Blog: The ABC of Impressions

Life @ Work

The ABC of Impressions

Image strategy is about understanding an individual's goals in life & projecting confidence in his current roles
The ABC of Impressions

How would you define a strategy? The most appropriate definition that comes to mind is “the art and science of planning and marshalling resources for their most efficient and effective use to achieve a desired goal”. The same when applied to an individual in order to build a social standing in society using tools like clothing, grooming, etiquette, body language and communication is Image Strategisation.

Image strategy is about understanding an individual’s goals in life, projecting confidence in his current roles and strategically leading him closer to his desired standing in society. It is more than just picking the right colours to suit your skin tone, makeup, styling etc and is actually about that perfect combination of all of the above. It is a systematic process what I like to call, the ABC of Impressions!

First, let’s start with - ‘A’ which stands for Appearance.

Appearance is one of the first steps one needs to work on if they wish to build an image as it meets the eye at first. The human mind thinks in images. We tend to store images in our photographic memory and form opinions, attitudes, impressions and behaviours based on what our eyes see. Our appearance communicates messages about the type of people we are.

For someone who is starting off in the industry, here are some things you should keep in mind. It is important you control what people think of you because you can.

Pay careful attention to your nails, hair and personal hygiene at all times. Chipped nail paint looks shabby and it is preferable not to wear any if you are involved in work that will make your nails chip.

Subtle hair colour is pleasing to the eye. Beware of reds and blondes.

Iron and bleach your shirts. Ensure no Ujala blue stains remain. Cut any loose threads that stick out. Ensure you have a crisp collar. Choose the right colours! Neons are a definite NO for interviews, and so are other bright colours that could be distracting for the interviewer. Avoid bangles or any accessories that make noise.

Conceal any visible tatoos and piercings.

Be appropriate. At the workplace, be mindful of low necks, strappy tops, translucent shirts, short skirts and dresses that are too tight Don’t forget to polish your shoes and wear socks that match your trousers.

For someone who is already a veteran in the workplace, what you wear tells people of your financial status and allows them to judge you on how credible you are among other things. Here are a few tips on how you can enhance your appearance:

Blazers are a must! Blazers project command and bless a man with the right posture. Ensure your blazer fits well. Match it up with different colour chinos for a business casual environment. Teal and pumpkin are the new in colours!

Matched blazer and pant suits give the appearance of utmost authority and control, and when worn in meetings or at conferences, work wonders to project authotrity as a part of your image. Try to break the conventional black routine, opt for power driven colours like Grey, Navy or beige. Jazz it up with a half windsor tie knot in a solid/ classic pinstripes tie. A pocket square is a fantastic accessory to look fashion forward. A tie pin could be an interesting add on too.

The next step to managing your image correctly is ‘B’ - Behaviour

What they say about body language holds true. Your body communicates messages too and people notice these things!

Make sure that your posture is straight, your handshake firm, web to web and that your eyes aren’t wandering when you meet someone for the first time. A handshake should be firm, brief and confident. Slouching is often mistaken as a sign of laziness which is something that you, as a person of considerable rank shouldn’t be perceived as.

Show that you are punctual and people will respect you for respecting their time. A punctual person is respected by people of all stature in all parts of the corporate world. The minute you know you are running late, even if you are a CEO, it does well to drop a message to inform them of the same.

As a person in a position of power, your main aim should be to command over the room the minute you walk into it. That is possible only when your stride is confident, your posture erect and when you maintain eye contact with the people in the room as you walk past them, acknowledging them with a nod or a tilt of your head.

The last letter that will complete our trio is ‘C’ – Communication

People who talk well and present themselves to others as knowledgeable and well informed have a tendency to do well in their careers, and climb up the ladder of success faster.

Know your field. Do your research. Read. Not only does this help someone who is a fresher in the field and looking to keep up with the industry, but also someone who has been around for a long time. Being aware of what’s happening in your field is of utmost importance for you to be able to engage in conversation.

While talking it is important to think before you speak and filter your words before they come out of your mouth. Filler words like umm, like and yeah should be avoided as they sound immature and give the listener the impression that you are not confident about your material. When you are giving a speech for instance, consciously avoiding these words will give your speech more impact, power and charisma.

Communications is not only about verbal communication but also about what you post, share and comment on the various social media platforms that you are active on. Be careful of your language, tone and even your grammar as these are the little things that people notice and they can form an important part of your image to others. Corporate employees especially your social media page can speak volumes about you. A CEO’s LinkedIn profile is his virtual biography. What you post, say about a particular issue or comment is as important as what you verbally communicate with people.

As a corporate worker, it is equally important to build your networking skills by reaching out to people from your field. Maintain relations with those who you have already connected with. Drop an email once in a while, or pick up the phone and have a conversation about something relevant.

The ABC of impressions will ensure, when followed, that you appear more professional, confident and in control to whomsoever you meet and that it is in fact, your persona that is shining through. Building your personal brand is a journey that takes time, however if you start with this, you are definitely on the right path to success!

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Topics: Life @ Work, #Communication

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