By Hazel Walker,
Serial Entrepreneur, Seasoned Author and Dynamic Speaker

Boobs, butts and belly buttons seem to be in fashion, especially in the summer, but do they have any place in Business Networking?

I was at a networking function and having a conversation with some business people. This group was made up of both men and women; suddenly we noticed we had lost the attention of the two guys who were talking to us. When we looked to see what the distraction was, we were not surprised to find that it was a woman walking in our direction, wearing an extremely tight outfit with a low cut top that displayed a lot of cleavage and a short short skirt. As she walked past with perfume wafting, the guys tracked her every move. As if we were not even standing there with them the two guys began to talk amongst themselves. The comments were more than interesting! One said, “I wonder if I can schedule a little one to one meeting with her”. While the other said, “I wonder what business she’s in, cause I think I want some of it”.

Was this the kind of attention she was seeking? Really? I asked both of the guys and the lady who was standing there, if they would consider doing business with her or give her a referral. Here are their responses:

Mr Smith: I could not give her a referral to my clients; they are very conservative and would not appreciate it if she turned up in that outfit. I might do business with her because I like the outfit and there would be no risk to me as long as my wife never met her.

Mr Jones: I am not sure how smart she really is. Does she get her business by dressing that way instead of really knowing her products or services? I guess I would have to figure that out before I could do business with her and then I would refer her maybe to a few select clients of mine if I thought she knew her stuff.

Mrs Johnson: I don’t know, I would have to spend time getting to know her and if I referred her, I would ask her to dress more conservatively.

Interestingly, she was behind the eight ball before she even got started. Her credibility was very low and she had a long way to go to bring it up. All because her attire was sending a message of its own to the people around her and I don’t believe it was the message that she was expecting – or maybe it was!

If credibility is key to our being able to get and give referrals, then ladies, how we show up in the room is key to building up that credibility. Why put yourself behind the business eight ball, and if you are looking for a date, then a business networking event is not the place to do it. If we choose to put the ‘girls’ on display at a business function, then we must take responsibility for our lack of credibility.

Hazel Walker’s passion for lifelong learning, personal growth, and relationship-building has been invaluable in her evolution to serial entrepreneur, seasoned author and dynamic speaker.
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