How can you be memorable if you’re blending in at networking?
There’s been a lot of comment on Theresa May’s shoes and indeed a lot of comment on how much comment there has been. 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? Blending in at networking can have its downsides.
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. How you dress can be a great way to avoid blending in at networking.
We should never be memorable for our appearance alone but in this sort of scenario, blending in with the crowd is unhelpful and can in fact lead to lost business opportunities;blending in with the crowd is unhelpful and can in fact lead to lost business opportunities; blending in at networking events won’t help you gain vital relationships.
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! Utilising these can really help you avoid blending in at networking events and meetings.
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 out in 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!
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?
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