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Appearance is Critical

Lesson Six:

Appearance is Critical

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.
Oscar Wilde



Like it or not, appearance is an important part of any brand. Your appearance matters. Remember that first impressions and the way that you dress will affect the way people perceive you and your brand. It is important that your appearance reflects your brand and gives off the image that you want to portray to the public. Taking the time and effort to develop your appearance will greatly improve your brand’s reputation.

First Impressions

First impressions only happen once, and they happen quickly. We are hardwired to make fast decisions, and research shows that we make decisions about people within seven seconds of meeting them. Appearance, verbal cues, and nonverbal cues all contribute to our perceptions of other people. So, how do people see you? What type of first impression do you make? Ask yourself these questions before meeting new people. 


Fortunately, today’s technology and the rise of digital communication provide the opportunity to get to know people before meeting them in person. This is not an excuse to let your appearance go, however. You never know when you are going to run into someone for the first time. 

Stand Out

If you want to distinguish your brand from others, you need to stand out. It is important, however, that you are memorable for all the right reasons. No one wants to stand out as the crazy person who lacks social skills and wore two different shoes to a conference. You need to stand out in positive ways: 


How to Stand Out:

  • Dress well
  • Give unique opinions
  • Be helpful
  • Be confident
  • Showcase your personality
  • Create your own method for doing things

You must remember that rising out of a crowd is a risk. You will be noticed by other people, so make sure that you are noticed for all of your best attributes.

Positive Impression

Your outward appearance needs to reflect who you are inside. Unfortunately, stress can cause people to give the wrong impression in their facial expressions and body language. What image do your facial expressions and body language portray about you?


Negative body language:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Fidgeting
  • Yawning
  • Hunching over
  • Not smiling

Positive body language:

  • Eye contact
  • Smiling
  • Slightly leaning in during conversation
  • Nodding

It is important to pay attention to what your body image is saying. You want to give off a positive impression that reflects your brand.

Your Attire

While it is true that professional attire is much more relaxed than it used to be, clothes still matter. The way a person dresses is not a reflection of his or her capabilities, but people are still judged by the way they look. A neat, clean, professional appearance is necessary for people to take you seriously. This does not mean that you have to wear drab, boring clothes. Simply take the time to put yourself together.


Clothing should fit well. Avoid revealing cuts.


Make sure that your clothes are clean, pressed, and free of lint.


Manicure your nails.


Hair should be neat and clean.

Dressing for success involves careful planning. You should choose your outfits ahead of time so that you are not surprised by hidden stains or missing buttons. You should also get up early so that you can dress without having to rush out the door half finished.

Practical Application

Holly was running late the day of her job interview. She had 10 minutes to change out of the clothes she wore to her job at a fast food restaurant before she had to leave. The outfit that she planned on wearing was dirty, so she chose a slightly rumpled dress. She pulled back her greasy hair and managed to put on a little mascara and lip gloss before leaving. Holly barely made it to the interview on time. She ran in breathlessly as strands of her hair began to slip out of the clip.