Mark Zuckerberg – An example of the importance of Mirroring in what we wear

When Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the Senate it was noticeable for a number of reasons. The first one that jumped out at me was what he was wearing. I’m not a follower of Mark Zuckerberg. I admire his achievements, how couldn’t I, but I don’t follow him on Facebook. I seem him in the media from time to time, but I have never seen him in a suit.

I thought he was part of the Silicon Valley elite who never wear a suit because they don’t have to. He wears jeans and casual shirts. He’s the boss, so he can do what he likes.

Mirroring

Yet there he was in a suit. And a tie!

Why did he do this?

I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that he got good advice. Facebook got it wrong over data. He made a mistake and maybe even underestimated the hole Facebook is in.

So either he knew or someone told him. He needed to avoid coming across as the cocky ‘we don’t care’ Silicon Valley billionaire. He needed to appear contrite and in listening mode. Yes we got it wrong, but we’ve listened and we’re putting it right. And by the way there’s no need to legislate.

Of course what really matters is what he says, but what he looks like matters too. And it did.

He looked professional, serious and most of all like one of them. That’s what mirroring is all about. Look like them and they will think you are one of them. And if you’re one of them surely you can’t be that bad, can you?

They might have expected the cocky billionaire, but what they got was the concerned CEO. Fortunately for Mark Zukenburg he was better prepared than the Senators. He was on top of the detail. And even better for him the Senator’s questions were naïve, amateurish and of very poor quality. So he got off lightly. It could have been a lot worse.

No comment on what Facebook have done and probably are doing. Just on the choice of clothes of their brilliant CEO.