This is NYC, people: we care what you look like – this isn’t called the fashion capital of the world for nothing. And if people you don’t know at all care about what you look like, you know your employers (and prospective employers) REALLY care what you look like, because how you present yourself reflects upon them. And very importantly, how you present and carry yourself reflects very clearly how YOU think about YOURSELF. So if you carry yourself like a slob, we get that you don’t think much of yourself, don’t have much confidence, or don’t take yourself seriously.
Don’t believe it? An of-quoted study reflected: 55 percent of your credibility comes from how you look, how you sound accounts for the next 38 percent, and only 7 percent of your credibility is based on what you say. So you see – you can be the smartest person in the room, but if you are the slobbiest no one will really listen to you.
Here are top 3 tips on how to present yourself in a way that is more professional, more powerful, and way more fun.
1. SLOW DOWN WHEN WALKING. NYC is a city full of people who scurry. We are always darting about in the subway, to the office, around the cafeteria, out for a coffee – it’s almost rodent-like. As you read this article, look up and notice the scurrying happening all around you – it’s not very authoritative or attractive, is it? Slow down, people! Take a breath and walk with more control and authority down the hall. Walk with your head held high and your shoulders back. Don’t you already feel more powerful? So what if you miss that train because you take 30 more seconds to get down the subway stairs – another train will come along and it’s better than falling down the stairs, to boot.
2. SLOW DOWN WHEN TALKING. NYCisacityfulloffast-talkersevernoticethat? However, mumbling doesn’t make a positive impression on anyone. Practice talking a bit more slowly. One great way to check in on how you sound: leave voice mail messages for yourself. You might be surprised how you actually sound. So for example, if you are calling a job prospect, before you call the prospect call yourself and record what you want to say. Think you sound suave? Maybe you actually sound super-nervous and insecure. Think you sound sexy (leaving a message for a date?). Maybe you actually sound desperate – and we know you don’t want that. Practice makes perfect.
3. DRESS UP. Take an extra 5 minutes every day to really think about what you want to wear, and how those clothes make you feel. Dressing up doesn’t mean you have to spend more money or that you have to be uncomfortable. It does mean that you put some thought into what you wear and that you enjoy yourself in what you are wearing. So chuck the old underwear and holey socks and moth-eaten sweaters. Iron the pants you have, hang up the tops you care about, polish your shoes and handbag. Wear perhaps a smidge more jewelry and makeup (for the ladies). Enjoy yourself in your clothes because that is what it is all about, and the better you feel about yourself, the better you will present yourself.
More tips to come in the future – but these are 3 fundamental building blocks!