Dan and I were chatting last night about the gorgeous Maxwell Scott briefcase he reviewed, and he was surprised to hear I don’t carry a work briefcase. My office is business formal, so it would fit, but I was given rock solid professional advice once on why a briefcase isn’t the best choice for business meetings!
I work in a client facing business, meaning I often do face to face meetings. At a training early in my career, we were asked who had a nice bag or briefcase for meetings. Almost every hand went up, and the speaker said we should all ditch the bags. Here’s how she explained it: If you bring a bag to a meeting, you project an image that you have multiple meetings and customers that day. If you bring a pad, folio, or small carry case with just the materials for that meeting, you indicate that meeting is your only priority. One option makes you feel important; the other makes your customer feel important.
It is advice I have really taken to heart, because it makes complete sense. What makes you feel more comfortable: having your doctor walk in with just your file in hand, or having your doctor walk in juggling five files and saying “hang on, which one are you again?” You don’t have to be a doctor to know that making it clear how important your meeting is can make a big difference.