Never judge a book by its cover. This may be an overused English idiom, but in the career and business world, nothing matters more than image.
TV stations spend a fortune sprucing up their studios and grooming their anchors so as to send a message of sophistication and class. Likewise, regardless of what your career business is, far before you get the chance to say hello, your demeanor may already have won you lots of marks, or cost you more than you can remedy.
Most recruiters or interviewers unashamedly acknowledge that looks are their main assessment of a candidates personality. They say that the moment somebody steps into the room, their body language and grooming tells all about their hidden nature more than words possibly can.
Because human communication is mostly subconscious, you have to be neat and with impeccable manners to win others respect. From there, you will get the attention of the interviewer or prospective employer or your colleagues at work both junior and senior to what you have to say.
Your image is the key tool to shape final outcomes of whatever project you are involved in. Whether you are an executive who makes things happen or a CEO who drives performance or a business owner, the signal you send to your employees, clients or potential customers is critical.
Human relationships are shaped by an intangible force which revolves around the perceptions your image create in other people. When your image is right, people find you appealing, reassuring and dependable, all of which are absolute necessities for business success. This means one key thing to all; image training should be a priority.
For businesses to perform at an optimum level, the value of expression cannot be over-emphasized. But people in the creative industry have room to manoeuvre regarding their grooming.
A radio personality can get away with a fancy hairstyle, it may even look cool. Being an impressionist sector, bright colours will draw attention and win approval. But a bank manager, accountant or lawyer in a red, spruced-up sports car cannot portray the calmness, reassurance and dependability that their occupations demand.
As much as it is a great thing to turn heads in business, turning them in a wrong way is suicidal. Professionals should not mismatch their objectives and the supporting image.
Business leaders must first develop and sustain an image that helps them inspire actions and intentions that achieve success within businesses. The right image is key for everybody in businesses. For sector leaders though, it is much more important.
Your image will earn you respect, command authority and make you visible and inspiring to your employees and customers. A CEO, for instance, is the one who gives the business a human face – exactly where the rubber meets the road as it were.
The image that you portray as a CEO becomes the extension of your business and products.
According to a research commissioned by Askmen.com in 2008, a popular US website, colours really do send out messages.
It found out that dark colours have a calming and reassuring effect on people. Dark blue is worn by business leaders and politicians the world over to pass a message of calm authority and conservatism.
Dark grey sends a message of durability and hence reliability. Any of the above colours can, according to that report, be pin-striped to give an added message of elegance. A bright suit will on the other hand send messages of unconventionality and freedom.
A silver suit worn to an insurance job interview is more likely to subconsciously earn you favour as it depicts you as outgoing and daring, qualities that are increasingly gaining credence in a world where innovation is the new currency of business.
On the other hand, an applicant for an attorney’s position at a law firm will have a better chance if he sticks to the dark, serious colours. Choice of the highlight was also identified as a possible game-changer; A reddish/ maroon tie worn on dark suits provides a complement of energy, vitality and confidence. Yellow projects wisdom and sharpness while green lets you come across as fresh-minded and innovative. Bold diagonal ties are associated with playfulness and youth while patterned ties underline a cautious nature.
For women, the research found out that hair pulled back in a tight ponytail signalled order and authority while free flowing hairstyles gave away a robust nature.
Short skirts depict an independent and robust nature while trousers portray a businesslike, outgoing and strict characteristic.
There was more interesting wisdom in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago; Contrary to a developing trend, sexual exposure is unlikely to get women ahead.
That exposed cleavage only succeeds in diverting attention from the issue at hand to sexual attraction. Women who most men voted as more likely to advance in business are those that come across as sexually modest.
If you can cultivate a winning image, nothing is impossible. If you are struggling in your business, if you cannot make friends easily, if you cannot inspire your people to excel for you, then the first place you should consider improving is your personal brand.