Inc.com is fast becoming my favourite magazine website and this article has great relevance to retailing.
It concerns Angela Ahrendts who is Senior Vice President of Retail Strategy at Apple, a job she got after successfully steering a turnaround for luxury fashion brand Burberry.
Earlier in her career Angela had been sent to an executive coach to tone down her demeanour. Apparently she was prone to using her hands for talking (I can think of a few traders who do that) and that was considered unsuitable for upper executive levels.
Angela was very uncomfortable with the coaching and left the session early with a great quote borrowing from Shakespeare - “So, I just think, that to thyself be true.” She figured that she had got along fine just being herself so why change.
The lesson is clear and the relevance for retailing is compelling. We wrote recently on this website about the importance of personable, friendly relationships with your customers. Personal relationships are a significant advantage for small retailers particularly as a counter to the impersonal online world. Being yourself, being authentic, and perhaps waving your hands around can be a big plus - don’t hold back (but make sure you show your better self).