It’s possible that how you appear at work could be costing you thousands of dollars. Changing your appearance at work can have a positive impact on your income level. What you wear to work can leave a lasting impression for the good or bad. How is that, you might say? Because your executive brand is either moving you toward the position you want or away from it. You either look the part or you don’t. Sure, there are plenty of examples of someone who doesn’t present themselves well, for the industry or culture they want to fit into, and they get promoted or land their dream job, anyway. There are many more examples I can site for the opposite.
In less than .07 seconds we create a lasting impression on others. Sort of scary, isn’t it? How much can you say in less than a second? Nothing. In a flash, you make an impression with how you look.
Brad Pitt once explained in an interview, after being asked about what it felt like to be the “sexiest man alive”, something like… My father taught me that looks may get you in the door, but your personality and smarts will keep you there. You don’t have to look like Brad Pitt to get in the room. You don’t have the perfect face or body (thank goodness). What to consider, moving forward, is whether how you dress and present yourself is keeping others from “opening the door”.
Our brain thinks in pictures. How many times have you heard someone say to you, or you
have said to someone else, I am good with faces and terrible with names, can you tell me yours again? That’s because we can remember visual images, many times, more easily than things that were quickly said and not repeated.Appearance can be a very sensitive subject. It’s hard for us to see ourselves the way others see us and even more difficult to tell someone else how their appearance is working for or against them in a situation. What this means to you is that if someone mentions your appearance in a way that seems hard to take, it probably took a great deal of courage for that person to tell you about it. Even though it’s only one person you may want to weigh what they say with more weight than the silent majority who say nothing.
Appearance can be a very sensitive subject for some. It’s hard for us to see ourselves the way others see us and even more difficult to tell someone else how their appearance is working for or against them in a situation. What this means to you is that if someone mentions your appearance in a way that seems hard to take, it probably took a great deal of courage for that person to tell you about it. Even though it’s only one person you may want to weigh what they say with more weight than the silent majority who say nothing.
Here are a few things to consider in regard to your appearance from an Executive Brand standpoint:
- Consider culture and situation. If you are in an IT culture where you everyone dresses in jeans and t-shirts – great! Wear jeans and a t-shirt and you got it. If everyone dresses in suits and you show up to work in jeans and a t-shirt you need to consider that how you dress may not be serving you to create a higher level of influence at work.
- Everything communicates. The question is, what are you communicating with how you are dressed, how you smell, how you wear your makeup and hair, what shoes you wear? You may think you are “cool”, or that you will standout by dressing extremely casually in a formal environment. Are you sure that’s the impression you are leaving? Have you asked someone that you want to influence what they think of your attire and do you think they gave you an honest answer?
- Dress however you want off the clock. Just dress. Those FB pictures from a wild party last Saturday night or years ago are visible and shareable. If you think “only my close friends” on FB see my posts, that is simply not accurate. Everything you put on line is visible digitally and shareable, with sometimes surprising little effort, whether you want them to be or not. Look, if you don’t care about rising through the ranks at work or you never need to get another job, go for it. Post away with carefree abandon.
Sometimes even a small pivot in your appearance can make a big difference. For clients that ask, hire me just for the purpose of improving their executive brand, ask me, or are clearly being affected at work because how they are dressing is holding them back at work, I tell them. Don’t wait to ask someone about the appearance portion of your executive brand if you want to move to higher levels of influence. It’s one of the easiest things to modify.
For more on executive brand click here.
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For a private, confidential, coaching session to discuss your executive presence for the purpose of rapidly accelerating your progress towards reaching your potential at work, send me a note.