Q : "Is it OK to hit on a woman at a networking event?"
WOW…. I don’t even know where to start with this one…LOL OK, here is the deal, first of all the fact that you used the term “hit on” makes it an automatic NO from me. That is a dead giveaway that the primary reason you are attending the event is to meet your one main goal of the night and we all know what that is. Save those tactics for another time. Use your time at your networking event to meet good friends (male and female) and develop a more professional “self”. Should you meet someone that you would like to know better on a personal level than I would suggest you contact her after the event. Even if she doesn’t accept your offer she will certainly respect your approach more than if you put her in an awkward situation by coming on to her at a business type function.
Hitting on a woman at a networking event is a huge risk. Women don't go to networking events to get dates. They go to networking events because they want to make business connections. Even in today's progressive business culture, women often struggle to be taken seriously. Asking a woman on a date when she's trying to do business with you isn't just inappropriate – it's insulting. However, I spent my late twenties and early thirties single and I know that you can't help it when you meet someone you like — you want to ask them out. If you're going to do it, here is my advice:
1) Never use a "line". "Those are sexy boots" or "you have beautiful eyes" are completely inappropriate comments in a business environment. Don't try to get cute and don't use a bar pickup line at a networking event.
2) Be clear about your intentions. Asking someone out for coffee or lunch at a networking event is a fairly common thing. So if you want a date and not a business lunch, you need to be clear about it. Otherwise you could be in for a seriously awkward meal! You could say, "I'd like to get you know you better outside of business. Can we do coffee sometime?" (Yes, this takes guts. Don't chicken out!)
3) Don't address it at the networking event at all. Have a nice conversation with her and get her business card. Send her an email or call her up after the event and ask her out. Again, be clear about your intentions or she'll show up for a business lunch. No woman likes to feel as if they were "tricked" into a date.
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Maybe you have heard this saying before but here it is again – “Everyone is an example…good or bad”. So here is my question (you knew it was coming) – what kind of example are you? I actually heard this saying a month or so ago for the first time and ever since I have been asking myself that same question. What kind of example am I to my family, my friends, my colleagues, my network and to strangers? Do people look at me and see positive things or by watching me do they see an example of how they do NOT want to be?
If you haven’t given this much thought I would challenge you to do this exercise for 30 days. Look at the actions of others around you. Become a professional observer. The next time you are out to dinner with your family or friends take notice of the other diners. Are they happy, sad, grumpy, easy-going, demanding, loud or conservative? How do their actions affect the way they are treated by the wait staff? Do any of the negative things that you see mirror any of your own actions that you may have been unaware of?
What about at work? Take note of the colleagues that you avoid. WHY? What is it that they do that will make you turn and walk the other way in the hallway or avoid sitting next to them in a meeting? What about your colleagues that you really enjoy working with – what is it about THEM that make you drawn to them? Do any of the actions in the desirable/undesirable co-worker mirror any of your actions?
While it’s not always easy to look within I feel it’s an important part of self-exploration and growth. I’m sure you have also heard the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. FALSE! If in your 30 day experiment you see actions that are undesirable but do mirror your own than it is NOT too late to make a change for the better. I will tell you that I have had a lot of positive personal growth over the years. I will also readily admit that I am still a work in progress. This is not a bad thing at all – I am enjoying every step of the journey.
I would love to hear your story – your challenges – your successes. Connect with me on Twitter @chelelawson, look for Michele Lawson on LinkedIn or simply leave a comment here.
Thanks for reading!
Being miserable in your job is no fun. It’s certainly no way to spend 40+ hours a week of your life. Yet almost everyone encounters a less-than-ideal employment situation at some point in their career.
It’s never easy.Unhappiness in your work life can often spill over and impact your personal life in negative ways, eventually becoming a destructive loop that just can’t end well. If this is your current situation, you may be thinking, “I wish I’d spent more time networking so someone could help get me out of here!” RFN can help you begin building that network, but keep reading. There may be more to this situation then you think.
The first step is to be completely and brutally honest with yourself. You need to explore why you’re unhappy. While it’s easy to place the blame on the job,you need to discover where the negativity is truly originating. It could be coming from the work environment;it could be originating with a specific person or group of people, it could be the work you are assigned, or it could even be coming from inside of you.
It’s not easy to figure out the true source of your unhappiness. I have had friends complain about being overworked and underpaid. When I asked them “How much money would you need in order to be happy doing this job?” sometimes they name a figure. But other times they stop and look at me for a second and say, “There is no amount of money that would make up for the things I go through every day.”
Bingo. They might feel as though they are overworked and underpaid, but their statement tells me that it’s not really the money that bothers them. It’s something else. If that is the way you feel, I encourage you to sit down and make a list of things you would change about your job. Be realistic and positive, such as, “I want a5% raise this year”, “I want to be assigned to the X project”, “I want to telecommute 2 days a week.” Or “I want to report to a different boss.”
Now look over the list. How much of this list would need to happen in order for you to feel happy at work? Which things on the list might you have some influence over if you tried? If you determine that changing the things you have influence over will make you happy,you now have a plan for improving your work situation. However, if you find that you don’t have influence over the things on your list, or if even changing EVERYTHING on your list still wouldn’t make you truly happy, it’s time to look internally and figure out if the negativity is coming from inside you.
Coming to the realization that you are the source of your own pain can be difficult, but don’t look at it as a negative thing — look at it as a growth thing. Maybe you are unhappy because you are in a career or a job that you have outgrown and it just isn’t suited to you anymore.Or maybe you are doing a job that you are really, really, good at but you don’t find it to be fulfilling or challenging. Just because you’re good at something,doesn’t mean it has to be your career forever. If you find that these things are resonating with you now, it’s time to do an all-out career assessment. Look for a career coach who can help you to work through your options. Most career coaches will offer a free consultation so that you can get to know them and decide if they can help you.
Once you decide it’s time for a move, start getting the word out to your network that you’re looking for a new opportunity. There are plenty of good and bad ways to do this, but that will have to be another blog post. If you haven’t spent time building a network, it’s time to start. There are articles and resources here at RFN that can help you get moving.
You may also find that the source of the negativity is your environment. It could be that you and the company you work for have a moral or ethical difference that can’t be resolved. There could be a person you work with, your manager or a fellow employee, who is simply a difficult person and is causing your work environment to be negative. If you find that the source of your unhappiness is something that you just can’t change, it’s time to look for a new job. I’ve read a lot of advice that says you should change your attitude, grow a thicker skin, and learn to deal with it. If that has ever worked for you, I applaud you. I’ve never been able to master the skill of not caring what is happening around me. There have been times when I’ve needed to tolerate this kind of situation for a period of time due to financial reasons,health reasons, etc. but eventually it caused me to leave the job.
What if you can’t change jobs? It’s time to understand that barring a few extreme situations, you ALWAYS choose your employer and you always have the choice to leave. If you feel trapped in your job, it’s not because you can’t leave, it’s because you are not willing to accept the consequences of leaving.
For example, let’s say that you are a biophysicist and there is only one company who employs biophysicists inyour small town. Leaving would require you to uproot your family, sell your house, and move to a city where you can have a different employer. However, you’re not willing to do that because you don’t want to tear the kids away from their schools, or you don’t want toleave your elderly parents. You may feel as though you are trapped and that you don’t have a choice.
You DO have a choice.
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Business cards. Not exactly “thrilling” as far as blog topics go. So I made it short and sweet. I’d love to hear your comments on any tips that you found helpful or any additional tips you would like to share with the readers.
Here are the do’s/don’s according to … well… me.
Do –Do have business cards printed for each “pie piece” of your life. I try very hard to keep my business and pleasure endeavors separate so I have a different business card for each. For example; if you are employed you would have one business card for your profession. Let’s say you are an avid book reader and you participate in many book clubs – have cards with your contact information for that as well.
Do –Do keep your cards with you at all times. I actually have three cards (work, RFN, poker) and I have all three in my planner which I have with me at all times. This way, no matter what the circumstance or event, I have a card to give anyone at any time.
Do –Keep your contact information on your cards current. Should you get a new email, cell phone etc be sure to reprint cards immediately.
Do – When you give a business card – ask for one. For me, I’m actually more comfortable asking for one first. Once I have received theirs I am sure to give them one of mine. Feels very mutual and comfortable. Not pushy.
Do - Be sure to jot a quick note on the back of any card you receive. Something that will help trigger your memory when you look at the card months from now. Also, make a note on the back of yours before handing it out if appropriate. Example: you are in a conversation about software product xyz that you use and love – the person you are speaking to is considering that software for his company – on the back of your card simply note “software xyz”. This will be an easy reminder of who you are and what the conversation was about.
Do – I’m a firm believer of sending handwritten thank you notes. It gives a very personal touch and is a great way to connect one more time by enclosing your business card.
Do Not –Do not spend a fortune on business cards. There are many local office supply places that can do them relatively inexpensive. There are numerous online companies that will print cards at a great price as well. You can even buy the supplies and do it yourself.
Do Not –The last thing anyone wants to be handed is a business card with so much information on it that they have trouble figuring out what it what. If you have a lot of info you need to include than you will need to keep the format simple and forfeit graphics. However, I think you can find ways to cut back on the content. For example: if you don’t have room for your fax number than leave it off. They can always call or email you to get that information should the need arise.
Do Not – Nothing turns me off worse than someone handing me their business card while introducing themselves. There is plenty of time to give your card in a more relaxed manner after the conversation has begun.
Do Not – It is my personal opinion that your graphic on your cards should be a) your business logo b) something that identifies your business c) your photo. Nothing against your cat or your grandchild but they do not belong on your business cards unless you own a pet grooming business or daycare center.
Do Not –When someone gives you their card do not be dismissive. Take a moment to look it over. Do not jam it in your pocket or purse. Place in neatly wherever you took your card from. This shows you place value on the exchange of information. After all, you took great measures to keep your cards neat, clean and in a card holder. Wouldn’t you hate to see it being shoved into the bottom of a purse with half licked lollipops their kid put in there without them knowing? Always remember, your business card is an extension of you. If you are lucky it will be in someone’s procession for years to come. Make it memorable.
I hope that you found this blog helpful. I encourage you to sign up for our email list, send us a note, or comment on our Facebook page. Share with your tweeps on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google + by simply clicking the links at the top of this post. ALSO — If you have any comments or suggestions for future posts that you would be interested in hearing about please leave your comments below.
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I want to talk about shoes for a minute. I know RFN is not a fashion blog, it’s a blog on networking, making connections, professionalism, social media and more. I’m sorry – for me it’s all about the shoes. I LOVE SHOES. I recently went on a four night trip and brought eight pairs of shoes. This is perfectly normal I might add. I am certainly not going to wear the same outfit in the evening that I did during the day so why would anyone assume that I would wear the same shoes?
So, what does my obsession with shoes have to do with anything RFN stands for? I will tell you.It’s all about being You. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about professionalism, networking, social gatherings or job interviews – be yourself. I talked a lot about being inside your comfort zone in my past blog posts. This can mean many things. I recently had dinner with a great group of people including Jim Knight of Hard Rock International. We talked about so many great topics that night, however one thing that Jim said really struck me. He said (and I’m paraphrasing so please forgive me Jim if I misquote you)…. “When employees can spend less time and energy worrying about covering their tattoos, or removing their piercings, or trying to simply fit in – then they can spend more time providing great customer service by just being themselves.” And it’s so true. In order to be yourself on the inside you need to feel like yourself on the outside.
I often think about those “makeover” shows. Sure the person looks amazing when they are done with the transformation. However are they really comfortable? And by comfortable I don’t mean sweat pants and t-shirts. I mean whatever defines your style. Have you ever noticed men at a wedding, business meeting or funeral and they are wearing a suit and tie? You can tell immediately which men are business men and that is their normal attire and which men dug the suit and tie out of the back of the closet for the occasion. The men who are used to being in a suit and tie would feel uncomfortable without one. That’s how I feel about high heels. I love shoes and I am most comfortable and confident in heels. Maybe this is because I’m only 5’2” – I don’t know. My point is, always give yourself the advantage by putting yourself inside your comfort zone as often as you can — and this includes your attire. If you are going to a meeting or event that you are nervous about from the start then whatever you do, DO NOT wear something that you don’t feel your best in. That is not the time to wear a shirt for the first time or try a new style or break in a new pair of shoes. If you must wear something new I highly suggest wearing it around your hotel room for a bit. Get a feel for the way it moves. Is there anything annoying you…a label…a button that is bulging… a hemline that is too short? I don’t know how many times I have worn something that probably looked OK to everyone else, but to me I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb.
When you are so focused on how you look or how others may think you look, you rob yourself of being able to relax, converse and show your true colors.For me, its all about the shoes. As I stated before, some men feel comfortable and confident in ties – I feel the same way about high heels. So to give myself that edge of staying inside my comfort zone, I wear heels as often as I can. If I’m going to a function that is formal then I certainly rock the stilettos. A business meeting would call for a nice pair of sensible heels that are either closed toe or peep toe. For a casual event, even if I wear jeans, I will wear heels. I have some great pairs of casual style heels for jeans and I also have some very casual boots with heels.
Let’s say heels are not your thing. Wear what is! If you always wear flats – You can find great dressy flats for formal events, business casual flats for dress slack or skirts to a business meeting and I have seen a ton of cute flats that would go great with casual jeans. The thing is to keep it fun, professional and comfortable.
By having such a vast collection of shoes I can always manage, no matter what the event, to find something that makes me feel like I’m presenting my very best self both inside and out.
If you found this blog helpful, I encourage you to sign up for our email list, send us a note, or comment on our Facebook page. Share with your tweeps on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google + by simply clicking the links at the top of this post. ALSO — If you have any comments or suggestions for future posts that you would be interested in hearing about please leave your comments below.