You dream of being a business power couple. Colleagues and clients envy your relationship & success.
When it comes to multi-tasking work obligations and maintaining some semblance of a social life, have you ever found yourself mixing business with pleasure? If so, then we’d love for you to comment below on how you accomplished this without upsetting the balance of your love life. Here are four ground rules you and your significant other can follow so the events of the evening do not creep into your bedroom as an unwanted bedfellow.
It is not uncommon today to grab drinks after work with a prospective client before heading out for dinner with your date.
However, what is the best way to handle this scenario when your date who also happens to be your business partner or colleague also has a mutual interest in meeting your prospective client so he or she too can use the opportunity to network.
1. Whoever Arranges the Meet-Up is in Charge
In other words, if you did not call up the lead or client to arrange the appointment, then you do not have the right to re-schedule the appointment; nor do you have the right to monopolize the conversation or tout your agenda over your partner’s. Your significant other is not your personal secretary. And, chances are the one scheduling the meeting is the person most vested in linking this contact to overlapping interests and figuring out how they can best help one another out. As second-in-command it is your job during this meeting to lift up your partner and help them get an in before you figure out your areas of overlap.
2. Agree Beforehand on Relationship Status
Women tend to talk to connect. Men tend to talk to solve problems. Keeping this in mind—many women when they are networking with their significant other may assume that she and he will act like boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife while in the business meeting. Many men on the other hand may walk into the meeting and treat their girlfriend or wife much like they’d treat a stranger, because they are focused on meeting needs of the new acquaintance.
Neither assumption is wrong; you just need to make sure you’re both on the same page. It really depends on each situation whether or not you will keep it strictly professional, or you will allow the new acquaintance to see your love and appreciation the shine through for one another.
It can get mucky if a woman assumes she has her girlfriend hat on, while the man is assuming the expert hat is on instead…or vice versa. As a significant other there tends to be more deference, more appreciation and praise shown for the other person’s skills and abilities, and genuine interaction during the meeting. As business partners there is no mention of your personal relationship, and there tends to be more of an expectation that you’ll each individually sell yourselves, rather than help sing one another’s praises.
3. Equal Air Time
I have seen men monopolize a meet-up like this because they were so focused on solving the problem that they missed the opportunity to show support and help their girlfriend sell her strengths and area of expertise. I’ve also seen the woman in the relationship in this scenario become a wall-flower, because she isn’t able to get in a word or express her opinion; especially when it is diametrically opposed to what her boyfriend just said.
If you haven’t clarified if you’re going into the meeting as a significant other or as a business colleague; then many women due to our culture will take a backseat and defer to their partner; while the men may dominate the situation. When you meet a business prospect together as a power team, then showing a united front means that you are both able to express your agendas in your own unique way.
Women tend to take more time finding commonalities and getting to know the new acquaintance before talking business. Men tend to get straight to the point. If you have not discussed together about who speaks first, who second, and what you really want out of the meeting; then you also have to factor in nerves and the stress response which causes you to act more like your gender. In this scenario the woman may take longer to establish rapport; whereas a man may plunge in to his own commonalities with the new acquaintance much to the exclusion of his girlfriend and what her connections are to the acquaintance as well. This leads us to the next tip.
4. Set Intention & Decide on the Desired End Result Together
As a business power team it is important to play off each other’s strengths. You can both voice your agenda. However, remember genuine networking always focuses on the other person. Women generally tend to be better at this type of getting acquainted, because they have larger pathways between the left and right side of their brain allowing them to be fractal thinkers. As they logically express their agenda, they’re also taking in emotional responses both nonverbally and verbally of everyone in the conversation—whether they are listening or talking. She’s figuring out how everything links together, and possibilities.
Men’s brains are designed to be single-task oriented, which can help with making decisions faster, but not always taking into consideration all possible outcomes or picking up on nonverbal body language cues. Before the meet-up run what you’d like to get out of the meeting by one another. In that way, both are apprised of the two desired outcomes; and you can work together to make sure both are covered during your meeting. This allows both of your strengths in communicating to be used for the best possible end result for you both.
To learn what your gender intelligence quotient is you can take either the gender leadership or gender sales quizzes for free here. Review your answers with a Mars Venus Coach to help you and your significant other become an even stronger gender intelligent team. We’re looking forward to hearing back from you how you make it work with your partner so your relationship stays strong, and you both get ahead at work too!
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations