Your Image And Its Professional Impact
By Mark Ferguson
As we’ve mentioned before, the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is perhaps the truest of all the old business sayings. Simply look around you and you’ll see that first impressions are valued highly in almost any industry. For instance in real estate, curb appeal is second only to location in terms of importance. This is why agents and sellers spend quite a bit of time staging a house to elicit good feelings when a prospective buyer enters the house. Retailers and restaurants operate under the same model. They make sure that customers are greeted with an attractive, clean, and inviting environment. So, when you consider the fact that you are essentially selling yourself in the workplace, doesn’t it make sense to have this same “curb appeal”? The idea that our image sets the tone for how others judge us in the future. This is called professional impact. Below we’ll cover the areas to that make up this concept so you’ll better understand how to make a great first impression.
This area is the culmination of all your proven skills, abilities, education, and credentials. This also includes things that you could be proficient in but haven’t had a chance to accomplish yet. Simply put, you want to dress in a way that exhibits what you are good at what you can potentially do.
This means making others believe in your word. For instance, if you misuse industry lingo then clients and cohorts will doubt your credibility. Even though much of this comes in the form of what you say, the way you dress can say a lot about your credibility too. Take a financial advisor as an example. Who would you rather trust with your money, the advisor who wears a cheap, poorly fitting suit or the one who looks like he’s dressed for success? Naturally, the well dressed man or woman would probably be the best choice simply because they appear as though they’ve handled their own money well.
This area is concerned largely with controlling ones emotions in a professional setting. Sure there may the occasion where showing a little anger may be effective, however most often such a display will make others around you doubt your ability to stay objective. Here it may be a good idea to use power colours such as navy or even black to exert some command over your environment. However, if you think these darker colours are too dominant then try using grey as it can give a sense of stability without being over powering.
This one is simple. People want to do business with professionals who are confident in their abilities. If someone is going to put their faith in you then you have to have faith in yourself. However, be careful not to appear arrogant as this can be a big turnoff to both customers and cohorts. With that said, having the appropriate amount of confidence can reap big rewards in the workplace. It’s in this area that an investment in your wardrobe can have the fastest payoff. When you look in the mirror and see yourself in a perfectly fitted suit, you’ll almost certainly have a little extra spring in your step.
Let’s face it. We all have an off day every now and then. However, it’s important that we do our best to stay consistent. This means going ahead and putting some effort into how we dress even when we don’t have the energy to do so. The same goes for when we’re a little under the weather. Even though its difficult at the time, in the long run this will pay off. When clients, cohorts, and superiors know they can count on you no matter what you’ll find yourself as an indispensible member of your organization.
As you can see, these suggestions for achieving a maximum “professional impact” can be beneficial in almost any industry. No matter what your occupation focusing on these areas can help set the tone so clients, co-workers, and bosses will be assured they are dealing with a professional of the highest caliber.