Women have broken through the glass ceiling over recent years, and today there are female leaders driving innovation at some of the world’s most successful companies and organizations.
Despite this success, there is still a stark divide between the number of male and female leaders in the corporate landscape. Women still face many challenges, including the gender pay gap, a lack of maternity support and general disrespect from male colleagues.
Overcoming these issues is going to be a long and drawn out battle, but every small step forward is a positive.
That means that we need to get more female business leaders out there being successful and achieving more than they’ve ever been able to before.
To do this, you need to be making a good impression at every meeting, networking event and fundraiser you attend. Read on to find our top tips on how you as a female business leader can make an impact and show everyone you meet that you mean business.
Make sure that you smile in greeting to make yourself look welcoming and personable. Smiling is an important trait for any business leader, so make sure that you do it regularly, particularly when you’re meeting new people.
Have A Firm Handshake
It might sound obvious, but having a firm handshake will give people a positive first impression of you. Handshakes are an indicator of your character and can make you seem positive and powerful. Practice your grip on friends and family to get the pressure just right.
Dress To Impress
The clothes you wear have a significant impact on your confidence and the way that others perceive you. Wear classic styles and polish your looks by adding a statement accessory, like one of the beautiful Saint Laurent bags from SSENSE, to make yourself look good and feel ready to prove yourself as a natural leader.
Show Your Passion
You might think that it’s inappropriate to show too much emotion, but getting energetic when discussing your business and the work it does shows that you’re passionate and committed. Try not to go too far overboard, but feel free to show everyone you meet how much you love your work and that you’re committed to driving your organisation to success.
Keep Conversation Relaxed But Polite
When meeting new business associates, it’s important that you keep the conversation relaxed and not too formal, but at the same time that you don’t go too far towards the casual side and make yourself seem unprofessional. Avoid swearing, using too many colloquialisms, and instead try to keep your tone and talk light and respectful. This will ensure that you make a good impression and show yourself to be a calm, relaxed businesswoman who commands respect.
As a business leader and successful visionary, you’re allowed to be proud of your success, but you should try not to show off excessively. If you do, then you’ll be seen as arrogant and people may come to resent you. Try to put across your humility even when you’re discussing the success of your organisation.
Accept Compliments Gracefully
Equally as important as being humble and showing humility is the ability to accept compliments gracefully. Try to be polite and don’t downplay the compliment, as this comes across as disingenuous. Always say thank you and try your best to understand why the compliment was offered. Praise is an important part of learning, so it’s important that you understand how to receive it as well as give it.
Make Eye Contact
Making and holding eye contact shows that you’re engaged in the meeting and makes you seem honest and trustworthy. Avoiding eye contact can be misconstrued as shiftiness, or make you come across as untrustworthy. At the same time, it’s important that you don’t stare into people’s eyes, as this will make them feel uncomfortable. Learn to hold eye contact for a respectable amount of time to make yourself seem open and honest.
Listen As Well As Talk
In a meeting, particularly one that’s specifically designed to introduce new contacts to your business, it’s easy to get carried away and talk endlessly about your company, but it’s also important that you seek feedback and listen to what everyone has to say. Practice active listening to ensure that you really take on board everything that’s being said to allow yourself to gain valuable insight into your business and the impression you’re giving to new acquaintances.
Show Genuine Interest In The Conversation
As part of your active listening technique, you should try to get yourself interested in the conversation and the ideas that are being presented. This will show that you are engaged in the meeting and are respectful of other people and their thoughts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and show that you’re not just listening, but are committed to understanding everything that’s being said.