There was a lot of comment on Theresa May’s shoes when she was PM and indeed a lot of comment on how much comment there was.
Whilst it is unfair how much comment women get regarding their appearance versus men, certainly as a lot of it is criticism, surely there is an advantage to be gained?
The networking event I was at recently is a case in point. As I walked in, what greeted me was a sea of grey suits and pale blue shirts. Yes, you’ve guessed it the majority of attendees were male. It was a group of about 50 people and each person had the opportunity to talk about the benefits of the work they do (well some did, many focused on their job title and what they did, which is a blog post for another time…).
One of the real difficulties I found was identifying people later on, even if what they said was interesting and I wanted to start a 1-2-1 conversation – of course just the memory of where they were sitting was absolutely useless, once people moved around.
We should never be memorable for our appearance alone but in this sort of scenario, blending in at networking is unhelpful and can in fact lead to lost business opportunities. Not blending in is a key networking skill. What is the point, if you are not memorable in any way?
There were a few men that looked a bit different, one for instance in a striped shirt and matching tie, in a bold colour so he was easily identifiable but the majority looked all too similar. Equally, some of the women blended in too but being fewer in number, this was less of an issue.
Also, as a woman, it is a lot easier to memorably stand out, as we have more ‘tools’ at our disposal e.g. different clothing items and accessories, if we use them, of course!
Our personal choices are never going to be liked by all but by creating some stand out, at least you won’t totally blend in and prevent those that did want to find you from doing so. Think of the opportunity if you, as a man or a woman, can create positive stand outin that sort of scenario…It’s no good having a great pitch about your business at networking, if people can’t find you and follow-up afterwards!
To read my complete guide to networking at events click here.
So, my challenge is: do you stand out in your professional life (we all meet many people each week)? If not, what could you do that would work for you – not just external perception but for who you are you need to feel like you to perform well?
If you’d like a no obligation 30 minute conversation, contact meas I’m sure I can give you some ideas on how to start being a positively memorable version of you.
To read more about the importance of personal brand, click here.