This is an edited version of my latest article in Platinum Business Magazine.
We all know the saying, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’. Will Rogers was right – first impressions count. Especially these days, when everything is so instant and image driven. Did you know that you only get about three seconds to make that impression? That’s how long it takes for people to make a judgement about you, based on what you look like and what you’re wearing.
I’m sure you want that judgment to be as favourable as possible whether you are heading to an important meeting, networking event, job interview or meeting your future in-laws. So what are the things you should think about?
First impressions and confidence
Research tells us that when you meet someone for the first time, your eyes, your hair and your smile are the things they notice first. But they also notice your clothes. What you wear conveys specific messages about your lifestyle, status and personal style preferences. How you wear it says a lot about how you feel.
Taking pride in your appearance does not mean that you are vain or shallow. It means that you care about how you present yourself to the world. Dressing well not only enables you to alter your appearance, it can improve your mood and boosts your confidence, which is, of course, vital to making a good first impression.
Prepare, be yourself, and check the details
Whatever the occasion, and whether you are male or female, keep my three golden rules in mind:
- Preparation is everything. Please don’t leave it to the last minute to decide what to wear to an important meeting or event. Nothing is more panic inducing than discovering a broken zipper, missing button or not having the right socks/jumper/bag etc. Try your full outfit on in advance – this will give you time for any last minute cleaning or repairs
- Dress as you, for you. Don’t try and be someone else or what you think others expect. Ladies, if you never wear heels, don’t wear towering stilettos – you will feel (and look) very uncomfortable. Guys, if you feel most comfortable in a suit but are going to a smart casual event and don’t want to look out of place, keep it smart with dark jeans or chinos and a blazer.
- Pay attention to the details. It goes without saying, really, but it’s surprising the number of people who neglect the small details. Clean teeth, hair and nails, please. Enough said.
Follow these and you’ll be sure to make a great impression, every time, no matter the occasion. Let me know how you get on!