Power of Appearance
By: Andrew Michaels
I remember from the early days of The Simpsons an episode where Homer uses a special tonic to grow all of his hair back. As soon as he has his full head of hair he begins to get promotions at his job and is looked to with a new level of respect, until heís told to give a big speech in front of a large group of executives. Well, when Bart accidentally spills all of his tonic, Homerís hair falls out, and when he gives his big speech everyone walks out because they see no reason to listen to a bald man.
Now, this is a rather extreme example, but there is a point to be found in the joke. People put a lot of stock into appearances. When you first look at a person youíre going to be forming opinions about them, and in the business world this is even truer of a statement.
Did they reach out their hand to shake yours? Are they wearing a nice, clean suit? Is their hair combed and are they clean-shaven? Did they hand you any color business cards during or after your conversation?
At least some of these details are going to be important, because it really does tell us a lot about the person weíre dealing with, and to ignore it would be trouble on your part, because people are going to be doing the same to you.
The point isnít to say that you should go out of your way to act in one specific fashion to make the best appearance possible. Being yourself is still perfectly acceptable, and most people donít like talking to someone whoís trying as hard as they can to be another person.
What you need to do is simply be aware of the fact that people are going to make judgments based on some of the more superficial aspects of you. Make sure you do have some color business cards on you to hand to people if you need to, just as you need to make sure that you look well dressed and dignified.
Each industry is going to have different social norms that people follow, and it can be a scary thing to enter into a business world filled with customs you arenít completely sure of.
Donít worry and donít let it make you nervous. Everyone had to start out somewhere, and most people are more forgiving than it might seem. Sometimes all it takes is a little honesty on your part in telling people that youíre still getting a feel for the lay of the land.
Never be afraid of letting your personality out. The more genuine you are, the better of an impression youíll be able to make, and the better chances youíll have at making a sale.
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