Every time you meet someone new, you create an “impression” based on a number of factors. This is true both at the workplace and in your personal life. Experts say it takes just a quick glance, anywhere from three to seventeen seconds for someone to “take you all in” and form an opinion of you. First impressions set the tone for how someone perceives you, and treats you as a result. You CAN control the way someone perceives you, by understanding what people notice at first glance. Juanita Ecker, business etiquette expert points out the 7 key areas people form their impression.
1. Grooming practices
2. Body language
5. Word Choice
6. Tone of Voice
7. And Business etiquette
What is proper dress for the workplace? If you want to be persuasive, you need to be credible. There is a lot of debate over what is appropriate for the workplace. Naturally it “depends” on what type of business you’re in, and what is the culture and environment in the work place. Women have more choices for dress, so they stand to make more dressing mistakes. Some of the obvious would be skirt lines that are too short, clothing that would be considered “not suitable” for a workplace, or low cut tops that show a lot of cleavage. Now if you’re a woman who works at a busy nightclub, it would be completely appropriate. Whenever you are in doubt, ask a friend or your partner if you have one available. It’s amazing how many people do not use “common sense” where it comes to dressing.
When someone is not professionally dressed, varying assumptions are made by peers, management and employers. Studies say 41% of those that are dressed professionally are promoted more often. Think about what your appearance says about you. What messages are you communicating to people and management? A sloppy or overly “casual” image says, that you don’t care about your image or the impact you have on your company. Your image should be a positive reflection of the corporate brand. And in your love life, your image is your advertising for singles forming an impression. When you appear to be someone who does not care about your appearance, you are often overlooked in both love and business.
“Winners don’t seek to change the rules, they only seek to understand them well enough to win”
Charles Coonradt “The Game of work”
There are often “rules” for business dress, and if you are not familiar with them, you should ask your company for a dress code guideline so that you are not at risk to break them. In your personal life, asking for total honesty from friends or possibly hiring a personal stylist can help you determine what’s appropriate for both your person and business life.
What is Professional Presence is? Think about the visual aspect of you professional presence. Do you know that your career advancement may actually be hindered if you don’t “look the part”? This is also true in the personal selection process. You typically are attracted to the type of person who seems to have it “all together”. The total package often refers to someone who looks good from the inside and out (physical appearance). Your choice of clothing affects how others perceive you. People who are well-groomed, polished and well-mannered are assumed to be more confident and knowledgeable. You’re believability is increased when you LOOK credible. People follow winners. They follow leaders, and someone who is going somewhere in life and business. Would you follow someone who wore a frown, slouched at his desk and wore clothes from the ’80’s? Are you picturing a creepy used car salesman?
Non-verbal communication: 55% of the message we send to others is communicated through non-verbal communication. This consists of how you dress (appearance) and your body language. This ALSO means that YOU are responding to 55% of what others are communicating BACK to you. 38 % is tone of voice or HOW we say things, and only 7 % is the actual words that you use. The first 15 seconds are crucial. We judge others based on appearance! People do make assumptions. Keep in mind your image can work FOR or AGAINST you. If you want to make a GOOD impression, then you need to focus on it.
You have total control over how you are perceived. People who appear sharp, neat, and clean and exude positivity are typically sought after in both the workplace and in social settings. Looking the part and showing confidence is attractive to people in general. Wear clothes which fit and flatter your figure. Clothes that are too tight, or too loose, can look uncomfortable and be distracting to others. Clothing can really detract from your image. Often you may notice a loose hemline, missing buttons and let’s not forget one of the most important accessories for men and women people judge you by… YOUR SHOES!
Look in the mirror every morning before you leave the house, wear a big smile, and ask yourself if you’re the type of person you’d like to meet!
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