to each individual networking opportunity, you will build a better foundation for them to remember you and to return your call.
Alley Jean, Founder, AlleyJean.com
DO be ready to share something personal: Networking is not just about meeting customers. You’re getting to know people who could be part of a circle of support.
DO be brave: Go to networking events alone if you can’t find friends or colleagues to attend or support your networking activities. You’ll be great! Networking can be nerve-wracking or even scary. Don’t let that stop you. Embrace those moments of fear and know you’ll look back on those times with empathy and maybe even a laugh.
DO be curious instead of driven: When you’re curious you’ll never fail because you’re investigating, being creative and looking at all the possibilities instead of forcing expectations.
DON’T use a script: It’s fake and people will catch onto it. Networking with female entrepreneurs should be an experience filled with authenticity and integrity.
DON’T put all your networking eggs into one basket: Go to local events, message people on social media, meet for one-on-one Zoom calls and become a part of a global women’s association, attending their events locally and online. When you only try to network one way, you cut out so many more experiences and opportunities.
DON’T talk about business the entire time: Getting to know someone is a great time to find out something personal you both can relate to. Music, art, philosophy, food, travel, family and friends are all great things to strengthen your connection.
Ashley Moy, CEO, Cast21
DO have a plan or a goal: When attending networking events, you want to have a plan or a goal so that you can ensure the event was productive.
DON’T sell yourself short: I’m the CEO of my company, but I look very young. People used to guess that I was in PR or marketing, and I didn’t correct them at first because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings or embarrass them. It was a disservice to myself.
We hope that you will use these “dos and don’ts” of networking to your advantage when the next opportunity comes around. Have any “dos and don’ts” of your own? Comment your suggestions and experiences below!
Looking for a virtual platform to test out your newly found networking skills? Check out this article: Our Best Virtual Event and Networking Platforms for You.