What's Your
Networking Savvy?


  Q3 September 2007  

I know when people hear the term “networking” they automatically think of attending large events, conferences or dinners. Attending large events, especially on your own can invoke lots of anxiety – for extroverts as well as introverts. But networking is really much more than schmoozing after work and collecting business cards – it’s about building relationships that assist in you in being productive at work. According to Curt Grayson & David Baldwin (Centre for Creative Leadership, 2007), networking is defined as: “a set of connected relationships with people inside and outside your organization upon whom you depend to accomplish your work”. Networking then, should be considered as an important business tool.

“I don’t have time to network – I usually work through my lunch hour!”

- Leading From Within Workshop Participant, June 2001

The reality is that networking is one of the most important aspects of your job and this transcends the level you are at in the organization. It is imperative to be building relationships at all times – think of it as one of your job duties in your job description.

According to Barbara Annis (2003), a communications expert, men and women attach different meaning to the word ‘network’. Women tend to network without a clear business objective, enjoying the benefits of relationship development. Men on the other hand have a specific purpose in mind for networking and see it as a means to an end. While women excel at relationship building, it is important to think within the context of the relationship and see how the relationship could be mutually beneficial for both from a business perspective.

4 Things You Can Do

First, think about your current business challenges, priorities or work issues.

Second, identify who you have in your network currently to help you manage that work issue. Analyze your existing network and identify the roles the people in your network play so you can determine any gaps. Do you have people in each of the following categories??

Connectors – these are people who can put you in touch with the right person

Informers – these are people who have information that help you get the job done
Supporters – these individuals give you emotional and moral support and are there for you when the going gets tough – they are cheerleaders!
Decision makers – these contacts are in the know and involved in making the decisions that you require

Next, identify who else could assist you to meet this challenge?? Be clear and specific about what your needs are and develop a plan. What if you have an idea of a position in the company that could help you, but no name? That’s when your connectors come in handy – you can use a connector to help you make an introduction.

Finally, know what you have to offer others. When networking is done in a polished way, the conversation starts with what you have to offer others, even though you may be looking for something specific yourself. The basic premise of good networking is reciprocity and it does take time to build relationships to a point where you have established a solid understanding of how you can help each other.

2 Quick Tips on Attending Those Large Networking Events

Always have your business cards on hand and keep your cards in
the right hand pocket of your suit jacket. As you receive cards put them in your left hand pocket so you are sure to be handing out your own card. Keep your cards in all your business suit jackets, brief cases, etc.

Don’t take your purse. It’s too difficult to carry a purse, a
beverage and a plate of appetizers and then try to introduce yourself and shake hands. Leave your purse at home and work the room after you’ve had a chance to eat.

For more information on networking, attend the Mount Royal College Conference for Women - I’ll be speaking in-depth on this topic. See the details below in the Calendar of Events.


Build Your Influence and Communicate with Power - 2008

I’m really pleased to announce that Leibham & Company is working in conjunction with Simmons Executive Education from Boston for a 1 ½ day workshop focused on enhancing the communication and influence skills of women. Tentative timeline is for February/March 2008. In addition to the workshop, a wine and cheese reception may be included with one or two of Calgary’s Leading Women speaking. Overall objectives of the workshop include:

Examining communication patterns and negotiation styles and the
role that gender can play

Practicing success strategies in communication
Exploring how to position yourself and others to establish
connections so that business discussions can be conducted on more collaborative terms
Practicing one’s ability to influence receiving feedback
regarding effectiveness
Explore how influence strategies can be interpreted differently
depending on gender and identify ways to manage those situations effectively

Stay tuned for more information as the details are finalized.

Women’s Conference – Take Charge of Your Life, Discover Balance for Self, Family and Career – October 13 and 14, 2007

Luisa Cruz-Millett of the Faculty of Continuing Ed & Extension at Mount Royal College and her team have put together two days full of information for women who are re-entering the workforce, women who work from home, or women seeking a career change. The cost is a very reasonable $275.00 + GST and includes a wine & cheese networking event and a tradeshow. The conference will be located in the beautiful new Ross Glen Hall in the Centre for Continuous Learning on the MRC campus. For more information on the conference and tradeshow, contact 440-6013, or check out the website .

Artful Women

Thanks to Debbie Stahl for letting me in on this wonderful opportunity for contributing back to the community. Artful Women connects women who care about the pleasure and enrichment of art, culture and history in Calgary. As a founding supporter, you will be invited to cocktail parties and exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of exhibits including the first ever Calgary showing of Emily Carr! For more information, contact Debbie at (403) 268 – 4149 or email her.

Love, Laughter and Lattes

Here’s an affordable event that will not only support a good cause, but provide intellectual stimulation and networking with wonderful women.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is partnering with Word Fest to bring in 3 writers – Alice Kuipers, Meg Tilly and Teresa Toten who will share their stories of “sometimes intimate, sometimes funny and sometimes complicated lives of girls and women”. It’s on a Saturday morning from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (October 13, 2007) at the Vertigo Theatre. Tickets are $14.00 and can be purchased through Word Fest at 294-7462 or www.wordfest.com.

Women Fore Wishes Golf Tournament- A Huge Success

Congratulations to Debbie Van Camp and Heather Zyerveld of the Rainbow Society for the successful Women Fore Wishes golf tournament which raised over $27,000 to fulfill 6 wishes for sick kids. I had the pleasure of golfing with Debbie Stahl of the Glenbow, Denise Ludwig of Commercial Financial Services – Health Care and Victoria Kung of the NAIT Development Office. Despite the hail and high winds, the tournament was very well organized and a huge success. For more information on this organization, check out their website: The Rainbow Society of Alberta.

Donna K. Leibham, BA, MCE, CHRP
Leibham & Company

(403) 804-5569