The Unmentionables of Networking – Big Bad Bs

You’re talking to someone at a networking event and you get a strange feeling that they are slowly backing away from you as you speak. You dismiss it and say to yourself that they just weren’t interested. Networking seems to be hard work. You’re missing opportunities and you’re not sure why.

It may be one of the unmentionables that is killing your networking opportunities. No one will tell you.

Body Odour

There is no secret way to check your Body Odour. Ask a trusted friend not your live-in partner. He or she has got used to living with you and your special smell.

Here are some things to check that might help you.

Shower and use deodorant every day. People do talk amongst themselves and they know which men and women to avoid. An antiperspirant reduces the wetness and a deodorant suppresses the smell. Choose the one that meets your needs.

Stress and anxiety are common triggers of sweat and Body Odour in both males and females. The less stressed you are about networking and life, the better you smell.

Check the smell of your feet and your shoes.  Synthetic shoes can make the feet sweat and smell, especially if they are the only shoes you wear. Leather shoes breathe so these may be a better choice for networking.

Avoid strong perfume or aftershave. After a few uses, you cannot smell it on you but others can.

If you regularly eat garlic and pungent foods and spices, you get used to it but others can smell it as it comes out of the pores of your skin. Finally, non-smokers are definitely sensitive to a smoker’s smell even if you think that you have covered it up.

Bad Breath

I was taught a very simple test you can do to check how your breath smells.

‘Lick the back of one of your clean hands just near the thumb. Make sure that your hand has not recently been moisturised or body-lotioned. Then smell it. You’ll know immediately if you have a problem with your breath.’

Using a tongue scraper twice a day may help your mouth look clean and reduce bacteria. As the bad breath smell comes from the back of the throat, it’s a short-term reduction not a permanent cure.

There are many causes of Bad Breath. Eating foods such as onions, garlic and cauliflower have only a temporary effect on your breath. Do the ‘lick & smell’ test over a few days to see if you have a more serious problem. It may be a dental infection, your diet, your smoking, your snoring, emotional issues or a more serious underlying health problem.

Don’t ignore it. Talk to your dentist, doctor or preferred health source about it to find the best solution for you.

Bad Dressing

This can come in two ways. The first is in being dressed too casual. While business dress today is less formal, dressing for this can be a minefield. Those closer to 40 can be too casual and give the impression that they don’t take themselves and their business seriously. Business women over 50 can lack the skill of looking ‘modern professional’. Their 1990s classic dressing can give the impression of being out-of-date with modern ideas and modern technology.

The second aspect of Bad Image comes when a networker’s words and appearance are out of alignment. This is when you talk about health and vitality but look tired and dress in dark, low-contrast clothes. Or as one person approached me and said – ‘Talk to her. She is promoting financial success and dressed in cheap, ill-fitting clothes.’ Dressing in Prada is not essential but wearing quality, well-fitting clothes gives the impression that you practice what you preach.

All these Big Bad B’s that no-one speaks to your face can lose you valuable contacts, promotion, business and friendship.

If you need help with any of these, contact me for a quiet, private discussion.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 3 May 2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

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