Friday, November 21, 2008

Charlotte Business Networking

Business women in Charlotte really know how to network. I have been invited to several great networking events lately and I think that it is great that the women of Charlotte are connecting.

I also wanted to mention some of the other ways to network, besides the organized networking events. Things like playgroups with your kids, those house "parties" hosted by home-based business-women, or in small break-out groups.
This week I had several one-on-one meetings. I find this a great way to network and get to know other business people better--especially since I am introverted, and the larger groups are intimidating. I absolutely recommend scheduling these 1-to-1's, maybe 1 or 2 a week to network with new contacts and build stronger relationships.
Women of Charlotte: Many of you are new to the area and haven't built those important networks that support, educate and assist us in our careers. I ask you to make networking a priority in your life, and I look forward to meeting you soon.

Meghan Wier is author of Confessions of an Introvert, the Shy Girl's Guide to Career Networking and Getting the Most out of Life. More information about Meghan Wier can be found at www.meghanwier.com.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Networking and Motherhood

Being a mother is a topic I rarely discuss when it comes to networking. It isn't that I am not a proud parent--because I am, but there is something about my business life that I have tried to keep separate from my son.

But somehow, all that has changed. My son at 4 has decided that he wants to collect business cards--and it isn't some passing phase--we has been doing it for months now.

It is clear that something that I am doing is wearing off on my son. It doesn't matter where we go--the grocery store, the dentist, the mall... my son marches his little skinny legs up to the front desk and asks if they have a card. He then puts it into his own little business card book, (an old one I gave him a few months ago because I had gotten a new one), and when we get home he can tell me all about the people he met during the day--in fact he remembers how he got each card, and what business they are in, and where we were that day.

My son is a natural networker. He is not shy, and doesn't know that his behavior is peculiar (although still cute). He also has an amazing memory, which is good since he can't read yet, so he wouldn't otherwise know whose card was whose.

I suppose I lot can be learned by such a natural, innocent act of connection. Beyond the pleasure my 4-year-old gets from collecting the cards, he is making contact with people each day. He remembers them and once they make it into the book--they are his "friends."

The benefit of this to me? If I am able to get over the artificial barrier that I developed separating business and family--then I can enjoy the fact that my little one pulls me out of my shell, and forces me to meet people I wouldn't have otherwise. The lady at the bank gives me the lollipop, and Nate a card each visit, and he gets cards each week at our favorite diner, and at the pharmacy too. I get to meet these people--and they are all great contacts for me.

Sometimes I forget that networking is something that shouldn't end at the end of the work day--funny that my kid should be the one to remind me!

Meghan Wier




Meghan Wier is author of Confessions of an Introvert, the Shy Girl's Guide to Career, Networking and Getting the Most out of Life. More information about Meghan Wier can be found at www.meghanwier.com.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Networking for Women - lesson #1

The number one lesson of networking- be it for women, men, or otherwise is to do so continuously. And unlike my effort on this blog (my apologies...) it needs to happen every day. There needs to be a commitment to network no matter how hard (or how easy) it is.

One of the things that I have figured out is that I am not good at some things - and no matter how much I want to be good, it probably wont happen. I will not be a pro basketball player. I will not be an opera singer. I will not be the life of the party and I cannot "work a room".

But I can write. I can write emails, and notes, letters and blogs. My writing may not be polished. My casual tone may turn off some. I may leave the page littered in sentence fragments... But I can get my thoughts down-express myself-reach my audience.

Knowing this gives me the power to network in a way that I can do. And I can do so every day.

I have been able to network with so many people through my writing. I can reach out in a way I cannot do with my voice.

So the lesson here for me is that I need to write more. I need to blog daily. I have had success in networking through blogging, and networking is a never-ending job. It is a job with much reward, but work none-the less. And so I am committing to writing. Writing for networking.

Hopefully that commitment will keep this blog better up to date.

Do you have any networking advice for women? Please Comment.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Outside the box - fundraising and networking

I met with a lovely lady today... the best way to describe her would be "socialite". This woman has a business where she sells art, (mostly jewelry, purses and other "wearable art") out of her house, but her business plan is essentially not to make a profit - but to support the people and organizations she believes in.

This means that she sells art to keep the artists in business and make enough money to give away to the causes that are inportant to her.

I met with her today because she would like to hold a fundraiser in her home (a REALLY nice home) for the an organization of which I am a Board Member. She will donate a portion of the proceeds to the charity, and get this... she gets to network with a board - and all of their contacts that they invite to the fundraiser...

BRILLIANT!!

She promotes her business - sells art, supports the community - and because they are all at her house, gets to network with dozens of professions.

Can you think of ways that you can turn what you do into a great networking opportunity - to bring the prospects and the contacts to you?

Meghan Wier

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

GETTING ON BOARD (the Board)

The following is an excerpt from “Confessions of an Introvert - The Shy Girl’s Guide to Business Success” by Meghan Wier. Preorders of Confessions of an Introvert will be taken starting in September 2005. For more information, write to meghanwier@meghanwier.com .


Very rarely will you find a highly successful business person who is not – or has not been on a charity Board. Why? Board membership shows an individual’s character. It shows commitment to a greater good, a desire to affect positive change and strong dedication to community. These are “success qualities”

Every year Board seats are left unfilled, because organizations can’t find qualified and dedicated people to be Board members! Furthermore, charities are very often seeking to reflect the community, and diversify their boards. This creates opportunities where there weren’t opportunities for membership before. “Up and coming” professionals are now highly sought after by Boards, and this could be your ticket! As a “rising star” and an expert in your field you are a great candidate for Board membership.

So, if you find an charity that you believe in, if you understand and live the mission, if you have been involved in the charity for some time, and in some meaningful way, and you haven’t already been asked to be on the Board, make a subtle inquiry with the Board President or Executive Director, and see what is involved in applying for a board position.

You may find that they are very interested! Or you might have to plant a seed, and work towards a seat over the course of time.

Each organization will require a different level of involvement, but in almost all cases, a “leadership donation” is a requirement. It may be said or unsaid, but be prepared to get out that pocketbook! The good news here is that if you are on the Board because you believe in the mission of the organization (and you should!) then a check in a “personally significant amount” to an organization should not be a difficult decision. It will after all, go to a “good cause”.

Another thing to remember, as a Board Member you have the responsibility to ensure that that charity is following its mission and is accountable to the donors and the community. Boards will usually meet monthly or quarterly and there will be committee meetings, which you will be expected to chair and participate in. There may be legal ramifications as well, so be sure to understand completely what your responsibilities and expectations.

Being on a board is a big responsibility; however it is one with numerous rewards. So, check out the organizations in your community and get involved!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Women in Business - Making it Work. Technically Speaking

By Meghan Wier

Two big questions: Do antiquated societal values still prevent women’s success in business? Do institutional structures still obstruct a woman’s ability to achieve the highest of corporate prominence?

In Rochester today, there are many wonderful examples of successful business women. Yet, women still consistently earn less on the dollar for the same jobs, in the same companies all over the country, and world than their male counter-parts. All too often women do not enter the high tech fields at all, instead choosing lower paying, less prominent fields. Those women who do enter the technology fields are also more likely to leave than men.

The most profound, and probably the most debated obstacle for women’s business success is the family. Despite a significant paradigm shift, the family obligations of children, home, and the care of older parents are still a greater burden on women. Women take on the majority of family responsibilities, no matter how busy, or otherwise extended they are.

Often, over-qualified women will take lesser jobs for the flexibility, and convenience and often take extended periods of time off of work to be with their young families. They sacrifice salaries for time and freedom and family. As a community, we need to make sure that the expertise and experience of these women is appropriately cultivated, and commended in our businesses.
There are many ways for business and business people to promote women including changing our hiring procedures, exposing our young women in the higher paid and more technical professions, and re-evaluating our work day.

Firstly, businesses need to hire women based on their skills and experience. It seems rather obvious, but women are occasionally hired and promoted, especially in larger companies, because of a directive to meet a quota. While I understand the origin, and attempt to open doors for female employees, the practice of quotas undermines those women who do make it on their own accord; because they are the most qualified for the job. I would be very offended to be hired because of my gender, and I would never want anyone thinking that I had gotten my job just because of it. There are many talented and felicitous business people. Many of them are women. Set the example—and find the best person for the job, based on experience, not gender.
Secondly, make a serious effort to promote careers to young women. Promote all kinds of careers. The best way to do this: become a mentor. Women and men should find a way to show students that there are no limits when it comes to their future. In the Rochester area alone there are plenty of opportunities to mentor, and businesses should take the lead by hiring co-ops and interns from local schools and colleges. Showing young women all of the options available for business accomplishment will increase the amount of skillful and brilliant business women in the future.

Thirdly, there needs to be further transition in how people work. Some companies have already adopted “family friendly” policies, such as flex-time, job-sharing etc. Additionally, technology has been become readily available, and affordable in the last few years. Cell phones, wireless laptops, remote access, and PDAs have made working outside the home easier, and more productive. More companies need to look at these options for both their male and female employees. We are fortunate to live in an enlightened and technologically advanced community. We have the know-how and the resources. Let’s use them.

Advances for women in business in the US have come a long way—but they can go further. Not only should women have to have the same opportunities as men in business, but business has to adjust to the growing demands of life.

Can you make a difference?