As part of our seminars, we run an exercise asking delegates what they should be considering before attending business events. After all, no professional or business person would ever dream of attending a client or prospect meeting without doing some preparation and planning. One of the items which is always mentioned is ‘decide what you’re going to wear’. When the answer comes from a woman it is invariable preceded by, ‘I know it’s a girly thing but……’
It is not a ‘girly thing’, it’s an everybody thing! What you wear speaks volumes for your attitude towards the people you are about to meet. When you dress inappropriately you are telling your fellow guests ‘you don’t care or you couldn’t be bothered.’ Maybe you don’t and maybe you couldn’t which is fine as long as you are happy to take the consequences (which can be either positive or negative). We don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, meaning people often judge us before we even open our mouth. ‘If people judge me on what I wear they have to be very shallow and not worth building a relationship with.’ ‘I never wear a tie and I’m not going to start doing so now’. Even the in-coming Prime Minister Gordon Brown has refused to dress up in evening attire. Many people will judge those attitudes as a guide to how you lead your business life in general. By dressing in a suitable manner you are telling the other people in the room you respect them, you do care how you are perceived and you do give others an overall impression of what you think and who you are. This may include being individualist, maverick and even eccentric.
When you’re Sir Richard Branson in his jumpers or Sir Bob Geldof with his hairstyle I guess you have ‘made it’ and couldn’t give a damn about what others think. To us mere mortals perhaps we should.