I had an interesting conversation with a lady recently at a mixed group networking event. Someone asked her if she ever attended women-only events and she said she’d considered it but didn’t think it would be for her.

I caught on to this so asked her why she thought that. Her reply was that she didn’t know what kind of women would be at them. I thought this a little odd, but then after further conversation it turned out she thought it would be full of cliquey groups that would be hard to enter into conversations with.

I can understand why she had this opinion, but then explained why I like ladies only networking and thought I would express it via a blog too.

This is just my opinion, but it is made up of conversations, observations and experience.

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The Women in Business North West events are run to not only give professional women the chance to network, but also offer a very easy solution for those that find it daunting walking into a group of people they don’t know….we have artisan stalls selling a number of clothing, accessories and beauty products. The stalls provide more than one service – they offer guests the opportunity to treat themselves to something lovely, but also browsing the stalls is a great ice-breaker.

Imagine walking into a room full of strangers: you feel nervous, a bit unsure, who will you talk to? What if everyone is already engaged in conversation? How do you break into a group already chatting?

Now imagine walking into a marketplace. You don’t mind that it’s full of strangers because you’re focused on the products. You walk up to the gorgeous handbags, the stall holder shows you some of the best sellers and makes small talk with you. Next thing you know you’ve struck up a conversation. Along comes someone else and admires the bag you’re looking at… you’ve struck up another conversation. And so on and so on.

Which would you prefer?

Having stalls at the networking lunches offer something different for our guests, but there is absolutely no pressure to buy anything.

Another advantage to women-only events is that it can be daunting walking into a mixed group when you’re greeted with a ‘sea of suits’. Men network in a different way and some men form closed groups that make it hard to break into to join the conversation. I’m sure men don’t do it on purpose, they’re just focused on who they’re talking to and not thinking about encouraging anyone else to join in.

I was surprised at a mixed group event recently when a fellow event manager (who is a very confident woman) was really pleased to see me there because as she walked in the room all she could see was men in suits and felt it was very male dominated. Seeing me and joining the group I was in meant that she immediately relaxed and was then happy to talk to a number of different people.

Another thing to bear in mind about women-only events is that different conversations take place when there are only women in the room compared to a mixed group. They can create an excellent support group and offer advice to help you in your business, not just be on the look out for business opportunities for themselves. Many women also find themselves creating new friendships which enhances their confidence and makes their networking fun.

These are just a few points to consider when deciding where to invest your time and money to boost your business as well as your well-being and confidence.

The Women in Business North West events are run by Tricia Peters of Chester Business Events and Judith Kenyon of JayKay Events. They are run in Warrington, Chester, Manchester and Liverpool and cost £30 to attend.

We have stalls available at every lunch offering a variety of clothing, accessories and beauty products for sale.

We also have a guest speaker and a raffle in aid of a local charity.

We offer table sponsorship opportunities at a cost of £80 which include one lunch ticket, table hosting, literature given to all guests and your banner on display.

To join us at any of the events please email Judith.kenyon@jaykayevents.co.uk

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