Tips to build stronger networks for women

 23 Jan 2016 - 10:09

Tips to build stronger networks for women
Professional women from Qatar come together to celebrate the fifth anniversary of QPWN 

 

By Anisha Bijukumar

Most people believe networking is key to success, but getting out to do it in the real world is a different matter altogether.  Successful professionals vouch by it and encourage others to do the same, with many even believing networking to be like gold dust!
In fact there are many such groups operational in Qatar that help professional women and homemakers network and make new friends with similar interests. Research has shown that networking is vital to professional growth and job satisfaction. It also makes it more likely for a person to land a new job.  
Here are a few tips that can help you build strong network, especially for someone who has relocated to a new place.
1.    First and foremost try to relax and take every networking meet as a chance to meet new friends, smile and be yourself.  
2.    Present a confident self with an open body language. To make first impression, it is imperative that one comes across as a confident business professional and body language helps. Smile at people walking by and shake hands.  
3.    Be genuine and authentic as these two are golden rules on which trust can be built and networking is all about building trust and relationships.
4.    Give a thought to one’s goals for participating in networking meetings so that the right group is picked and the right members are associated with.
5.    Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest, then choose a few that matches with your goals and continue to be part of the chosen group regularly.
6.    Volunteering with these networking groups can be advantageous. Be active by using your professional skills to give back to the group that has benefited you. Apart from that it also helps you remain in touch with the members.
7.    Ask open-ended questions that call for discussion rather than answering in yes or no which shows that you are interested in knowing more about the other person.
8.     Be a good listener. Encourage others to participate in conversation and give appropriate input when asked for.
9.    Follow-up is the key. In case you say that you will call or be in touch, then make it a priority to do it promptly.

International coach, presenter and leader of Qatar Professional Women Networking Karen Kennaby is a firm believer.

"When I first came to Doha I threw myself into going to every networking group I heard about, and I had a good time. As time went by I chose a few that resonated with me, where I was likely to meet like-minded people and develop real friendships – there are still a number I go to on an adhoc basis and one I go to very regularly.
“So what’s so good about them and which ones will serve you best? It depends what you want. It is really important when you move to a new country to ensure you create a new group of friends or network and have something to prevent you from getting lonely, home sick or bored – ideally something meaningful that will really absorb you.
“If you are used to being in a professional environment – whether you are working here or not, or perhaps you are looking for one – you will probably enjoy connecting with other experienced professional women, listening to guest speakers on a business topic and keeping that part of your brain stimulated, getting involved with schemes such as Circle of Pearl Mentoring Scheme and maybe taking part in social outreach - QPWN members meet fourth Monday of every month.”

Networking groups in Qatar

Qatar has many networking groups — some for professional growth, such as How Women Work or Qatar Professional Women Networking, while others are for social purpose or charitable work.
There are many to choose from including: BNI Qatar for focussed business referrals with globally recognised referral system; Tuesday Ladies Group, probably the longest running and largest; InterNations tends to be for the younger crowd.
There are groups to cover every interest from cooking to quilting or golf to riding a Harley! There are also groups for different nationalities too including the American Women’s Association Qatar, Friends Cultural Centre Doha (that even has a ladies wing).

The Peninsula