Women have the advantage here. Just by purchasing a few unique accessories, women may find it easier to engage others in conversation and become more approachable instantly.
1. Purchase a laptop case (the kind with wheels) in a colour other than black. Better yet, find something with a patent leather finish to make it shine through that endless sea of black. Just by having a red, shiny laptop case, I’ve found that more women and men compliment me on this case and I don’t even have to introduce myself. Specialty boutiques carry these, but I found mine at a popular discount department store chain for $75.00 CDN. This investment has created thousands of dollars in related business.
2. Jewellery has always been a conversation starter, but make the piece have a story on its own. A local artist, a special way it’s made, etc. can allow you to take “thank you so much” to another level and people will remember you a lot easier and often want to purchase something for themselves (and look you up to do it).
3. Of course, a professional and smart outfit is a necessity to make a great first impression. However, I find that my favourite jackets lack something men’s jackets typically have – real pockets! Two is all you need. Keep your business cards in one pocket, collect others’ cards in the other. It’s a great way to stop fumbling in your purse and keep them organized during the event. Try and have a pen handy for people with no cards. I usually keep a pen and a notebook in my purse to connect with students and other people without a card or mobile device.
4. A pin or brooch with your name on it can look very professional. It can also make you look like you work there, so have a custom pin made by a local jeweller or artist. Just your first name is all you need, and I recommend that it be integrated in an understated way. I came across an artist who creates some beautiful tree necklaces. Since my company name is Wordtree Consulting, I’ve commissioned her to find a way to incorporate my first name, discretely woven into its roots.
Sorry guys. Maybe I can convince my business partner Marc to write a few tips for the men out there!
Susan Varty of Wordtree Consulting has been providing writing services, digital strategy, and technology advice to small businesses and corporate clients since 2006. She is a copywriter and certified technical writer who manages a team of writers around the globe. Susan is also one of the Co-founders of Social Tactics, a social media consulting firm.