Okay, I can hear some of you thinking, might it be good to be underestimated? Yes, it can. However, I'm referring to our level of self esteem and how we can bolster it. Fact is, when we make the effort to improve our image it gives a considerable boost to our self esteem. And as if by osmosis our level of confidence increases. In many business-oriented scenarios, we are rewarded when we are seen to be making the effort. So it's about being accurately estimated, not underestimated or overestimated. This quote by Nancy Pelosi seems relevant: "Don't underestimate your opponent, but don't overestimate them, either."
One reason I'm writing about this is because of a speaking engagement I just had at the European Parliament in Brussels. Here (amongst the male contingency) I felt speaking about making an effort regarding one's image was probably considered not the best use of time. I find this normal in large businesses and particularly in the corporate arena. I also just presented a workshop at the London Metropolitan University, where I'm a visiting professor. The title of the workshop was How To Sell Yourself Successfully. Given we only have 10 seconds to make a first impression, how we appear is integral to how we communicate. It's as if many people think that giving too much attention to their image is just too superficial.
When we pay the right amount of attention to our personal style/image we become more in tune with our personal brand. One reason is because like a jigsaw puzzle we are able to locate the missing pieces. Therefore, if we have any aspirations about improving our image, we become enabled to do so. It's as if we become more adept at completing our puzzle. I'm constantly surprised to find so many men and women who give little credence to their attire and grooming. I'm not suggesting we overdo it. I am suggesting we endeavor to make every effort to ensure we make the best impression that we can.
For me, ensuring I feel as though I look the part is tantamount to being the part. As Amy Cuddy has said, fake it until you become it. The trade off is often subtle. We can attain more respect, seem to have greater authority and come across with more gravitas. Yes, all these qualities are the outcome of making the effort to improve our image by focusing on your personal style. So start by acknowledging that you are interested in further developing your personal style. Or perhaps are desirous of improving your image.
- Be aware of the importance of how you present yourself image-wise.
- Decide what you can do to improve your image.
- Perhaps use an icon/role model to inspire you.
- Notice how much better you feel, when you are well groomed and appropriately attired.
- Ensure your appearance doesn't come across as though you occupy a different era.
- Don't dress for success, do so to feel better about you -- success will follow.
- Learn how to focus on your whole image, not just the parts you are not happy with.