Mad Men: 5 Things Discerning Gents Can Learn From Don Draper

Tonight Mad Men returns to UK screens, bringing the ubiquitous charm of the show’s main character Don Draper back into our lives. Over the past five seasons we’ve seen Don Draper wow us with his understated charisma, style and masculine influence. The man Don Draper is one who has the whole package – for women who want him and for the men who want to be him. Even now after 65 episodes there is still much we can learn for the show’s alpha male, and the next 13 episodes from season 6 will shed more light on his character traits.


Elysium Magazine knows all about Don Draper’s style credentials so here’s five elements every discerning gent should learn from Don Draper. These will help you flourish whatever the scenario – at work, at play and whenever the situation calls for it.


1.      Talismanic Talent

Don Draper is the Creative Director of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. More to the point he is the firm’s talisman and mercurial influence that sets the advertising agency apart from the many others on Madison Avenue. He has the insight, intelligence and quick mind that makes him a huge asset to the firm – and one that makes clients shell out big money to have him dazzle on their account.


Don Draper is like the star striker or genius midfielder of the football team and one that colleagues look to when they need that moment of inspiration as a catalyst to spur them on. You too can be a catalyst for your company – developing a specialist skill or talent in your area of expertise is one way to achieve this. Provide a function no one else can and you’ll soon be regarded as the MVP (Most Valued Player) in your team.


2.      Say More From Saying Less

Don Draper is known for his straight taking. Despite working in an industry known for its waffling ways Don can be trusted to deliver a message in the most concise and engaging way possible. He never feels the need to fill the air with words in an attempt to impress – more often it’s his silence that has a greater influence on the outcome than anything else.


The next time you have a presentation or speech to deliver consider using speech pauses to help give you the edge. Speech pauses are important as they help the audience understand you. They help to convey emotion and emphasise key points. In other scenarios rather than just say everything you’re thinking, do as Don Draper and consider only the most crucial point as the one you want to talk about.


3.      Surround Yourself With Talented People

Don Draper knows that he cannot (and would prefer not to) handle all the business functions of his firm. Despite his dislike of Pete Campbell he recognises his talent as a great account man and lets him juggle the clients’ needs. In Peggy Olson he saw much more than just a secretary hence her rapid promotion up the ranks. He knew what he had lost in his moment of sadness as his protégé Peggy left the firm in season 5. Delegation is critical to good business; for Don this leaves him to do what he is best at – being creative.


4.      Know Your Market

What makes Don Draper the best Creative Director in his industry is his ability to get into the minds of consumers and understand what they desire. Whether it’s a man trying to seduce women, selling the fantasy of luxury or a women entertaining dinner party guests – he can whittle down the exact need state they are in.


The same principles can be applied to other areas of business – knowing what your clients want or what will make your boss very happy helps you manage your very own market and can pay dividends when looking for that pay rise or promotion. But we’re not talking about the need of a crystal ball to predict what’s going to happen. Think of it more as foresight and the skill of anticipation – master these and reap the rewards.


5.      Hands-on Experience

Don is not all about cerebral expertise. If he needs to get his hands dirty we will without any shadow of doubt. Episode 5 from season 5 is a great example. During a dinner party hosted by Pete Campbell and wife Trudy the kitchen sink tap bursts. Pete panics and runs for a toolbox – Don on the other hand assesses the situation then acts quickly by taking his shirt off (no need to get a good shirt dirty) before covering the leak with a pan (stopping it spraying everywhere) and fixing the tap with his hands. All the women are in awe of his manly presence while Pete and Ken can only stand back and admire his handy work. A discerning gent is multi-talented and can use both his brain and brawn to best effect.


If you think there’s more to be learnt from Don Draper tell us – send us a Tweet or get in touch on Facebook.


Tune into Sky Atlantic tonight at 10pm for the première of Mad Men Season 6 and learn more about the man, and discerning gent, Don Draper.

Amit Chakravarty

Amit Chakravarty

Amit has a refined taste for all things luxury lifestyle, with a particular penchant for men’s style. He’s keen on the latest watches – especially classic timepieces, new drinks, luxury travel, fine dining, executive technology, new gadgets and sports for the discerning gent.