Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I can't, I won't, I don't need.....

Last night I attended an excellent event as part of International Women's Week, co-hosted by Morgan Stanley Women's First Choice Network and European Professional Women's Network. There were a lot of interesting comments both from speakers and the panel and I hope to blog a few of these over the coming days.

The first comment that caught my attention came from Maryann McMahon, who opened the Conference.

Maryann told the audience that she speaks to a lot of young women who are at the beginning of their career. She tells all of them about the importance of networking, and receives a negative response from many. Those responses fall into one of three categories:

I can't network

I won't network

I don't need to network.

The first category is easily addressed by companies stepping up networking skills training and increasing all staff's confidence in a networking situation. The last two are more concerning.

There is still a negative mindset about networking among many people in corporate life, not just women. It is seen as manipulative game-playing and something to be avoided. Or its value is simply not recognised.

I have seen positive signs, including many last night, that this mindset is shifting and there is a growing recognition of the importance of embracing networking as a key tool in career development. There is still some way to go and more events like last night's, which promote the importance and positive impact of networking, play a key role.

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