Who You Are Speaks Louder than What You Say ...

It has never been more important in the modern world for business professionals to take note of their behavior and appearance. Anyone with half a brain in a position of authority understands the significance of outward appearance (take note of the burgeoning PR industry), and while this is important for those in the public eye, in many ways it is even more important for business professionals, especially for those in high level positions.

Your outward appearance is defined by your behavior, appearance and mannerisms. Your behavior is the window on your personality and how others see you, and this is highly influential in determining whether you succeed or fail. The businessmen and women who truly succeed are the ones who are first and foremost positive, honest and respectful of others and of business practice, and no amount of ‘front’ can hide a bad personality.

1. The Importance of First Impressions

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Think about the way you approach, your posture, your facial expression and your handshake. Carry yourself upright and with confidence, and if you get nervous easily, empathizing with the other person always helps to calm you down. Always have something interesting to say (do a little thinking beforehand if this helps), and never resort to verbal clichés.

2. Your Personal Image

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All business professionals need to think carefully about their image, but if this is not something that comes naturally to you, just remember to be neat and tidy, and be so consistently.

From the least understated to the flashiest formal clothing, it doesn’t matter what you wear as long as it is made from quality material. The most important thing is to find a look that suits you and fits in with how you want to project yourself.

Every part of your appearance must match your personal image, and things such as your clothing, hair, business card, literature, office, vehicle, and even your gadgets must be in line with your image.

3. Your Tone of Voice

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Your voice will always betray your mood and the type of person that you are, and others are always very sensitive to this, especially moods. Even on the phone, people are so perceptive of voice tone that they can even tell if you are or aren’t paying attention. Your tone of voice is the easiest thing to practice and improve.

4. Your Body Language

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Bill Clinton was a master of image and body language, and always projected an image of confidence and ability. His every action was purposefully and forcefully done - do you ever remember seeing him slump in his chair, lean on something for support, or put his hands in his pockets?

Studying and mastering your body language is crucial for high-level business and networking, and the first step is to stand calmly and confidently. Think about posture, eye contact, the position of your arms and legs, how you respond to others. You should always know how to adapt your body language to suit the circumstance, and you should be astute enough to improvise when placed on the spot.

5. Integrity

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The portrayal of integrity is crucial for being successful in business. Treating the people you do business with both justly and respectfully will generate honest business relationships. Being on time for meetings, delivering to deadlines you commit to, and not wasting your contacts and colleagues’ time, all deliver a positive image of someone to be trusted.

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