Whether you are a recent graduate on a job interview or a CEO on the verge of a major merger, appearance is still everything to everyone. How you present yourself will impact how the rest of the world perceives you. While we may have perfected certain professional ideals like the firm handshake and the power suit, you could be killing these efforts by not pairing them with other essentials. Read on to save your professional credibility in 4 easy steps.
You have a solid handshake but…you don’t follow up with eye contact.
They say if you make a toast without eye contact you’ll suffer seven years of bad sex. Consider the business equivalent if you offer a handshake without immediate visual engagement.
Eye contact is essential for creating a bond, and without it whoever you are interacting with can label you as insecure or unfocused. Studies have proved that people who use eye contact are perceived as powerful, personable, skilled and emotionally stable. In short: When offering out your hand, remember to catch their eye.
You have a solid idea but…your posture stinks.
No matter how great your pitch is if your posture does not match that same level of confidence it’s a dead deal. Do not contradict your enthusiasm with weakened, slouched shoulders, this gives off the impression that you and your efforts are also weak.
Just as posture influences your audience it impacts you as well. Studies have shown that engaging in proper posture releases feel-good hormones while simultaneously reducing stress. Another bonus: Proper posture facilitates proper breathing and the more oxygen you intake the better your concentration and freer flowing your ideas will be. In short: Proper posture generates more ideas while delivering better results.
You are wearing a beautiful suit but…your shoes and belt and briefcase are shot.
First impressions are made on a big picture basis; when someone evaluates your appearance it is done by taking in the whole package. Scuffed shoes, frayed belts and beat-up briefcases are accessories that will only stand out more when laid against shiny, starched fabric.
Apply quick fixes without breaking the bank by buying some shoe polish, investing in a simple (yet new) black belt and ditch the old briefcase if you cannot find (or afford) an alternative. In short: When dressing remember the details because people add them up quickly.
You are nodding your head but…you’re face is frozen.
A lot of communication lies in non-verbal expression. Even if you are nodding your head in agreement, showcasing a straight face might make people feel unsure of your capabilities and understanding.
Smiling gives off what you mean to convey to people, that you are enthusiastic and interested in what they have to say. Smile studies started with Charles Darwin concluding that the act of smiling makes us feel better; today’s research goes on to prove that the act of smiling activates pleasure inducers in our brains. In short: keep smiling.
How do you put your best foot forward?