Yesterday was an ordinary Monday. I got up, showered, and got dressed. I picked out a golf shirt with a Microsoft logo on it. The shirt read, “Microsoft Application Developer.” It reflected a certification credential that I held that was long since obsolete. (I got my MCAD certification back when .NET was version 1.1.) Maybe some hardcore developers might not like that I wear the shirt, since it’s an older credential, and I don’t do a lot of application development work these days, but nevertheless, I still like the shirt.
Per my morning routine, I stopped at Cumberland Farms to get myself coffee and something for breakfast. The fellow behind the counter — whom I see regularly — saw my shirt and commented on it. He told me that he had a degree in IT security and was looking for opportunities. I gave him my business card and told him, drop me a line. Sure enough, he sent me an email last night. I responded back, telling him to check out our user group meeting on Monday evening and our upcoming SQL Saturday next month. I was happy to see that he RSVPed to our user group meeting. And I hope that he registers for SQL Saturday.
And this happened because I happened to wear my Microsoft shirt yesterday.
This wasn’t the first time that what I was wearing started a conversation, and it won’t be the last. I mention in my networking presentation that your own clothing can often be a conversation piece. I’ve gotten into countless conversations about databases, sports, my fraternity, my alma mater, CrossFit, music, and TV shows — all because of what I was wearing.
And in case you’re thinking that it was just because of polo shirts, T-shirts, and baseball caps, I’ve gotten into conversations because of my tie or lapel pin.
So if you’re looking to connect with people, consider what you wear. It might just be enough to break the ice.