- The Washington Times - Monday, October 17, 2005

If you want to be famous, chances are you need to change your name. Chevy Chase was once Cornelius Crane Chase. Audrey Hepburn’s original name was Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston.

These stars modified their monikers, Michael Flocker says, because they understood the importance of presentation and packaging.

“In today’s society, presentation matters,” he said. “Packaging matters. There are secrets of the stars. The people who are standouts in the workplace and on the silver screen, they all have traits in common.”

Mr. Flocker, author of “The Metrosexual Guide to Style” and “The Hedonism Handbook,” reveals some of those secrets in his new book, “The Fame Game: Unlocking the Secrets of Stardom.”

Though portions of the book are meant to be tongue-in-cheek — such as the passages on generating the occasional attention-grabbing scandal — it also contains practical advice, Mr. Flocker said. Chapters on charisma, individuality and physical presence are meant to boost the reader’s profile in the workplace and enhance romantic relationships.

Tips range from confidence-boosting advice to practical guidance such as, “Always have somewhere else you need to be — another meeting, friends waiting, or ‘all the nominees need to go inside now.’”

Mr. Flocker argues that ordinary people no longer can afford to ignore the importance of presentation if they wish to be successful.

“In Darwinian terms, the wallflower is on the brink of extinction,” Mr. Flocker said. “You really can’t afford to hide in the background.”

Mr. Flocker relates that in 1993 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology incorporated a charm school into its curriculum. To upgrade the social skills of the school’s intellectually exceptional graduates, MIT introduced speech classes, ballroom-dancing lessons and etiquette courses. Some students even worked the runway at a fashion show.

“If MIT is helping fashion runway shows for these little techno-nerds, that shows you how far it’s gone,” Mr. Flocker said.

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