Imagine this… You are one of one hundred and thirty women walking into a room to learn about networking with men to gain board positions.
As you walk in, you see the only male presenter standing there, smiling, next to the door. He is not directly in your way. However, he is standing just far enough from the doorway that you have to change direction to make your way around him to enter the room and find your seat.
What do you do?
A) Make an effort to meet and greet him and establish rapport? After-all his connections could be beneficial to your career.
B) Do you smile back with a warm nod of acknowledgement (i.e. Acknowledge his existence out of politeness)?
C) Casually walk by pretending he isn’t even there?
Well this isn’t a ‘pretend’ scenario.
This actually happened and the outcome absolutely floored me (as it may you).
The answer was ‘C’.
One hundred and twenty seven women successfully decided to walk by and ignore one of only five males in the room. Not only that, they ignored the only male presenter that they had paid to see speak and to learn techniques for networking more effectively with men for board positions.
I was that speaker and it prompted me to change my introduction and pose the following question:
“Out of interest how many of you actually greeted me as you walked in the room?”
Three women responded. Of course, this prompted me to continue:
“Isn’t that interesting,” I said. “You’re all here to learn how to network with men and yet you didn’t even acknowledge the few males that are in this room tonight. Out of sheer curiosity can I ask, why?”
The silence that followed was deafening.
Why would women decide to ignore the few men in the room? Did they do it without realising? Or was it just me?
This audience was oblivious to the fact that they had even conducted themselves in this way, which poses some very serious questions:
- Are women sabotaging their own success in the boardroom by failing to network with men – the same men that hold majority of director and board positions (for good or ill)?
- Are they seeking out males of influence at networking events to assist in furthering their careers or are they avoiding approaching them all together?
- Or was this simply an isolated incident caused by other factors? (Was the light directed in such a way as to cast demonic features on my face? Had I forgotten to wear deodorant that day?)
Common logic would scream that if you are seeking board positions you would immediately flock to the key influencers that can cultivate such an outcome and take the time to build a relationship with them.
So, are women snubbing men and is this jeopardising their boardroom aspirations?
What are your thoughts?
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