Masks and the Roles We Play In Business

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Halloween is not the only time that we put on masks and costumes and play out our chosen personalities. We actually do this every day in business.

You may not want to wear a dress or a tie and jacket everyday, but the role you play in your job dictates that you need to. Why do we do this? We want to create an image of professionalism. We watch our language and the words we choose, we speak nicely of others, and have the best of manners. We dress for the job that we want. Think about how you dress, act, and speak around your friends. It is probably completely different. When you step into the office, your professional role starts and you know this will get you ahead and you play the role perfectly.

Sometimes these roles or masks go beyond the attire. Sometimes we need to play the good guy or the bad guy or the tough guy. Sometimes we need to embrace being the boss. These are all roles that we may not be immediately comfortable in but are necessary to get the job done. We take a deep breath, put on masks and play that role in order to get through the day. Maybe we need to put on our happy face?

This all seems negative until we think about how we can use this to advance our career, our business, or to get the job done. Do you have a meeting with a big client and you are a small fish? Go in and play the role of a big vendor. What would a big vendor say? Clients want to know that you can heal their pain, fix their problems, and trust you in all that you do. So always say “we.” “We can help you,” “I am confident that we can solve your problem,” or, “We have worked with many companies like you.” Best part, it’s really all true.

Are you entering a room of people that you do not know? Slip on the mask that says, “Everyone here needs to know me.” Think about how the ultimate networker would work the room. Be that person! Need to speak in front of a group? Get ready for your best acting role yet as the amazing public speaker! Think about other public speakers you have seen present themselves. Now do that. You may be stepping out of your comfort zone, but if you see it as playing a role, wearing a mask, or sporting a costume and you are effective…people will believe.

This type of role-playing is the “fake-it-‘til-you-make-it” style of doing business. It will help you gain the confidence you need to move to the next level. And it will allow you to try out and exercise some skills that you may not have had realized you had in you. It will actually reveal the real you. Trick or treat!