Making an impact with your look in the modern day business world
How can I stand out in a room full of people? I get asked this question a lot. The short answer is wear some colour. Most networking events I have attended are full of grey people in grey clothes. So anyone wearing colour becomes instantly visible - a flamingo in a field of pigeons so to speak.
But, although colour will make an impact, to build a lasting business you need to make a credible, authentic impression and to do that is a little bit more sophisticated and takes more thought.
Like it or not, we have always judged on first impressions and we continue to do so. Everything we wear is giving off messages about our credibility, knowledge, trustworthiness, success. We are hard wired to make instant judgements without even realising. Once you realise that and embrace it, you have an advantage over those who give it no thought whatsoever.
The first step is to decide what kind of impact you want to make. Think about how you want to be seen. We spend a long time planning our business marketing and virtually no time planning how people see us. Is your own personal brand in line with your business brand? Someone who wants to be seen as reliable, competent and practical will need to (and want to) dress very differently from someone who wants to be seen as a dynamic, rule breaking maverick.
Let’s go back to colour. Actually, the wrong colour can be almost as damaging as no colour. A colour that drains your skin tone making you look tired, ill and washed out is not going to inspire a prospect to want to work with you but a colour that brightens, illuminates and enlivens you will be much more attractive. Pop on a fabulous jacket in a wow colour and you will stand out for the right reasons.
Lipstick - I know I go on about the power of lipstick but that is because it makes such a difference! Getting that great colour on your face makes you look finished and gives you confidence. Check it’s not on your teeth first though!
That segways nicely onto grooming. Check your shoes are clean and not scuffed (you may need to keep an old pair for driving), make sure your make up is light and professional, your hair is clean and in good condition, your nail polish isn’t chipped….the list goes on. By showing that you have attention to detail with your appearance, you are giving off great messages about your attitude to your work.
Remember people notice the small details. They don’t always realise they are doing it but a great necklace, bag or watch will send off messages of success aswell as clues about your personality.
Now I’m not suggesting you become a slave to the trends but a dated wardrobe implies that your thinking is dated too so review your clothes each season and check whether they are still reflecting you and your brand. If they are looking tired and old, it may be time to move them on.
With a bit of thought and planning, you can stand out for the right reasons.