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DRESS FOR SUCCESS

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					                                                                              SHERPA Integrated Learning Ltd.



                                       DRESS FOR SUCCESS
You have only a few minutes to create an appropriate first impression. Fail in this, and you will struggle to
establish rapport. This could result in the loss of a sale, loss of confidence in a customer, or failure in a job
interview.

We gather our impressions of others subconsciously from three pieces of information which are immediately
available to us on first meeting. Our brains first collect visual information from the other person’s appearance
- their dress and their body language.
Then they collect information from the sound of the voice - not the words, but the quality of sound, deduced
from pitch, accent, volume and speed of delivery.

Finally our brains get an impression from the words that are used. Of these three elements it is the visual
information that has the greatest impact. Words only make up a tiny fraction (seven per cent) of the first
impression.

To create an appropriate first impression these three elements, the visual, vocal and verbal, must be
congruent. As wonderful as you look, if you speak with a nervous tremor, in a high-pitched squeaky voice or
one of certain heavy regional accents, you could find it difficult to establish rapport. Similarly, though you
speak clearly, if you’re dressed for the beach you may not be taken seriously in business. It is the overall
picture that counts.
Getting it right also means taking into consideration the people you are meeting and the reason you are
meeting them. If you want to appear authoritative, you will need to wear clothing that is high in contrast
(perhaps a dark suit with red tie on white shirt) and sharp in style. Sharp styles have fine, rather than loose-
woven materials and a squarish cut. Women should usually wear jackets with shoulder pads. Men should
wear their darkest most appropriate colour.

If you want to appear approachable you will need to wear lower contrast (blues, greens and greys perhaps).
You can also afford to wear looser weave materials in blouses, shirts and suits, giving you a softer, more
rounded look.

The style of clothing you should choose to wear will depend on whether you are entering a very formal
environment, such as a bank, accountancy firm or law offices, or a very informal setting such as an art studio.
Those who work in people-centred and social professionals, such as teachers and social workers often dress
casually. As well as for practical purposes, many of them consider if frivolous to ‘dress up’. That doesn’t
mean you should dress poorly too, but dress to be approachable rather than authoritative.
Consider the kind of clothing worn by those who work in the environment in which you have create your first
impression. You don’t have to copy them, but choose something that wouldn’t seem totally out of place in
their business setting. A well planned business wardrobe will help you dress appropriately for every occasion.
That is, to suit your personality, colouring, body-line, business role, company culture and the culture of the
people you meet.


For more information on choosing dress for work, for both men and women, help with your CV, job interviews
and much, much more, order Your Work-Life Guide. This unique electronic workbook will help you choose,
plan and achieve a better career. (For details of bulk order facilities please telephone).




                    Old Orchard House, The Street, Uley, Nr. Dursley, Gloucestershire GL11 5AG
                  Telephone: +44(0)1453 860424 Email: learn@sherpa.org.uk www.sherpa.org.uk

				
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posted:3/2/2010
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