- Average reading time: Approximately 4 minutes
Good News! Plastic Surgery Not Required
Personal presence is key to getting promotions, sales, and business results. In the end, character and communication skills are more important, but first impressions count very much.
Your Image Matters
The good news is that attention to polish and grooming can enhance your perceived attractiveness. You do not need genetic re-engineering, or money, or plastic surgery. To be perceived taller, you can stand tall, walk tall, and sit tall by adjusting your posture and using larger gestures.
Carefully observe those you know who make the best of their appearance. Ask them what they do. What are their rules or “best practices” for choosing wardrobe or makeup?
As an example, I always wear a jacket, classic jewelry, and closed-toe shoes for business meetings and functions. As much as I admire fashion and love to experiment with new looks, I forego trends that may negatively impact the expectation of consistency, professionalism and credibility.
My ten-year-old niece, Marissa, knows that image matters. During a summer shoe-shopping excursion, she commented that she understood why I steered toward close-toed shoes. “They’re more professional AND safe”, she said. As much as we both admired the stylish summer sandals, we both agreed on the taboos.
You can still update your look to stand out and appear progressive without being a slave to brands and trends. You’d be surprised at the effects on how you’re perceived!
When choosing a product in a store, our eyes are drawn to packaging that’s well-designed yet useful in that it tells us what to expect. Our exterior selves are no different, albeit more complex. Think about the image you want to project and start with the end in mind.
In addition to wardrobe, consider all the accessories that complete the picture: your notebook, writing instruments, briefcases. When you open up your carrying case, is it messy and unorganized? Does it take too long for you to find a necessary file, your phone, or your business cards?
Your desk and workspace build on the impression you make on others. If you have a meeting at work, how do others see you, based on your visible organizational skills? What do your personal items communicate?
Consider how your personal presence extends to your surroundings. Even the condition of your car (cleanliness and tidiness, not the make, model and year) demonstrates how much you care about the little things that make a big difference.
“The ‘little’ things can make a big difference in landing a job, getting a promotion, winning a contract, or leading an organization through change.”
~ Dianna Booher, Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader
Personal and Professional Etiquette
In the 1999 movie, “Blast from the Past”, Adam (Brendan Fraser) is quoted as saying that good manners are just a way of showing other people we have respect for them. I often paraphrase this quote when explaining why manners are an integral part of the total image we project, both personally and professionally. People like to be with, associate with, and do business with people who show respect and make them feel valued and comfortable.
You can make a better first and lasting impression. It starts with appearance and is enhanced with manners.
If you haven’t worked with a coach on your personal presence and executive presence, consider the return-on-investment. You may not be aware of how you come across to others. In my work as an executive coach, my clients and I cover all aspects of personal presence and executive presence.
What do you think about this?
- What are your best practices for personal presence?
- When did you last update your professional appearance?
- What image do you want to project? What image are you projecting? Are there gaps or disconnect?
I’d love to hear from you. Tell me about the challenges and successes you have with making a great first impression and making it stick. Your comments are welcome. You can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, at 905-858-7566, on LinkedIn, or on Maestro’s Facebook page.
The conversation moves on to motivation in the next blog post:
- Motivate without Over-Managing. Have business leaders lost sight of what truly motivates people in the present-day workplace? Are they ignoring the obvious: Incentives and rewards don’t work anymore. Are they ready to embrace “intrinsic motivation”?
Books and Audiobooks:
Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success, Sylvia Ann Hewlett
Photo © Max Riesgo | Fotolia.com