You may have invested a lot of time and money in the branding of your business, making sure that your brand embodies everything great about you and what you offer. You know your stuff, you work hard and you get results and that’s what matters right?
Yes, of course that is vitally important but when you meet someone new, let’s say a new prospect, they don’t know how great the quality of your work is, or how skilled you are in your area of expertise. All they know is what they see in front of them and studies show that it does not take long for them to start assessing you and forming that vital first impression – in fact it is just seconds! Maybe as low as just 7 seconds…
The process begins the moment they set eyes on you – before you even have an opportunity to introduce yourself and tell them what you do and how great you are. So, it makes sense that if you have yet to say hello, that they only have your appearance, behaviour and body language to start forming that first impression of both you – and your business. And that is why; your appearance is such a key element of your branding and your business.
You are a visual representation of your business and how you show up gives them an insight into what working with you, and your company, would be like. People buy people and we want to work with people that are trustworthy, reliable, deliver great results and can help us to achieve our career ambitions too. By dressing and behaving in a way that reflects all that is great about what we do, we are giving ourselves the very best opportunity to take our business forward.
And the great thing is, that having made a fabulous first impression, there is a “thing” called confirmation bias that means our new contact will keep looking for positives about us to reinforce that first impression. However, if of course, our first impression is a negative one, confirmation bias means that they will be looking for confirmation of that too – A coffee stain on a shirt could mean sloppy work!
Does this mean that we all have to dress in suits and carry briefcases? Absolutely not! We can show off our personality, our creativity and our individuality through our clothes but it must be done so that you look professional.
And one last point to consider is, how we dress also impacts how we feel about ourselves. So how you dress for your networking meetings, or client meetings is vitally important for ourselves too. When we feel confident, we look confident and we behave with confidence too.
The key point here is that in business, our clothes and how we show up speak really loudly and say a lot about us. So, what does your appearance say about you?