How Much Appearances Matter for Your Personal Brand

Appearances are part of your personal brand. Dress the part you want to play, pay attention to your mannerisms, and if you suspect that something in your visual presentation may be off-putting to your audience, ask a trusted friend or colleague for feedback.

If our total communication score is 100 percent, what percentage of our communication is

  • Verbal: The content of what you say

  • Vocal: How you sound when you say it

  • Visual: How you look when you say it

A 1967 study done at UCLA established what’s called the Mehrabian rule. The research found that in a very specific situation (where people were communicating about emotions and attitudes), 7 percent of what came across depended on the content of what was said; 38 percent depended on how it was said (the speaker’s voice, tone, and accents); and 55 percent depended on how the person looked when communicating.

The study did drive home the point that visual (nonverbal) communication is hugely important. The take-home point is that what your listeners see in a face-to-face encounter is at least as important as what they hear from you, so don’t neglect your nonverbal communication.

Clothes for your brand

Does your clothing represent the sum of who you are or a just a fraction of the whole you? Presuming that you’re aiming for a position that includes greater responsibility, dressing for the life you aspire to means demonstrating attention to detail, particularly as it relates to proper fit.

It is not just physical fit that is important; it is about a psychological fit, which means that your clothing represents your values and personality, and a situational fit, which means your look complements your role and the occasion.

Everything you wear conveys information about you. For this reason, you need to understand the foundational details of a well-dressed individual. Be realistic and honest with yourself about what fits your body and what doesn’t. Do your research by shopping without buying.

Learn what brands and designers cut their garments in a shape most similar to your body. Successful people connect well with others through their writing, speaking, and nonverbal communication. They recognize that their clothing and grooming are nonverbal tools they can control to help them achieve their goals and ambitions.

What you wear and how you wear it has a domino effect. This is referred to as the universal effects of image. This phrase is appropriate because the way you look affects the way

  • You think about yourself.

  • You feel about yourself.

  • You speak.

  • You act or conduct yourself.

  • Others react or respond to you.

Color is an important aspect of your personal brand in the clothing that you wear.

Grooming tips for professionals

Like the clothes you wear, your grooming is a complex form of visual, nonverbal communication. Grooming not only includes keeping your body clean and odor-free but also caring for and maintaining your teeth, breath, hair, hands, and nails. Body piercings and tattoos are best covered up in the work environment.

Sufficient sleep and rest also factor into the equation so that you can look your best and appear to be ready for the next opportunity.

Managing your grooming routine communicates an attention to detail that helps you create a positive first and lasting impression about you and your abilities.

For men:

  • Opt to be clean-shaven or else wear a well-shaped and closely trimmed moustache or beard. Even a 5 o'clock shadow needs to look intentional and groomed.

  • Keep your nose and ear hair trimmed and your eyebrows neat.

  • To maintain a polished look, see your barber/stylist every three to five weeks. The easiest way to stay on top of your appointments is to schedule several months out at a time.

  • Invest in a small hair trimmer. It’s the best tool for keeping the back of your neck groomed between appointments.

For women:

  • A light and natural application of makeup enhances your appearance and shows that you put thought into your head-to-toe appearance.

  • Shape and regularly maintain your eyebrows.

  • Choose a hairstyle that is current and easy to keep up. Very long hair is best worn up to be distraction-free.

  • Keep nails well manicured.

Styles for your body type

Be realistic and honest with yourself about what fits your body and what doesn’t. Not all designers cut for the same figure type, nor are all styles suited to all body shapes. Do your research. Discover what brands and designers cut for a figure type most similar to your own.

Find a style that highlights your best assets and diminishes those parts of your body that you would rather not emphasize. All you need to do is to take a walk downtown to see what people shouldn’t be wearing! You don’t want people thinking those same thoughts about you.

Personal branding takes your best self out into the world. The look that you present speaks to that. Let the best parts of your image be seen and let the right clothing cover the rest.

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