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What to wear to casual "adult" meeting?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm going to a property investor's club meeting in a month or so. However, I'm only 18 (college student), and have no idea what to wear to these functions. Its a casual function, but still "formal" to me. Should I wear a shirt and black trousers, with or without a tie? Or don a suit and tie, going the whole way? Also, how should I act there? I've interacted with adults before, but always in an unequal standing (as student, work experience kid, or employee). I'm confident enough, but somewhat uncertain about the acceptable code of behaviour for these functions.
post #2 of 15
If it's considered a casual function, I would stay away from the whole suit and tie look. I would go with the shirt and slacks, without a tie. However, to balance your youth, I would add a sportcoat to the outfit. This way you will look nice, but casual and you can always take the sportcoat off and roll up your sleeves if it turns out to be overkill. As for how you should act - be your confident self. Ask questions if there is something you don't understand, speak up if you disagree with something that you do understand - but DON'T be cocky and don't assume you know more than the other investors (although in some cases you probably will). All in all, treat the other investors as equals but show respect for your elders in your tone and the way you address them. My rule of thumb is that anyone over 50 should be addressed as Mr. ?? until they say, "call me Bill" (or whatever their name is. On the other hand, most of us in our 30's and 40's will look around for our father's if you call us Mr. Whatever, so use our first names. Obviously there are exceptions, but it's just a guideline. Hope this helps, Bradford
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I'm planning on a dark blue shirt and black trousers. Might add in a sports jacket if its cold. Still a while to go before the meeting starts, but I'd like to try and make a good impression at the first time, since the same group meets on a regular basis. Speaking of which, are asking the investors about their careers a good topic to start with? I've read somewhere that a lot of adults with professional careers are likely to be receptive to talking about their career or experiences.
post #4 of 15
Sounds like a good outfit - with a dark blue shirt, you could forget about my previous suggestion of wearing a sportscoat, you won't need it. As for conversation topics, it's not just adults with professional careers, the truth is that most people like talking about themselves. As an 18-year-old it's totally appropriate to ask about their careers and you might even ask why they chose that career, how they got into it and what they studied in school -- especially if their career field seems like one you might be interested in entering yourself. Bradford P.S. Keep in mind that the fallback conversation for many men is sports - so if you have nothing else in common, a discussion of the pennant race, upcoming football season or PGA Tour can often get you out of an uncomfortable silence. Obviously, you have to have some interest in sports yourself to pull this off.
post #5 of 15
Regarding the sportscoat, I agree with Bradford, you don't really need it.   Most people do love to talk about themselves, and it seems careers/work is a favorite topic.   You might get lucky and get some really good advice, and/or contacts.  In a tough economy, many people find the best way to get a job (or maybe an internship in your case) is through networking.  The more people you can meet the better.
post #6 of 15
Skip the sports talk -- nothing bores me more than listening to grown men talk about sports at social functions. There is more to life than football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc. Thank God for that. Be different -- talk about something more meaningful and poignant about one's life. Your conversation partner will thank you for it and enjoy talking to you more. You'll learn more too.
post #7 of 15
Vero_group makes a good point that not everyone enjoys talking about sports. However, there are a lot of people out there that DO enjoy sports and like to talk about it. So making the assumption that everyone you meet will "thank you" for not talking about sports is just not accurate. The bottom line is that people are individuals, so different topics interest different people.
post #8 of 15
AAA makes a good point too that some people DO enjoy sports and talking about them. My point was to talk about something more intellectual, something for which adults will remark that you are an intelligent young man, not just another kid glued to the boob tube. They will remember you more for that. Remember, professional sports teams are part of the MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT industry -- they exist purely to hold your attention (entertain you) while the industry slips you marketing messages and advertisements to influence how you spend your money. Everytime you see the Nike logo on a uniform, see the Goodyear blimp, witness a banner along the walls of the playing field, or watch a Bud Light commercial during a game, you know who is paying the bills and sponsoring the "live entertainment" event in the first place, and you are made aware of a bunch of products and services that you don't really need and probably wouldn't know existed in the first place if you hadn't been glued to the boob tube watching the game. Your precious time in life (maybe 80 years or so?) is better spent reading, kayaking, talking to friends, your parents, your children, looking for new investments to build your wealth and financial freedom, and, of course, shopping for hugely discounted designer fashions on eBay.. ;-)
post #9 of 15
vero_group: your bias and disdain for sports is clear, there's no need to try to justify your position or preach to others. Being young and in a new situation, take a cue from others and see where the conversation goes. You'll likely be introdued to a lot of different people and get a lot of standard questions as openers: so what do you do, where do you go to school, how did you come to join the club, what do you think about this or that... answer honestly, be confident, don't ramble.
post #10 of 15
Actually I agree with Vero about the merchandising and advertisements that have invaded sports. I sometimes think that professional sports have become the opiate of the masses, a distraction used much as the Roman Empire used the Colliseum and Gladiators to distract the public from the excesses of the emperors and the government. Of course this can also be said for TV shows like American Idol and "event" movies like Spiderman and the Matrix. It's unfortunate that more people are interested in these issues than in things that really matter - I mean it's pathetic that a higher percentage of viewers voted for Ruben and Clay on American Idol than the percentage of registered voters who turned out to vote between Bush and Gore in 2000.  That being said, I still will say that sports is a good fall back conversation for many men. Obviously, not everyone - but it's useful good to know some trivia in case you find yourself stuck with someone who has nothing else to talk about. IMHO - an educated man is one who can discuss many topics. From sports, to politics, to art, to philosophy, etc, etc, etc.  Bradford
post #11 of 15
Regarding the American Idol voting, I don't think its accurate to say that a higher percentage of viewers voted for Ruben vs Clay than the percentage of registered voters who voted on Bush vs Gore. That would be true if each viewer only voted once, but that certainly isnt the case.
post #12 of 15
In my experience, talking sports is a great icebreaker, particularly if you can discuss that person's favorite team or alma mater with some intelligence.  I have a former co-worker who spent nearly his entire job interview discussing the Atlanta Braves (with an interviewer who was a huge Braves fan and also female) and got the job.  In one job interview at a law firm, I noticed a partner had a picture of the 1969 New York Mets on his wall, so we spent several minutes discussing the Mets' prospects for the upcoming season.  (I am now working in the office next door to said partner and still occasionally exchange small talk about baseball.)  Obviously discussing sports is no substitute for substance on more significant matters, but it is a good way to build an instant rapport with someone.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, if anyone in Australia is interested in English soccer, then I would be able to. However, my knowledge of AFL (australian football, biggest sport over here) is pretty poor, although I could mention it occasionally. What else could I discuss, apart from asking about their careers and advice on investment? I'm thinking perhaps discussing property, since I do know enough about it to hold a decent convo, but I'm not too sure whether an entire conversation can consist of "business". Other than sport, what else do adults (context being in a professional career or investor) discuss in a casual environment? I'm probably going to spend a lot of time on property investment talk, but I feel it might be useful to get some non-business conversation. Would politics, if I keep it neutral, be something adults discuss?
post #14 of 15
Would politics, if I keep it neutral, be something adults discuss?
Yes, but I would advise strongly against it. My grandmother used to say that there are two things you do not discuss at cocktail parties: politics and religion. The reason being that they are both very personal and emotional issues - if you disagree, it's almost impossible to come to any kind of resolution. You simply have to agree to disagree, which I find extremely annoying. You only need look at the discussions on this board about the situation in the middle east to see what I'm talking about.
post #15 of 15
Diplomatic_Lies: So, how did the meeting go? What did you talk about with the adults there?
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