I was working with a group of women yesterday giving them an insight into how they give themselves an advantage in business.
When we women meet someone for a first time (and of course this is terrible stereotyping) we tend to look to build rapport. We care about liking.
- Do we like the other person?
- Do they like us?
- We smile
- We listen
- We look to find similarities
- We are supportive
- We are looking to form a relationship, a bond, a connection.
When men meet someone for the first time they are thinking something completely different!
- They are asking themselves, “What’s in this for me/my company?”
- They are wondering whether they can respect the other person.
- They are figuring out whether the other person is respecting them.
Men don’t need to like you, to do business with you. Men want to find and receive respect in order to trust you.
So women’s approach – the smiles, the listening, the inclined head – can look and seem submissive. It doesn’t look as though she respects herself or her business, she has assumed a lower status position in the male hierachy. So a woman can figuratively chop herself off at the knees before the real business can take place.
One of the ladies complained that a men who contracts her business service calls her “Kiddo”. Suddenly after a while she exclaimed. “I know what I’m doing wrong! I need to stop smiling so much!”
When meeting for the first time, someone is forming their impression of you within 4 – 7 seconds. I told the ladies, “Look pleasant though aloof. And only use your smile as a reward!”
Then you are likely to be taken more seriously.