You may be educated, experienced and accomplished, but if you aren’t confident about the image you project in the world, you may feel unfulfilled and fail to reach your full potential. If your image doesn’t communicate the intended message, presentations may be overlooked, great ideas may not be heard, and your genius may not be understood.
Your personal and professional image includes: 1) your visual signature, which is head-to-toe appearance; 2) your verbal communication—not only what you say, but how you say it; and 3) your body language; movement, posture, body position and gestures. All of these elements together comprise your personal image: appearance, voice and body language.
It is absolutely possible to mindfully upgrade your personal image to an authentic and confident expression of your full potential. This process doesn’t have to cost much, but it does involve thoughtfulness, intention, preparation and consistency.
For every encounter you have with a colleague, co-worker, client or customer, for every event, project, or meeting, before you even get dressed and get out the door, ask yourself three questions.
1) What is my intention for this meeting?
2) What do I want them to “get” about me?
3) What do I wish to communicate visually, verbally and nonverbally to everyone with whom I am meeting?
Your answers to these questions should mindfully direct the choices you make regarding your appearance, your speech and your behavior. What you wish to communicate to whomever you will be with will determine your choice of clothing, accessories and hairstyle, as well as what you say and how you behave.
For example, if you are meeting someone for coffee at Starbucks in a rural town, you might want to give the message that you fit in, that you are part of the community, and want your companion to feel comfortable. So you dress accordingly, expressing who you are genuinely, but appropriately for the time, place, climate and situation. But if you are making a sales presentation to an important potential client in a major city, your appearance, voice and behavior will be somewhat different, of course. You’ll need to dress and speak and behave appropriately, albeit genuinely, for that situation as well. In that case, you’ll most likely wear a suit and leather shoes, your grooming should be impeccable, your speech will be more formal, and your behavior should be organic, yet more restrained than at the coffee shop meeting. Right?
But how do we know what to wear for that upgraded image? Well, it’s like deciding what to make for a wonderful meal; you may need some inspiration from a cookbook or magazine that specializes in the type of meal you’re planning. It’s the same principle for knowing what you need for the image you would like to project: look in magazines. Get a few different lifestyle magazines, appropriate for your desired style. See what you like, what kind of clothing gives the impression that you would like to express. What “looks” in the magazines express how you wish to be seen?
The next step in making that wonderful meal is having the ingredients in your cupboard. Similarly, for any meeting, event or presentation, you’ll need to have the ingredients for an updated image in your closet. If not, you need to acquire the necessary items. So make a list of needed items and shop.
What you wear should make you feel 100% genuine, confident, comfortable and attractive. Therefore, only buy what fits you, flatters you, and sends the message of how you wish to be known in a particular circumstance. Do not waste your money on anything less.
Give yourself time for preparation. You wouldn’t start defrosting the turkey an hour before your guests arrive, right? Be mindful of what needs to be done for preparing your confident image for every situation. Are clothes clean, odor-free and wrinkle-free? Do they fit properly? Ladies, how much time will you realistically need for hair and makeup? Check your posture, whether you are standing, sitting or walking. Posture communicates a lot—much more than you’d think.
Have intention, direction and consistency to how you wish to be known for every situation. For each instance, adjust your visual appearance, your clear voice and your purposeful movements to communicate your desired message.
Image matters; it’s how we communicate in the world, visually, verbally and nonverbally. Yes, it’s a lot to think about. But it’s worth it. The more you practice these principles, the more automatic they become.
Self-satisfaction and fulfillment come from within. They evolve from routine and habitual mindful choices. If you are honest with yourself about who you are, what you want and how to achieve those things, solutions can come easily to relieve stress and gain confidence.
As the year unfolds, you will be given many opportunities to share your gifts, talents and wisdom with your family, your business, and the world, that only you can give – be ready.
About the Author: Marian Rothschild is a Certified Personal Image Consultant, speaker and writer on image, style and leadership. Marian consults and coaches professional men and women on their visual, verbal and nonverbal communication for executive presence and stellar success. Her award-winning and bestselling book, Look Good Now and Always, is available on Amazon. Get help with your head-to-toe appearance, wardrobe, voice and presentation for authentic confidence. Visit www.marianrothschild.com, then call 720-933-9247 to set up your assessment and consultation or Skype interview. Don’t wait: Look Good Now.