Your best networking Tool

Your best networking Tool

What’s your best networking tool?

You might think it is a glitzy card or a cute elevator pitch. These are great but in my opinion your best tool to opening the door to genuine conversation and networking is a warm smile.

As I walked the streets and waited in line to take in the Guinness Tour on a recent trip to Dublin I did some people watching and experimenting. Why is no one smiling? We are all about to go on a brewery tour and we are in Dublin and the sun is shining. Will I look like a mental case if I smile? Will I be happier if I smile? Will it get reflected back? Are these people happy? Has someone studied this officially? Are there places where smiling is bad form or forbidden? Do I just feel freer to smile now that I am an older woman and it won’t be taken the wrong way?

I mentioned these thoughts to my daughter who has covered a little more of the world than I have. She said that when she was in Argentina part of her instruction was that she shouldn’t smile as it could be taken as an invitation. I’m not sure if they said what it would be an invitation to, but I agree that a smile could be taken as an invitation. Did the males get the same instruction? It is sad that we feel we have to fear that a smile will bring unwanted attention. Is it a societal more to look sad so we will be “normal”” and unapproachable? Does it save time? Is that the kind of time we need to save?

When I was younger people were always imploring me to smile. My husband is always trying to get me to smile for pictures I don’t want taken of me. So I am guilty of not always being a happy face. And some of that not smiling may have come from fear of being taken the wrong way or having to engage. (Not a problem for me now days – bring on the conversations with strangers). Contrary to all those people who seemed to feel it was OK for them to tell me to smile, I won’t tell you to smile but I will invite you to think about what doors it could open.

When you are networking your goal is to GET invitations to engage and communicate. And if a simple smile is all it takes then why not? Unless you are afraid of what comes next. If you are scared stiff at networking events try a warm smile next time as a part of your introduction. At least in the US you will appear more relaxed and confident, ready to learn what others are about which is the key to successful networking.

Inspired?

Inspired?

Today a friend wanted to visit the Seattle Aquarium. For some reason it was not on my radar as a must do but I went. And all I could think about was the undersea world must have been Bob Mackie’s inspiration as he dressed Cher. My photos aren’t the best but you get the idea. The outrageous color combinations and flamboyant fish made me lust for glamour and fun. 

Fashion designers get their inspirations from the world around us. What inspires you?

 

What makes you memorable?

What makes you memorable?

There are times when you want to blend into the crowd and times when it pays to be memorable. Attire is an easy way to do that and your attire reflects to the world what you want to happen.

What you wear doesn’t need to scream “look at me” unless you want it to. Like Lady Gaga and Madonna. Screaming clothes can be a great gimmick that certainly worked for these 2 smart business women. If that is part of your plan then I applaud you and would love to help.

But you can also wear clothing that fits, that complements your colors and you can wear silhouettes that emphasize all the right things to be memorable in a different way. You can take just a moment to put on a little makeup. You can seek out a new hairstyle and find the perfect stylist to execute it.

Your style is your own. Make it memorable.

What times matter for you to be memorable?

How do you do your part?

How do you do your part?

By now you must be aware of the cost fashion can impose on the environment and workers in the fashion industry. Or maybe you thought it was all “fixed”.  Things have improved. You now have choices about how and where your clothing was made and who made it. Yet fashion is still an industry that is about churning out more because stockholders and everyone employed needs to make money.

 I’m not sure what would happen to the economy if consumers began buying less items of a higher quality that are made or refashioned locally. There would probably be some turmoil if it happened all at once. I do think if we all start to make better and more thoughtful choices companies will respond with less and better quality product and hopefully higher worker pay. It may cut off my flow of thrift store finds because now everyone has things they love, that fit them well and they aren’t shopping for entertainment anymore which would result in less to get rid of.

I tend to take the easy way out and shop thrift and consignment stores. I am also the one that picks up fabric and sewing notions from thrift and fellow seamstress give a ways.

How do you make sure your clothing is a responsible choice?

Your image brand

In October we toured southern music towns. In Louisville we attended Bourbon and Beyond. The artists all had a distinctive image which matched their music style. Lenny Kravitz was cool rocker dude superstar, Sheryl Crow sexy older woman who didn’t have to try hard to look sexy, Joseph was delicate ethereal, David Byrne was studied suited and barefoot, John Maier was relaxed in a robe. These folks are superstars. They can wear what they want. What came first? Did their style evolve as a result of their music or did their music and style evolve together to create an image without dissonance?

As a side note I was looking forward to seeing what styles the audience brought to the show but the deluge of rain was the semi- great equalizer. There were still distinct styles.

  • The hiker rain gear and hiking boots (that was mine) of gore tex and breathable rain gear. This did not make the functionality cut. In a torrential downpour that went on for hours I was soaked.
  • The did not prepare at all for this type of weather group wearing normal concert clothing and flip flops and sandals or tennis shoes under see through ponchos purchased at the show.
  • The well prepared wearing the type of heavy rubber rain gear and knee high rubber boots you would wear out in a fishing boat.

By the end of the night it didn’t matter. We were all clay mud soaked to the ankle and beyond depending on whether or not you had fallen into the mud pit that used to be a grassy park.

What you wear can project your brand. If your brand is unclear it may be a result of you being unclear about your personal path or identity. And that is OK. We change over time and we lose our way at times as we go through these changes. It takes time to adjust mentally and the style we project to the world doesn’t catch up that fast unless you take the time to work on it.

How about you? Does your outer image project what is on the inside? I am happy to help you evaluate your image and help you reach the image you want to project.

How do you plan your rides?

While doing some online exploring looking for great bike rides I came across this fairly unique idea for mapping a ride.

If you don’t have time to check out the link, it describes a Perth man with some time on his hands as well as a creative thought process who mapped out a ride on Strava using a picture of a goat as a template to set way points and map his ride. He then went out and rode it. It took seven hours, 126 miles and had 5786 feet of climbing.

I will need a little more time on my hands to plot my bike route that way (as well as more training to complete that goat ride) but maybe in the near future………… For now I use my knowledge of where I am  along with Google’s maps app set on bicycling. I have also had some success with Ride with GPS.  My favorite rides are the ones where I don’t have to think too much and can just ride. Long country roads with no stop lights and light traffic fill my dreams of the ideal bike ride. I especially love bike rides someone else has planned and I just make the turns when told by the arrows on the road.

Where do you like to ride and how do you plan it?