Making Your First Impression Count

How you carry yourself has a lot to do with how you feel about yourself. How you show up, including what you wear, is part of your brand.  You have the opportunity to have all components of your brand aligned.  A realistic self-assessment is one of the most important steps in shaping your professional image. Employ these steps to assess your current professional image:

  1. Think about how you want to be perceived.

Make a list of adjectives describing how you want people to see you. Examples could include “credible,” “confident,” “professional”—or something else. Write your descriptors in a column on a sheet of paper.

  1. Think about how your company wants you to be perceived.

Whether or not you realize it, there could be a difference between how you want to be perceived versus how your company wants you to be perceived. Know your company’s image expectations and standards. What are the adjectives that your company might use to describe its brand? Write those descriptors in a column alongside the first list.

  1. Compare the two lists.

Circle what’s the same between the two lists to identify which items align. Then look at what is not circled and think through the implications of the differences. If the descriptors are different, are they complimentary? Do they support each other? If the answer is “no,” could your image be causing brand confusion for the company? Consider what you might do to eliminate that confusion.

  1. Build your action plan.

Start by looking in a mirror. What do you like about what you see? What would you like to change? How can you enhance the impression you make on others?

Whether we feel it is fair or not, the reality is that people make judgments based on what they see. Every casual meeting is an opportunity for someone to invest in you, hire you, refer you or enhance your credibility. Remember:  Your professional image has an impact on your success!

Learn more ways to boost your professional image by attending Dardis Communications’ Leadership Presentation & Image program.