You know – when I was asked by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to grow a women in business networking group back in 2011 – I wasn’t sure I was up for it. I mean, I never think of myself as a woman in business. I am just me and I have a business.
￼But when I looked around what I realised was that not every body felt the same way, and womens networking was growing not shrinking. You see, many women struggled in their business or in their career with some very common issues. Women are still, in most families, the main child care provision, the main domestic provision, the main carer, the main organiser of ‘events, birthdays, holidays’. Most women over the age of 30 have experienced sexism in the workplace – whether major or ‘minor’. Many have missed out on promotion because of the hidden bias, the subconscious bias of the majority, which is more difficult to ‘out’ then the brazen sexism of a minority.
And women like to talk, and they like to talk about how stuff makes them feel. This is not what you are able to do, in most ‘normal’ networking meetings. I’m sorry if I now sound sexist, but it has been my observation over the years that, although they are getting better at it – most men are not very comfortable with talking about emotions. (Present company excluded of course).
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that women’s networking is all about fluffy stuff. Nope – not on my watch anyway. But what you do get at women’s networking is a refreshing honesty about their businesses and their lives and the obstacles or challenges they may be having, and an openness to talking about it and looking at different ways of solving it.
In a typical mixed networking meeting the answer to ‘How’s business’ is always ‘really good thanks’ or ‘brilliant’. And whilst I would like to think that was always true, I know for a fact that it is not. It’s just what you say. Because it’s uncomfortable to bare your soul, and you are there to do business right – so who wants to hear about your woes?
I get it. But that is just not what happens at women in business events.
Drawing on my 5 years leading the Chambers group – I am now re-launching my own group Leading Women in Business. This is a group of women at all stages of their careers and businesses who are there to support other women, build new relationships, and above all – have FUN. It is a lonely place running a business as a woman, and who better than another woman to really get that?
So – if you or a woman you know – would like to come along to the inaugural event on June 29th 4.30 – 7pm at 79 King Street Manchester, then please please – forward this email to them
This will be a new style of networking – entitled Fizz, Fun and Fab Females, which will build upon women’s ability to communicate and collaborate, to build better relationships (personal and business) and have a lot of fun doing it. I won’t spoil the surprise by giving away the content – so just book here while we still have space and find out for yourself what the evening will hold!