How Women Can Benefit From Networking
It all started over a cup of coffee. The idea of starting Femme Palette, a place where women can easily make long-lasting connections with other like-minded women, was a product of a casual networking meet-up. Our co-founders Lucie and Klara met each other through common friends for the first time and launched this project all in less than two weeks.
Today, Femme Palette has more than 300 members and counting. And, we’re more than excited to help women make more such meaningful connections, and grow both professionally and personally.
However, many women are still intimidated or shy about the idea of networking. Most of us think of networking as promoting ourselves, blowing our own horns and putting ourselves out there to be judged. We are nervous about initiating conversations, making small talk and worry about sounding uninteresting.
What if it wasn’t so hard, right?
Networking is like that gym class you’ve been putting off. You know you need to go for it to stay healthy, but you’re either too lazy and make excuses for it or don’t make it a priority.
To prioritise networking, find time for it and use it to your benefit, you need to know what building a good network can do for you.
Why should you network with other women?
Networks encourage new ideas, give you the support and tools to pursue them, expand your influence and expose you to great opportunities. Having a great network, says Lucie, helped her excel at her job, push her limits and make a successful career switch from marketing to design. It also inspired her to start this project.
“The knowledge that I gained in school, the content in all the books I’ve read, and even the hard work I put in everything that I do is totally insignificant compared to the impact of people I’m surrounded by and their constant support,” adds Klara.
So what exactly are the benefits of networking with other like-minded women?
Meeting interesting people
By networking, you can connect with people you may not have had access to otherwise. Most of the time we tend to be limited to our own friends circle and never really take an initiative to go beyond that. When you attend a networking event, you automatically get access to women from different fields, with different levels of experiences and wonderful stories to share. It takes the burden of finding these wonderful women off your shoulders. And, it is not just about meeting people, exchanging cards or grabbing a meal with them. It is about making a connection, having interesting conversations and building meaningful, long-lasting relationships.
Gaining useful insight into fields you’re interested in
If you’re thinking of learning a new skill, changing jobs, making a career shift or taking the plunge into freelancing or entrepreneurship, you can connect with different people who can help you with this. When you meet people who have experience in the fields you’re interested in or have already gone through the stage you’re currently in, you’ll get first-hand insight into the benefits and challenges that you may face. You can then use this information to be better prepared to excel.
Gaining a new perspective
Your network is a huge salad bowl of different personalities, ideas and perspectives. Listening to each other’s stories and exchanging advice will not just inspire you, but also push you to do better at what you’re doing or motivate you to take that next step. Sharing stories of both success and failure gives you a new perspective on things and also the opportunity to learn from others’ past mistakes.
Finding new opportunities
Networking with other women brings new opportunities--be it a new job, a career change or just a chance to collaborate on a passion project. Sometimes you end up finding a mentor who can help you with your career or business. If you’re lucky, you may find a co-founder who will push you to finally start that dream project. Or, you can even find other women whom you can help and mentor to get better at what they do and get one step closer to their dreams.
Growing as a person and a professional
This brings us to personal and professional growth. When you network, you’re both giving and receiving. You get a confidence boost by meeting and interacting with women just like you. You get motivated when you meet someone who has aced your dream career path. You also grow as a mentor when you impart skills and ideas to those who aspire to get to where you are. Networking, thus, not just helps you advance professionally, it also allows you to build many soft skills like communication and public speaking.
Convinced that you need to make networking a priority? So what next?
We’ve the perfect event you can test the waters with. Join us at Femme Palette’s next networking meetup and connect with other inspiring, like-minded women from the Czech Republic.
Or, join the Femme Palette community, get access to an online directory of women professionals and fix up offline one-on-one meetups.