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Neural networking!

A colleague and I were talking recently about the different approaches men and women have to networking. Women only networks have been created as environments where women feel ‘safer’ and more inclined to network effectively. But surely, by doing this we significantly reduce our chances of promoting ourselves and our businesses effectively don’t we? Wouldn’t we stand a better chance if we could interact and communicate confidently with people of both genders?

So why does this barrier exist? Is it all about the lackof confidence that women have? Or could it be something else?

Ironically, as a result of our evolutionary past, women are better adapted and developed to benefit from networking. As the more socially focused gender, women seek to build relationships, support others and share their experiences and insights for the benefit of the wider community. Now contrast this with men. Genetically programmed to climb the social ranks, their neurology creates a sense of competition rather than collaboration, encouraging self-preserving behaviours like one-upmanship and the importance of demonstrating status.

So, what happens when the two combine?

Well, I think you can see where the confusion occurs! Men, through no fault of their own, often make women feel inferior or even threatened. Women on the other hand may come across as superficial to men as they use small talk to build rapport rather than getting to the point as male brains prefer.

All is not lost though. The two genders can and do work together successfully, but it often takes effort, practice and an appreciation of what the other party prefers. Understanding this will enable people to be more relaxed, more open and more effective in such environments.

Surely that suits us all doesn’t it?

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