At Kissing With Confidence we like shoes. We think they're important. Now you may scoff at the apparent triviality of this but please read on. Because this is an issue that comes up with amazing regularity at training courses. Even ones where the delegates are really senior and operate in the world of professional services. The topic usually surfaces in sessions around personal impact, first impressions, personal brand etc.
Now happily most of the delegates we work with in the corporate and professional services world do actually "get" the importance of wearing a decent set of shoes. But from time to time there are still some delegates who start looking a bit shifty and tucking their feet away well under the desk when the subject surfaces.
And so it was on a sunny Wednesday morning in London. Twenty or so senior delegates from a well known international professional services firm on a session which included a section around personal brand and impact and influence in a business development context. We'd discussed the underlying skills and behaviours of those who are best at making that initial impact. We'd recreated the job interview experiment (a series of job interviews conducted by a large corporate where after only fifteen seconds the candidates were asked to leave the room and the interview panel members were asked "yes or no" to giving them the job; 84% of those on the panels didn't change their opinion an hour later after the candidates had been allowed back into the room and the full interview completed). We'd done some work around body language. The issue of the role of dress and appearance was raised by some delegates and we debated it.
Five minutes later there were some flipchart sheets around the desks on which the various groups had all quickly sketched out their key rules on dress and appearance in a business world. Every one of them mentioned the importance of a decent pair of shoes.
Cue a few shifty looking blokes. On this occasion three of them. In fairness their self awareness was high enough that they owned up to being embarrassed about the state of their shoes and accepted that some shopping was going to be required.
Now at this point, whether by divine intervention or sheer coincidence, the fire alarm sounded. And so a few minutes later we came to be standing around outside in the sun. It became clear we were going to be there for some time. The three chaps with the tired shoes enquired if we might take the opportunity to go shopping. And so we found ourselves on a field trip to my favourite little independent, family run shoe shop not far from St Paul's. Some new shiny Loakes and Barkers were acquired. The shop's proprietor looked slightly bemused by the group visit but was clearly appreciative of the unexpected boost to the day's takings. Happiness all round.
And in closing I remind all the men reading this to heed the advice most wisely contained without the very first set of Kissing With Confidence learning materials (which I read about 13 years ago when I was a law firm partner and a delegate on the very first pilot KWC presentation skills course - but that's another story!):
"Men - tempted to wear brown shoes? Now look out the window and check if you're in Barcelona"
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about the author
Michael Fleming is our Head of KWC Legal. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.