By your very presence, your appearance makes a statement – first, to you and then, to others. Another word for “appearance” is “image.” Your image is constantly at work. It can work for you or against you. It can be a major asset in achieving your goals or, it can be a tremendous liability that holds you back without ever knowing why.
As an image management consultant, I am often asked what that means and what I do. Image management is the ongoing process of evaluating and controlling the impact of your appearance on yourself and others. It is about creating an authentic, appropriate, attractive and affordable personal appearance which increases your confidence, capability, credibility and productivity. It contributes to your continuing success and helps you in the achievement of your goals.
I advocate the art and act of managing, using, or controlling the use of clothing and grooming aids as resources—tools my clients can use to help them in the achievement of their goals. I thereby empower and enable my clients to achieve their personal and professional goals by applying image management strategies in everyday life.
As an individual living and working in a highly complex society and competitive business arena, you must recognize and understand the impact of your appearance as it communicates first to you and then to others. What you wear and the way you look affects the way you think, the way you feel, the way you behave and then, the way others react or respond to you.
While it is important to like what you wear and the way you look, it is more important to understand how this effects you, others, and your life in the achievement of your goals.
1. Your clothing and grooming affect the way you think.
You can’t afford to think negatively about yourself due to some aspect of your appearance. When your appearance is authentic, attractive and appropriate, you think more positively about yourself, your situation and others.
2. Your clothing and grooming affect the way you feel.
You can’t afford to feel unproductive, uncomfortable, self-conscious, inferior or full of self-doubt. A positive personal appearance is a fast, effective way to boost self-confidence and overcome anxiety regardless of ability or acceptance. When you appear attractively dressed and groomed, personally authentic, and appropriate for the occasion, you feel more comfortable, confident, capable, cooperative and productive.
3. Your clothing and grooming affect the way you act or behave.
You can’t afford to act awkward, insecure or out-of-place. Nor can you afford to act arrogant, aggressive or conceited. A positive personal appearance is one of the most effective ways to improve behaviour and enhance performance level or productivity. When you appear attractively dressed and groomed, personally authentic and appropriate for the occasion, you act more secure, at ease, mannerly, competent and naturally able to do you best.
4. Your clothing and grooming affect the way others react or respond to you.
Your appearance is the one personal characteristic that is immediately obvious and accessible to others. You can’t hide it. Your appearance makes a strong statement about your personality, values, attitudes, interests, knowledge, abilities, roles and goals. You can’t afford to be seen as disrespectful, irresponsible, ineffective or unproductive. You can’t afford to create a negative impression or to build barriers between you and others because of an unattractive, inappropriate, distracting or offensive appearance. When you appear attractively dressed and groomed, personally authentic, and appropriate for the occasion, you create a positive impression and others are more able to perceive your positive traits and regard you more favourably.
In conclusion, your appearance is one situational factor you can generally control. Think in terms of dressing authentically for yourself as an individual – for your physical being, your personality, values, attitudes, and interests. Think in terms of dressing appropriate for the group, the occasion, and the purpose at hand. The same advice applies to your grooming. Learn to manage your clothing and grooming aids as a resource, a tool to help you think, feel and act your personal and professional best; to create a positive first and lasting impression about yourself. Make the power of personal appearance work for you!
After 14 years working as a lawyer and law firm manager, Erin Crotty was ready for a change. Trained through the Protocol School of Washington and the Conselle Institute of Image Management, Erin is now a certified business etiquette, protocol and image management expert who has turned her passion into a thriving business – BloomStra Consulting, based in Ottawa, ON.
Erin helps her clients harness the power of etiquette and image management to build successful relationships in business and reach their professional goals. Her clients learn how to increase their confidence and credibility, distinguish themselves in any business or social situation and, ultimately, ‘Outclass the Competition’.