Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Dress to Connect with Your Audience

How much thought do you put into what you wear? Is it something you spend a lot of time thinking about and planning, or something you think very little about until there is a big event on the horizon and you see the need to make a good impression?

Dressing is something we do daily and have done since we can remember; because of this, it can get put on the ‘not-so-important’ list because we don’t actually see its impact. The truth is, every time we dress and are seen we are creating an impression. This impression is very important if you are in business.

Why?

YOU are your business – you are the billboard for your business. When you are in public, there is no time that how you’re dressed is not important to your bottom line.

Just think of Jane (not her real name) presenting her first keynote speech. She took time to carefully choose what to wear. She wanted to look great so she wore an outfit that had always gotten her lots of compliments.  Even though the outfit she chose looked great on her it didn’t fit the occasion (it was a cocktail dress) and because of that it didn’t send the message she wanted to communicate. She wanted to communicate credibility but did just the opposite because what she was wearing wasn’t consistent with her message and the occasion.

Speakers and business leaders who really connect with their audience, have a message that conveys confidence, credibility and sincerity. Your message is conveyed through what you say- the words you speak, how you say it – your tone and your visual impact – your appearance and body language.

Imagine you are walking on a stage or into a networking event – all eyes are on you. Since your body language is always broadcasting how you feel, it is important that you feel confident. One way you can do this is to feel good about how you are dressed. This means, taking the time to consider your message, your audience and how what you’re wearing is conveying that message. Any part of your image that is distracting or not on point is lowering your credibility.

To connect with your audience, you need to be what they expect. For example, how would you feel (what would you think) about an accountant dressed in track pants and a T-shirt, would you trust this person with your money? If you went to a hospital for an operation, how would you expect the doctor to look? How could he/she gain or lose credibility? No matter what your business, your potential clients have an expectation of you. You gain their trust and increase your credibility to the extent that you meet their expectations.

It is important to be clear with your intention. This is a question worth thinking about: What is my message and how should I dress to deliver that message authentically? When you are sure of yourself, who you are, your message and the communication of your message your confidence and credibility increase and you make a positive connection with your audience.