I am back! Without going into great detail I will tell you why I did not put the last two blogs on line. I lost my Internet. I know I could’ve found other ways to write the blog but I had other commitments. In addition, the blog I started to write was about the images of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that can change daily.


I will summarize what I was going to say. First of all, both of them use image to their advantage. Hillary is consistent, she wears a pantsuit or outfits that look like pantsuits but with her credibility problem she is not consistent enough. Hillary Clinton by wearing pantsuits all the time has made the pantsuit acceptable executive attire almost everywhere. The wearer is seen as feminine but powerful. Mrs. Clinton’s choice of colors and patterns are very traditional even conservative which adds to her power but like most amateurs, she makes unnecessary mistakes. Those mistakes can be costly.


On one occasion, I saw her speaking behind a podium and she looked very presidential. She appeared to be wearing a very traditional suit or at least a very traditional jacket which I expected would be coordinated with very nice pants. When she finished speaking she walked from behind the podium and she was to everyone’s surprise wearing a coat that almost came down to the ground. Aesthetically it is not a bad outfit but it nonverbally announced that she was inconsistent, which is one of the telltale signs that the speaker is not telling the truth. She should wear nothing but pantsuits in traditional power colors.


When Trump first announced he was going to run, I wondered how he could overcome his billionaire image which he had to do because his constituents are mainly lower middle-class males who had lost their jobs, their homes and their lives to foreign competition. I was still thinking about how he might do it when he showed up wearing a baseball cap and all of a sudden he was one of them. Like Hillary’s pantsuit it was a great political image.


However, his attempt to look presidential for the general election has been a disaster. He has to appeal to both his base and the general public. When he speaks at one of his rallies the baseball cap is a must but when he speaks at the Republican convention he should dress like the most conservative middle-class Republican in the world. A navy blue suit a white shirt and a solid navy or maroon tie should be the uniform of the day. He will get in trouble if he trusts his upper-class taste. No matter how much he is tempted by his upper class taste, he cannot change the ties I suggested even slightly. All very rich people think that their taste is better than others but it’s not, it’s just different. Outfits worn by the very wealthy often send negative messages to the general public . So I will repeat my message to Donald, do not, do not use any other ties.


I would not advise Trump on what to say but on how to say it when talking to The Republican Convention. His speech must have a limited number of messages, be delivered by a Harvard graduate who sounds like a Harvard graduate. And most important it must have an internal beat or rhythm which can only be written by someone who understands the persuasion of poetry. He must not only be presidential but powerful and persuasive and rhythmic presentations are the most persuasive.. The best example of this is Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.




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Dear Mr. Molloy:


I am enraged, I have been writing to you for over three years and you finally used one of my letters.  You notice I said used not answered because that is exactly what you did.  You took what was basically my letter, which asked two questions and answered only one of them.  I would not have written to you if I knew you were going to change my wording and decide which of my questions was worthwhile.  Only I should make that decision and I believe both questions were intelligent and worthy of an answer.

A Former Fan


Dear Fan:


The reason I didn’t say former fan is I hope to win you back with my answer.  I will start by telling you, you are absolutely right.  I did answer only one of your questions and I think you’ll understand when I tell you why.


The fact is the readers choose the questions or at least the subject matter.  I read most if not all letters sent to me and if I think they deal with an interesting topic I file them according to subject matter.  When I see many readers are inquiring about the new lighter and brighter colors now found in executive ties.  I cover that topic in this blog.


As for answering all your questions, I sometimes received letters containing 20 and 30 questions, some of which would require new research to answer.  If I answered every question from everyone,  I would spend the rest my life writing this blog, and nothing else.  And of course I would be dead broke, research is very expensive.


Since you must wonder why your earlier letters were not answered.  I’ll list some reasons for not answering letters.  I don’t reprint or answer letters with misleading or misinformation.  For example, if a writer says that executives wear $700 and $800 suits and since he cannot afford one of those, he doesn’t stand a chance.  The truth is most executives do not spend that much for their suits and anyone who follows my advice can get ahead even if they don’t spend a great deal on their wardrobe.  So I reject that letter.


I also ignore letters with very broad statements not backed up by specific references, for example, I read a letter the other day that said “The business world is ruled by men wearing suits.”  While that is a true statement,  I don’t think I should print it without pointing out that since Steve Jobs took over Apple, successful high-tech entrepreneurs have built multibillion dollar companies without wearing suits.



Finally, I prefer not to deal with political questions.  The country is very divided and I want all of you to read this blog and my books.


Please write.  I love your questions and I do use them.  Without you, there is no blog.  Your letters not only give me my questions but  my inspiration.


Dear Mr. Molloy:


My wife recently attended a fashion seminar at a local department store.  She said the fashion show of women’s clothing was wonderful but she wanted to know what I thought of their choice of patterns and colors in menswear.  She took pictures of all the models male and female.


The first one showed a man wearing a paisley tie with ar plaid shirt.  She said the expert told them that it was perfectly all right if it was warn with a solid suit.  The tie was rather busy and I don’t think it worked.  The only thing the store expert was against is wearing three patterns at the same time.  She said that never worked.


I often wear three patterns at the same time and I believe they work.. I should point out that I am a lawyer who works in a very conservative office.  90% of my wardrobe consist of traditional conservative outfits.  In addition, I have read your book and follow your advice most of the time.


R.T. Buffalo, New York


Dear R.T.:


I think I agree with you.  But there is no way I can be sure without seeing the garments.  If you wear a pinstripe suit and pinstripe shirt with subtle designs and your paisley tie is non-directional, as almost all paisley ties are, there is a real possibility your outfit works.


The rule is never two patterns that clash, which usually means two strong patterns, next to each other.  If you wear a plaid shirt, the only way you can guarantee you will not clash is to wear a solid tie.  There are very few exceptions to that rule.

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This is actually two blogs this week’s and next week’s but I thought they worked better together.


Dear Mr. Molloy:


My boss called me into his office today and told me I had better change my style  of management or I would not get the next promotion which is his job when he leaves.

He said that the executives thought that I played favorites that would create problems for the company if I were managing the entire department.  At present, I’m an assistant manager and I have 28 people working for me while I would have 162 people if I became department head.


The only thing I have going for me is my annual and semiannual reviews and the profits I made for the company. I have worked here for 27 years and never had a bad word said in one review including the last six which were written by the man I think is trying to stop me from getting his job. He claimed that women were more likely to play favorites than men, that is pure nonsense I know I don’t play favorites. He said once employees were convinced that their boss was playing favorites they were not willing to sacrifice their time or effort for the company. If that were so I would not be running a very effective section.


I work for a semi-casual company. The executives wear suits all the time and if I were to get that job I would be expected to dress rather formally. At present, every woman in my department wears good quality dress pants and blouses. When we have an important meeting we slip on a jacket. I’ve heard you say that you should dress for the job you want not the job you have.  I’m wondering what I should wear to the next meeting of department heads and assistant department heads. It is important because I intend to challenge my male chauvinist boss who is trying to keep me from moving into the executive ranks.


Dear Future Executive:


When I read your letter I recognized one phrase, “they were not willing to sacrifice their time or effort for the company.” I could not lay my hands on a copy of the study but I know it came from a report I was involved in over 20 years ago. A  Fortune 500 Corporation  received a number of complaints saying that some of their bosses played favorites and one letter said it made it hard for her to work overtime and do extra assignments knowing she would not get the praise that the bosses favorites received.


After they looked into her complaint, they found several women working for the same woman manager had the same complaint. So they called in that manager and talked to her. She claimed she didn’t have favorites but sometimes she praised those who did excellent work.  They assigned several researchers to see if the problem was common. They reported that not only was the problem common but 93% of the complaints were made by women and over 71% were made against women executives. After these interviews they concluded once the women employees felt this way it was almost impossible for them to sacrifice for that manager, that department or the company. When the researchers talked to these women executives, they almost universally denied having favorites. These very effective women executives explained they complemented those who worked hard and produced extraordinary results. They also said whether it was true or not it affected the company and the bottom-line and suggested they hire fewer women executives.


It was at this point they hired me to run a focus group with successful women managers. The first thing that surprised me was they were not outraged at the suggestion that women had problems dealing with their female bosses and the second thing was a majority admitted that women were more likely to play favorites than men. That assertion was attacked by two women.  Three of those who said that women bosses played favorites backed up their assertion by saying it  was

While it is not strictly a woman’s problem it is almost universally women complaining about women bosses.Whether their complaints are based on fact is of little consequence if they believe them

based on personal experience. Each had worked for a woman who had favorites and they were not in the favored group. One left the company where she worked for nine years while the other two arranged to be transferred to different departments. All were convinced if they had not been able to move they never would’ve made it into the executive suite.


When I handed in my report they were very unhappy . They assumed I would give them a report they wanted and for which they were willing to pay big bucks. They told me if I rewrote the report I could name my own price. They told me they wished I had never  written my report.  I handed them back their check, picked up the report and recommended a research firm who would write anything they wished. There are  research firms who make a profit doing just that.


When your letter arrived I realized that the problem still existed and no one had done anything about it, so I decided to give it a shot.  I contacted a group of women executives and explained it to them what I was after and asked if their members would be willing to help me try to solve the problem. I had more volunteers than I needed.


My first step was to meet with six women who knew one woman in their department who thought they were playing favorites. They set out to win her over by various methods because they were in different fields. One called the woman and asked if she’d stay late and help her finalize an important report. She said you know men are sloppy and I need a woman for this.  Then she gave her the report and went to dinner. When she returned the report had improved,  The woman had made copies for each member of the board, put them in nicer folders, increased the size of the type just slightly and made two minor grammatical corrections. The second woman ran an engineering department and her subordinates were mainly men. She told the young woman that she was a gifted mathematician but like most women more careful than men. She then instructed her to take home projects every weekend and check the math. Over the next three weeks she gave her several similar assignments and publicly thanked her for doing them. She did not become a friend she became a fan.  The third woman ran an advertising firm and was thinking of firing a woman who worked for her for seven years partially because she constantly complained about not being treated fairly.  The agency head gave her one of the largest contracts they had and told her to make a presentation on Monday. She said she expected to fail which would give her an excuse for getting rid of her.  The young woman understood that she would be handling one of the firms biggest clients but it had to be ready to go next week.  On Monday she gave the best presentation the agency head had ever heard. She did not have to fake a response the young woman was immediately a star in the company and within a year she was a rising star in the industry.


These three plus three more had a positive outcome. The six successes spoke to 20 women who volunteered for our project. The six who had succeeded gave the following advice; work with individuals never with groups, complement them about something they do fairly well, give them real responsibility,  insist on top-notch work  and complement them publicly when they succeed. Once the session that lasted less than an hour was over we sent them on their way,

Of course, we asked them to report their successes and failures . In the next three months we received dozens of positive reports and a half a dozen negative ones. I don’t know why most succeeded but a few failed but in the future I’ll find out. When I do I’ll report to you.


I can tell you that two thirds of the women managers made friends and in some cases fans by increasing the work load and the expectations of complaining employees.  They not only changed their attitude but improved their performance.  Several said they thought the experience had made them more thoughtful and better managers. I hope it does the same for you.


Good luck!







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Dear Mr. Molloy:

I’ve been a salesman for the last three months and I’m just learning the business. The top sales trainer just quit and went to work for another company as a salesman. There were rumors that he was fired but he told us the reason he was moving was he wanted to go back to sales and I believe him. Obviously, he made more money as a top salesperson than he did as a trainer.

I only went to two of his training sessions but I hung on every word and learned quite a bit. The new trainer they are hiring to replace him has never been a top producer, so how can he possibly train salespeople. I’ve been reading your blog for over a year and you said that you often formed groups to discuss problems. I’m wondering if you could form a group of top salespeople and ask them how they go about selling? If you would print their answers in this blog I would appreciate it.

Name and address withheld

Dear Future Salesperson:

It’s obvious that you are very new to sales or you would understand that most sales training is designed to get the average and below-average salesperson io imitate top salesmen and as a result sell more of the company’s products. The only problem with that is it doesn’t work. Most top salespeople have no idea what makes them top performers. Often they base their advice on their own experience and that is why one will tell you that knowing your product really well is the key to sales, while the second will tell you that going into technical detail will turn off most buyers and the third will assure you that it’s neither of those factors but how you dress when you are selling that is critical to success.

In fact, all three are telling the truth from their perspective. If you talk to top salespeople they usually admit when they first got into sales they had problems but they overcame them. One will tell you how by studying his product and the top competitors products he was able to convince clients to purchase his. Another will tell you that his method is the KISS method “Keep it Simple Stupid”. While the third will tell you that image is everything. The reason they tell you this is when they changed one aspect of their presentation their sales shot up. A simple fact proven again and again by research is most sales are made or killed when you walk through the buyers door. To make a positive impression you must look like a relaxed, friendly, competent, confident, professional and the top salespeople were telling you that other factors are really critical because they have always looked relaxed , confident, competent and friendly so they skip over those because they came naturally.

I am now finishing a book on popularity and preparing to write a book on sales. I have all the information I need, I simply have to update it. The reasons I didn’t write a book before this is when I wrote “Dress for Success” there were literally hundreds of imitators many of whom are still in business today, most of whom do not know what they are talking about. That created two problems first they were given consulting jobs because they worked for less and when I approached the companies who used them, they told me they tried dress for success and it didn’t work. The reason it didn’t work was my imitators put their own spin on the results of my research and once they did it was no longer valid, which put in question the whole concept of dress being an important factor in success. Since I was making a very nice living speaking on sales, I decided not to share my research with the world but since I’m no longer traveling around the country speaking I will share it with you on this blog in the near future.

Please don’t dismiss your new trainer because he was never a top performer. Every superstar from Babe Ruth to Mickey Mantle wanted to be a team manager. However, when star players were hired as managers most failed miserably. The great managers were usually third-rate players who studied every aspect of the game while the superstars were usually so talented they didn’t have to understand the game to be great. Classic example of this was Ted Williams who constantly talked about studying the game but I do not think that was the reason he was a great player. During World War II he became a fighter pilot and of course took the three tests necessary to be a fighter pilot. His reflexes were so good that he still owns the record in one of those tests. Add to that two facts, first the great managers were rarely great players and second when companies put superstar salespeople in charge of sales forces, sales usually dropped. That is why you should give your new sales trainer a fair shot, past experience indicates he is more likely to train you to sell than most top producers.

I’m now preparing to write “Popularity and Sales.” . In it, as an all my other books, I will not give my personal opinion b ut advice that is based on research. I can tell you now it’s the far different from anything you’ve ever read about sales. If you’re in sales it’s a must read.

Until then, good luck!

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Dear Mr. Molloy:



I am an electrical engineer who is 6”1′ and weighs 230 pounds. I weighed 181 pounds when I got married less than four years ago.  I did not notice how quickly I was gaining weight, it sort of snuck up on me.   I’m writing you because my direct supervisor expects to move into the executive suite in about a year. He is being promoted and he is planning to put me in his position because we work well together. However, the other day he called me into his office and told me that I would have to lose weight. .He explained that it would be easier to move me up if I looked trim and in shape. The company is run by a man 55 and about 20 pounds overweight but the executive suite is peopled by fitness addicts.  There is a very well equipped gym for the executives and their staffs and one third of the executives go to the gym at least three times a week.


I am going on a diet but I need advice. I went out last week, purchased several diet books and read them.  I do not think one of them is suited to my needs.  My problem is I am obliged to take at least two clients to lunch every week.  My boss likes me because I am not your typical engineer. I am friendly and very social. Most of the people I meet like me and so do most clients.  In my opinion, that is the primary reason I am being considered for this promotion.  Since I am going to continue to take clients to lunch, I would appreciate it if you could suggest a diet plan.


A Dieter


Dear Dieter;

Research shows that men who are more than 10% overweight and women who are more than 14% overweight  are less likely to be successful than their trimmer counterparts.  That’s because our society puts an emphasis on being trim and we have been conditioned to think that thin people are more intelligent, harder working and more productive than their overweight coworkers.  Heavy people must continually prove themselves while their trimmer friends are often given a pass.


Many executives have the same problem as you. While penalizing the overweight, companies give people like you expense accounts and insist that they take clients to lunch.  This can be a significant problem for people like myself who have a tendency to gain weight. However, a number of the executives I questioned who have a similar problem said they had learned to manage it.


Over 30 years ago I conducted a study on how being overweight impacted careers in six companies.  The results convinced me that every extra pound decreased a person’s chances of moving up in corporations.  I have since changed my mind.  We recently found that women executives particularly those over 40 could be as much as 20% overweight without negatively impacting their careers.  In fact in some cases it actually helped them compete with men.  It made them appear more formidable and authoritative to men.  However, for added weight to help a woman’s image, it has to be evenly distributed. If those extra pounds went to her belly or butt, it made it more difficult for her to be seen as an effective leader.


We interviewed 62 executives, 26 of whom said they were on a lifetime diet.  If they didn’t diet or watch what they ate they tended to put on the pounds.  There are two solutions for this problem, first, eat less or at least avoid foods that put on the pounds and the second exercise.  Almost 1/3 of the business people we questioned said if they exercised regularly they could eat almost anything or at least some of the foods they liked without gaining weight.  That’s probably the reason that many of the executives at your husband’s company show up at the gym three times a week.


Based on these interviews I advise you to go on a lifetime diet.  What that means is don’t diet this week and come off the next.  The lifetime dieters who were successful cheated regularly.  What they didn’t do is come off the diet the minute they cheated.  If they have steak and potatoes for lunch they don’t say to themselves, I am off the diet today so I will have two desserts tonight.  That is the thinking of someone who gains weight.  Successful dieters say,  I cheated but the cheat is over and I’m back on the diet.


The next piece of advice will have doctors writing in from all over America telling me I am mistaken.   Nevertheless, I must report that 23% of the more successful dieters did not eat breakfast. Many said they had coffee for breakfast but only coffee and they did not eat until lunch.  Not only do they take in fewer calories, they found that breakfast acts as an appetizer.  Once they had breakfast they were hungry by 10 or 11 o’clock and starving at lunch.


A majority of the successful dieters were fish eaters.  They ordered fish most of the time they went to restaurants.  One of the reasons they did this is they took the menus of their favorite restaurants and tried to estimate how many calories are in each meal and each part of each meal.  That is why they hardly ever eat bread and butter when their at table and usually have vegetables as a side instead of  starches.  And of course when they have to choose between soup  or salad they always choose a salad.


Successful dieters hardly ever order dessert and a majority avoid all sugar.  They use artificial sweeteners whenever they can, most often with their favorite drink, unsweetened ice tea.  Successful dieters are often teetotalers or severely limit their intake of alcohol.


Finally, don’t run out and start dieting. Most young men and many young women think they are young and healthy and can do anything. Unfortunately, that is not always true. Before anyone goes on a diet they should check with a doctor and in your case since you gained weight so quickly I suggest you look for one who specializes in weight loss.





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Dear Mr. Molloy:

I am writing you from Honolulu Hawaii while sitting on my balcony overlooking the ocean while most my fellow engineers rooms are on the other side of the hotel with a view of the street. Getting a room on the side of the hotel is a sure sign that my bosses appreciate my work.

I just came from a presentation where the speaker told us that to get ahead in corporate America you have to kiss up. He did not say those words but that was his message. When I asked him where he got his information he said your blog. I disagree with you. While I treat most people very well most of the time, I do not put up with nonsense or stupidity. When I see either I speak up.

In my opinion the first and most important rule is if you want your boss to like you, it’s necessary to be very smart and a good worker. My IQ puts me in the top 1% of the population and I get most of my projects done on time. It is not necessary to do anything else.

                                                                          A Genius

 Dear Genius:

You’re right the first rule if you want your boss to like you is to be a very good worker. Our research showed that bosses often like people liked by others. However, there are exceptions to that rule, and one of the few exceptions to the rule was Hank. He worked with a team of fourteen engineers in the aerospace industry. When I interviewed those engineers and their supervisor the first time, Hank’s fellow employees were not too happy with him. They found him obnoxious, pushy, arrogant, and sometimes rude. He made a habit of showing off how bright he was, often at the expense of others, and some people never forgave him for it. Hank was a mathematical whiz.

When I spoke to the team leader he said that he liked Hank because he got the job done. If they had a mathematical problem, Hank would solve it, usually as they explained it to him. The boss went on to praise Hank. He told of one occasion when Hank was flipping through a project that was about to be finalized and he spotted a mistake in the figures. They had to stay up all night and reconfigure the entire project. The boss said if Hank had not noticed the mathematical error, the company would have had a serious problem, and it could have negatively affected its relationship with a major client. He concluded, “Hank is a wonderful employee and I like him very much.”

In their department engineers were regularly reassigned when they finished a project. They did not necessarily work for or with the same people. I returned to interview a second group of engineers a year later. I found that the same manager had Hank on his team but when I questioned him this time he was very critical of his mathematical genius. He described Hank using the same unpleasant terms as his co-workers had used a year earlier. I asked the manager when he discovered that Hank was a difficult employee, he said, “I always knew he was, but I needed him. Hank was the mathematical whiz who held this team together.” I asked what had changed, and he said a new engineer was as good with math as Hank and was a nice fellow. Keep in mind, if you are a genius but unpleasant, the minute the next genius comes along, your boss may get rid of you. That is what happened to Hank.

Keep in mind. if there are 500 employees in your company statistically five of them will have an IQ similar to yours. If you have 500 engineers you are likely to find more than five in the top 1% because engineers tend to have above-average intelligence. There’s no question your high IQ is an asset but with your attitude you seem to be turning it into a liability. That is not something a really bright person would do.

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Dear Mr. Molloy:


I am a salesman for a software consulting firm. I sell generic software, programs that have been developed for specific industries or specific companies and consulting services that are necessary to activate and maintain them. We recently developed programs for an industry which is dominated by women. In most cases we have to sell our services first to the technical people who are usually male and then to management where a substantial percentage of the decision-makers are women.


I’m not complaining I just made two of the largest sales in my career. I thought when I left their office they were not going to buy but they surprised me. At our last sales meeting I admitted I did not know how I made these sales and asked if someone could explain the difference between men and women buyers. I wanted information on how to approach women buyers but the trainers didn’t give me useful information. When I complained they said find someone who spoke on the subject and they would be glad to hire them. I was told by one of my fellow salesmen you cover that subject in your sales presentation. Are you available as a speaker.



St. Paul Minnesota


Dear G.M.:


I’m not available for at least three months, I am finishing two books. However, since you need the information right away, I will give you a synopsis version here.


Today, since women have moved into the corporate world in large numbers any sales course that does not take into account the sex of the buyer and the sex of the seller is missing one of the most critical elements in successful selling.


Any man who has ever gone shopping with a woman and stood there while she goes through an entire rack of clothing one piece at a time knows that she looks at the world differently than he. If you asked her why she does that she will tell you she has to see everything before making a decision. Women are comparative shoppers and bargain hunters. When they purchase for a corporation, they bring the same approach to that undertaking they do to any other purchase.


When a man goes into a clothing store to purchase a suit, most of the time, he will walk over to the suits, look for his size, and in less than 15 minutes picks one out and tries it on. A majority of his time is spent waiting for the tailor, being measured by the tailor and paying for the suit. When most men purchase a shirt or a tie. they spend a minute or two looking at their choices, before picking one up, and taking it to the cashier.


Women insist on looking at all the products before making a decision. To make a comparison they often ask detailed questions. If you don’t know the answer tell them you will find out. Do so as quickly as possible and call them. Then fax them, women love documentation.


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Dear Mr. Molloy:

I have been working six months as a real estate salesman I have sold before and I thought I would have no trouble selling real estate but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Three days after I arrived you spoke at our national sales conference and I listened carefully. You spoke about getting buyers to commit.


Getting a commitment from the buyers is not my problem, when I get back to the office getting them to make a down payment is where my sales often go up in smoke. I have one of the better sales records but I would be the top salesman if I did not lose sales after I made them. I’ve tried everything from serving coffee and snacks to purchasing padded seats for oak chairs in the conference room.


 (At this point I thought the problem might not be Jack but the company’s conference room, so I emailed him and asked him to send me a picture of the room.)


It showed me a small conference room with a square oak table with matching oak chairs similar to those you find in a kitchen. The conference room was designed by the boss who thought clients would be at ease in the conference room that reminded them of their kitchen.



                                                              San Francisco


Dear Jack:


I am afraid your boss was wrong but don’t tell him, instead give him a copy of this blog. Around 30 years ago I was hired to speak at a meeting of the New York Realtors Association in the Catskills. I wasn’t speaking five minutes when I noticed a small group in the back of the room talking to each other. I immediately went into high gear, I assumed I lost them and was determined to win them back. For an hour and a half I used every trick in the book. I walked into the audience asked them questions and had them demonstrate points I had just made. When that didn’t work, I demonstrated body language and I finally told humorous stories and asked the type of questions that elicited responses from the audience.  I had the audience laughing, clapping, cheering and having a wonderful time and while I captured most of them two or three talked no matter what I did.


I thought I had failed as a speaker but obviously I had not. As a direct result of that speech I received 158 offers to speak to real estate people all over the country. Of course I started researching real estate sales.  Among other things, I discovered that most real estate firms at that time had poorly designed conference rooms.


To gather the data we placed cameras in over 40 conference rooms. The first thing we found was that clients who were relaxed were more likely to buy. When we looked for ways to relax them we discovered that traditional square or rectangular tables separated the buyers and sellers and led to confrontational conversations. When we put oval tables and comfortable swivel chairs in conference rooms which allowed clients to move without leaving the table, sales increased.  That is why in most real estate offices today you will find oval tables even though they’ve never heard of my research. In addition we discovered that if the client sat with their backs to the door they were defensive, however, if you sat them facing the door while the real estate people took seats with their backs to the door the buyers were more relaxed.


Conference rooms should be painted white or light beige to give a feeling of openness. When they are painted darker or stronger colors about a third of the clients felt closed in or trapped. This was even true when there was one wall with a strong accent color. The feeling of being closed in was particularly strong when the clients were used to having open spaces around them. In Alaska,  most of the West and in rural sections on the East Coast when we tested conference rooms with large windows with a view they relaxed almost everyone particularly those who felt trapped.



If this blog can convince your boss to invest in an oval table, comfortable swivel chairs and  paint the conference room, you and everyone else who uses that room should find it easier to ask for and get commitment from clients.


Good luck!






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Dear Mr. Molloy:


Jeff is our only child and I have always been proud of him but never as much as recently. He was a C student in grade school and junior high and then without warning and without spending hours in his room studying he became a straight A student and maintained a straight A average in high school. In addition in his senior year he has earned two full scholarships to top engineering schools. When I asked him why he went from C’s to straight A’s he said he found the girls like guys who got straight A’s if they weren’t too nerdy.


I am writing you because I am not proud of his latest decision. He wants to get a tattoo because girls like guys with tattoos. I hope you can convince them he’s making a very bad mistake. I am in the construction business where tattoos are common but I won’t hire anyone covered with them. I find them unreliable and often they have criminal histories.


 You’re the only one who has a chance of changing his mind. He reads your blog and has read several of your books and is a fan. He says with your help he is going to become president of a big company or partner in a top law firm.


Please address your reply to him.


                                                                             Jeff’s father


Dear Jeff:


While tattoos are found attractive by some women they turn off others, so it depends on which type of women you want to attract.  Since I often hire college students to run surveys I visit a lot of college campuses and the one thing I’ve noticed is in the better schools students are less likely to have tattoos. I’m not saying that you won’t find tattoos at Harvard but they will not be common.


Tattoos like body language, clothing, and speech patterns send a socio-economic message. Today while they are mainly an indicator of class or lack of it they were in the not too distant past associated with motorcycle gangs and prison and in some minds still are. I realize they are popular with young people today but if you wish to attract well educated, successful women you will be more successful without one.  We interviewed 67 college women who were studying to be professionals and most said tattoos were turn offs.


Even more significant was the women who said they would date men with tattoos commented about the size, the location and the subject matter of acceptable tattoos.  65 out of 67 would not date a man covered with tattoos, or who was tattooed in an inappropriate place, on his face, neck etc. or who had unacceptable designs or messages.


Finally, if you are serious about moving ahead in business tattoos can and often will kill your career before your interview starts. I spoke to nine men and women who interviewed students. All nine said it can keep you out of most public contact positions especially those where you will be interacting with clients. Remember corporate America’s first rule is never do anything that even  might negatively affect the bottom line and since tattoos do offend some people if you have one you will be eliminated for consideration for most executive positions.


Do not get one and if you already have an unacceptable tattoo even though it requires a long, expensive, and uncomfortable procedure, start immediately preparing to get it removed.          





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Dear Mr. Molloy

You are scheduled to speak at my company in June. When I heard the topic of your speech I was astounded. I thought you’d be speaking on dressing for success which for someone in my position would be a waste of time but actually are speaking on popularity which is a complete waste of time for a scientist who works by himself.


I have two PHDs one in biochemical engineering which has now become my life’s work. I spend the vast majority of my time working in my own lab. When I first came here I was given an assistant but I got rid of him. I prefer to work alone. I believe most scientific breakthroughs are made by one person not by a team which makes my ability to get along with others inconsequential. Nevertheless, my boss insists I attend to your lecture because he maintains Thomas Edison not only helped develop the concept but proved the efficiency of scientific teams.


I don’t believe you can give me any reason I should come to your lecture. However, my director asked me to write to you and get your input.


Name and address withheld


Dear Biochemical Engineer:


I admit that great Great researchers are often pictured working alone late at night in their laboratories and most people believe that is in fact what they do. They are looked upon by most as outsiders. Society has one or two visions of brilliant scientists and both put them outside normal society. The first is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein who worked alone in a dark isolated castle and was attacked with pitchforks by the local townspeople. The second are the socially inept nerds on the TV show The Big Bang Theory. There is an element of truth in both portrayals, however, neither is even close to being an accurate picture of real scientists.


A study years ago on what made scientists at a major research laboratory effective found among other things that those who had friends where they worked often were more productive and believe it or not more creative. The reason is simple: Let’s say a physicist, while studying the far reaches of the universe, runs across a problem dealing with chemistry. A popular physicist with a number of friends at the research center could just drop in on a chemist and ask him what he thought. A less popular physicist with few friends would have to make an appointment with a relative stranger in the chemistry department and even then the chemist would not be as likely to give him as much time or consideration as he would a friend. The researchers concluded that a scientist’s ability to bring others into his circle of friends can be and often is critical to his success.


Before this study, it was the opinion of most managers of research facilities that if a candidate for a research position was socially inept, it made no difference. While technical expertise is critical to making breakthroughs in most if not all fields, the ability to connect with others can often be an important factor.  This is not a shock to most scientists today, but it was to the people who paid for the research the early 60s.  A number of managers of scientific research projects told me that until they read the research on the advantage of having friends within a research organization, they sought people who shut off the world, because they believed that the world interfered with deep thinking.  Some still hold this belief, because there is an element of truth in it. However, most of the people who hire or manage researchers today favor those with impressive educational and scientific backgrounds but some are beginning to look at those who are in addition sociable.


I personally believe that both have a point. Edison while he believed in teamwork was a creative thinker and problem solver. One day he told one of his scientists to find the volume of an irregularly shaped container. When he came back the scientists was measuring it and doing calculations. When Edison saw that he filled it with water then for poured it into a standard container and said that should make it easier. Edison did not waste his time doing the calculations for the volume of a standard container, he told his assistant to do it.  Which proved he was a genius and teamwork made him more efficient.







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