Can being too smart or too polished be a distraction or a negative when building relationships with clients and connections?
If you were brought up in a family who had military connections then you will know very well what spit and polish means. This, along with the art of bulling, is how military and service personnel achieve the shiniest of shoes you can imagine on their parade boots. The polish is applied using a rag and is then massaged in a continual bulling action – a circular motion going around and around. While this is taking place a small amount of spit is added to create moisture on the boot while the polish begins to shine. This really does work and you too can create mirror-like shine on your shoes. I know you’ll be looking for this when you see the next military parade, their boots will have been hand polished to a beautiful shine. If you are interested, follow this link here to learn how to bull your shoes to a mirror shinehttp://www.police999.com/forum/index.php?topic=1863.0;wap2
Why tell you this story of shoe cleaning? In the military if the shoes are not cleaned well enough then punishments are given out and careers held back. Some of you will remember the money making schemes of Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. I have always cleaned my smart shoes using spit and polish and yes, when they are done they look very clean and mirror like. They regularly draw comments from people in the audience saying they haven’t seen shoes that shiny since they themselves were in the military. However, could it be that my shiny shoes are distracting the audience’s attention away from what I am saying?
I recently watched a film starring Matt Damon called The Adjustment Bureau. There is a scene in the film where the main character who is a politician and has aspirations of high office, is about to make a public speech and his aides provide him with his shoes polished to the ‘right effect’. In the speech he laughs about paying large amounts of money to professional consultants advising him over the colour of his tie and how much his shoes should be scuffed. Too shiny and the audience can’t relate to you, too scuffed and you look scruffy. I know this was a film but in politics every minute detail is consistently analysed.
I often say that Perfect Peter has no friends because no-one can relate to him. Our challenge is to use the right amount of spit and polish to show quality, expertise and professionalism but not to go too far where we can over cook that impression. Do you go over the top with your focus on looking and acting the part and end up disengaging your prospects and contacts, or do you get it just right? Only you can answer that.