In business and life, networking is an essential skill. Though I’d only been living (back) in The Netherlands for a couple of months, I made an effort to get out to a number of networking groups and am so glad I did, it has made such a difference in finding my feet here both personally and professionally.
I’m fortunate to live in the middle of Delft & The Hague and have chosen one networking group in each. I wrote about Delft INA (International Networking Association) over on my Dutch Australian blog. and this post here is dedicated to Connecting Women The Hague.
“A network for professional and internationally aware women in The Hague” is the tagline for Connecting Women and that’s a great way to describe it….as there are members from all around the world as well as a number of Dutch women.
I attended some meetings when I lived in The Netherlands earlier (between 2003-2007) and enjoyed it then so it was one of the first groups I looked up when I moved back here.
After attending the September and October events, I know for sure I’ll be back for more! I missed November as I was away but looking forward to the Christmas event in December.
Here’s some of the many things I love about the group:
- Thought-provoking, boundary-pushing, interesting presentations
- Honest, open and relevant stories and issues shared by members and speakers, both formally (presentations) and informally (chats)
- A good sized group – approximately 40 women or so – small enough to not be daunting but large enough to network effectively
- Reasonably priced for both members and non members
- Networking in a friendly, supportive environment
- Chance for people to “brag” about achievements each month
- Opportunities to get to know a wide range of nationalities, age groups and industries
- Mix of self-employed, part time, full time workers and those not currently in the workforce but looking to return
- Genuinely friendly, welcoming people who are keen to connect
Another thing I really love is the small touches and attention to detail. The first night I attended, all the committee were wearing feather boas. As a newcomer, it was a nice, fun, colourful way for them to stand out and they made a good effort to welcome everyone.
A simple but special surprise for newcomers is to offer them a rose as a kind of welcome and thank you for coming along.
Sorry if posting about this is ruining the surprise for anyone else! However it made such an impact on me I wanted to mention it….having left family and friends behind quite recently and still finding my feet here, it was just a very welcome gesture as I got to enjoy it on my table for the next few days…next to my daughter in the photo below having her breakfast! There is something about being given something thoughtful like that which really can make you feel welcome to a group.
Even more importantly, the connections I’ve made in just those two meetings so far have led to friendships and potential clients.
So this post is firstly a thank you to Connecting Women as a group, I look forward to the next event on 3 December in The Hague, which is a Annual Festive Bazaar and Connecting Women’s Got Talent show – sure to be a lot of fun!
But it’s also a reminder of the value of networking. I know it’s easier for some people than others, but there are so many amazing networking groups out there – try it! If you don’t “click” with one group, try another – and the benefits to both your personal and professional life can be huge.
Renee Veldman-Tentori is passionate about the power and potential of social media and marketing and is available for consulting and training. She is also a the founder of Professional Parents, based on her own experience of juggling work and parenting, aims to help others find their family work balance. Renee is a Dutch Australian and keen photographer.