From supermoms to driven entrepreneurs, “Women Who Wow” tells the stories of inspirational women from all walks of life. Whether sharing life hacks for moms on the go or giving professional advice, be enlightened by motivating tips directed to women. In this story, learn how to use International Women’s Day as an opportunity to build connections within your network.

It’s no secret that your relationships are the key to better business opportunities and new partnerships. Yet maintaining these connections can be challenging, between hybrid workforces, packed schedules, and personal obligations, and before you know it, a great deal of time has passed since you’ve caught up with your network.

The good news is that it’s never too late to reconnect, says Dr. Chloe Carmichael, a psychologist who works with high-power executives and is a consultant at Baker McKenzie, the third-largest law firm in the world, author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power tribute to Your Anxiety. “It can be delicate if you haven’t been in touch, but there’s always an opportunity to strengthen a relationship,” she says.

“Be open about the fact that because of International Women’s Month, you’re thinking of the women in your network.”

Dr. Chloe Carmichael

Psychologist

Author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power tribute to Your Anxiety

Dr. Chloe Carmichael

If you need an extra oomph of motivation, March marks International Women’s Month, a global celebration of the achievements of women. (International Women’s Day is on March 8).

Use this time to reach out to the women in your life. “If you’re feeling awkward, don’t hide the ball,” says Dr. Carmichael. “Be open about the fact that because of International Women’s Month, you’re thinking of the women in your network.”

Here, Dr. Carmichael shares her recommendations for prioritizing time for connections and improving your business relationships on International Women’s Day.

Be honest about your intentions

If life has been busy and you haven’t spoken for a while, own it. “Try narrating your experience, where you take your inner feelings and say them out loud,” says Dr. Carmichael, who wrote Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety. For example, say, “Hey, Sue, I know it’s been a long time since we have been in touch, I think it was me who dropped the ball, but I’m thinking of you and would love to connect.”

Keep it personal

While a group text or email may feel efficient, you lose the element of intimacy. “It could feel like a mixed message and that you’re saying ‘Hey, I’m interested in you, but I couldn’t even take the time to copy and paste and tailor an individual message to you,'” says Dr. Carmichael. The only exception would be if you’re trying to spark a group get-together with former colleagues or your employee women’s group.

Women networking for National Women's month

Schedule connection time

When you are busy with work, family, and personal obligations, it can be difficult to stay in touch with the women in your network. To ease the challenge, establish a regular check-in cadence. “If it’s a welcome reconnection, introduce the desire to make it happen regularly and find a way that it happens almost automatically to take the pressure off,” says Dr. Carmichael.

Ask to make it a monthly or quarterly check-in and add it to your calendar immediately. Also, consider scheduling a walk-and-talk. “When you connect while you’re walking it activates both sides of your brain and allows you to think about things differently and have new perspectives,” says Dr. Carmichael.

Build relationships within your company

Strong internal connections can be great boosters for your career. To do so, join employee resource groups, get active with company events, and say yes to lunch (or Zoom) dates. If you’re feeling shy, use the framework of International Women’s Month to reach out. Dr. Carmichael recommends saying, “International Women’s Month has inspired me to get to know the women in my life, and you’ve been such a great colleague, I would love to connect.”

Be a connector

“We all have the power to connect someone to someone else we know to create something really fantastic,” says Dr. Carmichael. Think about how you can amplify the women in your life while opening connections to someone new. Plan an event where everyone has to bring along someone else that they admire and respect. Or, boost your own credibility and influence by connecting two people you believe would benefit from knowing one another. You could say, “Hey, I know this person who’s also really interested in X. Why don’t you get together and see what happens?”

Be a good ally to your female colleagues

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #breakthebias, support the cause by uplifting your fellow female coworkers. In a meeting, if you feel that someone’s input is being hijacked or credit is being taken, counteract it with public praise.

“Bring it back to the original person and find ways to highlight or share positive feedback about what your coworkers are doing or have done,” says Dr. Carmichael. In the meeting, you could say, “I know that this conversation actually originated with you, Minda, so do you want to tell us more about what sparked that for you?”

Additionally, you could email a compliment to someone on your team and copy lateral management to give that person the spotlight.

Ask the women in your life how you can help

Supporting one another will build better bonds. “Women are gatherers and communicators, and we like to connect with each other,” says Dr. Carmichael. To be most helpful, ask for what she needs. A new connection may want to boost her social media profile and would appreciate a photo share from your coffee date. For small business owners, writing an online review about their company may be the best amplification.

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Author

With more than 20 years experience in the media world, Kathleen Harris has been an editor, writer, and content strategist for media companies, premier brands, and startups alike. Her specialties include business and career insight, leadership advice, and lifestyle trends. Her track record includes working as the Editor of RealSimple.com and Deputy Editor at The Knot. She has written for Huffington Post, Washington Post, Pop Sugar, Real Simple, and more. She was trained as a journalist at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

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