POWER UP YOUR IMAGE -STRIKE A PROFILE FOR PROFIT
April-May 2001 Issue
Empowerment Enterprises LLC
For International Association of Exhibition Management
By Sherry Maysonave
See Contact Information and Profile
Are you earning the income that you desire to earn or believe that you are capable of earning?
Do you want to win raises and promotions? If so, it is essential that you pay attention to your
workplace image. In today's dressed-down business environment, millions are suffering from the Casual
Confusion Syndrome. They believe that their casual attire - or their overall business image - makes no
difference in their success potential, their achievements, or their income. They are mistaken.
The Hamermesh-Biddle Project (HBP), a formal study conducted by two economists, exposes the pitfalls
of buying into this casual myth. The HBP research shows that "attractive" people have higher
incomes. Surprisingly, this proved true for telemarketing and other jobs that did not require any
public contact. Underscoring the link between your image and your income, the Wall Street Journal
article announcing HBP's discoveries was entitled "Good Looks Can Mean a Pretty Penny on
To increase your income, maximize your attractive potential on a daily basis. While it may take some
effort, anyone can be perceived as attractive. Yes, anyone. There are millions of women and men who
are far from naturally good looking. Nonetheless, they have a polished way of dressing, they carry
themselves well, and they exude a positive demeanor. Together, these qualities make them appear highly
attractive; they are often perceived as striking and very appealing, even when they are dressed down.
First Impressions Count
A stylish haircut that compliments your face shape and appropriate apparel that suits your body-type
are strong business assets - important business tools that can catapult you to greater success. An
attractive put-together image sends the nonverbal message that you pay attention to detail and that
you take pride in yourself and your work. Like it or not, your nonverbal communication is always in
the forefront. Is yours working for you or against you?
As people, we are information gathers; we consistently read other people. We do not read others to be
judgmental. Instead, we size up others so that we can gain important information about them. Based
upon visual clues from their attire, grooming, posture, and demeanor, we unconsciously assess who
they are. And with that, we decide how we are going to treat them.
Communication statistics show that in the first five to thirty seconds of meeting someone, at least
three primary things are determined about you. Whether perceived accurately or not, those three primaries
- Your socioeconomic status
- Your educational level, and
- Your desirability
This sizing-people-up process may or may not be conscious with us. But in the end, we all tend to
associate well-dressed individuals with intelligence, attractiveness, and achievement. Thus, we grant
those folks more opportunities to prove themselves.
Look Like A Winner
Regarding your status or achievements in these three areas, the messages that you send determine
largely how others treat you. What socioeconomic status you come from does not matter at all. But to
succeed in business, it's important to appear that you currently belong in at least the middle, if not
upper, socioeconomic bracket. Why? People like to be associated with winners and other successful
people. This is the primary reason to present yourself as if you are already successful regardless of
what level of success you have achieved to date.
Keep in mind, a successful professional look can be achieved on any budget. Abundant cash flow
certainly makes it easier to look rich and successful, but budget limitations can be overcome with
the right wardrobe plan. Looking successful does not mean that you drape yourself with status symbols;
that can work against you in business. It does mean that you can never overdo real quality in your
clothing and accessories. To get ahead, you must pay attention to the details of your image, details
like shoes, well-coordinated outfits, haircuts, makeup, etc.
The second consideration is your perceived educational level. Well-dressed people, even casually
well dressed, are considered to be smarter and better educated than those sloppily clad. If you
project professionalism and dress smartly on a consistent basis, you will attract opportunities that
allow you to prove just how smart and capable you are. Well-dressed incompetents get more chances
than poorly dressed brilliant folks.
Your "desirability" is the third nonverbal area involved in a first and ongoing impression.
Our personal filters get involved in assessing someone's desirability factor. Even still, in business
a polished, professional image is always considered more desirable than an ill-groomed inappropriate
Business is a game. What you wear is a fundamental strategy. Just as the best sports equipment can
give an athlete the competitive edge, businesslike stylish apparel can gain you a leg up in your
career. Whether you are dressed up or down, smart professional attire stamps your demeanor and visual
image with power and confidence.
In today's digital dot.com world, first impressions and the visual aspect have never been more
critical. With the technology explosion, business moves at a faster pace today. Harry Beckwith, author
of Selling The Invisible, says that people do not simply form impressions, they become anchored to
them. Busy people are apt to make snap judgments, and then base all their later decisions on them.
Can you afford a negative impression? No, not when you consider that your success is often tied to
others' perceptions of you. A prominent CEO recently said, "If people only knew that it can
take two years to undo one negative impression, surely they would try harder."
Your image is the "Home Page" of your personal web site and a web page of your company's
site. Do others click on you as having the answers, seeing you as having the ability to get the job
done, or do they surf on?
Upgrade your image today, maintain it consistently, and watch your income potential soar as
opportunities for success and greater success knock on your door.