A sign in my office reads “Good Clothes Open
All Doors.” It’s a quote from Thomas
Fuller, a 17th century English clergyman and historian
who also said, “A man’s best fortune,
or his worst, is his wife,” but that’s
for another newsletter. Today I want to examine
how and why, now more than ever, your wardrobe
can open doors for you.
We have but one chance to make a great first impression.
When the economy is good, opportunities abound
for capable professionals, often in spite of how
little effort they allocate to personal grooming
and appearance. However, with an economic downturn
comes competition. You’ll want to set yourself
apart from your peers and focus on projecting
an image of competence, confidence and distinction.
Do this by “dressing the part” and
knowing your audience.
Think about the theatre for a moment—why
do actors wear costumes? To immerse themselves
in a particular role and project a character.
Dress rehearsal is when actors are in full dress
and make-up, one step away from show time. Consider
this as you prepare for your next networking event,
or meeting with a potential client—think
about what “costume” will put you
in the right mindset and convey the right message.
All things being equal, if a buyer meets two people
at a networking event she feels has the talent,
experience and skills to solve her problem, will
she choose the one who looks comfortable and relaxed
(khakis or jeans and a casual shirt) or the one
who looks polished, successful, and ready for
business (suit and dress shoes)? In today’s
economy, I’ll put my money on the individual
who is ready for business.
Knowing your audience is also key. Dressing for
success means dressing a notch or two up from
your client, audience member, or potential buyer,
but not being over-dressed for the situation.
When meeting people at an outdoor corporate event,
for example, a suit would be too formal, but shorts
and flip-flops would also be out of place. Meeting
people in a high-tech environment in Silicon Valley
is very different from visiting a manager of a
Wall Street firm. Develop a “look”
that you can fine-tune to fit the scene.
At Neels & Company, we are fond of saying that
the magic is in the details. Accessorizing your
business attire with well made, high quality accessories,
shoes and jewelry is like putting a thick layer
of cream cheese frosting on a deliciously dense
carrot cake. Yummy. For readers who have no idea
what we mean by this, please visit our website
where we have shopping lists of must-have wardrobe
basics for men
Work your magic by dressing the part at your next
occasion, giving yourself the advantage when it
comes to generating business. These days, you
can’t afford to rely solely on your good
name and track record—you must leave a lasting
impression on the people you meet so that when
opportunity knocks, it does so on your door.
© 2008 Neels & Company - All Rights Reserved
We are the leading provider of soft skills training to professional services firms, covering all areas of business communication.
Neels & Company – Strategic Business Communication
P. O. Box 623, Boston, MA 02117
800-975-7031 ext. 701
general inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org