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Issue #21: The Social Network(ing) Issue 

If you had asked me how I felt about 'networking' (the term and the concept of) when I started working 9 years ago (yep, I am officially an old chook as Timmy would say), 22-year-old me would have probably screwed up her nose, shrugged her shoulders and said something like "I don't really like it, the whole situation is so contrived - everyone at networking events is there to try and get something from someone else. It makes me uncomfortable. I would rather make some real friends and if they happen to be able to help me in the future - that's great."

Although it took 22-year-old me a few more years to see the real benefits of networking, research shows that 22-year-old me wasn't alone in her thinking. 

Although women are great at developing and maintaining relationships, we tend to value authenticity (what Sallie Krawcheck calls 'best friend syndrome') which means that we can feel uncomfortable just meeting someone then asking them for help or advice. As a result, women tend to build deep and narrow networks, while men build wide and shallow ones. But it is the loose and wide connections which increase your chance of spotting a business opportunity. 

So, in honour of the release of the GQ and Editorial Intelligence 100 Most Connected Women list last week (and George Clooney's 'marriage up' to Amal Alamuddin - who made the list), and in an attempt to build young Foong into that networking machine that she was always destined to be (ahem), this issue uncovers the why, how to, where to and who to of the networking world. 

And in the spirit of broadening your connections, do add Suit & Pie to your network by followingretweetingsharing or liking us. 

Happy reading!

x  foong
 on twitter 
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Issue #22 of Suit & Pie is out on 23 October 2014. Subscribe here to receive it straight to your inbox and catch up on past issues in our archive. You can also read the Suit & Pie story here courtesy of womanthology.co.uk.
 
The Importance of Being Earnest... and Networking
One of the key recommendations in the Opportunity Now 28-40 survey was that women should build their network, but one of the key findings was that women find it harder than men to network with more senior staff in their organisations. So, why is networking so important? We explore how to do it, where to do it and who the big (networking) players are.
Why network?
Networking [ˈnɛtwəːk/]: The act of making contact and exchanging information with other people, groups and institutions to develop mutually beneficial relationships. 

A few decades ago, in the Don Draper whisky swigging era, networking was largely self-serving and remained an exclusive past time of high flying men. The purpose of networking then was solely to get up the corporate ladder - be the first to hear about opportunities, increase your visibility.

Networking today still serves this purpose, but has become a much more collaborative space. As Julia Hobsbawm (creator of Editorial Intelligence and Professor of Networking at Cass Business School - more on her below) explains "Networking today is about the permanent exchange of bits of knowledge, of intelligence, of creating and maintaining circles of confidantes and connections who can help us get to the holy grail of successful work: enjoyable productivity.The more equally knowledge is distributed, the more we see success."

This more collaborative, mutually beneficial way of thinking should sit more comfortably with women who often forgo networking in the belief that 1. good work and hard graft will speak for itself and 2. deep relationships deep relationships are needed to build a business. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Great work needs to be appreciated by the right people in order for it to make an impact on your career and businesses, particularly start ups, have been proven to grow bigger where entrepreneurs have a larger, looser and more diverse network
Tips to connect
Be authentic: According to Liz Bingham, managing partner at Ernst & Young, "If you are trying to be something that you are not, people can spot that a mile off." Be genuine and don't underestimate the importance of being likeable. Attending networking events with one or two existing connections can help you feel more relaxed and yourself, your connections can also big you up when you are feeling modest! (Thank you to my amazing wingladies @WomanthologyUK and @sitarawarren

Be a Giver not a Taker: According to Rebecca Newman, today's networking is about "the exchange of ideas, mutual inspiration and, critically, helping others as much as helping yourself." Ask what can I do to help you? Rather than what can I get from you? Being a giver doesn't require extra-ordinary acts of sacrifice. In this age of collaboration, it is easy to share what you know with others (send them a link, recommend a book, make a connection, speak to the person standing alone in the corner). 

Follow up: Bad networking is "when you go to an event, collect business cards from people and then never follow up with anyone" says Liz Bingham. Send a short follow up note or email, set up a coffee date. "Don't do it to 'get ahead', do it because it's fun and you'll learn so much about that person and the world around you and yourself." says Susan McPherson, Director of Global Marketing at Fenton.

Meet face to face: With virtual networks giving us access to more people than ever before (LinkedIn counts over 300 million members in over 200 countries), it is easy to meet online and maintain a virtual relationship (most people now opt for email over a meeting, text over a phone call). However as Randi Zuckerberg (sister of Mark and CEO of ZuckerbergMedia) says "Despite all the stories of friendships formed through social media conversations and support groups, nothing can replace the human connection that comes from meeting in person."
Where to connect
So now you're all equipped - here are a couple of places to test your new skills:

Hub Dot: A word of mouth women-only event with over 8,000 members since it launched in London over a year ago and now with branches across Europe and America. Founded by Simona Barbieri, the aim of the events is to bring together women at all stages in life for evenings of story swapping, contact making and mutual encouragement. There is no "networking" in the traditional sense of the word - "you don't have to be anybody, you don't even have to have a plan" says Simona. All you have to do is pick a dot to stick on your lapel (eg. green 'I'm here to be inspired'; yellow, 'I have an idea, can anyone help?') and look forward to an evening of incredibly positive energy and support.

We Are the City: The brainchild of Vanessa Vallely (who featured in Suit & Pie #19 and is also one of GQ and EI's 100 most connected women - congratulations, Vanessa!), WATC is a networking website which brings together resources from 107 women's networks as well as original content and events to inspire women personally and professionally. WATC receives over 5 million hits per month and its women's events calendar is extremely comprehensive, find your next networking event here!
                                                ...and who to connect with
Julia Hobsbawm's name seems to be synonymous with networks - the Evening Standard calls her 'one of London's most connected'. She is Professor of Networking at London's Cass Business School (the world's first ever!) and she is also the founder of 'knowledge networking' business, Editorial Intelligence.



She differentiates EI from traditional networking "These days there's a tsunami of information and social media. People increasingly want to be connected to a stream of good ideas, and to other people who will stimulate them. It is about connecting with smart people from whom you can learn and be inspired."

She recently published a white paper, Fully Connected: a look ahead to working and networking in 2020, in conjunction with EY, which explains what the changing networking landscape looks like, 5 key challenges and 5 pointers to navigate it. 

Julia's idea is that a pragmatic approach to social fitness should be adopted in the same way people accept the need for healthy food and exercise for physical fitness, and networking shouldn't just be the preserve of bosses, but encouraged at all levels. 
Amal Alamuddin is a dual-qualified English barrister and New York litigation attorney at Doughty Street Chambers and one of the world's most successful campaigning human rights lawyers.

The Anglo-Lebanese businesswoman speaks fluent French and Arabic. She read Law at Oxford University and received her LLM from NYU winning awards in both institutions.

Her high profile clients have included Wikileaks' Julian Assange and former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. She was appointed advisor to Kofi Annan on Syria and acted as counsel to the 2013 drone enquiry. She also serves on the expert panel of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative which gathers evidence of sexual crimes committed in conflict zones. 



As one of GQ and EI's 100 most connected women, it's no wonder her new husband George claims he is 'marrying up' (and so do the headlines!), with Amal's relative saying "George will run for office now, as marraige to Amal will open so many doors for him".  
Socks & crumbs (or the bit at the bottom)
Heard it through the (corporate) grapevine...

- On 14 October, award winning photographer Nancy Honey will be discussing anecdotes and stories behind her 100 Leading Ladies exhibition (a portrait of influential senior women in Britain) at Somerset House. The exhibition itself is free and runs until 26 October.



- Brite Space London is a series of interactive events designed to champion creative culture in the capital.

From 6-20 October, a line-up of the city's finest talent across food, design, music, fashion and media will host workshops, live Q&As and masterclasses designed to promote creativity.

Make sure you check out the list of events (mostly free) and in particular Womanthology Presents: Doing it Your Way on 10 October for some work/life balance inspiration!  
This week I will be...

- finishing reading the extremely addictive thriller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in time to watch the movie starring Ben Affleck 

- laughing a lot at this guy's hilarious comeback to an unwanted text (so going to try this next time I get a spammy message)

- getting myself ready for Chocolate Week (cue drooling), the UK's biggest chocolate celebration which runs 13-19 October 



- wondering what kind of London beard type I would have if I was a guy, and then wondering when beards became worthy of so much thought

- feeling all exclusive when I dine at Annabel's, although I worry a little about what I should wear (cowboy boots and office wear appear to be out per dress code
It's a man's world - maybe we aren't so different after all 

Fatherhood bonus

According to an article in the New York Times, having a child reflects much better on men than on women resulting in what has been referred to as a 'fatherhood bonus' and a 'motherhood penalty'.

While having kids means mothers are less likely to be hired, less likely to be perceived as competent at work and less likely to be paid as much as their male colleagues with the same qualifications, men with children are more likely to be hired than childless men and tend to be paid more after they have children. 



The disparity is not because mothers actually become less productive but because employers expect them to be. Michelle Budig, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts, says "employers read fathers as more stable and committed to their work; they have a family to provide for, so they're less likely to be flaky. That is the opposite of how parenthood by women is interpreted by employers. The conventional story is they work less and they're more distractable when on the job."

A study conducted by Shelley J. Correll, a sociology professor at Stanford University, suggests that "a lot of these effects really are very much due to cultural bias against mothers". Ms Correll found that employers rate fathers as the most desirable employees, followed by childless women, childless men and finally mothers.

So what can be done to change this in an age where fathers are as likely to be changing nappies as mothers? Forbes has the answer in 5 ways to help mom get even with dad in the workplace!
 
Mr Smith's corner

Mr Smith gives us his thoughts for the week.
 
Highlights: Attended my Aunt and Uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party. While the kids took it in turns to try to destroy the bouncy castle in the garden, the grown ups got treated to some colour film footage of their wedding day in 1964!

My dad popped up on film as a slightly awkward looking 19 year old (now confirmed as in the genes then), unfortunately not with my mother though. Apparently the random blonde pre-dates my mother. Although that didn't stop my dad's younger brother shouting 'There's Alan look... oooh... looks like you guys must have been on a break!"



Lowlights: Was in a bit of a rush Sunday morning, managed to reverse off my drive and bumped my neighbours' car! Damage was minimal but didn't save me from an awkward conversation with my neighbour whilst he was still in his pyjamas...


 
Lesson learnt: That 'vintage social networking' picture above didn't look that vintage to me... I think I need a reboot on this stuff!
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