Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How important is it to wear stereotypical clothes?

Ever since I stepped into the arena of image management work, I did come across people who would say – “I don’t care what clothes somebody is wearing!” or “I judge people by their talent...” or “I don’t think much about what I wear” and so forth. All of us agree that what we say is important because that is how we communicate to others. But some people overlook the fact that communication is not just about words and but it’s also about the visuals attached with the words. If there are two people who meet you with the same business proposal – one dressed like a beggar & the other like a millionaire; who will you trust?
How we appear visually serves as part of the message we communicate to others. In fact, the contribution of visual elements like dressing, grooming, body language, etiquette etc. is around 80% of all communication that we do. That is why sometimes you don’t believe when a person says something, maybe because they don’t look the part, their gestures/ body language are not confident or their mannerisms contradict them.
Whether it is a social interaction or a work situation people have a certain expectation of us in terms of visual appearance and if we don’t meet those, people find it hard to trust us and we fail to send the appropriate communication. A business person should be dressed in clothes that communicate business, a fashionista on the other hand will send a wrong message if dressed in business clothes and must wear something trendy, chic. Stereotypes matter and you can also add a pinch of your personal style to the same!

Monday, April 23, 2012

How others see your attitude in first meetings

When you meet people for the first time, they will ask you about what you do. While different people answer in different ways, it can say a lot of you... And it’s not just about what you say but how you say it! You could either say “I’m just a housewife” or you could say “I’m a Homemaker & proud mother of two”. You could say “I’m self-employed” or you could say “I’m an entrepreneur, run my own firm/business by the name of xyz and love what I do”.  Don’t the latter statements sound more positive?
Self introductions have a lot to do with how we view ourselves. It shows how much respect and passion do we attach to who we are and what we do. And if we are not respectful and passionate about who we are and what we do... How do we expect others to do that?
If we always keep comparing ourselves to others, we will probably never be happy. And it is unfair to do so since each individual is unique and so different from the others. So “appreciate yourself” and “celebrate what you do” and the same will reflect through when you meet & interact with people!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What does your hairstyle say?

Your hair is right up your face and can communicate significantly to other people about you.  So there is no way that you can get away with just anything even if you are wearing the best of clothes or have the perfect mannerism. So attention must be paid to groom them. Rough, unkempt, badly coloured hairs speak negatively your image right away! So, proper care in maintaining them must be taken in consultation with a hair expert. Many times, during our individual consultations when we take clients for hair styling, they come back not just with great hairstyles but also with life-saving or rather hair-saving tips!
Next comes, the question of what hairstyle to go for. While the hairstyle must suit your face and build; one must pay attention to what they communicate. And one’s profession, lifestyle, roles, goals, personal style must be taken into account while deciding the hairstyle


    Straight &/or tied
 controlled, authoritative even reserved
Wavy/Curly -
Friendly, approachable

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Body Language – key ingredient to a positive image

Have you ever wondered how somebody with a great face and superb body can look sloppy in a photograph or in life? Happens many times especially with models & many good looking people when their body language just doesn’t communicate poise or attraction or confidence... For the look in their eyes, the smile, their posture, stance all of which is body language & much more fails to project that! And people who understand & project a positive body language while may not be very good looking can actually impress upon confidence, success, attraction & many other things they want to!
Body language is so essential to Image that without getting it right Queen Elizabeth won’t be a queen, Cindy Crawford won’t be a supermodel, Barrack Obama won’t be the president of USA or at least all of them won’t look their part & be as successful and known as they are! Body language contributes significantly to the visual appearance & presence of a person. And since any communication is 80% visual, the stakes on body language are nothing but high.

For a great first impression, follow the SHE of Body language for a flawless positive interaction when you meet people especially the first time:
S – Smile, because nothing can replace what it communicates. If you don’t smile much, practice!
H – Handshake, take the initiative and give a firm but not too firm handshake! Remember it doesn’t mean holding hands.
E – Eye contact, because our eyes can speak what we can’t & it is the key to connecting during any interaction/ communication. But no staring!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Image should be authentic and not fake

Image Management is about helping individuals/organizations project the right image, so that they can create positive impressions on others. Image matters because our success in various spheres whether professional, social or personal depends on how people perceive us! As perception is believed to be reality most of the times in life, it becomes important how we build people’s perceptions of “us” in their minds by managing our image.
As a marketer in my corporate life, I realized that people’s decision to buy products as big as a TV or as small as a lip balm, depends on which brand do they perceive positive for the kind of benefit they look for.  I believe that it is truer in case of people... you get hired for a job because you are perceived as smart & a high performer. You make more friends because people perceive you as a fun person to be with...
A gentleman in one of my workshops few days back said “It is not possible to keep up image for long because it is fake...”  I told him that the right image should not and does not have to be fake. During my individual consultations with clients, I spend a lot of time understanding what a client’s personality, likes/dislikes, attitudes; traits are before going ahead with any recommendations on their Image! So Image has to be authentic and represent who the person actually is. It cannot be fake or phony!

You cannot wear clothes by the rule of book always! You have to consider who you are. If a business suit chokes you and you are not a banker then why wear it. Even when a situation requires a certain way of dressing, mould it as per your likes/ dislikes. Office-wear does not mean boring. You can add colours, interest with unique accessories that differentiate you as a person!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Questions to ask before you shop for clothes?

Most of us buy clothes by the look of it... when something looks nice or we’ve seen something in a Fashion magazine or seen a celebrity wearing it we feel confident buying it. But to really use clothes to our advantage and spend our money on clothes wisely we need to ask the following questions:

- What is the occasion for which I am buying this new clothing? Buying another party dress when you have a closet full of them may not be wise. When I do wardrobe evaluations for my clients this was a common occurrence.
- Do the clothing details communicate the right message as per the purpose, occasion? Even though you might love horizontal stripes but they are not apt for a business situation. So make sure your clothes communicate the right message.
- Do the clothes correctly represent your inner personality? Business clothes don’t always have to be dull and boring. You can also spot a bright scarf or tie to show the vibrant side of your personality
- Many clothes may look attractive on a window display but the question is do they make you look attractive? They should flatter your body shape and personal colouring! While helping clients shop I have to tell them to resist that temptation.
- Do the new clothes go with your current wardrobe? If the new top you buy doesn’t go with anything in your wardrobe then it goes unworn. That’s the reason most people have about 70% of their wardrobe as non-functional.
Use clothing as a resource to project the right and positive image at all times!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to build a Personal Brand?

Personal branding involves the creation of strong, unique and favourable associations in the minds of other people about you. It is not limited to celebrities & public figures anymore and can significantly impact your success in different spheres of life! Image management is key to personal branding as it helps you manage you and your image to the outside world in a favourable way that is unique to you!

The following are the steps that one should follow to build a Personal Brand:
Determine Who You Are
Since personal brands reflect on the person, one must ask– what do I do that makes me different (Tom Peters). This forms the core of what one want to project outside. We must identify our greatest strengths and most noteworthy personal traits.

Determine What You Do
This involves writing down what is it that you are great at doing? It involves asking oneself - What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value? What do I do that I am most proud of? This reflects a person’s passion and the kind of work one wants to do in life.
Position Yourself
After identifying the above two, the person needs to communicate the same to the external world through his actions, appearance, mannerisms, words and every possible touch point. The same will translate into others thinking about the person is a specific way and associating certain qualities or characteristics that make a person distinctive from his competitors or colleagues. What would my colleagues or my customers say is my greatest and clearest strength?

Manage Your Brand
According to Montoya, the key to any personal branding campaign is "word of mouth marketing." The network of friends, colleagues, clients, and customers is the most important marketing vehicle that a personal brand has got. What they say about the brand is what the market will ultimately gauge as the value of the brand. Thus while you interact with these key groups think about what you want to communicate and what you want them to think when you leave. Therefore take time in dressing, grooming, choosing body language, thinking what words to say etc when you meet them to project intended image. Make sure of the same in social media, emails and every other interaction.

Image Management of an individual at all times is critical to building a Personal Brand because the way you appear affects the way you think/feel, the way you act and the way others react to you!