Image Matters: Dress to Impress

By: Speak-First.com, a Special to Overdrive

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society” Mark Twain.

At Speak First, we’re all about helping people to make the right personal impact. So we invited image coach Sue Donnelly to give you some essential tips on making a great first impression with your appearance…

No Second Chance to Make a First Impression

It might not be fair, but it’s certainly true, that there are no second chances in this fiercely competitive world to make a great first impression. For many, the knowledge they can do the job well is enough to guarantee success in their own minds but the truth is, unless you are a genius – in which case there is no need to read on – the way you look is often the decider when it comes to securing a new job, getting the sale, negotiating a contract and rising up the corporate ladder.Statistics differ but the assumptions we make about others happen within a few seconds of meeting. There is no factual reasoning behind our perception, but the impression made can be strong enough to take at least 20 further interactions for it to change in the perceiver’s mind. In today’s fast paced world, a negative first impression is something you can really do without.

Make Sure Your Clothes Say the Right Things About You

Clothing covers about 90% of our body. We can do very little about our genetics, though a woman has the advantage of cosmetics to help her, but it makes sense to take control of how we choose to adorn ourselves. Putting thought behind what you wear is not style over substance but the creation of a visual shorthand, enabling you to tell the world about who you are and what you stand for. The recession has made an impact already, with John Lewis and other retailers reporting incredible increases in the sale of ties as men do not want to be outdone by their counterparts.
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society” Mark Twain.

At Speak First, we’re all about helping people to make the right personal impact. So we invited image coach Sue Donnelly to give you some essential tips on making a great first impression with your appearance…

Be Authentic

Taking care of the outer appearance alone is not a guarantee of success. A shiny Bentley gives a first impression of a sleek, luxurious, high performance vehicle. Look under the hood and find a rusty, old engine and its performance cannot possibly live up to the standard expected. So the inner and outer messages must be both congruent and consistent. This is what builds reputation and, of course, this can be good or bad. We all have an image, whether we try or whether we don’t. Success is about creating the right one, one which is totally authentic. None of us want to be a clone.

What Are Your Brand Values?

To begin the process, you need to be clear about the message you are trying to communicate. Start by analyzing how you would like others to perceive you. Make a list of all the words you think describe you well then highlight the 5 or 6 that are most important to you. If unsure, check them out for authenticity by asking trusted colleagues, friends or family whether you are currently expressing these traits in your everyday life. These words will become your brand values and will need to be reflected in everything you do from now on.

Categories: EO News general Human Resources

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