Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Five Networking Mistakes Women Make

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Did you know that part of the Junior League of Boca Raton's Mission is to develop the potential of women?

At our January General Membership Meeting, we got the opportunity to listen to guest speaker Liz Radzick from Manifest Consulting.  Liz's topic was "Passionate Pitching: Promoting Yourself With Clarity and Confidence." As part of her talk, Liz discussed five mistakes that women often make in their pitching. I jotted them down and thought about how I do make these mistakes -- and how I can improve on them.

Mistake #5 - Monologuing vs Dialoguing: I was out with a friend about a month ago and somewhere in the conversation the Junior League came up. She asked me about it and I went off on a tangent. When I paused (to breathe, most likely) she cut in to ask me to bring her along next time I volunteer somewhere. It ended well in this case, but imagine how the conversation could have gone if I had just given her a brief synopsis, then asked her if she likes volunteering, about her involvement in her community, etc.

Mistake #4 - Alienating your audience with jargon: So far in this blog post, I could have referred to a "GMM" in the first sentence and a "DIAD" in the last paragraph. Members and Sustainers (more jargon) would have understood. But anyone outside of the Junior League would have no idea what I was talking about. I tend to be pretty good about this one -- I am able to catch myself as the jargon is coming out of my mouth and reword my statements.

Mistake #3 - Not providing enough detail: The Junior League of Boca Raton is an amazing organization. We accomplish a lot and help a lot of people in the community. Even now, I know I am not providing enough detail about what we do because I am ready to move on to the next item. The key here is providing enough detail to get across what we do, while being sure to keep in mind #5. A work in progress for me, I think.

Mistake #2 - Using minimizers: Liz notes the words "just," "sort of," and "kind of." At least in that last point I did not say, "The Junior League is kind of an amazing organization. We accomplish sort of a lot and help a lot of people in the community." No -- the Junior League of Boca Raton IS an amazing organization.

...and the #1 Networking Mistake Women Make....

Mistake #1 - Using "we" and forgetting "I": This is especially important on a blog, where people want to hear personal experiences and not just see the same information stated the same way it is in other mediums. That is why Christine Hanna told us about her experience volunteering with the Boca Raton Community Garden. That is why Sara Ritzler talked about her experience at the Association of Junior Leagues Organizational Development Institute. That is why Shawn Sherlock shared her experience as a Provisional, which is a woman who is learning about the Junior League in anticipation of becoming a full Member.

So now that I've shared my experiences, I am going to toss the ball. Can you relate to any of these five mistakes? Are there any you do? Don't do? Continue to do, but are trying to quit? Let us know in the comments.