What message are you sending through your image? It’s amazing how we project how we feel about ourselves and show what we value through our appearance and professional behaviors. Sometimes we are so busy scrambling to “get there” that we forget the minute we walk in the room, dial in on the conference call, or answer a business call…the performance begins. What do I mean by performance…? One of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare is, “All the world’s a stage…” My translation – we are always on stage. We are all players in the game, so play your position right. You never know who is watching you, observing you, or admiring you, and taking notes! So, again, my next question to you is…what message are you sending? In my social media posts this week, I asked the following questions to get you thinking about your entry point:
- Are you rushing into meetings still applying makeup?? Combing hair? Scrambling for pens/paper?
- Are you taking that extra 5 minutes to iron and use the lint brush before leaving home?
- Are you wearing pieces that properly fit your body style?
- Have you taken the time to observe your professional mentors to determine what’s appropriate?
So, you want to be a BOSS who makes a lasting impression? Let’s examine four tips to success in the workplace:
- Pace yourself and Write it Down– Set your alarm clock, get out of bed, and take the time to prepare yourself for your day. As mentioned in my last blog, I live by a calendar. The evening before, and each morning, I look at my calendar (on my phone) to determine how I need to dress for the next day, and to figure out when I need to leave home to be early for my appointments. What is early – Ten to fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled appointment. When you pace yourself, and you can visually see your day, you move differently. Also, think about the materials you will need for your appointments, and prepare them in advance so that you aren’t scrambling for what you need in the moment.
- Observe your mentors and colleagues – Hopefully, you have a professional mentor, someone you admire, or someone who has made a lasting impression on your vision of success. What is he/she wearing, what are his/her behaviors, what makes this person someone who influences you to do better? How can you replicate this in your own life? For example, if you notice that on Jean Friday, all of the top executives are still in business attire…what does that tell you?? I can tell you what it tells me – don’t wear jeans OR wear them every once in a while. Another example, if in every meeting everyone brings their laptop and a notepad, and you are walking in with a coffee… what message is that sending to others, and what do YOU need to bring next time? Your laptop, a notepad, and no coffee… This is real life!
- Complete the Look – Male or Female…it’s all the same. You have to complete the look. Yes, you need to iron…Yes, we see the lint…Ladies – Yes, you need to put on a little face powder…Fellas – yes, you need to shine those shoes…Must I continue? Why are these things necessary…because they “complete the look.” Trust me, we all have days where we don’t feel like it!! I get it, but that day when you don’t feel like it could be the day that you meet the CEO of a major corporation or a potential client. I was talking to a friend of mine who is a makeup artist the other day, and I reminded her that she is a walking billboard for her business. Every time she leaves the house, she represents her brand. Why do you think when we go to Mac or Sephora, everyone looks so FABULOUS? Or – when we walk into Saks Fifth Avenue, everyone working there is so refined? It’s because they are trying to sell something and they represent that brand. Would you buy something from someone in any of these places that looks worn out, tired, and like they just rolled out of bed? No indeed. So, let’s translate this to YOU!! What are you selling? Are you trying to sell yourself as a professional? If so, complete the look, add the finishing touches, and be mindful of how you are being received for the brand you represent. Which in most cases, you are representing yourself.
- Get Yourself Organized – Organization is a skill. Everyone has their method of keeping themselves personally managed and organized. It is imperative that you take out the time to develop a personal system to organize yourself in a way that works best. For some, organization comes naturally…for others it takes work and lots of discipline. I like to reflect on my daily routine, and develop systems that truly help me with efficiency. For example, my time in the morning to get out of the house is precious. I ensure that I have organized my routine and planned for it so that I can eliminate distractions, easily find things, and prepare to walk out on time. For me, that means placing my keys in the same place so that I don’t have to look for them, pulling outfits together at night, or ensuring that my gym clothes are already packed. These simple tasks help me to ensure that I start my day in a peaceful way without getting in my own way. A major key to organization is reflecting on what will best help YOU to be successful. Slow down, reflect, and develop a system for you!! Once you develop a process, transfer this into additional areas of your life.
If you want to make a lasting impression and move up the ladder, it is imperative that you take some time to reflect on your image, make some adjustments, and commit to investing in you. Just a reminder, that your image is not only visual but also in your behaviors. Make a return on your investment by modeling what you value. The benefits are priceless!