Do you dress to project how you want to be perceived? What?s your clothing saying about you as a professional to those meeting you for the first time? Are your clothing choices helping or hindering your professional endeavors?
Whether you?re working for a Fortune 500 company, pulling shifts as a retail manager, or you?re a new entrepreneur striving for the American dream, your visual image is both a representation of your own professional brand and that of whatever business it?s attached.
Your appearance in the clothes you wear speaks volumes before you ever say a word and carries a lasting impression thereafter. Choose that wardrobe poorly… your chances of success dwindle. Choose wisely, though, and you?ve just dressed for success.
Your Image Matters To Business Matters
No matter what the context or niche, all business matters center around effective communication right? If you?re developing a marketing strategy, pitching to an investor, selling a client, or going for a job interview, the target audience isn?t just siting there with their eyes closed as you speak.
So, there?s always a visual aid involved in business communication, even if that?s simply you – your appearance.
Humans are visual creatures by nature because half of the human brain is devoted to processing visual information. Research confirms that 65 to 80 percent of humans are predominately visual learners, meaning that those involved in your business endeavors are likely learning a lot simply by looking at you.
Plus, that visual info is actually influencing ?what? your audience hears. It?s called the ?McGurk Effect.? If you want a more effective listener in your audience, then you must match your visual presentation to your auditory presentation.
First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions
Keeping the above in mind, did you know research shows that the average person forms their initial opinion of a subject in less than one second. This is based on what the intuitive brain instantly and collectively assesses from your appearance, demeanor, and so forth.
There are a lot of academic semantics involved in the why, but it?s suffice to say that first impressions are lasting. It takes a great deal of time, energy, and evidence for a person to alter their initial opinions, and most people simply don?t have that long to repair the damage done in those initial few seconds. The subject simply moves on to someone with a better presentation than you delivered.
Mastering that first impression is vital to your professional success, and a big part of that is in how you dress since that?s what your audience sees in that first second of laying eyes upon you.
How Do You Dress For Success?
Now, that you know your visual image matters and that you only have one shot to get it right, the big question is how, right?
There?s no universal golden ticket in dressing for success because it?s like beauty; success is in the eye of the beholder. You must factor in a lot of variables, but the big two are context and image.
Answer the what, who, why, and?where of the business dealings. Wearing your best business suit to a meeting with a CEO renowned for his millennial hipster jeans and hoodie style, for example, is just as ?wrong? as wearing your best night club outfit to a meeting with conservative professionals on the golf green.
What message are you there to convey, and does your clothing match that message? This is your own professional brand image, which is all about how you want to be seen. It?s your message wrapped up in a bow that?s your clothing. Who are you? What do you want to achieve? How do you represent whatever it is you hope to achieve? Is there a standard attire expected of you?
Fundamentals Of Dressing For Success
Mastering your first impression and being successful at whatever your professional goals may be isn?t just about looking the part. It?s about embodying the part with ease and authenticity. Otherwise, you just come off like a rabbit dressed as a lion. Here are some tips:
- Don?t let your clothing be louder, brighter, and more interesting than you. You?ll just look like you?re trying too hard or trying to compensate for lacking elsewhere.
- Do be comfortable, which means no new and unknown clothes that may be itchy, ill-fitted, restrict movement, cause perspiration, etc.
- Don?t go for glamor unless you?re meeting with someone who?d value it. Think fresh, neat, and stylish in relation to industry dress codes and occasion.
- Do research the subject(s) involved to know those standards ahead of time.
- Don?t over-accessorize; it?s a distraction.
In closing, it may be a sad note that something as simple as clothing can make such a profound impact on how others immediately and indefinitely view us. But, sad or not, your appearance is pivotal to your successes and failures in the business world.
Our aim is to inspire and empower people of all walks of life to face their challenges head on, no matter what age, size, color or budget they have and reach their greatest potentials. For a simple?tweak?or a complete overall new look, we are here for you.