Oh the glorious adventures we have as career women. One of the most stressful parts of having a job, getting clients, or getting a new job is networking, in my opinion. You have to talk to strangers and appear both confident and humble, attractive but not distractingly so, smart but not too much of a know-it-all. Actually, these are probably just the problems of socializing in general, but still. Networking can heighten the importance of these social challenges, at least for me anyway. That’s why I have spent a great deal of time coming up with sure-fire outfits to wear to networking events that will remove the insecurity of how you look from the equation so that you can concentrate on acting humble!
Today I will discuss co-ed networking which is an entirely different animal than those Ladies Luncheons or Female Power Happy Hours.
- It’s important to know your audience when you’re trying to dress to connect. If there will be men and women there it’s good to dress for a more modest version of a first date.
- Wearing something that’s slightly eye-catching, like a print or an interesting piece of jewelry will give potential networkers a starting point for conversation without pummeling them over the head with your sexiness or wild sense of style.
- Networking is not the best time to wear your female-centric man-repelling insanely cool wedges or that blazer with pointy shoulders. Even though it might be a conversation-starter, you might not ever get around to talking about anything else!
- Think about what your purpose is and goals are for networking. Are you going to snag a new client or get a new job lead? Dress for that person or job. Take whatever it is that you do or want to be doing and dress a little nicer than you would to do it. If you can wear jeans to work, wear some trousers or a skirt instead, for instance.
- Don’t forget to think about the accessories. If you look like a million bucks but you’re carrying a canvas tote-bag that says a beer company’s name on it, it kind of kills the whole look.
Other than that, don’t drink too much (even if the drinks are free) and talk to as many people as you can! That wasn’t really fashion advice, but still. If you still need a little more help, my Career Sort, Shop, and Style service will help address all of your workplace style goals and then some!
November 4, 2011