According to the BBC News  there is a widely held belief that women are generally better than men at developing and maintaining relationships.

But according to this latest report, many women seem unable to transfer those skills to the business world, where the same activity is commonly called “networking”.

“Part of the cause is that women value authenticity in relationships,” says Deborah Gillis, chief operating officer for Catalyst, a women’s business research and advocacy group.

“Sometimes the notion of meeting someone and then looking to them for help, or advice, or contacts in business, often feels just a little uncomfortable. Men seem to do it much more naturally.”

Experts have various explanations as to why this might be, but they are agreed on one important point – informal networks are critical to success, and more women need to learn how to benefit from them. *

As a Women in Business myself, I am trying to recognize and assist women with developing a better understanding of the differences (or at least biases out there) that indicate women and men operate much differently in business.

According to the bestselling Author Sheryl Sandberg of “Lean In” there are many differences that hold us back:

  • Women downplay their accomplishments – We don’t brag. It’s rude. How to fix this: Learn to talk about your success without feeling embarrassed. If you work with a lot of women describe each others accomplishments.
  • We need to move outside of our comfort zones. Sit at the front of the meeting – speak up. Also, try new activities that expose you to different people. Getting involved in sports is a great way to open up your social network. Golf, run, play softball…. Just get out of the house !
  • Stay true to you! First and foremost, be yourself. Move outside of your comfort zone in the most authentic ways you can. Stay in touch with your feelings as to what feels right to you.

Looking for more tips? Check out my guide for networking at conferences and Perfecting your Elevator Pitch and more general tips on networking here


* Part of the material from this article is from BBC News – Do Women Need to Improve Their Networking Skills?