Remember that old saying – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? In business and in life this is vital and so true. It has been found that, the majority of people will form an opinion of you within the first few seconds of meeting you and in an interview you will be virtually fully judged within the first 4 minutes.
As humans we believe what we see, therefore, even if you don’t say a single word, the way you look will tell people a lot about you. We make decisions and judgements about people in just a few seconds – based on a gut instinct. These decisions are subconscious – based on assumptions and biased by our past experiences.
From a person’s appearance we might assume their social level, job status, educational level, trustworthiness, personality and even moral character!
Image is not pretending to be something we’re not, a frivolous topic or a sign of vanity. Rest assured, there is no substitute for sound knowledge and skills, but a carefully managed image will help by giving a true reflection of your abilities through a visual shorthand. Human nature is such that if a person looks a certain way we would expect that person to behave in a particular way.
We can use our image as a strategy to help us succeed and the clothes that we choose to wear are essential to the impact we make.
The aim is to create a consistent message – How do you want others to see you? What do you want them to believe about you, before you even open your mouth? Celebrities spend a fortune on creating and maintaining a certain image, so why can’t we do the same?
All of this is vital in our networking and business meetings so it is essential that you think about this consistency with your business headshot. I work with small business owners who very often are the personification of their businesses so it is essential that they “look the part”. This doesn’t mean that we all have to be suited and booted because your image needs to reflect your business and industry. However we can all make an effort with our grooming!
Gail Morgan, AKA The Image Trainer: www.theimagetrainer.co.uk