Did you know that upon first meeting we form an opinion on someone within just a mere 7 seconds?

Sociolinguist Albert Mehrabian did a bit of research into communication and discovered that 7% of a verbal message comes from the words used, 38% comes from the vocal tone, pacing and inflexion and a whopping 55% of the message is transmitted by appearance and body language.

We may believe we should never judge a book by its cover but evidently, we do. Which makes first impressions count for everything!

There are some things that are out of our control but one thing we do have control over is how we portray ourselves to the outside world.  Through styling, grooming and non-verbal communication, we can paint any picture we want to and when done correctly it can really help us move further towards our dreams and goals.

I’ve always found the characterisation aspect of styling fascinating and I enjoy playing with appearance – which is a good thing considering I made a career out of it!

A full-on prosthetic makeup is a lot of fun to do and can really transform and produce jaw-dropping results but I also love to explore subtle changes.  I totally geek out on how little changes here and there can completely change not only how we are perceived but how we also perceive ourselves – and this goes for not only the clients I work with but on myself too.

I can lift myself out of a “funk” super quickly with a polished put together makeup just like I can go from feeling like a lethargic couch potato to chomping at the bit of a vigorous workout by simply putting on my gym clothes.

Simply put, if I am not looking my best, then I do not perform at my best.

The impact of imagery has been determined by social psychologists that when someone meets you for the first time, 30 seconds is all is it takes for them to form a whole host of determinations about your character and abilities. In 30 seconds, people form impressions of you based almost entirely on what they see – the clothes you wear, the way your hair is styled, the smile you put on and generally how you carry yourself along with the rest of your nonverbal communications.

Thankfully when it comes to business nowadays the rigid “dress for success” rules have changed to give way to more flexible guidelines that encompass casual business looks as well as the more traditional power suits.  There are always ways to improve your appearance and a lot of them are unbelievably simple to do.

So invest in yourself, take time to look in the mirror and see if you really are portraying your true capabilities.  Remember, as the speed of the business world accelerates, the importance of making a positive first impression increases, too.

You can read more on ramping up your appearance in the business world on the corporate styling page.


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