Situation 19: IMPORTANT BUSINESS GATHERING

Femsy was invited for dinner one evening during a big business event. She left the seat open so that somebody else who has less regular exposure to senior management could take the seat.

(Click on the pictures to see them in full size)

A great leader: 

  • Has self-confidence, knows her worth and how much value she adds to the organization;
  • Sees herself as equal to her peers within and outside the organization.
  • Is able to relate to others and builds effective network relationships;
  • Is sensitive to how people and organizations function;
  • Views corporate politics as a necessary part of business life;

How to best handle the situation: 

Contrary to many women, who often spend more time doing and less time networking, men view networking as an essential part of their professional lives.

Social business gatherings are important. That is where team bonding takes place, introductions are made, relationships are established and information is shared.

Carol Bantz, former CEO of Yahoo states it as follows: “Leadership today is defined not just by how many hours you spend at your computer but by your ability to connect to others, how you incorporate external perspectives and how you navigate groups”. Recognize that your line manager and sponsors believe in you. Use that assurance to bolster as you face new situations and unfamiliar people.

See corporate events as a necessary part of business life and an opportunity to build your network and valuable connections and relationships with interesting people.

Learning suggestions

  • When you are invited to important corporate events, always make sure you are there;
  • Prepare for the event:
    • Think about how you want to come across to other participants; what impression do you want to make?  What do you want them to say and think about you?
    • Get a list of participants in advance and prepare a short list of people you want to meet. Know what you need to ask them and prepare yourself for any questions they might ask you;
    • Make sure you have enough business cards and you can easily find them;
    • Dress to impress: wear clothes that are appropriate for the event. This creates a good impression and will make you feel more confident;
    • Practice introducing yourself in a friendly and clear fashion. Your introduction should include your key strengths, information about what value you bring to the table and interesting recent news facts. Make sure you pitch yourself in such a way that others can respond to it. Avoid industry jargon. Practice your intro until it becomes second nature;
  • Be actively present during the event, in other words be engaged in the discussion:
    • Make powerful statements that have a strong point of view (and yes: this means going straight to the point without pre-ambles and qualifiers). This requires preparation. In order to know where you stand on an issue, you will need to do research;
    • Insert yourself in the discussion;
  • Attend an executive presence and workplace communication workshop to further enhance your self confidence;
  • Enter into a Femleadership Expert Power (LEP) Partnership. Hold regular meetings with him/her to discuss specific issues as they arise and debate alternative courses of action to continuously improve your leadership presence;

Femchallenge:

How would you rank yourself on the confidence scale? What reasons do you observe in yourself to hold back? Do you recognize this in other women? Do you agree that women struggle more with lack of confidence than men? Why or why not?

Femcommunity tips:

We welcome your thoughts, experiences and comments on how you would deal with such a situation.

 

Read more about Co-Colours and Co-Colours Team.

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