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Do you have the Confidence and Knowledge to use Networking to Help you?

By Kathleen Schulweis

Did you know women tend to have a few deep and sustained relationships with other women and men tend to flit around with a bunch of guys? Did you know that women are less likely than men to ask for a favor or introduction unless they know someone well? Did you know that men have 15% more Twitter followers than women?

Yes, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study, Catherine Kaputa's new book, The Female Brand, on women and branding, and the classic work, Hardball for Women, by Pat Heim support the notion that women's ways of establishing and keeping relationships hurt their own networking strategies and thus impact their ability to Win Business and Succeed.

I'm not completely convinced this is only a gender issue because I see men who behave similarly. But, gender or not, if we're holding ourselves back, then it's time for a confidence boost. First, determine if you're committing the Ten Behaviors that keep you from winning and then, the Eight Behaviors that can change your life. Do you recognize any of these following Ten Behaviors in yourself?

1. You don't review your strengths and accomplishments in order to keep intact your inner core of Knowing Who You Are.

2. You stop yourself from asking for introductions to those who might help you to help yourself (Hint, you talk yourself out of the 'ask' with excuses like 'my resume isn't ready', 'I need a haircut', 'she won't remember me'.).

3. You don't keep track of whom you ask for an introduction (Hint: avoid over-asking because each person who makes an introduction is calling in a favor.)

4. You don't have a good functional resume that shows why an introduction makes sense and makes the introduction easy and logical.

5. You don't develop a quick message about yourself (Hint: "I understand you know Mr. Uber-Success. He's promoting a new position that's in my sweet spot as the HR specialist on employee motivation. Would you be willing to introduce us?").

6. You fail to follow-up with anyone who makes an introduction for you (See # 2).

7. You don't attend, or don't follow up on, group networking opportunities.

8. You only network with those in your same field or situation.

9. If you attend networking events, you hang out with one or two people you know.

10. You don't use social networking sites like LinkedIn and Ning to expand your reach and referral opportunities

So, how do we build confidence and overcome our tendencies to keep ourselves back? Now that you have uncovered what is true for you, here are the solutions or Eight Behaviors that can change your life:

1. Fight the demons that keep you down.

2. Make networking a full-time job and treat it as an Important and Urgent project.

3. Set up your social networking pages and use them.

4. Spruce up so you have the appearance of strength, power, and confidence so you can "Fake It Till You Make It".

5. Practice the confidence-building exercises of getting up, getting out, and staying strong.

6. Read motivational and practical skills-building articles and books.

7. Acknowledge how hard this is and then Do It Anyway.

8. Remember that motivation and courage are inside jobs and will help you WIN at business and life.