Role of Appearance on Sales Performance via State of Mind Lindsey LaShell Mentor: Dr. Sri Seshadri University of Nebraska at Kearney Correlation Analysis Abstract Appearance affects us in many ways. Not only does appearance have an effect on others, it also has an effect on oneself. An improved Treatment Self- Self-confidence Appearance Mood Anxiety Performanc appearance can make a person feel more confident, less anxious and in a better mood. With these positive changes in one’s state of mind, we are (Appearance) construct construct construct construct construct able to complete our daily tasks more effectively. The purpose of this study is to show how an improved appearance (through dress and grooming) leads to better performance through changes in self-confidence, mood and anxiety. Establishing the relationship between appearance and Treatment Pearson Correlation performance will aid in discovering how salespeople can proactively affect their performance through their appearance. (Appearance) 1 .419* .733** .326 -.084 .125 Self- Self-confidence Pearson Correlation .419* 1 .671** .897** -.635** .351* Research construct Although there has been a lot of research on how appearance affects others, little was found about how appearance affects oneself, and no Appearance Pearson Correlation research has been done how appearance influences task performance. A study by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis indicates that "Certain construct .733** .671** 1 .584** -.194 .304 characteristics, such as appearance, might affect productivity in ways that are not as easily measured (or as obvious) as are other characteristics, like education or experience" (“More Attractive…”). The Bank’s report also added that the effects of looks on self-confidence, communication Mood Pearson Correlation and social skills were unknown. .326 .897** .584** 1 -.633** .278* There also has not been any quantitative research done to test the relationship between appearance and performance. Many books and articles construct have been written telling us how to “dress for success” and claiming that physical appearance has a significant effect on our success in the world. Anyone can say that dressing appropriately for the occasion helps them “feel better”, “more confident” and helps them to “succeed at doing their Anxiety construct Pearson Correlation job”. However, no research has been done to see if any relationship exists between the variables of appearance and performance through self- -.084 -.635** -.194 -.633** 1 .061 confidence, mood and anxiety. For the purpose of this research, all of the variables are considered “state” variables that can change depending on changes in the environment. Performance Pearson Correlation For example, when looking at appearance, physical characteristics such as height and weight are not considered. The research focuses on the construct .125 .351* .304 .278 .061 1 appearance as reflected by the participants’ dress and grooming, as well as how they feel at a particular moment in time. * Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Method • A pre and post test methodology was used to assess the influence of appearance on task performance. •The correlation between appearance and performance is established through mood, and self-confidence (Figure 1). • Participants were college students in an upper level sales management class (8 males and 9 females). • On Tuesdays students were allowed to wear whatever they liked; Thursdays students dressed in “business attire” to receive extra participation •By improving their appearance (dressing up and grooming), participants experienced increased levels of self-confidence, and reported being in a better mood. points. •Because of the changes in self-confidence, and mood, performance of the participants improved and they received higher scores on the evaluations of their • A Tuesday and a Thursday were selected for the students to give their sales presentations. sales presentations. • Students self-reported their appearance, mood, self-confidence and anxiety levels each day before they gave their presentations. •Surprisingly, in this study appearance did not have a significant impact on anxiety, nor did anxiety have a significant direct impact on performance. However, • Two external judges assessed subject’s performance of the sales presentation (performance task). • To maintain anonymity each student wrote down their self-chosen 5-digit numbers on their self-reported surveys and on the back of the judge’s as the above table indicates, anxiety has thus an indirect negative influence on performance in the study. evaluation forms. • The average scores were found for each construct by summating the items scores for each individual and then dividing by the number of items in that particular scale. For example, the scores for “Good”, “Happy”, “Positive” and the reversed score for “Distressed” were all added together and divided by four to find the average score for mood. • To find the final score for performance, the average performance scores from each item (from two judges) for a given participant were first averaged and then using the summated score for each student, the average performance score was computed. Figure 1 • The average mood, self-confidence, anxiety, appearance and performance were calculated for both Tuesday’s and Thursday’s sales presentations. The data collected on Tuesday was labeled “pre” and the data collected on Thursday was labeled “post”. • Tuesday was labeled as “pre” because data was collected when the students were dressed casually (before the “appearance” treatment). Mood Accordingly, Thursday’s scores were labeled “post” because data was collected after the “appearance” treatment was given. 0.584** 0.278* • The pre scores were subtracted from the post scores (post – pre) to arrive at changes in the self-confidence, mood, anxiety and sales performance. These were the scores that were analyzed using SPSS to assess the correlation between the five constructs. Results Appearance 0.671** Self-Confidence 0.351* Performance Reliability Analysis Pre-test Pre- Post- Post-test -0.194 0.061 Anxiety Self- Self-confidence 0.930 0.936 Appearance 0.879 0.834 Conclusion This study suggests that appearance does have a positive and significant impact on performance. By dressing for the occasion, people feel more confident, upbeat and relaxed, which helps them to perform better. Changing or improving your appearance helps you to fill or play the role that is Mood 0.845 0.888 expected of you. Dressing up sets the stage for positive interactions and successful presentations. Knowing that appearance affects others perceptions of us, it is only natural to change our appearance to help make the most favorable impression. Dressing for the occasion helps us feel better, more self- confident and less anxious. In turn, performance improves because of these changes. Therefore, appearance truly does affect performance. Anxiety 0.912 0.924 Directions for future research Performance 0.936 0.885 Though appearance was found to have a significant impact on performance further research should be done to confirm these results. Implications of this research range from the effectiveness of dress-codes in business and educational settings, as well as possible improvement in quality of life among those with low self-esteem, mood or anxiety disorders. Randomly selecting a large number of participants would be the next step for this research to increase reliability and generalizability of the results. Participants would be given an equal amount of time to prepare for each presentation or performance task, and would be instructed not to dress up for one of the presentations. To ensure that their performance of a task improved because of Since the reliability of the scales was at acceptable values their change in appearance and not because of practice or preparedness, participants would be instructed to dress up for their first presentation and not summated scores were appropriate to use for data analysis. for the second presentation. By assessing performance of many different tasks, results could be generalized over a diverse group of participants.