The following post was contributed by Tonya Evans of Style Strategist.
Like many of you, I often leave work in a race to get to this activity or that for one of my children. On a rare occasion, I have time to drop by the house and change out of my professional clothes into something more comfortable.
One day, I was taking my children to a little league game and found myself dashing to the baseball field in my high-heeled shoes and power dress.
As the game finished, one of the other parents in attendance slid over next to me on the bleachers and said, with a very serious look on her face, “You look like you have a very important job.”
I smiled, thanked her and told her a little bit about what I do. As the conversation ended, she added, “I just wanted to say that you always look so nice when you come to the games. Now I know why.”
That conversation left an impression on me. Our brief interaction taught me several lessons about the importance of one’s image.
- You never know who is watching.
I had no idea that anyone was paying attention to what I wore to my son’s little league game. What about your manager and the other executives that you interact with on a daily basis? Your attire reflects that you are there to conduct business.
- A polished image projects authority.
This woman and I only exchanged pleasantries a few times, but my professional attire communicated to her that I was someone of importance. Make sure your image projects the right messages about you.
- A professional image attracts others to you.
During our conversation another woman joined us and said that she knew that I was coming from a meeting. “You’re making the rest of us look bad,” she joked. A professional look attracts others to you and makes them more receptive to what you are saying. Create a professional image that makes others hang on your every word.
- First impressions are unforgettable.
In addition to one game during each work week, my son’s team also plays on Saturday mornings. I have never missed a game and attend them quite casually, often wearing yoga attire or other workout gear. But neither woman recalled my dress-down days. Their first impression was a lasting one.
What impressions are your business associates, clients and colleagues making about you when you think nobody’s watching? Take some time to build an image that reflects positively on your brand.
Tonya Seavers Evans is president and founder of Style Strategist Inc., a Miami-based image and communications consultancy with a passion for teaching individuals how to marry their style with their message. She is a former communications professional for Fortune 500 organizations and was trained by the prestigious London Image Institute. Tonya is also an rbb client who manages media relations & communications at JWU. Read more of Evans’ blog posts here.