In the movie Patton, George C. Scott explained why America was going to win the war. In brief, Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.
As we do our best to achieve success in the job market, looking and acting like a winner can be difficult. It is just too easy to fall into the “misery loves company” mode. I hope you won’t allow yourself the luxury of falling into that trap.
Although I live only a few miles from where we hold our meetings here in Connecticut, I always wear a suit or sport coat. The reason is that often times this is the first and only time that members meet me. As they say, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. (Doug Fine prefers: “Don’t make your first impression your last.”) Sure, I am the chairman, and members are going to like me regardless of what I am wearing, but my goal is to leave the clear memory with them that I am a winner. In my consulting practice, I know I will be calling on each of them for their business.
I think it is also true for each of you when you attend meetings. I can tell who is having a bad day by what they wear and how they act. I fear that this message isn’t lost on those around them either. Here they are, trying to network with their peers, and they aren’t taking this golden opportunity to make the strongest impact.
Not only do clothes make the man or woman, but your demeanor at meetings tells a tale as well. The message you want to leave with others is that you are the best at what you do. If you scrawl a “tent” with your name, slap on a hand lettered name badge to your chest, pass out resumes that have been poorly reproduced, don’t practice your 90-second announcement until it sounds like a call to arms, you shouldn’t be surprised that others aren’t rushing up to you after the meeting to shake your hand and trade a few baseball cards. (That’s a code word I use for networking contacts.)
It is all too easy to lose faith in yourself. Like the smell of stale cigars, the odor tends to soak into every aspect of your being if you allow it.
Although there aren’t the admiring crowds around you like there were back at the office when you were in charge of the checkbook, you need to be able to get yourself charged up every morning and all day long.
I’ll ask you a question. If you weren’t the best thing since sliced bread, how did you get into The FENG? Well, since you did get in, I am going to assume that you are pretty terrific.
And, I want you to assume the same thing.
Act like a winner and you will attract other winners who will want to help you. Act like a loser and no one will want to talk to you. That’s just the way it is in the world.
Exude confidence in yourself. We all know the truth that you are a giant killer. Let everyone know it. (And, don’t smoke cigars before an interview! Also, always wear matching socks.)