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Do Ladies Network Differently?

by Thursday Bram on March 11, 2011

business-card-frontWhen I was growing up, my grandmother tried very hard to turn me into a lady.

There were some discussions on which salad fork to use and a few threats on what would happen if I didn’t send out thank you notes. I’m pretty sure that those thank you notes absolutely typify the differences between the way men and women network.

Ladies Are a Little Less Forthcoming…

I’m getting ready to head to SXSW for the second time this spring. I’m going mostly to network and I’m hoping to learn from a few things I noticed last year.

In particular, guys seemed to be a lot more outgoing about introducing themselves to anyone who came along.

A lot of the ladies that I went around with would have impressed my grandmother with their restraint: they were very polite and weren’t particularly pushy about getting to know new people.

If a woman acted the way some of the gentlemen I met did — pushing a business card into someone’s hand, asking a lot of questions about their business and so on — my grandmother would have tsk’d a bit.

But those guys definitely are great networkers.

Good etiquette aside, it’s worth going a little outside of your comfort zone when you’re networking, whether it gets you really excited or not.

Personally, I know I’m always in danger of hanging back a little or staying with a group of people I already know. At the very least, it feels a lot more comfortable.

… But Ladies Have an Advantage

Those thank you notes I mentioned? Those proved to be great training for networking. I’ve received (and sent) follow up emails and thank you notes that have built incredible relationships.

In my experience, ladies may not network with every person that they meet — but the quality of our networking is much deeper. We build better connections overall.

While I know I’m going to have to redouble my efforts to avoid being a wallflower or just talking to those people I already know, I’m not afraid of letting some networking prospects get away.

I know that I’ll still be talking to a lot of the connections I make this year well into next year (because I’m still talking to plenty of people I met last March).

I’m armed with plenty of business cards and I’m raring to meet some new people.

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Image: matthew solle via Flickr, Creative Commons

Thursday Bram offers content marketing through Hyper Modern Consulting, as well as more traditional writing services. She’s also the co-creator of Constructively Productive, the blog that’s bringing perspective to productivity. You can find Thursday on Twitter.

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