March 5th 2009 Connecting Women in Technology Event 3 at Microsoft

It was Microsoft’s turn to host the third event of the Connecting Women in Technology initiative and again, based on feedback from the last event we to gave the event a theme.  Based on feedback from the 2nd Event, we created the event around extending your business Network and the importance of maintaining a successful network in these times of change.  Here’s the agenda:

1345 – Introduction and Welcome: Gordon Frazer, Microsoft UK MD
1400 – Keynote: Maggie Berry, Director, Women in Technology 
1430 – Creating and extending your Network: Helen Duguid, Do good Consulting
1530 – Speed networking and coffee
1615 – Creating your Network wrap up
1630 – Panel discussion
1730 – Informal networking with drinks and nibbles

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Maggie had some great tips for networking like making sure you look the part – dressing appropriately will make you feel more comfortable and confident, Be aware of your body language, Invite people to talk to you – smile, approach someone, shake hands Have some standard ‘opener’ questions like:
How did you hear about the event?
I love your shoes / bag / jacket, where did you get it from?!
Who else do you know here?
She also pointed out that it was important to be interesting, curious and listen. People like talking about themselves and will happily share information.  Also the need to be authentic “Be yourself, not your job”

Helen then had 200 people in the room classify themselves as one of 4 different types of networker, whether introvert, extrovert,  whether they knew loads of people and spent a lot of time investing in these relationships.  and classified us into groups to share our stories.  Chaos and noise as over 200 women started to talk all at the same time.  A really long coffee break allowed us to continue networking and meeting colleagues from different companies (Rain blogs about the dots competition rather well)

Based on feedback from the October event at Cisco, we had more men (4 men and 2 women) in the panel – and what a line up…

Panellists:

Cisco: John Donovan, Vice President – UK Private Sector, Cisco UK and Ireland
Dell: Mark Tennant, Director of Talent Acquisition, EMEA
Google: Peter Barron, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Google UK
Intel: Melitta Remington, Healthcare Strategic Market Development Manager
Nortel: Katie Miller, Director of Government Relations in Europe, Middle East and Africa 
Microsoft: Gordon Frazer,  Subsidiary General Manager, Microsoft UK

Some great questions from the audience – and a marked difference between how women Network and how men Network – we’re totally different in our approach.  We don’t tend to keep a database of personal facts in our head (how was  your holiday in Spain? how are Susan’s riding lessons going?)  We approach Networking totally differently.  Some really great insight – especially from John at Cisco. 

We had to persuade quite a few people to stop networking and leave the building so that Security could lock up the place.  A really amazing session again and I’m totally proud to be part of something this special.  I’m really looking forward to the next event.

It’s Dell’s turn to host the next event in 6 months time and I’m really looking forward to it too…

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