Riding the train to the city yesterday a very well dressed man sat across the aisle. His suspenders (yes they still exist!) had the landmarks of Paris woven into the elastic, and I chuckled silently to my self that business suspenders are something I have not seen since my old banking days in the late 70s.
The rest of the outfit: stiff starched white shirt with tailored spread collar, and a lavender satin silk tie. Nice.
Then he crossed his legs and I saw it!
I caught a glimpse of the lavender and blue bold checkerboard socks and weathered hiking boots, out of sync with his attire from the calves up. Clearly he is someone with a sense of self-image and assuredness, suburban warrior going to battle in the canyons of Wall Street!
So long as his socks match his tie…
Full disclosure: I too have fallen under the spell of crazy socks like my younger colleagues. I actually enjoy them as a humor accessory. The patterns, the colors, the pictures are fun. One pair I was given is pictured to the left. I guess i deserve receiving them!
Last year I attended a lawyers’ conference where the attendees actually held a very informal contest for the day’s wackiest socks!
Let’s presume it’s OK to show your style, colors, enjoyment and some of the personality you exude as a business pro.
Let’s be ourselves and have fun and work as pros simultaneously. You can dress that way or express yourself that way.
You don’t want to come across as too stuffy, or too whimsical, but just right…
I teach attorneys and CPAs how to get out of their own way and tell why they do what they do, and I try to make the presentation a bit fun. If they don’t chuckle at the jokes I weave in, I tell them that’s where many people howl with laughter. And then they smile. They even laugh at the next joke, which is just right.
I have an attorney friend who placed a really baaaaaaad lawyer joke at the end of his LinkedIn profile and when someone remarks to him about how really awful the joke is, he knows exactly how far down into his profile they read. No one has every complained to him that it is out of character, in fact, this is fully within his personality.
Be yourself on LinkedIn, and if you are indeed fun to work with that will come through.
Someone may just choose you over that dull competitor, preferring an expert who is not too wrapped up in him or herself. Of course,
I want you to be a pro. Express yourself. Be an amiable pro too.