looking good really does matter

90% say appearance effects client perceptions

 This is a difficult subject for me to write about because I really don’t care what people think about the way I dress or groom myself. That said, I recognise two things in this regard. Firstly, people make judgements about me based on how I look. Secondly, if they form a negative view based on my appearance – I have to make up for this disadvantage in some other way.

One study found that:

  • 86% of employees surveyed believed physical appearance matters in the workplace
  • 90% of employees believe that appearance affects client perceptions
The fact is, human beings do make judgements about each other based on dress and grooming, and the level of personal engagement can be significantly impacted by what is seen to be inappropriate attire or grooming. Dress and grooming impact on the perception of an individual in terms of:
  • Sense of style
  • Confidence
  • Attention to detail
  • Understanding of the audience
  • Respect for the audience
I would argue that the two most important priorities in terms of attire and grooming are:
  • Personal style
  • Genuine confidence
Most businesspeople lack style, and few seem to care. Others have a sense of style that is not their own (possibly out of a magazine or a partner’s mouth). In my experience, businesspeople inspire the most confidence when they have their own style – one that makes them memorable.

Businesspeople inspire confidence when they appear confident in their own skin. Therefore, dressing and grooming in a way that makes an individual feel confident is important. I would not feel comfortable dressing or grooming myself any way other than the way I do. As it happens, I place a higher priority on this than on suggesting respect for my audience by dressing as they do.

 Beyond grooming and attire research has also found that:
  • Tall people are paid more
  • Fat people are paid less
  • Blonds are paid more
  • Workers who are fit get paid more
  • Women who wear make-up get paid more
  • Handsome people are paid more

Being paid more does not necessarily indicate a capacity to engage others. However, these findings highlight the complexity of personal presentation.

RECOMMENDATION – Refine your personal presentation or stuff up the first 30 seconds. It reflects on your capacity to engage with your audience. Look beyond attire and grooming … and look at the whole package.


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