I attended a great business networking lunch last week and I think I’ve finally found a networking environment that can work for me.
I have to admit that I’ve never really enjoyed the standard business networking events before. You turn up and have to make intelligent small talk with total strangers and hopefully make some sort of business connection. I’ve met a few nice people but I’ve often found myself wishing the guest speaker would get going so I could get past the awkward small talk.
Last week’s event was the launch of a new group to Australia called The Athena Network. It’s a series of women-only groups that meet monthly. It is brand new to Australia so it’s just getting going now.
The meeting was really friendly and enjoyable. It is quite structured and individuals get to deliver a one minute elevator statement as well as thanking other business associates.
Women are definitely more comfortable with networking and speaking in front of women-only groups and there were even a couple of tears shed when people got up to share their story. This would definitely not happen in a unisex business group.
Just in case you think I’m suggested that I only like to do business with women then let me set the record straight. Most of my clients are men and I’ve worked with more men (and plenty of them that I liked) throughout my career. I’ve also worked with lots of men I didn’t like and plenty of women who were equally difficult to love.
But I certainly believe The Athena Network is a great place to meet other like-minded business women.