Your Image While Networking

I am a people watcher. This started at an early age when my family would go out shopping and Dad and I would stand in the mall looking at people passing by while my mother and sister shopped. Standing on the rail looking down, Dad would make a comment, “Look at that lady”, or “See the shirt on that guy?”. From that point on, I started studying people.

Your outward appearance says a lot; in fact it screams, “Look at me!”. This past week I was at a professional networking group event and, like always, I was studying my colleagues. The event was a golf outing, so you can overlook certain things, just because it was 87 degrees outside and most of the attendees had played 18 holes of golf.

Yet, as my eyes scanned the room, you would think most had just walked from their car to the banquet facilities. Their attire was clean and they had a fresh look to their appearance.

As I networked and gathered business cards, I noticed the titles of these individuals were Sales Manager, Owner, Director of Sales, Senior Travel Buyer, Director, and Vice President; not your standard sales group. These people have all been in this environment before, and know that appearance still matters after 18 holes of golf in 87-degree heat.

This group of individuals were professional business people. They knew exactly how to act. There was no drunkenness, no outward vulgarity. It was a very social and accepting group. Yes, there were “cliques”, but every group has people who just hang out together.

People-studying has helped me in my business career. I have learned a lot since those first days standing next to Dad staring down at people passing by at the mall. This summer you may be invited to a golf outing. Remember your image. Whether you are on the greens, in the bar, or at the banquet, you are being watched.

Learn from the professionals. It does not take much to bring a change of clothes, deodorant, and a fresh attitude, to create a positive image.