Worried about what to wear for business? Stressed about outfits for networking? Let me help!
We all know that first impressions are important and it may not surprise you to know that in the first 4 minutes of meeting someone you are judged 55% by your appearance (what you wear, posture, body language), 38% on voice and tone and only 7% on what we say.
In business this could mean that someone might not approach you or consider your business because they’ve already made a negative judgement on you without even speaking to you OR they’re impressed by how you look and therefore are drawn to you.
Image pre-supposes behaviour – looking successful leads to further success and confidence. Confidence is attractive.
It’s important to be dressed appropriately for the occasion and in business this could be quite different depending on the event. Do your homework and save yourself the stress. If you are going networking – speak to whomever runs the group or someone who has attended before. Ask what the dress code is – this means you’ll fit in better and be appropriately dressed. No one wants to stand out for the wrong reasons!
To help you think about the messages you want to convey about you and your business – think of three words that sum up what you want to communicate via your dress. These could be something like; professional, approachable and knowledgeable. Try on possible outfits and ask yourself (or close friends/family) if they communicate these words.
Grooming is absolutely key to a polished look, this may seem basic but without preparation can easily be overlooked and let you down on the day. Here are some points to consider;
- Hair – is it neat, and clean? Another issue often seen is dandruff, this is off-putting and can easily be tackled!
- Tight or revealing clothing – it’s a no! Make sure outfits are modest and well-fitting. Look at your reflection in the mirror – both from the front and behind!
- Nails should be clean and not too long. Don’t overdo the jewellery and avoid anything that jangles!
- Wear discrete makeup and not too much perfume! Smelling fresh and clean is the important bit. This includes fresh breath – coffee, cigarettes, garlic etc. are unwelcome scents…have a mint but don’t chew gum!
- The state of people’s shoes are often noticed. Bringing mud in won’t endear you to the host and a nicely polished shoe is an excellent foundation to the rest of your look. Avoid flip flops, sandals, very high heels or trainers!
- Clean out your handbag so you avoid explosions of receipts as you pass over your card! Ensure it is in good condition in a business-like colour.
- Don’t let your outer garments let you down – your coat is the first and last thing business contacts will see you in. Choose a smart business coat in good condition with no attached fluff, missing buttons or bulging pockets!
What you look like will influence how people perceive you, a polished look is a powerful tool – use it to gain success in business. Good Luck!