Can A Black Suit Make You Smarter?

I can’t resist sharing this story with you. It’s by “Mary,” a coaching client who’s developing her platform as a rock star tech exec to become an industry thought-leader. After you read it, you’ll know why she’s destined to write a best-selling biz book!

While at a conference recently near our Corporate HQ, I was called into an important high-level meeting. My colleagues in finance were quite worried about the meeting, because operations was being “called to the carpet” on some policies. I assured them that data was on our side; nevertheless, they pushed for me to attend the meeting. At first, I was thinking I would call-in. Then I reconsidered: this was an opportunity to rub elbows with senior leaders in my internal customer organization.

Because I was attending the nearby conference, I was in a black suit–not the normal wear for my high tech company. Over the 11 years I’ve been here, the dress code continues to become more casual. So, into the meeting I went, in black suit, data in hand. What was to be a highly contentious meeting turned into a rather tame question-and-answer session where we showed our data, and our customer was ultimately impressed.

The two tipping points? Black suit, and being there in person! It is truly amazing how smart you are in a black suit. What did I learn? Not only do clothes persuade those around you that you know what you are doing and talking about, but you also feel it from the inside out. I plan to take another look at my wardrobe and plan ahead when important meetings are on the calendar. In general, I’m going to dress more tailored, with a better defined style, on a more regular basis. Not just for the outward perception, but for how it makes me feel . . . You really are smarter in a black suit!”

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