The second mistake, now this is something that perhaps nobody’s ever mentioned to you, do not apply, or reapply or fix your makeup in public.
It’s right before the meeting is going to start. It’s 8:00 am in the morning. There’s only a couple of people in the room. You’re waiting for the latecomers to start. It’s kind of hot in that room and you know your boss is eventually going to come in that room, so you get out your pocketbook and want to get the shine off your nose.
Or the meeting is wrapping up. People are collecting their laptops. You’re about to go into another meeting where your boss’s boss is going to be there and you want to make sure that, you know, you’re looking good. You whip out your mirror and you check to make sure how your hair is doing.
Or, lets say you’re having lunch, with a client, or a vendor and you’ve been eating spaghetti and using your napkin all through the meal. As the bill comes and people are settling up, you get your lipstick out and you’re going to touch up your lipstick.
What you are signaling, both to men and to women—and this is unconscious, this is not necessarily a conscious thought that people have—what you are signaling is that you care more about how you look then the business at hand. You care more about the optics than you do about adding business value.
This is a problem for women, because the business of putting on makeup is not a behavior that men ever engage in. When men and other women see women doing that, our minds go to: “oh, she’s vain.”
That becomes a potentially dangerous part of a women’s brand.
She’s vain, she cares more about how she looks, she’s taking up too much time, fixing up things to make them look nice, to make them look like the optics are good, and not actually adding the business value.
Now I am not saying don’t wear makeup! I spend half an hour putting on make up to get ready to talk to you ladies today.
What I’m saying is, that you’re going to want to do those kind of touch ups in a private place. Take it to the washroom, or if you have an office that the door can close in, you can do that in your own office.