The following guest post is from a good friend and fellow Heretic Matej Novak, a copywriter with a deep passion for language and branding.
For years in the 1980s, the deodorant company Dry Idea ran a famous campaign with the tagline “Never Let Them See You Sweat.”
It was great. It tapped into a human insight about wanting to appear cool, composed and confident, even in the the most stressful of situations. And then it told people they could have that if they used a specific brand of deodorant (I bet it was a huge success for them).
It’s true that there are times you want, even need, to be seen as confident as possible, like everything is under control and that whatever happens, it’s exactly what you were expecting. But there are also times when showing that you’re vulnerable, fallible and (dare I say) human is the way to go.
It may seem counterintuitive, but showing that side of yourself can be incredibly powerful. More than that, it can actually give you power.
I don’t know about you, but when I look at someone in a position of authority, someone I look up to and respect, I respect them more when I see their apprehensions, their emotions or just their little character quirks. It makes them more relatable, which tells me that I can achieve the same things they have. And that makes their achievements all the more impressive, because I can imagine what it took for them to get there.
So the next time you step into a meeting — or really any room — think about who is walking through the door. Sometimes it’s OK to let them see you sweat.