You’re building and growing a business.
You’ve got an awesome website and online brand. You’ve got a suite of high-impact products/services and packages. You’ve got a tribe of loyal customers who love what you do for them. Basically, you’re rocking it!
You network online, do courses online, work from home and meet your clients around the world online.
Personally, I couldn't be more thankful for the possibilities and opportunities that internet and social media has given me.
However, we often focus so much on building our personal brand online, that we forget about the importance of actual real-life meetings.
We can underestimate the power of actually meeting someone in real life. Being able to see, touch (i.e. handshake), hear, and smell (their perfume, for example) another person has become a privilege in this digitally connected world. And yet – physically meeting someone can create a magical bond that is hard to replicate online.
One of my goals for this year is to organize a “mindful style” retreat where I get to spend a long weekend with kick-ass, high-achieving women who know that investing in themselves is to only way to up-level their life and their business.
There are several reasons why I’m keen on accomplishing this goal, but the main one is because there's nothing better than meeting your clients in real life! Co-creation is the key to success - and working on your style and personal branding is a lot more fun when you have someone to share your joy with!
So, what do you need to think about when preparing for your next in-person meeting or networking event?
Here are a few things to consider…
Make An Impact
Always ensure that your outfit is clean, ironed, and well-fitting with no loose hems, stains or snags. Don’t wear clothes that you’ve outgrown – either in size (too big or too small), or in style (a navy pantsuit looked great when you worked at the bank, but is really appropriate for representing your new tech start-up?).
Go for outfits that flatter your figure and your coloring. This is not the time for experimenting with the latest fashion trends or brand new styles.
Don’t be afraid to wear bright colors, but never overdo it. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so perhaps keep your new “rainbow dress” for going out with friends!
Stay on style and on brand. If your business branding is chic & elegant, then that’s how you should present yourself. It also doesn’t hurt to (subtly) include your brand colors in your outfit, for example with a scarf, handbag or jewellery.
Make an effort, however, make sure you feel comfortable – both emotionally and physically. There's nothing worse than seeing someone constantly fixing her skirt/ décolleté, hair or tripping over in her high heels.
Always have a couple of “power-outfits” at the ready that make you feel like the world is yours, no matter what. Use them to give yourself an instant confidence boost. When you find a new outfit that works really well, make sure you take a selfie and save it to remember the ensemble.
Your hair should be clean and styled. No bed head, no roots, no just scraping it back into a ponytail.
Having well-manicured and polished nails, and smooth, hydrated hands always makes a good impression (and if you don’t like to wear polish, buff your nails up to a nice shine instead!). However, broken nails, chipped polish, and claw-like long, fake nails are all absolute no-nos!
Clean teeth and fresh breath are essential (avoid spicy and garlicky meals for 24 hours before an important meeting!)
A subtle scent will complete your outfit, but don’t overdo it! (Click HERE to get my advice on how to find your signature scent).
Your handshake should be firm, but not too soft or too strong.
Maintain an open posture. Try not to cross your arms or legs, and keep a straight back with an open chest.
Smile! Greet people with a genuine smile - fake and forced smiles are a turn-off.
Eye contact is important. Look at the person while you’re conversing with them, looking them in the eye ideally 70% of the time.
Accepted personal space varies between cultures. However, a good rule of thumb is generally a distance of is around 50-60cm - not too close, not too far, and leaning toward the other person. Here in Italy people tend to go pretty close to each other when they speak and often "touch" each other (i.e. on the shoulder) while speaking, etc. to express that they are engaged in the conversation. This kind of behaviour can feel a “bit much” for non-Italians and is very different than that in the UK or the States when meeting with business acquaintances.
Business cards. Sounds simple but you’d be surprised how many people forget to take business cards with them when they go to networking events!
Elevator pitch. Yes, this is a very “90s” concept, however, it’s simply who you are, what you do and who you do it for. For example, “My name’s Veronika Nemeth, and I run Style Coach MI. I’m a Style Coach and Image Consultant, and I work with ambitious female entrepreneurs who are looking to take their style, businesses and lives to the next level.”
Confidence. A put-together look will help you with this, and so will being prepared. Know where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, how long it’s going to take you to get there, what the format of the meeting/event is going to be, and who else will be attending. And of course - believe in yourself and what you do! You’ve got this!
If you want to make sure that you look and feel great every single day of your life – not just for big meetings and special occasions – why not grab your very own copy of my Ultimate Chic Sheet? It’s a cute printable that you can stick to the inside of your closet door or keep with you and contains all of my very best personal styling advice.
Veronika Nemeth is the Founder and Creative Director of The Stylish Female Society. She is a seasoned Image Consultant, Personal Branding Expert and Transformational (Life)Style Coach helping heart-centered women to find their soul-aligned style and create a magnetic presence online & offline by uncovering their true essence and revealing their inner beauty through their style.
Her mission is to inspire women to step into their power, live their own truth and shine their authentic light through being the best version of them.