What does your first impression say about you, your profession and your personal branding?
I wish we lived in a world where people saw past our physical exterior to the depth of our character.
But the truth is that people make judgments about who we are first based on how we look. Studies show that in the first 30 seconds after meeting someone new, 58% of the first impression is made.
This first impression will have something to do with the physical features we were born with, but it has much more to do with our personal branding: the clothes we choose to wear, our hair style, and elements such as makeup and accessories. So here’s the million dollar question: Do you dress with intention? Do you think about who you are, what you do, and how you want others to perceive you?
For example, I am a photographer, a visual artist. People pay me to be creative. So, would you expect me to have a creative look? Of course you would. But think about it, how many photographers do you know that only wear black or, quite honestly, look frumpy and sloppy? If you met a photographer who had an appearance that was artistic and creative, do you think you would feel more confident in the artistic ability of that photographer vs. the frumpy, sloppy one? This holds for all creative professionals: a marketing representative, an interior decorator, a writer, or a graphic artistic. What about a professional organizer. Should they look tidy? How should a professional advisor, attorney, or insurance agent dress? They shouldn’t risk looking too demure, sexy, edgy or sloppy. Right?
We all know that people want to work with people they know, like and trust. The more you can do to let people know who you are, the more success you will have attracting like-minded people into your life – both professionally and personally.
The first step is to discover how you want to present yourself so that when people see you and make a snap judgment about who you are, it is consistent with what you want them to think about you. In my workshops, we do a series of exercises to help our clients come up with an Image Profile. It is the same sort of thing a business does when they create a brand identity. For example, my business brand id is: custom, personalized, creative, high-end, feminine and Uniquely You. Once I determined this, business decisions became easy for me. The same goes for your personal branding or Image Profile. Are you bold, daring, adventurous and progressive, or feminine, thoughtful, demure and nice? Maybe you are smart, open minded, creative and holistic. The list is endless as we are all unique beings.
When you can put language around how you want to appear to the world, shopping will become more streamlined. Choosing what clothes to wear, the right hairstyle, jewelry, and accessories, will become easy. You will look in the mirror and love how you look. You will know you are making your best first impression and you will have new confidence which will enable you to succeed not just professionally but personally.