• Karyl Eckerle

The Dirty Shoe Effect

Have you heard of the Dirty Shoe Effect?

Imagine this...

It's a beautiful, DRY, day and you're meeting with a rep that is looking to acquire your business.

They show up looking neat and professional...until you get to their shoes.

Their shoes are muddy, dirty - just plain filthy. And now you're distracted. Your mind starts wandering and wondering:

"What's up with their shoes? Why didn't they take the time to clean them? How could they miss that?"

Sounds minimal and trivial but it can have a lasting impact.

This is where confirmation bias rears its ugly head:

Confirmation bias, the tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs. This biased approach to decision making is largely unintentional and often results in ignoring inconsistent information. Existing beliefs can include one’s expectations in a given situation and predictions about a particular outcome. People are especially likely to process information to support their own beliefs when the issue is highly important or self-relevant. - Source: Brittanica.com

Confirmation bias gives us a moment of clarity...or does it?

In that particular moment, we think we have clarity. We quickly interpret or assess a situation and form an opinion. Are we interpreting correctly? Maybe. Maybe not.

Let’s get back to our story...

Your mind may be saying:

“Wow, if this person can't remember to clean up their shoes to meet a prospective client, what else are they going to forget to do?” or “Obviously, they’re not detail-oriented because they didn’t notice how filthy their shoes are.”

It may be that these statements couldn't be further from the reality of the other person's “truth." Unfortunately, our bias (largely unintentional) can get in the way and we may no longer see this person as the “right” person to move forward with.

A small oversight, such as not being fully prepared, can lead to a big disappointment...on both sides of the table:

  • The potential client may have disregarded the BEST person to partner with due to an unintended confirmation bias and, as a result, their goals may take will take longer to accomplish.

  • The rep may have lost an opportunity to meet their goals, grow their business and put money in the bank due to an unintended oversight

First impressions matter. And confirmation bias often plays a part - whether we realize it in the moment or not.

When you're getting dressed in the morning, when you're deciding on how to show up as a leader, take the time to make sure you pay attention to details. It's the small details that can help set you apart from your competition.

And if you're sitting on the other side of the desk, remember that confirmation bias may be clouding your judgement and keeping you from working with or hiring the best person for the job.

Please remember: this is not about being perfect (I can’t stress that enough.)

However, it is about taking the time hone your image and your personal brand so that your first impression lands the way the YOU want it to. Don't leave it to chance - take control!


Are you ready to work with a professional image and personal branding strategist to make a bigger IMPACT with your prospects and clients? Not sure where to start? Reach out to Michigan personal branding and image expert, Karyl Eckerle, by scheduling a complimentary discovery call.

Are you looking for more tips to increase your Image Impact™?

"This tiny tip book packs a big punch. Karyl's distilled her best material and curated it into bite-sized brilliance. If you're ready to make an impact in your career, grab a copy of Karyl's book" - Amelia "Mimi" Brown, Motivational Speaker

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