Networking

The Red Lip

I have this pet peeve when it comes to lipstick. When you are a woman in business and talking a lot, especially at networking events, people are looking at you head to toe;  especially your lips.  I know it may seem old fashioned to think a woman must wear lipstick in the workplace, but stick with me on this. In my experience, when you have some pop on your lips people take notice and listen. If you do not have anything on your lips and are just spewing information it is easy to drift off. This may seem like an odd requirement because men don’t usually run around in red lipstick, yet can still command a room.  It’s because they give their personal presentation some oomph through their walk, diction, and yes appearance. This got me thinking about how women in business need to offer something unique when they are entering any male dominated industry. And it may start with red bottom heels, red lip, red accessories or outfit; in truth your red lip in business is what your brand or product has to offer that is done in your unique style and commands the industry that you walk into. 

Your Red Lip is actually not what you’re wearing.

Every woman is unique and that should show through her business as well. When a businesswoman walks into a networking space, which is everywhere, her style is much more than how she dresses, it is in the way she conducts herself with people, business, and in life. Their uniqueness is their red lip that shows who they are when they walk in to the room (industry) and may even hide some surprises. These women are great examples of flaunting their red lip.

Sheryl  Sandberg, COO of Facebook, Author, and Philanthropist

Her Red Lip:  Being the example of success and ‘leaning in’ to opportunities through her work at Facebook and through her non-profit organization. She has also written books that separate her from her ‘9-5 title’ and address what it is like for a woman in the workplace and supporting yourself and others to rise up. Combined she is a force for women in business and in technology, not because of what she has accomplished, but because she has made a statement: We are here and we are rising. 

Beyonce Knowles-Carter, entertainer and entrepreneur

Her Red Lip: Her stunning visuals  for her videos or performances are intricately conceived to resonate with her audience on a soul level. In business she purposefully creates opportunities for herself and other people of color that go beyond one moment.  Combined she is a walking brand that commands any space because she has spent the time to show her evolving style over the last 20+ years.

Less is still acceptable. 

There are women who do not wear make-up or in the business sense do not have the red lip flair, however are incredibly effective in their industries. When competing with the men or the red lip women in the room, it is also good to offer something that is chic, simple, and bold. We’ll call this a nude lip. Still glossy, but simpler, that does not scare away those who are looking for someone who can deliver simple approaches to their business. For instance if someone approaches a red lip they will see what the person has to offer the moment they walk into the room; on the contrary a nude lip plays coy with potential clientele and shows the basics of who they are when they walk into a room.

Example Red Lip: Hello, my name is Tomi. I offer IT solutions to government entities and corporations and have been in business for over 25 years as a minority woman owned small business.

Example Nude Lip: Hello my name is Tomi. I offer IT solutions to government entities and corporations.

The Red Lip is flaunting my accomplishment and my qualifications in two sentences where as the Nude Lip gets straight to the point and allows for further conversation.  Both are effective and attract certain types of clientele. There is no wrong way to wear your red lip, but a lady always knows how to show off her style when she speaks.

As a woman in business what color is your lip?

 

Your Network is your Net worth

A major component to my success thus far has been: Your business will not survive if you do not realize the value of your network, because who you have in your network determines your net worth. This concept is applied to business and your personal life. In financial terms your net worth is the value of assets, minus the total of all liabilities. In both business and your personal life it is important to see who is a viable connection so that it does not devalue your own worth as while your advancement is in progress. This may sound exclusive, however if you are trying to elevate your business or your life, you must choose where people belong to maintain the balance and growth you aspire for.

Your Assets

In business an asset is something that supports or assists in the evolution of your company. The key to acquiring said assets is to be open to “diversifying your portfolio”. When building up your stock portfolio, the first thing any broker will say is to diversify your portfolio to obtain maximum results. It is the same in business where the variety of people within your network bring value to your growth plan; whether that is from a chance meeting, connecting on LinkedIn, or meeting at an event.

Asset Building Values:

  • Actual Value: The person/people you connect with that have a skill, service, or network they want to introduce you to that will affect your business in a positive way almost immediately. These are people that you seek to build a relationship with for an intentional purpose that has potential growth in the future.
  • Potential Value:  The person/people you connect with that may be in a different industry or career level than you are that will be useful in the near or distant future. While these types of connections are not an absolute guarantee of partnership or using the service, these connections can serve as great referrals that someone else may come to you for; thus making you a reliable resource for information.
  • Penny Stock Value: In the stock market a penny stock is a small or big business that trades publicly for $5.00 or lower, but can yield a small return with little risk. Penny Stock connections are ‘back pocket’ connections you can call upon for a quick service or connection. They may not serve a need for growth, but they are quick, reliable, outstanding resources for an immediate job, referral, or service that can be rendered for a small cost. They are not invaluable, but if they are not used it will not be to the detriment of your company.
  • Educational Value:  These are people who are potential mentors, connections to valuable information, and further education for your staff or yourself. This type of connection is always a good resource to have especially in rapidly changing industries like technology.

Running a business or operating a life is not easy and you need people in your corner that will pour into you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually while supporting you no matter what. Not everyone is a business connection, however that does not devalue them.  Everyone is a part of your personal growth in big and little ways. While they may not fit in every part of your life a good friend is needed in every component of your life. When creating or evolving your “friend circle” make sure that they hold the following components that will not derail your personal growth:

  • Can provide advice on life’s issues or be a listening ear when you need to vent. Having someone to talk to is wonderful, having someone to listen is priceless. Odds are you know the answer already, you just need someone to help you lay out your options even if it is just by listening.
  • Offer assistance or refer you to someone who can. No one has all of the answers, and sometimes things like therapy or groups can offer more of a solution. Be around someone who will not shame you for not having it all together, but assist you in sorting out your issues.
  • They are your defense system. Whether you are successful or not, people will talk about you, especially to your friends. A good friend will always speak against the negativity and protect your honor so that the opposing energy does not disrupt your personal growth. They will not gossip about you, they will hold your personal standard of success higher than you do, and they will keep you lifted; regardless if you feel defeated.

Your Liabilities

There are a few things to avoid when it comes to business and personal net worth. While they may serve a quick purpose, they are not viable resources of growth for the long term.

  • Poachers: People who pretend to be seeking a relationship for growth, but they are solely in it for their own interest. Not every friendship is a business relationship or vice versa. However if people are continuously asking for you to “do them a favor” or reach beyond your capacities without a return they are damaging your worth. They will use your friendship or services to better themselves without a thank you or equal distribution of favors which can damage your reputation as being desperate and willing.
  •  Copycats: People who lightly compliment then copy your style almost identically because they can not create their own style, relationships, or business concepts on their own. These people usually envy something that you have and instead of developing their own or asking for advice they copy you and expect to be glorified for it. When they are not given the same attention as the person they are copying they start to shame and belittle that person so that they appear superior.
  • Faux Olive Branches: People who pretend to be helpful in a time of need, but in reality are setting you up to be a ‘poacher victim’ or gather information to use against you when you do not give them what they desire. In business there are times of crisis in which a call to the network would be needed, however if someone may need something from you they will use this crisis as an opportunity to grow themselves instead of being a helping hand. In friendships, these are people who will drink with you, dance with you, yet in a time of crisis are no where to be found until they need something from you. Some surefire signs of this are: publicly offering support to be seen, subtly demanding thanks and praise for their rescue, and gossiping to you about other people’s issues to encourage you to talk more about your own.

 

Your Net worth 

 It is a process to weed out  assets and liabilities. If someone who you thought was an Actual Value asset turns out to be a Faux Olive Branch, it’s alright because everyone makes mistakes. By continuously going through the process of identifying your assets and liabilities your growth whether personal or professional will occur. All I can truly suggest before starting that process is to first identify your self worth and how you contribute to your own success, your network, and removing your own unknown liability habits.