I am not sure about you but I love meeting other women that have set up their own businesses, I think it is the contrast of discovering talent and shared challenges and successes, that appeals most. I can honestly say that nothing makes my day more than hearing about a business friend’s breakthrough, no matter how big or small, no matter where they are on their business development journey.
In contrast to the guys, who tend to measure success predominantly in financial terms, women have a lot more juggling going on and normally value the independence and freedom as much, if not more, than the profits that we are making. Of course we all want to indulge in the nice things in life, but one of life’s luxuries is being able to hold your head up high with the knowledge that you are balancing career and family, your own way and on your own terms, so that you can be there for the most important people, when they need you .
So as women in business gain in confidence and start taking the way they do business into their own hands, it is no surprise that networking is changing too. It is becoming more female friendly and more win win and I love that. I was recently asked to attend a hub dot alchemy event which I would not have missed for the world, it was dynamic, international, genuine and glamourous. What more could a girl want?
A business friend and translator of mine, Jane Eggers, was telling me about a fantastic local approach where the networking revolved around cooking. They all got involved in preparing a feast for everyone to eat. Jane said that the fact that you are preparing carrots at the same time as talking to other business women, made it far easier and more relaxing to chat, meaning that even introverts that feel uncomfortable talking about themselves or selling their business can meet other marvellous women, as they chop.
Which got me to thinking about the whole eye contact thing. You see, there is a certain degree of expectation wrapped up in eye contact isn’t there?
If someone is looking at you as you speak, it can be un-nerving, even if they are just paying attention and doing the polite and socially acceptable thing of looking at you. I think that is why on my language energy programme, when we walk, the conversation comes far more naturally than if we are sitting at a table. The eye contact is less intense because you need to keep averting your eyes to the track ahead of you, or you might look up to see if you can see where the birdsong is coming from, checking your poles are doing the right thing or … looking at the person speaking. Nobody even notices that there is less eye contact but you can see from the body language that the inhibitions of speaking in a foreign language are melting away with each step.
Introverts often feel more comfortable with online learning too and I am sure that this also comes down to not having to be in the same room as the teacher or other learners and hence having to engage in eye contact. Actually many people can take in more if they are not looking at the person speaking, which is why some people might make the impression of being disinterested, when in actual fact they are inadvertently looking away, so that they can concentrate more.
It is ironic that in the retreat that I have in mind, cooking together and walking are both part of the programme. To be honest, I have been putting off planning it because a retreat is normally for 3-4 days and I myself would struggle to organise my own family for so many days and it would feel kind of indulgent too I guess .
So I realised that actually instead of a retreat, I could plan a pamper day instead. Rather than learning English, we would be immersed in English for a day with other women in business, giving our language skills a work out whilst chilling out and learning with and from like minded business women, or networking.
We would meet at a realistic time, say 9am, have a short informal meet and greet over coffee, make something simple and healthy (perhaps each time from a different culture) for lunch together, listen to some fabulous experts (perhaps an angel, headhunter and coach) after our meal, go for a walk to take in some nature and reflect on our challenges and goals, shower indulgently, then we would have a group coaching session review, followed by some simple yoga and meditation before heading out the door by 3/4pm. It’s pretty packed, so I would have to do a dummy run I guess but that is the idea so far.
I would be drawing on the experience of approachable, qualified, native speaking, experienced coaches and trainers for yoga and meditation. Feel free to recommend speakers/topics for experts to talk to us about.
Sound good? Fabulous! Give me a heads up in the fb group please.
If not, what would you change or want to know more about?
Would you be interested in helping me test it out here in Berlin?
Can you recommend a location/venue with decent cooking facilities, lovely showers and a nice dining area in a natural setting near you?
I would love to hear what you think in our ….
Professional English for Women in Technology & Business Facebook Group
PS: You will notice that this week, intead of giving you links from each potentially difficult word or phrase, those words are in italics. I would be interested to hear which approach you would prefer.