Before you start drafting responses to this post, please read all the way through. And then I’d love to hear your comments, positive or negative, and feedback.
Much has been said of the differences between the sexes in how we approach business relationships. On the positive side for us female business owners, professionals, and sales representatives: our approach to communication is generally a very strong asset in developing lasting business relationships. We are, in general, good listeners; and concerned with meeting the needs of the clients and partners we work with.
But on the negative side, we still seem to stand on the sidelines in many situations; left out of the boardroom and golf course conversations that result in many of the strongest business decisions and partnerships. So I’m left to wonder, as many of us are, ‘Why’? And how can we work our way into these places where the best relationships are built?
On a recent business trip, I had an eye-opening experience that helped me understand where many of us are completely missing our opportunities.
I had a few hours free one evening after a conference, while waiting to leave the hotel for my flight home. I was hungry, and alone, so I made my way to a restaurant by the hotel and sat at the bar. And waited for service. And continued to wait. For a very long time, the bartender completely dismissed me and served other patrons. After about 15 minutes of waiting to be served, I finally got his attention and requested a menu. His response: “Sorry, I thought you were waiting for someone. We never see women sitting at the bar alone.” I asked him if people tended to only visit this restaurant with groups of people, rather than alone; and he responded that men sat alone there quite often, but women did not.
Hmmm….. I think I’ve uncovered an issue here.
This same evening, while having my dinner at that bar, I ended up meeting a group of medical professionals who were in town for another conference. I made some very helpful connections, and was able to then develop relationships via online channels with a couple of them when I returned home. This was a great opportunity; and one I wouldn’t have had if I had sat at a table by myself in this restaurant, rather than at the bar where I could potentially meet other interesting people.
Ladies, why aren’t we sitting at the bar? Why aren’t we on the golf courses where business deals are done? Why aren’t we taking clients to baseball games and other events? We know that more business relationships are developed OUTSIDE the conference rooms where we hold our meetings; so it’s time for us to get out there and make it happen!
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