The following is a true story. It happened to me. It came back to the forefront of my memory because of my recent networking experience. When networking, one has anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds to give a "commercial" about their business. It's also known as the "elevator speech" in some networking circles.
When one does a lot of networking, one recognizes the need to change things up in order to sound interesting. I attended a meeting a couple of months ago where Jeff Klein, a local network marketing guru, gave us a presentation on making our elevator speeches more memorable. Most people give their name, company name, what it does, what they do, and ask for your business. After a few of these, the yawn factor sets in. The collective mind of the room begins to wander. Hence the need of giving an effective elevator speech and that often begins with a story.
Here's my story that I used the other day (although 30 seconds is simply NOT long enough to use this story effectively ... I needed 60!):
Once upon a time in a land far away, I was the manager of information systems at a Beverly Hills CPA firm. It was April, a busy time for CPAs, a very, very busy time. Not only are the 1040 tax returns due on the 15th, the first quarter payroll tax returns are due by the end of the month. Needless to say, workers in CPA firms put in a lot of long hours during the month of April. And because of the long hours, workers at CPA firms dress for comfort during that time.
We're talking jeans and t-shirt comfortable. There are some periods of time when even appropriate business casual has to fly away in the face for the need of comfort. Comfort = productivity, productivity is the single most important goal for CPA firms in April. But I digress (which I did NOT do in my elevator speech).
A guy comes in to sell us a computer thingmabob. I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was something in which the firm was interested enough that I took the time to talk to the guy. Unfortunately, he spent his entire elevator speech time, which was much longer than 60 seconds, talking to my boobs.
He did not make the sale.
There are two lessons to learn from this real-life story:
#1. Gentlemen, if you want to sell to a lady, look her in the face! Don't talk to her boobs. And trust me, guys, I was NOT provocatively dressed.
#2. Ladies, no matter what the setting, no matter what is going on in the office, dress in a way to focus attention to your FACE. And of course, the single best tool you have is a pair of noticeable earrings. Noticeable, not extravagant. But even with jeans and t-shirt, there are earrings that are appropriate that will keep the focus where it belongs.
These particular earrings sold a long time ago, but they are a good example of what you can wear with business casual. They are understated but pretty. And they will do the job of keeping the focus on your beautiful, intelligent face.