Every time I present my Art of the Schmooze – www.artoftheschmooze.com – session about increasing your networking success, I know there are women in the audience who think my strategy for keeping track of business cards is an impossible feat. I have (1) a pocket for the cards I’m handing out, (2) a pocket for the cards that I want to keep track of, and (3) a pocket for the cards that are just handed to me without any conversation. Yes, three pockets. Despite the growing popularity of ginormous-sized smartphones, women’s professional clothing still only has “for show only” pockets that would barely hold a pack of gum if they have pockets at all.
Seriously, women won the right to vote in 1920. When will they win the right to pockets? [click to tweet: http://ctt.ec/e9e9O]
Day to day, this is an issue. When it’s time for a meeting, men head down to the conference room, secure that they have everything with them. Women need to do a last-minute check to ensure they’ve grabbed everything – phone, keys, pen – and put them where? Their choice tends to be (1) to hold everything in their hands until they can put them down on the conference room table or (2) stuff them into a bag, which they then have to keep an eye on and remember not to leave behind under the chair.
Curious about this phenomenon, I did a little research and found this great article, “Why women’s pockets are useless: A history,” by Marketplace Tech’s Ariana Tobin. In the 17th and 18th centuries, women had pocket-like bags concealed under their skirts and accessible through a slit. We know this thanks to research by fashion historian Barbara Burman, who wrote about this in “Pockets of History: The Secret Life of an Everyday Object.”
So, long before women had the right to vote, they DID have pockets. How did that change? [click to tweet: http://ctt.ec/iTyDf] It’s a long story, but I’ll sum it up by saying that the reason is sexism.
Back in 2015 – where the form is still more critical than function –anyone who chooses to wear clothing designed for women needs to plan when attending conferences or networking events. Aside from the ubiquitous question of where to put cell phones, keys, and wallets, they also need to consider keeping their business cards handy. Yes, even in the age of digital everything, business cards are still a helpful networking tool. They are a physical reminder for someone to follow up with you after the event or, at the very least, to check out your social media channels.
I’ve met women who sew pockets into the inside of their jackets or sew in their own, more oversized pockets into their dress pants – this is brilliant. Short of sewing in pockets, planning is critical. Walk in with a big old bag without making sure your business cards are safely tucked in a small side pocket, and the result is an awkward few minutes with a virtual stranger (that you’re trying to impress). Without any pre-planning, several minutes could pass while you root around looking for a business card that isn’t creased or smudged by all that is floating at the bottom of your bag. “Here, hold this…” a woman once said to me while digging deep into the large vessel she had strapped to her shoulder. Think for a moment about what is hiding in your bag, keeping you from quickly uncovering your business cards, and whether you want to share those contents with whomever you are networking with.
Of course, all of this presumes the bag is with you as you meander around the room and not tucked with your coat across the room. What are the chances your new friend will be waiting for you to return after you’ve dashed across a crowded room to retrieve a business card from your bag? This is a common occurrence that is not limited to women; everyone should realize that there is a difference between having a business card, remembering to bring it to the event, and having it easily accessible while you’re chatting.
Instead of a bag, wear a jacket or sweater that has a small business-card-sized pocket (it’s usually freezing in over-air-conditioned events anyway since the temperature is set to keep men in suits comfortable, but I digress…) or bring a smaller bag that has only the essentials. Business card holders help prevent business cards from getting stray ink marks from pens, smudges from make-up, or folds from being crushed. With a bit of practice, you may even be able to pull out a business card with one hand while holding your drink in the other. Now that’s classy.
ABOUT ROBBIE: www.robbiesamuels.com/about
Business Growth Strategy Coach
Robbie coaches inspiring entrepreneurial women in their 50s and beyond (and a few awesome men) to grow their impact and income by building an audience before launching new revenue streams.
WHO YOU ARE:
You want to have a greater impact and increased income. The problem is that there are so many options for how to build your business that you can feel stuck, overwhelmed, and like you’re running out of time.
The reason options are overwhelming is that you’re looking at them as a series of disconnected steps when to make the most of your time, you need a strategy that connects only the most important and highest impact ones.
You know that if you try to do everything, you’ll accomplish nothing. This means, to achieve your goal, you have to invest in a strategy to put time on your side.
WAYS ROBBIE OFFERS SUPPORT:
As a relationship-based business growth strategist, Robbie will work with you one-on-one to design a year-long plan that consists of three 12-week sprints, each followed by 4 weeks of reflection/assessment, rejuvenation, learning, and strategic planning. This will allow you to sequence your goals, create momentum, and leverage your limited time.
Have a project that you want feedback on or need assistance with a specific strategy? He offers half-day strategy sessions.
Already selling but feeling stuck around how to increase your revenue? Sign up for a one-day mastermind with fellow entrepreneurs to break through to the next level.
Ready to dig into your network to validate a solution you’ve been working on to see if you can build an audience for it before launching? Sign up for 12 Weeks to Create Your Irresistible Offer program.
Want accountability, support, and guidance as you implement your strategic plan? Learn more about his year-long Wake Up Your Network mastermind program.
These are not right for everyone; they're personalized offerings and are priced accordingly.
WHAT MIGHT YOU WORK ON?
In his coaching work with entrepreneurs, his clients focus on the areas where they'd like to grow, which may include:
- Creating a strong sales conversation framework
- Building your referral network
- Lead generation through a relationships
- Growing your visibility in your industry
- Increasing your ability to attract the right kind of clients
- Identifying and launching a minimally viable offer
- Breaking through whatever bottleneck is holding you back from getting the results you want and deserve
- Becoming a published author and marketing your book successfully
- Improving your virtual presentation skills
LEARN MORE AND SCHEDULE A CHAT: www.robbiesamuels.com/coaching
Robbie is excited to support you in reaching or exceeding your goals.
Interested in booking Robbie to speak? At www.robbiesamuels.com/speaking you’ll find video clips and a description of his talks.
Watch his TEDx talk “Hate networking? Stop bageling and be the croissant!” at www.robbiesamuels.com/TEDx.
- Connect with Robbie on LinkedIn
- @RobbieSamuels on Twitter and Instagram
- New to his website? Start here
- On the Schmooze podcast archive – weekly since July 2016!
SIGN UP for his free weekly #NoMoreBadZoom Virtual Happy Hours – www.NoMoreBadZoom.com
Affiliate Links: Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links above are “affiliate links”. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products and services I use personally and believe will add value to my listeners. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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