One part of a My Pinnacle Network meeting is our Two-Minute Drill. A recent one—Dress for Success—sparked a lot of different stories and views on how your attire plays a role in your own personal success and success in winning over current clients and prospects. This included a story about a somebody wearing an AC/DC t-shirt to a client meeting and one member’s experience of birthing a baby shark! Let’s call that a topic for another day.
One prevailing thought on the topic of dressing for success was how it has evolved over the years. Conventional thought was that men wore a suit, shirt and tie, or a sport coat at the very least and women similarly were attired in business dress suit or slacks, with proper sweater or blouse. Yet many of the stories shared spoke to a new theme of dressing for the occasion or the person.
Several people shared stories where clients told them “not to wear a tie the next time.” Or when the member didn’t wear a time for a client visit and were told, “I’m glad you didn’t wear a tie.”
The more you hear these stories, the more you realize how what you wear impacts you and the person you are visiting. Some clients or prospects want to keep things casual. Others may appreciate the importance you place on a meeting by dressing more traditionally. You really do have to know your audience and dress accordingly.
Yet perhaps the most important audience you need to dress for is yourself.
A sub for one of our members in Westborough illustrated that point by sharing a story about playing competitive hockey in high school. Shirt-and-tie was mandatory dress for games. In college, he played club hockey. Come-as-you-are was the code. When the team didn’t get off to a great start in his first season, they internally adopted a dress code. No more sweats or jeans. Button-down shirts and nice pants were required. Almost on cue, the team began playing at a much higher level.
As you can see, dressing for success can play out in many ways and is very subjective. For example, one rule of thumb yours truly learned a long time ago: it’s much easier to take off a coat, undo a tie and a button then it is to convert a t-shirt and jeans into a suit or even business casual attire. Like I said, everyone’s experience in this arena can be very different.