I’m just curious, what do you think of when you hear the word “professional?” In my early years of business, I thought the pros were supposed to be super serious while working. I thought we had to have our mind on work and personal development at all times. I soon made those traits into habits.
I lost quite a bit of prospects because of my “professional” voice. One person flat out told me that she was hanging up because my voice was “too bland.” Even my colleagues wanted me to loosen up and bring out a more fun side.
Two of those colleagues are as “unprofessional” as you can imagine — at least on the outside. They’re constantly joking around, and one of them doesn’t seem to know how to turn off her silliness. The other showed up at a convention meeting wearing a backwards hat, a yellow/gray hoody, denim shorts, red knee-high socks, and sandals! Needless to say, they have lots of fun and they make it fun for other people to work.
They are the top people on my team, and two of the top in the company outside of National Vice Presidents.
In case you haven’t noticed, Tom “Big Al” Schreiter is one of my favorite mentors. He played a big role in dispelling my belief about professionalism. Not only is he a great teacher, he’s also great at joking. If you think entrepreneurs have to be serious, look him up. His books and lectures will teach you otherwise.
Nowadays, I’m more outgoing when talking to prospects. I joke, I discuss common interests, and I keep a friendly attitude. Now I have fun when I’m working, and the prospects enjoy it as well.
As entrepreneurs, we often try too hard to be professional; no personality in our work, talking like we’re in a Clear Eyes ad. Add the fact that we often wear suits, and you’d think we’re working at a funeral home!
Professionalism is fine, however, there’s a time for loosening up. After all, who is more attractive in any setting: Funny, emotional human or iRobot-uRun?
Make a nice day!