Sharing personal stories, struggles or achievements is a great way to support each other as women, but sometimes it’s important to focus on practical advice for everyday situations. No matter how much equality we achieve in the workplace, there will always be certain things that women must consider in business settings that will be different than their male counterparts.
I recently gave this type of advice to a young woman at a social event. She mentioned that she had not handed out her business card to a potential business contact because her purse was too large. It was a challenge for her to fumble through the keys, wallet, umbrella, extra pair of shoes, notebook and pens to find and hand over her card in way that didn’t feel chaotic. In that moment she needed some practical advice from a woman who has been there many times. When I was approached for my business card, I too used to struggle to easily produce it by digging into a large handbag. It would become awkward, especially with men – me digging into a handbag and them waiting impatiently. I learned to carry a small handbag with a side opening where I keep my cards so that I can seamlessly grab one while maintaining a conversation. Simple advice, but something that only came from experiencing this challenge many times in my career.
Another area that I often hear women struggle with is business travel, and how to look and feel your best when on the road without having to lug your entire wardrobe or large cosmetic bag. For example, I choose to keep my nails polished, so I always travel with small portable packets of nail polish remover and one micro bottle of clear nail polish. There are countless other ways I’ve learned to deal with the hazards of ripped pantyhose, humid weather and frizzy hair, carrying liquid makeup in your carry-on bag, and so many more experience females experience from just well, living the realities of being female!
Although it can feel awkward to call attention to the difference between men and women in business settings, the bottom line is that we often dress differently than men. Therefore, women should feel comfortable sharing these practical tips on how to navigate those differences in business settings. I would be interested in hearing from you about the practical tips YOU can share with women colleagues. Please reach out to me Facebook, Twitter or leave your comments below to share your tips!