Gone are the days when only celebrities worked on their image. In today’s times, competition is fierce. Professionals across the board need to be aware of how they are being perceived and work on projecting an impactful image.
One should be able to distinguish oneself in a crowd and build recall. It is important that you learn to market yourself. By marketing yourself, I do not mean it literally but in the sense that you put your best foot forward consistently. The way you portray yourself to people, be it at an interview or a meeting is fundamental in the way that your colleagues perceive you.
Image Building is a process that consists of mainly three steps and those are Appearance, Body language and Communication skills more colloquially known as the A- B –C of Image. Working on the right combination of the three will help you to project a confident, appropriate and impactful persona.
At first, work on your Appearance as that’s what meets the eye first. Your clothing and personal grooming is the first thing people notice and make value judgments based on it. Your capability, worth, credibility, all of it gets validated and established in a matter of seconds when you meet someone for the first time.
This is followed by non-verbal messages that are communicated by postures and gestures through your body language. How nervous you are, are your shoulders hunched? Are you nervously clicking a pen, fidgeting or playing with your hair? Lastly, it is the physical use of the words that you use to communicate a message correctly known as Communication. Did you stutter? Are your sentences grammatically correct?
All the above put together form your image in the other person’s mind, and mind you, it is an image that is hard to change.
When you work upon the above trio, it will help you as an individual to project confidence, responsibility and a complete professional image. Here are some pointers to bear in mind:
- Don’t follow the crowd: There is just one of you in this world. Act like it. Popularity doesn’t arise from doing what everyone else is doing. Act according to your individual roles, your goals, your personal style, and your morals and most importantly according to what your core strengths are. Express the same in your appearance and communication.Develop an individual style of dressing.
- Be authentic: An important rule of Image Strategy is not to change who you are, but instead to develop the ability to project yourself in your entirety in a better light by working on your Appearance, Body Language and Communication skills. In this world of multiple identities and technology, which provides a million ways to mask who you really are, people truly appreciate authenticity from people be it in person or in the virtual world.
- How do others perceive you? Nearly 67 per cent of the impact we have on others when we meet them for the first time is based on one’s Appearance. Hence, take steps to enhance your clothing and support it with the right grooming and accessories. What you wear to work or to a meeting or even to an office party can speak volumes about you and done the right way, will go a long way in building your personal brand. Discover your personal style to find out what works for you. Understand what colours, fits, textures, patterns and accessories work for you.
- Explore and develop your core strengths: For example, if writing is one of your core strengths, develop that. Your core strengths are yours and no one else’s and the more you work towards honing them and use them to your advantage, the faster you will see the results in the way people perceive you.
- Beware of the Internet: The growth of the virtual world has created a need to manage online identities. Be careful about what you put up online as more and more employers are now looking to the internet for that deciding factor on whether to hire a potential employee or no. Online reputation and what yours says about you is something you really need to consider. Keep those pictures of drunken nights, statuses against your company, complaining about your boss, personal and away from the prying tendencies of social media.
- Using the Digital World effectively: All of social media isn’t off bounds. LinkedIn is a professional profile that you should in fact share. A well maintained profile or a blog can be a great asset. Feel free to attach links to the same with your resume. Who knows? The fact that you have a digital presence can also make a big difference to how people perceive you.
As you take these tips into consideration slowly you will realize the benefits of image building. You will see how important it is to build yourself as a brand and how these tips will help you shape yourself into one.Image building is just about spending that extra time, working on your core traits and being who you are to your full potential. Take the leap!