What to wear to a work networking event is hard enough to know but have you ever tried to read a room? That is real work. So I help you break down both dilemmas here.
When in doubt about what to wear to a work event outside of the office, I go with all black look and a statement bag. Why? An all black look is an easy pallet that you can easily dress up or down with statement bags or jewelry. Plus nothing shows on black if you spill a little wine or sauce on a sleeve. Also an all black look can easily go from day to night by changing a flat shoe to a heel. It's a no worry look that is always flattering.
This look is linked on the scrolling pictures below. Just click on the pictures to shop directly. Almost all Items linked are under $100 with this top as low as $16 (check measurements before ordering). I also have some great top dupes for under $30. My exact threader earrings are linked here and my exact bracelet/necklace wrap here. You can get an extra 25% off of these great genuine gemstone pieces with code POLISHEDPROFESSIONALS. You will look like a million bucks!
READ THE ROOM
Now for the really hard part. You got your look together and you get to the work event. What do you do? You don't know anyone. Who should you talk to? You want to make the most of this event and network effectively but how?
Reading the room and the non-verbal communication that people give is the way to make these next choices and make sure you get into the right conversations. Here is the polished professionals' guide for reading nonverbal cues that will help at you network like a pro.
1) Is the person facing outward/open to the action and smiling? That is a person who is giving an invitation to talk. Go network!
2) Is there a bored looking group, talking sporadically, looking at phone a lot? If you can liven up the party with them, you will be a hero. If you are not up for that, this group will be hard to break into.
3) Big smile, aggressive hand shaker, business cards at the ready? He's selling something...run. Those folks rarely want to help others - they are there to collect cards.
4) Solo person but with a smile? Offer conversation. Those situations often offer the most bang for the buck as everyone is grateful to find a group at a party.
NOTE TO SELF
Which one of these groups do you fall into at a party? You may be ruining your chances of great networking opportunities if you use the wrong non-verbal cues. Smile and maintain an open posture with shoulder down and back and don't cross your arms. Avoid corners of the room and always keep a free hand to shake others.
Do you have some other tips for your fellow polished professionals? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Here's to an eventful networking event!
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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