We are constantly presented with messages that our appearance matters more than anything else, and that it is intrinsically tied to our inherent worth as people.At a conference, I saw Joanna Lord speaking on an otherwise all-male panel.That I should be more flattered by the fact that you liked my picture than that you learned something from my blog post.

There are things that maybe wouldn’t be sexist in everyday life that bring an undesirable tone to professional interactions.

(image source) Why I can’t just get over it: Calling me by something other than my name is condescending.

If someone knows me well enough to know that I actually am a sweetie, then they can call me sweetie and I’m not likely to mind.

But if you’ve just met someone, avoid pet names like the plague until you really feel like a.) you’re friends enough that she won’t mind and b.) she is the kind of person who doesn’t mind a pet name from a friend.

(image source) The biggest thing that men can do to help defeat an atmosphere of sexism at conferences is never assume that because a woman comes up to you and strikes up a conversation, she must be interested.

Let’s work to create an atmosphere where women can approach men for professional, networking conversation without worry of rebuffing unwanted advances.But the words we use are important and can have unintended shades of meaning. You have to stop trying to pick up women at conferences. Again, context matters: you’re not just hanging out at a bar drinking with your buddies, chatting up the attractive woman sitting next to you.You’re at an industry function, talking to women who are your industry peers.I hate that a man can walk up to another man at a networking event and just start a conversation about work, but when I do it, sometimes the man thinks I must be flirting.It means I get to have fewer of those awesome after-party conversations that everyone knows are the best source of learning at conferences.Don’t ask us to come back to your room, even if it’s just to see your new tablet or whatever. A chaste, mutual hug is very different from nonconsensual, vaguely sexual touching.