I’ve always been an outgoing person, but today I found out it takes more than being an extrovert to network. Today, we had several opportunities to meet and mingle with SMU Alumni who work in various fields, including government law, music and entertainment, finance, and broadcast, and it took more than energy for me to make the most of it.
In a common social environment, I usually find it easy to spark a conversation, find common interests, and eventually unleash bursts of laughter. However, in a business and networking environment, I learned that there are unspoken rules of demeanor that must be followed. It starts with attire.
Yesterday, I wore gray slacks, a black sweater, black pumps, a long white coat, and topped off with my “Student Media” badge. People looked at me curiously perhaps wondering if I’m a staff member. Today, my attire was a little more casual and I felt a difference in the glances people gave me.
However, the more important factor, I learned, was how I carried myself. The difference in how people reacted with me was a response to my self-confidence. Amazingly, the more I smiled, the more pleasant responses I received. But during times when I got paranoid and thought, “I’m not dressed up enough,” or “I’m too dressy,” my demeanor was affected by my thoughts and probably carried myself less confidently and joyfully than usual.
Therefore, I’ve decided that my normally optimistic and zealous spirit is not dictated or controlled by my outer appearance. On the contrary, my outer appearance is a manifestation of all the joy flowing from within. It’s great; feels like real freedom.