11.23.20

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How to Put on Airs of Professionalism Like a Boss

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 3:30 am by Guest Editorial Team

By M. “Figos” Unruh

Suits in motion

Summary: “Boardroom suits are not meant to be flashy, but to conform. Simple lines and smart ties — the opposite of what Richard Stallman would wear, show that you are either a well-machined cog or a serious adversary.”

There are times, as the head of an organisation or representative of a project, that you want people who care more about appearance than substance to take you seriously. To those people, this is “all the time”.

Behind the scenes you might be throwing chairs across the office, yelling about how your multi-billion dollar corporation will “kill Google” or jumping on stage like a monkey, although you want to avoid this becoming your entire image. You’re still wearing sandals to work, so this is an opportunity to gain a few tips.

Gent selecting a suitThe first step is to learn how to dress like a professional. For the price of a top-of-the-line gaming rig or two, you can have two or three sets of professional wear that suffice for looking like you actually do something, rather than having just returned from your bar or bat mitzvah.

Boardroom suits are not meant to be flashy, but to conform. Simple lines and smart ties — the opposite of what Richard Stallman would wear, show that you are either a well-machined cog or a serious adversary. Most of you can even go for a little of both, just to keep people guessing. You certainly won’t need your best suit for every meeting, it depends on who you are trying to impress.

“Argue only when it is either strictly necessary, or when you have a sufficient degree of confidence — let’s say 80% — that your argument will come out on top.”Everything should be tailored, but if you go “casual” in a polo shirt you want it to fit well. Be certain all dress shirts fit properly, you can get them tailored as well.

It goes without saying that everything should be clean, everything worn out should be replaced, neatly trim and clean under your fingernails. If you are female, simply learn to do your makeup (however little of it you will actually use) like other powerful women.

If you are male and have long hair, pull it back like you work security at an expensive casino. People will tell you to cut your hair, lose the ponytail; they won’t tell anything to to Richard Branson. Just don’t let it hold you back.

Once you are in proper costume, the next step is to learn your speaking role. Argue only when it is either strictly necessary, or when you have a sufficient degree of confidence — let’s say 80% — that your argument will come out on top. Use short, sharp phrases; they are designed to sound undeniably true.

The rest of the time, nod as if an idea was your own, and use agreement as a way of getting others to put their guard down. This makes people like you more and want to agree with you, even if they hate you and everything you stand for.

“Smile, but only when deliberately portraying an amicable stance or when it will unnerve people.”Occasionally, you can use stilted language as a means of projecting superiority and causing frustration in people you want to assert dominance over. Egotists will do this all the time, revealing a weakness in true confidence if you know how to spot it. Tech geeks will also do this, sometimes because they are egotists and other times, simply because they are nerds who don’t practice speaking often enough. All the same, play to your strengths.

Learn to couch the true meaning of what you say in metaphors and corporate dog whistles. Remember this isn’t your job most of the time, that’s what PR and marketing people are for. You can simply borrow some of their “tools” for when they’re most useful. Don’t try this on actual PR and marketing people, it’s like trying to convince a cow that you’re another cow by saying “moo.”

“The meeting is a stage, the performance is part dance and part martial arts, and the goal above all is to look like you know exactly what you’re doing.”All of this takes practice, but you can have games of “Boardroom” with your friends or project members where you pretend to speak like yes men, upper management and CEOs. In fact a good example of this is an activist group who call themselves the Yes Men.

Above all, be serious, be deadpan, and be a little more aggressive than assertive. Never be the first person in a conversation to go full Tom Cruise, overdoing it is the sign of an amateur. Smile, but only when deliberately portraying an amicable stance or when it will unnerve people.

Some people go into a boardroom or other meeting with the idea that they are going to collaborate, learn something, or come up with a real plan.

The reality is something closer to going into battle. You want to be certain you don’t step on the toes of anybody who can cut your head off, but you are there only for the appearance of collaboration, learning, or a real plan.

“If you have any doubts, simply take a good look at the people who make it to the top. They didn’t get there by their intelligence, integrity or ability to work with others. They got there by walking over the weak and impressing the strong, with just the right amount of bowing to the right people.”None of those things happen in a board room; they happen whenever and wherever they do. The meeting is a stage, the performance is part dance and part martial arts, and the goal above all is to look like you know exactly what you’re doing. If you consistently fake that better than the others in your corporate class, you win.

If you have any doubts, simply take a good look at the people who make it to the top. They didn’t get there by their intelligence, integrity or ability to work with others. They got there by walking over the weak and impressing the strong, with just the right amount of bowing to the right people.

If this is not your ambition, be sure to exit this game while you still have your ethics and part of your soul. Otherwise you may find yourself gradually turning into one of these actors, and the actor becomes the role they were playing. Be sure to turn it off before the switch disappears.

© 2020 Figosdev All Rights Reserved. This article is available under a Creative Commons license: visit this page for details.

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