Friday, October 14, 2011

The presentation is the message

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly convinced that most communication utilized to determine one's place in the social hierarchy is nonverbal. Last week, I was in Spain at a conference that was the nexus for four groups of people.

1. Technology entrepreneurs
2. Big investors
3. Small to medium investors
4. Journalists

Now, when I refer to big investors, I am referring to people who have invested literal billions purchasing companies and so forth. Many of the corporate and financial names would be immediately recognizable. So, there were everything from small fish to very, very big fish there, although there were no individuals with household names this time. I've been around the community long enough that I am not the smallest of fish in the pond, but I'm certainly a lot closer to that side of it than the big side.

Of course, at these sorts of events, people tend to gravitate towards the big fish. There is a sort of a polite, murmuring buzz that surrounds them in sort of a moving halo, as almost everyone is too well-behaved to go and pester them, but everyone wants to at least meet them and exchange cards since you never know who might be a useful connection in the future.

What was interesting, then, was that by virtue of simply wearing a well-tailored black suit over a black t-shirt, then slipping on a pair of black shades, everyone at the poolside bar was highly cognizant of my entrance, almost as if I was one of the big fish. (Keep in mind that it was very sunny even in the late afternoon; the sunglasses were not an affectation, much less a Corey Hart deal.) One financial guy even cracked wise as I approached the thirty or so people gathered there, asking loudly who I had been hired to kill.

"Seen anyone here from Goldman?" I asked him in response. Everyone cracked up, including the bankers in the crowd.

Now, I wasn't the tallest, the best-looking, or the most important guy there. I was very far from any of the three, as a matter of fact. But a very positive impression was established right from the onset. So, having a style that works for you, as simple as it might be, and sticking to it can go a long way towards establishing an amount of the sort of social significance to which both men and women respond favorably.


Masculine Style said...

Many men are too quick to decry the importance of dressing well and having your own style, when it really is the best way to start establishing rapport with anyone.

Yohami said...


And women are x100 more sensitive about those cues, and more susceptible to how the crowd responds to your presentation.

JCclimber said...

The funny thing is, a real hit man would be the most bland, non-descript person that you would (n)ever notice in the entire event.

JCclimber said...

I've had several women, when drunk, confide that they make their entire decision about a man based on his shoes.

Years later, when one of them was married, I asked what shoes her hubby was wearing when they met, since she had a nearly impossible standard about the shoes.

He was barefoot, since it was on the beach in Hawaii.

Desert Cat said...

Ha! Love it. I took to wearing black jeans, black t-shirt and a black suit jacket about a year and a half ago, whenever the weather is amenable to the jacket. It knocked people over in a big way at first, partly because no one ever dresses up, even with something as casual as this in Tucson. But I've found that I carry myself differently when I'm dressed this way. A little more self assurance, a little more "amused mastery", etc.

I don't have the black glasses though.

Fhranko said...

I like wearing my grey hat. The world would be better if all us men wore bowler hats.

LP2021 Bank of LP Work in Progress said...

Excellent. So what was being discussed at this outing, what was the general mood of investors and venture capitalists?

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