In a world of super connectivity there are many arguments as to why being so interwoven between societies, cultures and identities can be beneficial. Contrary to these are the beliefs that though world-wide inclusion is helpful in bridging gaps there is still a lack of success in certain groups that disputes the idea of global connection being progressive.
Women’s networking groups more often than not fall prey to this phenomena of easily accessible like-minded individuals or entities.
There are a handful of culprits that cause the success of female entrepreneur support groups to frequently dwindle. The effects often present themselves in the sheer fact that typically, women cannot infiltrate the business world that consists highly of men. Thinking about this idea, I wondered why that is.
Why is it that in a world that is filled with brilliant and ambitious women is there an inequity of them also being unable to grow their businesses?
After researching this issue and personally observing how female support systems in the business world have faltered, I can offer five reasons why the fast-growing competitiveness of global business has had negative effects on women networking groups.
1. Unofficial Networking Opportunities
A problem that plagues women’s networking groups is that these groups do not give the members the power to meet outside of the formally scheduled events. This results in a finite amount of growth that is limited by only the times and locations selected by the whole of the group.
The solution to this would be to make available a way for members to meet up on their own. This would offer not only an expansion of time to network but also make the gathering more intimate with less people. However, most groups don’t make it easy or possible for groups to meet with one another due to a lack of technology or not offering opportunities for members to connect between themselves. Through Women With Ambition’s community we are working to bridge this gap and encourage members to meet outside of formal events and the online platform.
2. Communication of the group
How a group is able to communicate is massively important to its ability to be successful. The reason communication is one of the reasons why female networking groups fail is because engagement fizzles out. Even if there is a platform for members to connect, if there isn’t a constantly engaging community outreach that is going on to keep members involved, there is a chance that members will not feel apart of the group.
3. Comfort and Trust of the group
Comfort and trust of the group goes in hand with communication because it has to do with how involved a member feels with the group. In a room of thirty or more ambitious entrepreneurial women, it can be intimidating to speak up, share ideas, network or even show up in the first place. This typically is the bane of women’s business support groups because there is sometimes no intimacy in the group or feeling as if someone is actually there to support and help you. Being an entrepreneur can bring along many challenges, your women’s networking group shouldn’t bring more stress than you already have.
Joining a local mastermind group, which consists of 4-6 women in similar stages and complementary industries, can help you build deep and long lasting relationships with members. When looking for a women’s networking group look for the ways they encourage member connections.
4. Lack of Accessibility via Technology
The readily available social media platform, website or newsletter are examples of technology that are often used to engage the members of a group. The use of technology in this day and age is absolutely essential in ensuring that a women’s networking group is successful. Without the simple availability to create conversations, view goals and missions, provide resources and genuinely feel apart of something are what make a group work. Some members do not feel comfortable with going to events at first, so community engagement through technology is necessary.
5. Networks of Members
I know what you may be thinking. “Aren’t I joining a women’s networking group so that I can build connections?”—yes. However, it is also incredibly important and not to mention helpful if members have strong networks to offer already coming into the group. With the ability to connect other members to colleagues, recommend speakers, and create opportunities for the group through their network they open many doors to success for the group. Usually though, there is a lack of a strong networking foundation in members, or there is a lack of sharing with others the benefits of their network. The lack of a network or the desire to stay private about their connections can both cause a women’s networking group to suffer.
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Angela is the head of content at Women With Ambition, an NCAA athlete and world traveler having worked with the team in Barcelona, Spain.