If you want to be trusted by others, your actions and your words must align. Being a credible person means that your actions underline what you say. If your actions do not, you will undermine yourself. And why would you want to do that?
Recently I was reading through "The Power of Presence" by Kristi Hedges. In her book, she highlights something called the 55/38/7 rule. 55% of our message is communicated through facial expressions, 38% is communicated by tone of voice, and only 7% through words. This means we communicate more when we think we are not communicating ... and that is scary! The lesson is not that words do not matter, it is just that they matter a lot less than what we think. This means you need to shift your focus away from only worrying about what you are saying (or going to say) but the demeanor when you are speaking.
One way you could help yourself in this area is by improving the way you dress.
Above we learned that nonverbal communication is a HUGE aspect when communicating. Dressing in a way that matches what you are trying to convey (your presence) removes one unnecessary barrier between yourself and others. The gal that wants to be taken seriously at work but continues to dress like she's 17 is not helping herself. The fella that dresses in military cargo pants and an Affliction T-shirt will not be taken seriously in the corporate setting. I know, you dress according to your personal style and that's all that matters. Right? Wrong. Time to grow up.
Below are some helpful tips when it comes to dressing professionally provided by Hedges:
1) Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.
2) When you get promoted, your wardrobe does too.
3) Wear clothes that fit you properly.
4) Do not just dress solely for comfort (I like my sweats as much as you, trust me).
5) Dress for presence.
6) Wear a jacket. A blazer / sport coat is always a good thing to keep in your office.
7) Do not wear revealing clothes. As a matter of fact, the younger you are the more conservative as a general rule.
8) Anything connected to work is work. This is a good rule of thumb when figuring out what to wear.
9) Shave. Smell good. Comb your hair. Wear a watch.
10) Always dress 1 level above the group you lead.
Dress is one aspect that you have absolute control over. The good thing is nowadays you can find much of the above for very cheap (check out a consignment shop!). Still not convinced?
Coco Chanel rightly said: "Dress shabbily, they notice the dress. Dress impeccably, they notice the woman."
The choice is yours...
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more advice on improving your presence.
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