Business Networking is Moving from the Boardroom to the Chatroom

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DowntownWomensClub.com conducted a survey of 1,000 working women across three generations. Many respondents say "Clicks and Mix" -- a combination of online and in-person networking -- is their preferred networking method.

High Tech or Not High Tech, That is Our Question

Businesswomen are trending towards choosing e-mail over the telephone to network, with online social networking emerging quickly as a tool for business development, according to a new DowntownWomensClub.com survey that was designed to spot the networking and technology trends of businesswomen.

The DowntownWomensClub.com 2006 Online Networking Survey: “High Tech or Not High Tech, That is Our Question,” reveals attitudes and evolving trends about technology and online networking across three generations of businesswomen – Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. The survey of more than 1,000 working women was conducted in January.

In-person networking is still the most common networking method for women from all three generations, with 90 percent of Boomers at the lead. The telephone was the second preferred method for Boomers. However, networking via e-mail outpaced the telephone for Gen X and Gen Y (70 percent for e-mail vs. 60 percent for telephone among Gen X; 65 percent vs. 60 percent for Gen Y).

Gen Y showed the strongest preference for using online social networks as a networking tool, preferring it even more than online communities dedicated exclusively to professional networking. Gen Y claimed more than double the ratio of Gen X and Boomers in this category (28% v. the other two at 11%). On the other hand, about 20 percent of Boomers and Gen Xers find value in online professional networks.

According to the survey, respondents prefer online networking for its time management options. The top five reasons to network online are time efficiency (71 percent), the ability to multitask (49 percent), 24/7 availability (47 percent), the ability to network with multiple contacts simultaneously (35 percent), and no need to travel (29 percent).

“Our survey demonstrates that businesswomen of all generations like the ease of networking at their convenience – what DowntownWomensClub.com calls ’networking-to-go,’” says Diane Danielson, founder, DowntownWomensClub.com. “And while in-person meetings are still beneficial, ‘Clicks and Mix’, as we call the combination of off- and on-line networking, offers the balance working women demand,” she continues.

The relative anonymity of online networking cut both ways in the survey. The 41 percent of respondents who said they do not network online listed the top two reasons as “too impersonal” or “can’t leverage personality or image.” However, that anonymity appealed to the 29 percent of online users who said “I’m more gutsy online.” The younger the respondents, the more likely they were to say they were “gutsier” networking online, with percentages rising from 12 percent of Boomers, to 17 percent of Gen Xers, to 25 percent of Gen Ys.

Survey Methodology

In January 2006, DowntownWomensClub.com, a women's network and career Web site, conducted on online survey powered by Zoomerang of 1000+ businesswomen across three generations to spot trends about what they think about technology and online networking. The survey respondents included approximately 1/3 baby boomers, 1/3 Gen Xers, and 1/3 Gen Ys (between 23 and 28 years old, college-educated, and in the workforce).

About DowntownWomensClub.com

DowntownWomensClub.com is a leader in “Networking-to-Go” - 24/7 business and social networking that is convenient, pressure free and adaptable to today’s varying work styles. It was founded in1998 by Diane K. Danielson, whose credits include author, lawyer, entrepreneur, and software developer. Its innovative "Clicks and Mix" model offers thousands of women an online and offline community using new and emerging technologies such as DWC Faces (a proprietary, Internet-searchable “Facebook” for career women). Member-launched, custom tailored local chapters currently include Boston, Washington DC, LA, NYC, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Worcester, MA, with new locations in the pipeline. For a yearly membership fee of $49.99, members access “networking to go”, professional development, promotional opportunities, social events, discounts and more, anytime, anywhere and anyway they choose.

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Lynn Schwartz
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