Ivan Misner is mister networking and the founder of BNI (Business Network International). He wrote this book with two other network experts. One male expert and one female expert. This is significant as the book is based on a survey of 12,000 business, 50% male, 50% female on their networking habits and perspectives. The experts then comment on these findings from the male and female perspective.
It is a cracking read. Learned a lot about networking. But more important learned again about the HUGE differences between a male and female perspective. You should too. Females and males (dependent on your gender) are 50% of your target market.
Why man don’t talk, and women can’t read maps
A long, long time ago I read “Why men don’t talk, and women can’t read maps”, and this is a business version of that book. Or it is a business version of “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus”. It is socio-biology, neuroscience, psychology and business networking all in one.
Compelling statistics about networking
The statistics about networking are compelling.
- 40% of all businesses count on referrals for more than 80% of their sales
- 50% of jobs are filled through referrals.
- the average spend on networking is 6 hours per week (man slightly more than women)
- 91% say that networking was an integral part of their success
Women are better
Networking is important. And women spend less time on it but get better results. Which does not surprise me. With Ulster Bank and SmallBusinessCan, we launched an initiative called BusinessWomenCan, and they sure can. The research in women-led businesses is compelling (if you are a woman). Females are now outperforming males on nearly every field, including business and networking.
The differences between men and women
What I think is much more interesting, the difference in mindset, the difference in approach, the difference in thinking, the difference in biology and the difference in evolution. It is fascinating. Going back to the times when we were animals, living in caves. The times when the females were defending the nest and the male went out hunting.
From my perspective (as a male), it is spot on. From dress code to trying not looking at breasts all the time (name-tags are tricky in this situation), to mindset (hunting versus building relationships) and focus (apparently males think about sex every 5 seconds).
Men bond by doing, females bond by talking and sharing
This is where the book gets very close to “Why men don’t talk and woman can’t read maps”. For example, women have larger speech centres, men are wired to fight or flight. Men, biologically, prefer solo, women like to work in groups. Females have more white brain tissue (to do with connections) and males more grey brain tissue (to do with muscles). Men bond by doing, females bond by talking and sharing.
- Networking is like dating, You don’t jump in the sack after the first date
- If you are a woman talking to a man, talk like Mr, Spock
- Dress code is important
- Males and females define success in networking differently
- Apply the VCP stages (Visibility, Credibility, Profitability)
- Understand that man focus profitability, women on credibility and relationship (so there is a difference in pace)
- Character and competency are the key reasons for referral
- Go deep, not wide in networking
- Ask for referrals
- Have a system
- Measure success (time, give, receive, result)
- Give and you will receive
Men and women want the same out of business networking. However, the process, mindset and way of working to get there is very different.
You can listen to my review here