Dress To Impress, Not Depress
Success is a series of interlocking pivotal choices. From practicing good oral hygiene to the very phone in your pocket, we each make hundreds of choices each day that “dress” ourselves for successes or failures. What choices are you making, and are they dressing you to impress or depress those around you?
Body Language: Your Best Friend Or Biggest Foe
Most business-minded people pay careful attention to their clothing choices, ensuring it’s their power color, the right style, and so forth. But, we often forget that we dress ourselves in something equally as powerful each day. It’s called body language, and you better be paying attention to this secret weapon if you want to be successful.
Body language is non-verbal communication. Others observe your posture, mannerisms, facial expressions, and eye contact as clues to who you are and cues for how their interactions with you will go.
Nonverbal communication is the part of your look that immediately either sends up red flags or lays down the welcoming mat before you ever say a single word.
Think about the power of nonverbal communication. One service desk has an employee slumped over, arms folded, looking down, and sighing loudly. The other service desk has an employee standing at attention, making eye contact, and sporting a warm smile. Which desk would you want to visit?
Learn to use body language to your advantage. Harnessing it correctly will lead onlookers to automatically associate you with openness, professionalism, friendliness, helpfulness, and many other business-friendly attributes.
Self-Respect And Self-Worth Are Staples For Your Wardrobe
We all know that clothing is an expression of individuality, but it’s also indicative of how you really feel about yourself.
Ever wonder why some people wear black all the time or tend to wear their clothing too baggy? We tend to dress to correlate with our moods and self-worth.
As nonverbal communication demonstrated above, even the most expensive and extraordinary outfit isn’t a barrier against letting our true feelings seep through the seams. Take steps to ensure you feel the part as much as you look it.
You’ll also want to ensure you’re donning your self-respect each time you enter your closet. After all, if you don’t respect yourself, then how can you expect anyone else to do it, much less believe that you’ll respect them?
As you put your clothes on, make sure the look is conveying the right professional image. Nothing should be too tight nor loose, too short nor long, too modest nor too risqué, or any other extreme that could be wrongly interpreted as unprofessional.
Pay attention to the details that show you respect yourself – cleaning and ironing your clothing, grooming, oral hygiene, polishing your shoes, and so forth.
Don’t Let Accessories Ruin The Deal
Accessories make or break your business look. Too many and/or bad placement can turn a classic look into something that makes you look desperate, out of place, and very unprofessional. Too few, and your business attire may begin to look drab and outdated.
Get that perfect balance by keeping it simple and avoiding anything that clashes against your outfit or body.
Start with a blank canvas of just you and your outfit. Ask yourself what feature you’d like to highlight about your outfit, and then add one interesting accessory to see if it enhances or detracts the attention from your desired look. Continue until you feel your outfit is perfectly balanced.
Also keep the accessory itself in mind in relation to your work environment:
• Will a big hat or hair piece affect the view of those sitting behind you?
• Does a piece of jewelry make distracting noise or reflections when you move?
• Will you have a place to put that chunky briefcase or purse that doesn’t infringe upon the space of others?
• If you’re writing a lot, will a large-faced wristlet or watch scratch against the table?
Your Cellphone Is Part Of Your Wardrobe
Most people have a business and/or personal cellphone on them at all times, meaning it’s basically part of your wardrobe.
Your cellphone is a communication device, but it’s also a commutator within your business look. Professional peers and clients can assume a lot about you by simply getting a glimpse of your choices in phone case, screensaver, ringtones and alert tones, and even the condition of your phone.
Don’t let cracked screens and potentially offensive, unprofessional material choices potentially destroy an otherwise stellar image you’ve put together.
Of course, cellphone etiquette is important, too. Know when, where, and how your business matters correlate to cellphone usage. For example, turn your phone off and put it away during business meetings.
First Impression Verses Last Impression
First impressions are king in business communication. It’s what unknown subjects base their initial like or dislike, trust or distrust, and so forth upon. It either opens up the gates of business or padlocks them against your entry. That said we often forget that every king has an equally treasured queen.
That queen is your last impression. That’s your final call. It’s the moment that decides if they’ll be another chance for another impression on another day, which is perhaps even more important than your first impression.
Your exterior choices may be what makes the door ajar for you, but it’s how you utilize those choices standing there in the doorframe that gets you invited inside or not.
In other words, clothes are just clothes until you put confidence, self-worth, skills, knowledge, and integrity underneath them to leave the subject with a impressed, not depressed, last impression.
In closing, it’s these interlocking choices that we make every single day that separates the dreamers from the dream-makers. While dreamers look in the mirror to ponder what/who they could be and walk away unmoved in their decisions, dream-makers see themselves a certain way and make the choices necessary transform what they envision into a reality.