“Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come.” — Diane Helbig
The above quote captures the essence of why networking is important for any professional in the business world. Despite this, many people struggle to network effectively, either due to possessing poor social skills or inexperience. Women in the business world face even greater networking challenges, especially in male-dominated industries such tech and construction.
As a result, many women lag behind their male peers in such industries. However, this shouldn’t discourage them from trying. The truth is that there are many ways for women to overcome the networking challenges they face and find their stride in the business world.
This guide will discuss several strategies for business networking in male-dominated industries.
1. Start With Colleagues
Building good relationships with colleagues is essential in just about any industry. However, it is critical in male-dominated ones. People are often apprehensive about building business relationships with people they know nothing about. However, they will be open to establishing a connection with someone who has a good business relationship with someone they know.
For this reason, women will have an easier time breaking the ice with others if there are fewer degrees of separation between them. Building good relationships with colleagues is the key to achieving this.
2. Join Professional Organizations
Every industry contains professional organizations designed to bring people together. It can seem intimidating to join such organizations in male-dominated industries. However, many people are surprised to learn how welcoming such spaces can be.
After all, these organizations are chock full of professionals that share a common passion for the work they do and are eager to connect with others who share that passion. Such organizations host multiple events per year and are always seeking new members, so consider joining one.
3. Network on Social Media
Social media is king in the digital era, and just about anyone who would like to become known in the modern world can utilize these platforms for this purpose. Linked In is one of the best social media platforms for business professionals who would like to connect with others in their industry.
It is especially useful for people who possess in-depth knowledge and would like to share it with others. Creating a Linked In profile and sharing frequent updates from the industry or one’s own company is a great way to demonstrate business passion. Many professionals can promote themselves as thought leaders using this approach, and this makes others in the industry eager to connect with them.
4. Display Confidence
Displaying confidence is one of the easiest ways for professionals to demonstrate they know they are talking about. However, it is also important to be able to back up with confidence with actual substance.
For this reason, professionals shouldn’t shy away from speaking up and mentioning their industry achievements or the challenges they’ve tackled. Business professionals are always looking to connect with competent peers who they can count on in different situations, so displaying confidence can help one get very far in networking.
5. Show Genuine Interest
One of the best ways to connect with others in the industry is to show genuine interest in them and their achievements. This entails listening to what they have to say, asking questions, and offering one’s own insight.
Showing interest helps others feel important and such professionals are likely to connect with others for the sake of building empowering business connections.
Effective Networking in Male-Dominated Industries
Women who struggle to network in male-dominated industries should consider following the strategies mentioned above. Most of these strategies can be implemented relatively easily. However, it is important to remember that good networking is something that takes time and patience.
Someone who is unsuccessful at making connections at their first networking event shouldn’t feel discouraged because they are still getting the feel for how networking works in their industry. Such learning experiences are invaluable because it gives them an opportunity to apply different strategies until they find what actually works.
Kim Dalius, of Los Angeles, California, is a success coach and Owner of Mental Minutes Success Coaching. Through her services, Kimberly Dalius helps people to realize their true potential and reach new levels of success in both their personal and professional lives.