A few weeks ago I caught a flight from Johannesburg to Harare. The flight crew walked past the boarding gate where passengers were seated in order to board the aeroplane first, in full regalia walking in single file, pulling their trolley bags. One of the crew members caught my attention – for the wrong reason. Her uniform was ill-fitting, her hair cut in a short bob style was, shockingly, flying in her face and not neatly pinned back. I couldn’t help but wonder if this lady had been called as a last minute, emergency stand-in for another crew member that day.
I wondered about the company’s uniform/dress code policy and whether they have a mechanism for checking whether their staff are adhering to the policy requirements. When an employee looks or behaves in a certain manner it impacts either negatively or positively on the impression that we have of the company or organisation in general. That’s why so many organisations invest extensively in front office training to ensure their communication, behaviour and dress correctly reflects the organisation’s vision, mission and values.
Today I was reminded of this incident. In pursuit of efficient aesthetics, I am planning to install some astro-turf in a section of my garden. So a quotation was requested from a local landscaping company and their representative was sent in to do the area measurements. I was quite pleased with the way that he looked the part. He wore a green work suit with some astro-turf embellishments. He was knowledgeable about his product, describing the different grass samples and their suitability for my needs. He also had an app to measure the surface area to be renovated without the need for a tape measure.
Whether we like it or not, we judge a person’s ability and capabilities by their appearance first and foremost and thereafter by what they say – if they’re lucky to get a chance to explain what they know. Imagine a makeup artist with eyebrows that are not “on-fleek” and bad contouring, a fitness instructor who is overweight with no muscle definition, a dentist with discoloured teeth and an overbite. Whether it’s a hairdresser, a doctor or an investment banker – we expect them to look the part. How they look must be in sync with the service they provide. I prefer a Chef who looks like he/she enjoys food and eats the food he/she cooks – no skinny chefs for me.
Looking clean is an absolute basic essential but you must also look the part specific to your area of expertise. Is there congruency between what you say you do and how you present yourself to your market? Do you look convincing yet retain your authenticity? Remember that if your presence doesn't make a good impact that allows you to stand out, you will not be top-of-mind to your current or potential customers.
Check out the list of image services to see how Professional Presence can help you walk the talk.