New Year is the perfect time to take a fresh look at your work life.
Where do you fancy going in 2016? It could be a new promotion, an exciting opportunity in your current role, or a complete change of direction. Whatever your ambitions for the year ahead, we’ve come up with 5 tips that will help get you there.
It’s all about creating a strong, healthy and approachable personal brand – a positive impression that people immediately associate with you. It helps build credibility and authority that stay with you throughout life.
We use all our senses when we meet, to evaluate and make decisions about other people. So to make things easy, our 5 pointers correspond with our 5 senses.
Touch – It starts with the handshake
We’ve all been there. You meet someone new, shake their hand – and instantly get put off by the limp wet fish or, even worse, the bone-crushing vice.
A confident handshake is a great business tool. It shows that you’re friendly, approachable and professional. But it can also be a bit awkward to master, so here’s how to get your handshake right first time:
• Always begin the handshake after you’ve made a verbal introduction.
• Stand confidently in your own space, with good posture and a firm centre of balance.
• Smile and make eye contact throughout.
• Extend your whole hand, not just the fingers.
• Grip firmly but not too tightly – about the same pressure you’d use for opening a door.
• Shake 2-3 times from the elbow rather than the wrist.
• … and then let go.
Sight – Professional dress codes don’t have to be boring
Whether it’s a creative studio or a city boardroom, every work environment has a professional dress code. Formal, smart casual or dressed down, it’s important to fit in. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing character and personality – even in the most conventional professional settings.
Both casual jeans and a business suit can be given an individual twist with an interesting jacket. It allows your personality to come through, but doesn’t sabotage your professional credibility by shouting it from the rooftops.
In the boardroom or client presentation, you can add instant impact to your formal structured outfit with a single, beautiful piece of jewellery that reflects your personality. For men the quality and design of your tie will significantly alter the impact you have.
Wearing your ideal colours, along with the styles and lines that suit your body shape, will instantly give you a confidence boost at work - particularly handy if you’re after a promotion. And although it’s rather a cliché, dressing for the level you are aiming for really does help you get there.
Smell - Perfume, and other odours (no, not those!)
You’re never going to spend money on a perfume that you don’t like. Why would you? The trouble is, perfume can be tricky when you want to make a good impression. One colleague loves it, another starts sneezing as soon as you walk into the room.
It’s undoubtedly best to steer clear of strong perfume at work. It’s too easy to overpower your colleagues, or your potential boss, with an off-putting smell.
And talking of off-putting smells… (no, don’t worry - we’ll keep it polite), lots of products are packed with added perfume. We don’t notice because we use them so frequently. Shampoo, conditioners, washing powders, fabric conditioners – they all have their own perfumes. Some are delicately subtle, others can walk into the office before you do. Even cooking odours can be inadvertently brought to work with us.
We’re not suggesting a sniff test before you leave the house, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
Hearing – The art of avoiding discombobulation
Have you ever listened to someone speaking for 10 minutes, and not understood a single word? Business jargon. It’s everywhere, isn’t it? Let’s shift our paradigm into the swim lane, apply leverage and employ blue sky thinking to get off the burning platform.
Nope, no idea.
When in doubt, it’s always best to use plain English at work. As Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.
You probably have your own habits when it comes to speaking. Those unconscious verbal tics – the `ers’ and `ums’, `you know’ and `it’s, like…’ . We use them to fill in the gaps, to give us a bit of thinking time. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you’re giving an important presentation, being interviewed for a dream job or even just saying hello to the new boss, it’s good to be aware of them.
Try practising out loud, either to yourself or on video. You may feel a bit daft, but it’ll give you the heads up on where you’re likely to hesitate and fill in with the unconscious stop-gaps.
Taste – and the importance of consistency
In the end, it all comes down to taste - wearing colours, styles and shapes that reflect your personality and make you feel good about yourself. You feel vibrant and confident, alive to new possibilities and challenges.
Consistency is one of the most important skills to master when it comes to projecting authority. Wherever you are professionally – from an entry level trainee right up to the CEO – it’s about dressing the real person every day without sacrificing credibility, upping the quality of what you’re wearing while still expressing your personality.
Once you have the right clothes and accessories in your wardrobe, being consistently professional becomes easy. If you need help with building your professional look, we’re on hand to provide all the advice you need. We can transform your current wardrobe, or help you build a new look that fits wherever you want to be in life. We can teach you the language of clothes so that you understand the messages your appearance are sending about you. That way you can make the right choices every morning when you get dressed for work.
Get in touch with your local House of Colour stylist or give us a call on 01923 211188.
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