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What men can learn from women

Jan 29, 2014 | Vee's blog | 0 comments

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What I found when I started my business 8 years ago is still the case today. Talk to any business woman today and they’ll agree.

Women do business networking differently from men.

The sad thing is that men will never know what that difference is because they will never be allowed in a female-only networking event and experience what the key ingredient is.

So what is the key ingredient? The difference between how men and women network?

Here’s the deal (and nothing personal against any of my male business colleagues and friends)

Man is the protector of themselves and their territory. They have to be seen to be strong and be able to provide solutions. They’ve been brought up to hide vulnerability. Vulnerability indicates weakness. Shortcomings and failings show weakness. Weakness is not perceived as a good trait in a man, so he does what he can to cover up that weakness.

Man feels good when he’s providing a solution to a problem. He feels honoured when someone comes to him with a problem to solve and so to prove how strong and worthy he is, he comes up with a solution. Coming up with solutions for other people gives a man pride and makes him feel happy.

So what’s wrong with this?

Man often rushes to find a solution before he’s heard the problem out. In a networking context, the other person is left feeling that his problem hasn’t been understood properly and been presented with a solution he’s not sure will work for him. The person is left feeling he’s been pitched at, so the sale is lost and to a degree, some mistrust will be lingering for a while.

How do women network?

You really only see this phenomena when you experience female-only networking. Funnily enough, you never see this happening when women and men network together, because I think man is too busy offering his solutions.

Woman is a natural listener and empathiser. They ask questions. They listen to the answers. They ask more questions and really try to understand and empathise with what is going on. Through their questioning and two-way discussion, they get to the nitty gritty of what the problem is. When the other person feels understood and has had a chance to really throw out their problem and receive empathy and understanding, do they start to become receptive to a solution. And instead of being pitched at, they receive the solution as friendly help and advice. Sold!

Of course, this is a sweeping generalisation. I’ve come across men who are brilliant at asking the right questions and coming across as genuinely trying to offer help without it sounding like they’re pitching at me. This is what builds rapport and trust – two key elements that have to be satisfied before you get anywhere near converting someone to a hot prospect and then a client.

Equally I’ve come across women who have their ears turned off the moment they hear a trigger word and they’re pitching to save England!

The learning

Having recently attended both female-only and mixed networking events, my findings from 8 years ago when I first started networking for business are still the same. It’s true that we have two ears and one mouth, so any sales trainer will tell you listen and ask questions, listen to the answers and ask more questions and listen to those answers. It’s what I have discovered women do naturally and what a few clever men have learned to do because those that have mastered this empathy skill, become successful at building rapport and trust which then converts to getting results and sales from networking.

So you agree with me? Share below what you have found is the difference between men and women networking.

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