20 July 2012
How Do I Look?
I walked into a company’s training room recently where I would be delivering an afternoon workshop. The facilitator from the morning session was packing up and stopped to introduce himself. He then quickly went to slip on his suit jacket and asked, “How do I look?”
Hmmm…he was a good-looking man, traditional haircut, well-groomed, nice suit, shirt, no tie, black dress shoes, but I had to ask, “What is the message you want to deliver about yourself?” He actually had to give that some thought.
It is important to know how YOU want to present yourself and be perceived before you even say a word. Whether you are facilitating a workshop, attending a workshop, going to a networking event, leading a presentation for clients or accompanying someone at a social event, the way you "show up" in all situations contributes to your brand image and the judgements people make about you.
Your clothing is a very powerful visual tool that assists people in forming an opinion of who they believe you are. Here are five tips to keep in mind when creating an impression with intention:
1. Decide how you want to be perceived by others. What are the words you want to own in the minds of your audience? These words – professional, sophisticated, adventurous, respectful, smart, knowledgeable, positive - are the descriptors you want others to use when speaking about you.
Choose the words that are right for you and your brand.
2. Match your look with your words. Take a good look at the things you wear along with your hairstyle, eyeglasses and makeup. Does your 'look' align with the image you want to project? Does your clothing send the message you intend?
If the image you want to project is ‘hip or cool’ showing up in baggie jeans, a tee shirt and runners just doesn’t cut it.
3. Wear what fits. Pay attention to the fit of your clothes. You want your clothes to look like they belong to you and not someone else. When you buy off the rack you will typically need alterations. This could mean a nip at the waist or shortening the length of a skirt or pant – however small the adjustments, it is a BIG step in making your clothes your own.
4. Buy quality not quantity. This includes everything - from your clothes to your accessories (belts, shoes, briefcases, etc.). This is not about spending more than you can afford though it is about spending what you can afford. Quality stands out. Does the quality of your clothing showcase your brand?
5. Maintain what you wear. You want to make sure your clothing is always in good repair. Check for hems that are falling, buttons that are missing or loose, holes in sweaters, split seams, scuffed shoes, fraying cuffs and collars, stains and odor. Repair what is worth keeping and replace what isn’t. Look good at a distance and up close!
My rule of thumb is to start with one outfit, from head-to-toe, that makes you feel like a million bucks. Now work on making that your standard of dressing for success!
Empower yourself and your brand by dressing to express your best self. Let us know what you wear that makes you feel like a million bucks.
Align yourself with what matters most to you. Live your brand fully expressed with intention and purpose to play bigger!