Power Naps, Party Poppers and the misconception of “Perceived Professionalism”

I’m a fan of the power nap.

That short snooze (for me it’s usually after dinner with the family) which allows me to quickly recharge my batteries after a (hopefully) productive day.

However when you live in a house with my three girls the “power nap” can be a pretty precarious experience. Let me explain why:-

A couple of days ago, and after a particularly pleasurable nap, I woke up to hear Cassie, Charlotte and Sophie laughing.

“whassgingon” I said (which was meant to be “What’s going on” but wasn’t particularly well articulated in my still half-asleep state).

“Nothing Daddy” said Charlotte innocently but with a cheeky chuckle.

“Nothing Daddy” Mimicked Sophie.

I looked down at my body. I was covered with thin strips of coloured paper.

I smelled a faint whiff of gunpowder.

and

Then I realised.

Whilst I was asleep Cassie had set some party poppers off and Charlotte and Sophie had decided to cover me in the party popper paper!

“Oi” I said now fully awake “What are you doing?”

The girls carried on laughing and then as their laughter is one of the greatest sounds I’ve ever heard (and definitely one of the most infectious) I started to laugh too.

Sometimes (and especially when it comes to many of the various facets of the world of finance) we seem to believe it’s important to take ourselves REALLY SERIOUSLY.

I reckon the reason we do it is many of us believe this shows how important we take the responsibilities to our clients.

Don’t believe me?

Take a look at many large banking websites, national financial adviser firms and financial planning firms you’ll find uninspiring websites.

‘Identikit’ brochures.

Content (articles, blogs or video’s) which are Somber, Serious and instead of reflecting the businesses or individuals personality it’s just a reflection of a “perceived professionalism”.

However at this stage it’s important I’m really clear…

I believe in high standards, self development and due diligence.

I believe in delivering exceptional service, treating both your staff and your clients fairly and the fact that total transparency is important.

I believe in professionalism.

However perceived professionalism is different. Perceive professionalism is being (or acting like) someone you’re not to convey an image. I’m not convinced that to make true human connections that’s the best approach to take.

You see, I’m a bit strange…

I’ve got a feeling that for many “enjoyable and engaging” might be a better way to communicate than “somber and serious”

I reckon that most of our prospective clients would rather work with someone “Authentic” as opposed to “Corporate” (including weirdly, and only in my experience, many ‘corporate’ clients).

I also know that most good advisers know this stuff. They use it every day. Face to Face. With their clients, their staff and their professional connections.

So if these advisers are a bunch of diverse, interesting and engaging people why are so many of their firms websites, ‘marketing’ material and communications dull, dire and uninspiring?

Weirdly I’d also include my practices web site in this (I’m also guilty in certain respects of suffering from “Perceived Professionalism” too) and it’s something which is on my ‘to do’ list to look at for the new year.

If we’re looking to increase the level of trust in our profession maybe we’ve got to wake up and smell the coffee…

If Richard Branson is correct when he said “When running a business…the most important advertising asset you have is yourself” are we using all of our “Advertising Asset” (i.e. our personality, our uniqueness and our authenticity) to promote our businesses and the profession as a whole?….or are we just sticking with the status quo of pretending we’re something we’re not.?

Whatever your opinion, I’m far more interested in your thoughts than mine!

After all…

I’m just a bloke who spends some of his early evenings napping on his sofa.

With his girls laughing at him.

Covered in Silly String.

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8 thoughts on “Power Naps, Party Poppers and the misconception of “Perceived Professionalism”

  • Chris, this really made me smile.

    Having been told before to be less me and more professional/corporate I totally agree with your comments. I am not unprofessional, I hope those that know me would agree. But there is more to me than pensions and I hope some of my personality is why I connect with people.

    Being the real you is most important.

    Reply
    • Hi Claire,

      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad I made you smile!

      I’ve had a similar conversations to you in my career too….and surely making connections is a core skill of any professional!

      The more I think about this the more I think that all “Perceived Professionalism” does is get in the way!

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • Nice piece, Chris.

    We have cartoons of ourselves on our website, rather than the usual stiff photographs. I knew we were on the right lines when someone (not a client) gave us the feedback that ‘it didn’t look very corporate’. He meant it as a criticism, I took it as a compliment!

    Reply
    • Thanks Chris.

      I think the fact that the photos on the website don’t look particularly corporate IS a compliment!

      I like your website….the blogs are well written and have enough of a personal touch to be engaging…it makes me think you must write quite often! 😉

      Thanks for your comment….

      Reply
  • Chris, this really made me smile.

    Having been told before to be less me and more professional/corporate I totally agree with your comments. I am not unprofessional, I hope those that know me would agree. But there is more to me than pensions and I hope some of my personality is why I connect with people.

    Being the real you is most important.

    Reply
    • Hi Claire,

      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad I made you smile!

      I’ve had a similar conversations to you in my career too….and surely making connections is a core skill of any professional!

      The more I think about this the more I think that all “Perceived Professionalism” does is get in the way!

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • Nice piece, Chris.

    We have cartoons of ourselves on our website, rather than the usual stiff photographs. I knew we were on the right lines when someone (not a client) gave us the feedback that ‘it didn’t look very corporate’. He meant it as a criticism, I took it as a compliment!

    Reply
    • Thanks Chris.

      I think the fact that the photos on the website don’t look particularly corporate IS a compliment!

      I like your website….the blogs are well written and have enough of a personal touch to be engaging…it makes me think you must write quite often! 😉

      Thanks for your comment….

      Reply

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