Owning It: The Clipboard Theory #IndustryTips


What is that thing some people have when they can walk into a room and immediately command attention?

I recently watched a fascinating interview with Dia Simms in which she spoke about the ‘clipboard theory’. Dia Simms is an American business executive, who is the president of Combs Enterprises working across Ciroc, Aqua Hydrate, and Bad Boy Entertainment.

In the Forbes interview Dia spoke about her experience as a promoter in her 20s. She realised that holding a clipboard whilst at a nightclub made people assume that she was working and would take her more seriously.

The concept behind the ‘clipboard theory’ is that by holding a clipboard you naturally take on the persona of a person in charge. The fact is people are inclined to follow orders from someone who shows a level of authority. It’s often said in business that nobody has a clue what they are doing and most are making it up as they go along. This is true for many situations in life, people respond to those who appear to have things under control.

The outer prop of a clipboard can instill confidence in others much like wearing a uniform or having a fancy title. Your view of yourself can also change based on the role you are put in, but why is this?

Firstly, an outward prop is not actually required. Even better than a clipboard is the ability to work from the inside out and take full control over how you see yourself. Self image is the invisible force that dictates your opinion of yourself. Cosmetic Surgeon and author of Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr Maxwell Maltz, described self image as the greatest psychological discovery of his generation.

Maltz was inspired to move from treating “outer scars” to “inner scars” after seeing how patients who underwent cosmetic surgery continued to feel unworthy and carry personal insecurities that were not cured by surgery. He found that scars that were removed from the face remained in the mind. How you see yourself starts with the self image you hold in your mind. A mirror can reflect your physical self, but how you feel about yourself is deeply embedded in your self image.

The ‘clipboard theory’ is a technique for stepping into an empowered self image. Imagine carrying a clipboard, looking sheepish, and not making any eye contact. It wouldn’t assert any authority would it? It would be the same as not holding a clipboard at all. A shift from carrying a clipboard to carrying yourself in a new way means to think different, feel different, and get different results. Mentally holding a clipboard gives you the self confidence to get noticed the moment you step into the room.

– Be positive
– Be confident
– Own it!