Posted by Todd Smith
I read a study a couple years ago that indicated people make a decision about the trustworthiness of a website in less than one second. Yes, I said less than one second. Think about it. How long does it take you to form an initial opinion of a website? Is it one second, two seconds or five seconds?
Just as people quickly form an initial opinion of a website, they also are quick to form an opinion of us. After all, do you notice how people look, what they are wearing and how they comb their hair? Whether you acknowledge it or not, you are a forming a mental picture of this person within a short amount of time.
First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions
How we look plays a significant role in our overall brand, but it is especially important in the business world.
The first impression you make on people creates a lasting impression. In fact, if you fail to make a positive first impression, you may never be given a second chance. This is especially true when going on a sales call or a job interview. Just as your smile, handshake, eye contact and ability to remember someone’s name are components of an initial first impression, so is your appearance.
Appearance Has Value
Companies spend millions of dollars on packaging and branding their products because their research teams have determined that the look and feel of a product impacts buying decisions. Wouldn’t it make sense then that we consider how our appearance affects the price we are able to charge for our services?
While I have always known that people form opinions of us based on the way we look, this became overwhelmingly apparent on a recent business trip. Normally when I travel I wear jeans and a golf shirt, but once on a one-day business trip I wore a suit and tie. I was looking good! When I arrived at the gate, I went up to the counter, smiled, offered a friendly hello, greeted the gate agent by name and asked if there was any availability in first class. The agent responded with a smile, upgraded my roundtrip ticket in first class and didn’t even charge me. I also noticed that the airport vendors, flight attendants, and other passengers treated me differently.
Now I am not suggesting that wearing a suit and tie will get you first class seats on airplanes, but I do believe that your appearance will make an impression and will affect how people view and treat you.
The Little Things that Make a Good Appearance
If you want to achieve greater professional success, you must be conscious that your appearance sends a certain message. A good appearance includes the way you groom yourself and the clothing and jewelry you wear. All these little things combine to form your overall “look.”
I recommend that you observe how successful people dress. Pay close attention to the details from the length of their tie to the style and appearance of the shoes they are wearing. A pair of poorly shined shoes speaks louder than words. One of the fastest shortcuts to success is to learn everything you can from those who are more successful than you.
When you find yourself unsure of how to dress, I suggest playing it safe. Always over-dress rather than running the risk of being under-dressed. For example, you can always take off your tie and jacket if you find the attire to be more casual when you arrive at the event. I always feel awkward if I find myself under-dressed, no matter how I may try to justify it, but seldom do I feel uncomfortable when I am over dressed.
If you would like to contribute to this lesson by sharing any ideas you have about personal appearance, please make a comment below this post on Little Things Matter.
The easiest way to have others view you as being successful is to look successful.
Confidence, Personal Brand
Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 34 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts.
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