The Peacock – Making A Lasting Impression In The Wild

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 17, 2014 in Lessons Learned |

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The ostentatious Indian Peacock’s tail plumage has many admirers, but little understanding of why the colorful feathers evolved. Theories of sexual selection, camouflage, signaling, and defense have circulated since before Darwin’s time without any satisfactory conclusions. Sexual attraction is currently the reigning theory, but studies continue to research the complexities of the peahen’s choice since the incredibly elaborate feathered train of the peacock does not seem to have sole control over mate selection.

Networking events are common in the business world. They occur nearly every day in every major city across many industries. It’s important to stand out at these events in order to make contact with people, but you don’t want to be the one that during the event debrief everyone asks, “Who was the person with the crazy [tie/hat/coat/outfit, etc.], and what were they thinking?” Your choice of peacock flair for the occasion may be a great conversation starter, but is it a great first impression?

First impressions are lasting ones, particularly when you are interviewing. Networking events are crucial for people seeking new jobs, but you want to be the one that stands out by your intellectual conversation, not your outfit or something eccentric about yourself that you (over)shared. Having a unique hobby, skill or passion is a good discussion at a social event, but avoid tales that delve just a little too deep below the surface for new acquaintances to digest.

Keep conversation light and thoughtful and stay away from your recent divorce, loan applications, and too much personal talk about your family, children and pets. Rather than talking about yourself and simply offering information that may or may not be relatable to the person you are speaking to, ask the other person questions about themselves. Explore topics around what they’ve been writing or reading lately and solicit their thoughts so that you can expand on things that are already of interest to them. This will make you stand out in the forefront of their minds as a qualified professional as opposed to the person who told the slightly uncomfortable story about such and such.

Trends in attire come and go, but looking polished never goes out of style. As far as clothing for a networking event, pairing a nice conservative suit with a colorful tie or scarf without over-doing it is key. Even a single piece of interesting jewelry such as a necklace or a ring can be a simple artistic addition that will nicely go with a conventional suit without being overwhelming. Again, you want to be the one they remember, but not because you didn’t look the part or because you wore something that was out of place at the event.

Ask a friend or colleague if you are unsure about what you are wearing and whether it’s appropriate for the event. You will certainly be remembered if you imitate the peacock, but you probably do not want your new acquaintances to theorize through the next day about your outfit.

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