Staying Connected With Your Network
Feb 28 2009

Unlike my friend Thom Singer, I’m no subject matter expert on the topic of networking by any means, but I am a strong believer in the power of building and maintaining a solid network of both personal and professional friends.  I’m an extrovert by nature and an ENTJ on the Meyer’s Briggs personality typing test (link to Wikipedia) so networking and relationship building usually comes easy for me, and I enjoy it.  According to Wikipedia, only about 2% of the  population are ENTJ’s (a.k.a. Fieldmarshals.)  When I was getting my MBA, which was when I was last tested, I think about 30% of our class were ENTJ’s.   Only about 20% of our class were women, so it’s probably an even rarer type for women.  I’ve been told by more than a few people that I exhibit some typical male characteristics.  Go figure!

I also believe the time to cultivate and reach out to your your network is not ONLY when times are tough.  I’ve been amazed at the number of people who I haven’t spoken to in years (not just one or two years but five or more) who have been contacting me to help them with their job search.  I mean, come on!  How can I put my reputation on the line and refer them when I have no idea what they’ve been up to?!

There have been people I’ve worked with who I’ve stayed connected with in one way or another over the years who I’m more than happy to help introduce to people I know, but when I don’t hear a word from someone and the first contact I get is “Can you help me find a job?” or “Can you introduce me to so-and-so?” I literally roll my eyes.  I love helping people so it pains me when people don’t get how important keeping up your network is when times are good.

Apparently no one (or no one will admit it) could have anticipated the economic state we find ourselves in worldwide, and despite the inordinate amount of angst I felt before taking on a day job, in hindsight someone (possibly the Flying Spaghetti Monster) was looking out for me and my family.  Somehow I had the foresight (a.k.a ESP) to take drugs beat the angst into partial submission and accept the job which I’m now grateful for.  I’m still trying to figure out how to get to what usually ends up being a good result without beating myself up inside to almost a bloody pulp before I realize the decision was not such a bad one, but that’s a topic for another blog post a whole novel.

There are four professional groups I meet face-to-face with fairly regularly throughout the year that mean a whole lot to me for a variety of reasons and they are:

B2C CEO/Founder Group – A small group of us meet monthly for lunch to discuss the challenges and joys of running a business that sells products to consumers (i.e. B2C), which is completely different than selling directly to businesses (i.e., B2B).  I happen to be the only woman in this group, but in my career that has typically been the norm.  The format is that we share something good and bad that has happened to us both professionally and personally since the last time we met.  I really like this format because it allows us to get to know each other as human beings…not just business people.  This month we discussed all the challenges some of us are facing with money, employees, and finding other creative ways to keep our businesses going.  One person in the group had to put his business on hold for a while due to the economy.  Sadly, he also recently discovered that one of his key technical people committed suicide which really threw him for a loop.  Most of the rest of us are just taking it a day at a time and trying to keep our businesses alive.  When I shared during our meeting last week, they all told me I shouldn’t give myself such a hard time and beat myself up for not being motivated to do some of the things I need to do after my day job and family commitments.  I really needed to hear that because I have a lot of respect for them and it gave me some room to breathe.  Last month we discussed mid-life crises since I seem to be in the middle of one (middle of my mid-life crisis sounds about right) and one guy said the way he dealt with his was to start a business!  One thought he had to be married with kids to experience one but the rest of us who were married with or without kids quickly assured him that was not the case and he then said he’s been experiencing one for most of his life. :-)

Boss Ladies Group – Another small group of only women about my age (all with small children) that meets monthly for lunch.  When one of us has a baby, we work around their schedule if we can.  We talk about our businesses and balancing our interest in building them while balancing our desires to be great mothers and wives.  One of the women who formed this group invited me to speak to them probably a year or so ago, and I liked the group so much that I asked if I could become a member!  Unlike the B2C and Web CEO groups, most of the women in this group do not have technology businesses.  The businesses range from restaurants, to event planning, to consumer packaged goods, to marketing consulting.

Web CEO Group – This is a larger group that meets probably once every other month and there are a handful of other women CEOs in that group.  We typically meet during a weekday afternoon.  The format has typically been that we pick a topic and present what we’ve learned or questions we have that we pose to the group in that topic.  Topics have ranged from internet marketing, to fund raising, to how to stay alive.  A couple of us in the group have taken on outside jobs to continue moving our businesses forward.

Tuesday Ladies Group –  This is another small group where we tried to meet bi-weekly but after a good start, many of us couldn’t make it consistently so we meet more sporadically.  This group typically meets in the evening so I have a harder time making these meetings given that I’m the only one in the group with small kids.  I’m actually the youngest one in this group with the others ranging in age from their 40’s to 70’s!   Some of the women are entrepreneurs and some of them work for larger organizations but in my mind they are all very entrepreneurially minded.  They have such wisdom to share not only in business but also in life.  I get to hear and feel their life experiences, and I get such perspective from them both personally and professionally!

I had to take a hopefully temporary break from a weekly Blog Mastermind group that I’m involved in that I mentioned in my Giving Things Up post.  Even though the calls are held over lunch I had to take some things off of my mind’s plate and that was one professional group I had to cut.

I also try to stay connected over email or phone with my family and friends when I can because without that support network, I surely would have lost it (more than I have) by now. I would do what I could to help pretty much all of the people in these groups if they needed it, and I’d like to think they would do the same for me.

So for those of you who are still employed, cultivate your network now but please be sincere.  Just like on any of the social sites (e.g., twitter, facebook, linked in, etc.), people can detect insincerity or even desparation.  If you always have a ‘what’s in it for me‘ approach, you won’t get as far as if you have a ‘how can I help you approach.’

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, networking | Tags: , , | 15 Comments »

Some Assembly Required for Women
Sep 7 2008

A couple of friends of mine recently released a book called Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women and for some bizarre reason, they actually included me in their book!  I guess that means I’m a good example of how to network. :)

I’ve known the authors, Thom Singer and Marny Lifshen, for probably close to 8 or 9 years now.  I met them somewhere along the journey of my first high-tech startup and we’ve remained in touch off and on since then.  In fact, Marny was one of the very first beta testers of Baby Insights when her daughter was born! 

For long time readers of my blog, you may remember that Thom Singer did a great guest post called Networking and the Stay at Home Parent that continues to get a lot of eyeballs.  If my 2009 SXSW interactive panel idea is selected, then Thom will serve on the panel with me because he is building his speaking and writing career after hours just like I’m trying to do with Babble Soft

The book is easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, and a great reference guide for those looking for some tips on how to network.  Although it’s written for women in mind, much of the advice they share is great for men too! 

I attended an informal book party they held this weekend at Marny’s house and gladly paid for my autographed copy.  Check it out and look for my name in the Acknowledgements and in a nice little vignette on page 172.  See below for a link to buy their book at Amazon:

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby insights, networking | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut
Mar 25 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category

Now here’s a guest tip about kid’s haircuts by Michelle Breyer.  Michelle is the co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com.  NaturallyCurly.com sells hair products for people with curly hair and also provides a place for them to socialize online.  Check out their page for kids with curly hair.

5 Tips for your Child’s First Haircut
by Michelle Breyer of NaturallyCurly.com

curly-hair-1.gifI remember taking my daughter, Emma, for her first haircut. It seemed like no big deal for me. I was more concerned about saving a lock of hair for her baby book than anything else.

But that first haircut turned into a temper tantrum. Since then, I’ve learned there are a number of steps that can make that first trip to the hair salon a good experience rather than one filled with anxiety and tears. If done right, it can set a positive foundation for a child’s feelings about future haircuts, as well as their hair.

“It’s uncharted territory for parents,” says Cozy Friedman, who owns three Cozy’s Cuts for Kids salons/toy stores in New York City.

One of the biggest questions for many parents is when to get the first haircut. Some believe you should wait until their first birthday.

“There are no rules,” says Jody Mackenzie, owner of Banana’s Salon in Fort Myers, Fla. “You should get their hair cut when you think they need that first haircut. If it’s growing horizontal rather than vertical, or getting in their eyes, it’s probably a sign that the time has come.

Then it’s important to find the right place to get that first cut. Kids aren’t necessarily welcome at every hair salon, so make sure the place you choose knows how to work with children, and understands the difference between baby and adult hair.  Many parents – and children – favor children’s salons. In addition to being designed around the needs of children, they usually are chemical free.

At Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, children sit in a jeep, watch a video or play their favorite video game. There are balloons, lollipops, free toys and all the bubbles they can blow. When getting that first cut, the child receives a “First Haircut Certificate” with a keepsake lock of hair.  “My goal was to make it a place to feel really happy,” Friedman says. 

At Yellow Balloon in Studio City, Calif., there is a popcorn machine, a large play area with a mini-arcade and miniature toy boxes at each salon chair.  “Our stylists have had years of experience with children before coming here,” says assistant manager Christina Kirilova. “They curly-hair-2.gifentertain the kids with stories, toys and even magic tricks so they forget why they are here.”  For the baby’s first haircut, the Yellow Balloon includes a framed Polaroid picture commemorating the occasion, a certificate and a lock of the baby’s hair in a special envelope.

Maria Navarro of Classic Kids Hairstyling in Camarillo, Calif., puts colorful gel in little boys’ hair, and does special braids or twists in little girls’ hair.  “You want them to feel special,” Navarro says.

At Houston’s Playhouse Cuts, the stylists sing and dance and play with the kids to make them feel at ease. They also understand the limitations of their young clients.  “You have to have patience,” George says. “A kid’s tolerance isn’t that long. Even though they’re moving and wiggling, you have to keep going or you’ll never finish.”

Before ever getting the first cut, try to take the child by the salon before the day of the actual cut to make them feel more at ease.”Even a walk-through prepares them for it,” Friedman says.  Over time, it’s best to stick with the same stylist. That way, the child will develop a comfort level, and the stylist will understand the needs of the growing child.

When it comes to cutting curls, it’s a good idea to ask for a stylist who is experienced in working with curly or kinky hair. Make sure the stylist understands that curly hair shrinks – as much as three to four inches.  The right cut depends on the texture of the child’s hair.

“There is no one perfect haircut for every child,” Friedman says. Often the stylist will work with the parent on a strategy for their child’s hair, especially if the baby’s hair is just coming in. It may mean cutting the bottom layer over time to let the newer, top layer grow to the same length. “Have a goal, especially for the first time,” Friedman says. “It’s setting the groundwork for years to come.” With curlier or kinky hair, stay away from bangs, says Jami Walker of the Hairy Elephant in Ballwin, Mo. “They just kink up too much,” Walker says. Bangs can be a big commitment, and can be difficult to grow out. Many stylists encourage the parent to work on growing the child’s hair to one length or long layers.

Be an active part of your child’s haircut.”You may want a bob, but every stylist has a different interpretation of what a bob is,” Friedman says. “Be very descriptive. Bring pictures.” Make sure you’re realistic about what you want. If your child has tight curls, a pageboy haircut probably isn’t the right cut.

Finally, remember that the first haircut is a chance to make your child feel good about the experience, and about their hair. If the parent is anxious or talks about the hair as if it’s a problem, the baby picks up on it.  “Parents forget that children are sponges,” Friedman says. ”

5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut

  1. Always make an appointment. Otherwise, the child may have to wait.
  2. Try to get the first appointment of the day so the child can get in and out.
  3. Stay away from the word “haircut.” That can be scary for children, who associate cuts with pain. Instead, use the word trim.
  4. Bring snacks. A hungry child is unlikely to cooperate.
  5. Take the child at a time when they’re most relaxed. For some it might be after a nap. For others, it might be right before a nap.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane by Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby tips, parenting, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

SXSW Interactive – Sunday, March 9, 2008
Mar 9 2008

Although I’ve lived in Austin for quite some time, I have never made it to SXSW but now since a big part of what I do for my company is social media related, I finally had a great reason to go.  Most people associate SXSW with music, film making, bands, and people partying all night long.  For those visiting from out of town and attending the music pieces of SXSW that might be true, but for those of us attending SXSW Interactive who live in town and have kids to take care of, we aren’t able to party (or should I say not interested in partying) all night long.  Although tonight I was tempted to stay out late after having been asked by a couple of people to join some after parties.  But since I just got back from Los Angeles, I figured I should get home and give my husband a little back-up break with the kids.  Here are some brief overviews of the sessions I attend.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of facebook
sxsw-zuckerberg.jpg

Mark who is a 23 year old billionaire, seemed to be more comfortable during the interview than what I’ve heard he has been before, but he seemed to say some of the same stuff over and over again.  I forgot my regular camera and my cell phone camera is not that great, hence the not-so-great picture above.  However, here are some interesting things he said:

  • He mentioned that facebook was going to change their incentive system to one where the more invites you send out that are accepted, the more opportunities you have to invite others to join your network.   
  • He also said that at facebook, they begin with the premise that everyone is fundamentally good and not trying to do evil/illicit things. 
  • He felt that all of the mistakes they have made so far have had to do with them not giving their users enough control over the process.
  • He believes terrorism stems from people not feeling connected to each other.

The interviewer, Sarah Lacy, from BusinessWeek.com, had a strange interviewing style.  Sadly, much of the audience was wondering why she was asking the questions she did and why she was asking them the way she did.  Honestly, it seemed like she was a teenage girl flirting with a billionaire 20 something entrepreneur and many of her questions weren’t really questions they were statements.  After, the audience turned on her, I thought she might wonder why but apparently she thought she did a great job and said Mark told her she did a great job.  Omar Gallaga, who blogs for Austin 360 Digital Savant did a post-panel video interview with her that you can see HERE.  Check it out, it’s a good interview.  She believes that since she is one of the few women tech journalists that she always gets flack and is misunderstood.  Since I’m a woman in tech, after seeing her today I wouldn’t agree with her assessment of why the audience didn’t like her, but kudos to her for putting herself out there and trying.  I know she is being flamed on the Internet for the interview but if she can bounce back from this and learn & grow from this experience, she will be on her way to achieving great things.

Thom Singer, Author and Speaker on Networking

I tried hard to make it to Thom’s book reading, but after getting out of the room after Zuckerberg spoke, it was something like a 3 block hike from one end of the convention center to the other.  I arrived as he was wrapping up his Q&A.  Thom is an author and blogs at Some Assembly Required.  He’s about to release a new book called Some Assembly Required for Women.

Kathy Sierra, Author and Speaker

Kathy Sierra was a very interesting speaker.  She gave tips and advice on how to get your customers (and employees) passionate about your products.  The room was packed and since I was coming back from the other side of the convention center they wouldn’t let us in!  As I came up to the front of the line to ask what was going on, they said they couldn’t let us in because of fire code violation stuff. I was in line with Francine Hardaway and we along with a few others made some noise about how full it had been at the Zuckerberg talk and surely they can let us in since there weren’t more than 20 to 30 of us waiting outside and we had seen some people leave.  After a few minutes, they let us in.  Since I haven’t been blogging for a year yet, I didn’t know the back story on Kathy’s blogging stalker weirdness almost a year ago.  She indicated that she might start blogging again, which I look forward to.

The Super Collider: A Hero of the Social Network

I attended this panel briefly and it wasn’t what I thought it would be.  One of the panelists discussed how she was using the various social networks and social media to promote her business.  It was interesting, but nothing new so I took off to the Entrepreneur’s Lounge at Fogo de Chao Brazilian restaurant for a short after party.  It was hosted by ATI and uShip.  Ran into Bryan Mennell of Austin Startup blog there.

Hearing these people speak was fascinating but what was even more exciting to me was meeting face to face with many of my blogging friends and meeting new friends including Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home, Liz Strauss of Successful Blog, Tamar Weinberg of Mashable, Gina Trapani of lifehacker, Laura Mayes of Sk*rt, Annalee Newitz of io9 (she blogs on sci-fi stuff), and Tim Walker of Hoovers Business.

Stay tuned for more of my SXSWi experiences on Monday and Tuesday.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, conferences, entrepreneurship, social media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Networking And The Stay-At-Home Parent – Guest Baby Tip
Feb 21 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  :-)  To read other great baby tips, check out the baby tips category.

Thom Singer, our very own Austin-based networking guru, bravely accepted my invitation to write a guest baby tip.   Thom Singer is the director of business development for vcfo in Austin, Texas. He is also a professional speaker and the author of two books on the power of business relationships and networking: “Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships” and “The ABC’s of Networking.”  He is currently working on “Some Assembly Required for Women” with co-author Marny Lifshen. He also blogs at Some Assembly Required.  And now here is his fabulous baby tip:

Networking And The Stay-At-Home Parent

thom-and-family-crop.jpgHaving children changes everything. It doesn’t matter what kind of life you lived before or how your family handles the arrival of your bundle of joy(s), introducing kids into the equation shakes up all of your priorities.

When my first daughter, Jackie, was born I was thirty years old. I was working in a sales position, making decent money, and building my professional reputation and network of contacts. I was ambitious, and did not think that being a parent would make my life all that different. My wife had planned to quit her job and stay home with our children, and I figured I would continue along my career path un-affected by fatherhood.

While on maternity leave my wife received the word that she was being promoted to the job she had desired for seven years with her employer. While she did not make as much money as I did at the time, the opportunity was too good to pass up, and after much discussion and soul searching, I found myself quitting my job to become a stay-at-home dad for two years.

Being a full-time parent is hard work. Don’t kid yourself unless you have taken on this responsibility for more than a few days. There are no days off, no coffee breaks, no business trips, expense accounts or anything else that is an accepted corporate perk. I had never thought growing up that I would be a stay-at-home dad, as there was no such job description or role models who did such a thing. In the late 1990’s the concept was still even more rare than it is today.

I found this time to be very challenging, but also extremely rewarding. Eleven years later Jackie and I have a very close relationship and we share a wonderful bond from those early days of always being together. However, I also knew that this was a temporary role, as my wife would have preferred to have been at home, and I longed to have a blossoming career. Thus I spent much of the time continuing to network and cultivate relationships that would allow me to one day return to the work world. Although there were some naysayers who warned me that my professional career would never recover from the two years away, the reality was because of the active networking I was able to bounce right back into my career when the time was right.

Whether you are a man or a woman, if you decide to take on the role of stay-at-home parenting while your children are young, you need to keep your professional relationships alive. This will not happen by accident, and it takes time and effort (things in short supply when babies are teething, learning to walk, getting sick, and just being cute as all get out!), but neglecting your network can make it much more difficult to transition back to the workforce when that time arrives.

I was very proactive and made sure I had one breakfast and one lunch meeting each week. I was lucky, as Jackie was a very agreeable baby who was happy to sit quietly on my lap or in her stroller while I talked business with friends and former co-workers. While some people are self-conscious about bringing their kids along to business meetings, I never looked at this as a negative. Caring for Jackie was my job, and it was just as important (or more important!) as being a lawyer, accountant or financial planner. As she got older and was more mobile, I would often need to be more creative on setting up these meetings, working around my wife’s schedule or trading babysitting with a neighbor in order to have such appointments. However, there is always a way when you realize that something is a priority.

When it came time to return to work it was easy to put the word out that I was looking for a job as I was still a visible part of the business community. This was as much a state-of-mind as it was a result of my actions.

Choosing to leave the work world to be home with your kids can be both difficult and rewarding. The isolation of not having other grown-ups around can leave one feeling very disconnected. If you can relate to these feelings, then you need to take charge of your networking efforts and get back out into the world. Your future opportunities will all come from people, so you need to make, grow and keep your business relationships.

Have A Great Day.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these great ones too:

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble at Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols at DadLabs

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby tips, networking, parenting, stay at home dad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Babble Soft on facebook – Please ‘Fan’ Us (Pretty Please?)
Dec 1 2007

As I mentioned in a previous post (that Robert Scoble himself commented on!) I finally set up my own personal facebook account.  After reading a post by Fred Wilson (the big-wig NY venture capitalist) about people setting up fake company facebook pages, I figured I should act quickly and add a Babble Soft page…before some ‘bad guys’ (as my 5 year old would say) decided to co-opt a parent/baby related site that hardly anyone knows about and make it their own on facebook [insert sarcastic chuckle here].  If you’d like to become a fan of Babble Soft it would make me ever so happy if you would click here.

I wouldn’t have been able to set up the Babble Soft page as quickly as I did without some links and support from Lee Aase.  He showed me how to add Simply RSS and how to import Notes (blog posts) into both pages.  Thanks Lee!

Now for a screenshot of the Babble Soft facebook page that is so new that it’s screaming please become a fan of my site… :-)

facebook-babblesoft.gif

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, FYI, networking, social networks | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The Work/Life Balance of Networking
Nov 13 2007

I have been meaning to write this post about networking for quite some time now but I’ve been distracted by, held hostage by, paying attention to my network.  :-)

Networking is one of those interesting words that I see primarily referenced in the business world when describing connections with people who can help each other with their respective endeavors (e.g., job search, business building, introductions, etc.).  I’m not on Facebook yet, nor do I have a MySpace page but from what I read about those sites people do not seem to think what they are doing is ‘networking’ when they use those sites.  According to Facebook’s home page, “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.”  I never would have thought the term “social utility” would resonate with so many people, but it apparently does.

When people use sites like LinkedIn they do seem to think they are engaging in a form of networking.  I am on LinkedIn and you can see my profile here

My philosophy on who I link to and who I send LinkedIn invitations to is best illustrated in Thom Singer’s post at Some Assembly Required called LinkedIn Rant and Challenge to Bloggers which he later expanded on in his More On My LinkedIn Rant post.  In summary, I link to people I know, have worked with, and/or had a meaningful email/phone exchange with.  I generally don’t link to people who send me blind invites whose motivations for linking are iffy at best.

So why do I call this post Work/Life Balance of Networking?  Well it’s because of Gail Evans, former VP of CNN and author of Play Like A Man, Win Like A Woman and She Wins, You Win.   Back on September 20, 2007 she came to give a talk at the Association for Women in Technology – Austin (AWTA).  I have been on the board of AWTA for several years and just stepped down this past summer.

Gail said many profound and informative things about being a woman in the corporate world in her speech, but the comments I found most interesting were on work/life balance and networking for women.  Here they are:

  • Why do people (i.e., women) constantly talk about work/life balance?  It’s ALL one life!  We work in that life, we play with our kids in that life, we play spend time with our spouses in that life, we hang out with our friends/family in that life, and we spend time on ourselves in that life.  So if we talk to our kids while we are at the office or we check our Email while at home it’s one life.  She said it doesn’t really make sense why people suggest that work and life are warring and opposing elements because LIFE is the clear winner and it includes work!
  • Women don’t need to be taught how to network.  She suggested that women are born networkers because they can find out anything (e.g., best schools, where to get XYZ, best doctors, etc.) from another parent, a teacher, a shop owner, or whomever when they are discussing their kids and family.  Somehow, they have brainwashed themselves into thinking they need to hire someone or read a ton of books on how to network to make the same kind of connections in the business world.  [I laughed when she said this because it is so true that many women are scared of the 'networking' word at work!]  She illustrated with a story about how she overheard a conversation between two women who had met on a airport train on their way home.  One was pregnant.  The other had kids.  By the end of the train ride, Gail said she knew practically everything about them and who each of them recommended the other connect with except for where they worked!   Gail brought this up because she found it interesting that AWT brought in networking expert Steve Harper, author of The Ripple Effect to coordinate the ice breaker activities before her speech.  I’m not sure Steve stayed for the meeting and heard her make that observation.  I think Steve had commented that this was the first time he had facilitated an ice breaker for a roomful of women.  Way to go Steve!

Check out the books written by the people I mention above by clicking on the Amazon links below (for those reading this in a feed, you’ll have to click on the link post to see the book images below) and partake of their sage advice! 

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