Do people see you as greedy or wise?

COLOR_WORD_PURPLEDid you know that purple was the most expensive colour dye to create?

The earliest purple dyes date back to about 1900 B.C. It took around 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye – barely enough to dye a single garment the size of the Roman toga. It’s no wonder then, this colour was used primarily for garments of the emperors or privileged individuals.  Put simply, purple signified wealth and extravagance.

Whether we consciously realise it or not, we still today, have an awareness around purple and wealth.  You can use it to your advantage though.

My advice…if you are negotiating money in any form, avoid wearing purple as you run the risk of giving the impression you have enough already (if it’s a pay-rise) or that your prices are too high (if you are selling).  If however, you are teaching, advising or presenting then purple is your friend, giving people the impression you have a wealth of experience and wisdom.

Colour has a huge impact on our thoughts!

 

The Science of First Impressions

A few years ago, researchers at New York University examined the neuroscience of how people form impressions of others. While their brains were being scanned, subjects were shown a photograph of a face and read six sentences about that person.

Afterwards, the subject was asked for their overall impressions of each profile.

Two parts of the brain were involved, the posterior cingular cortex and amygdala.  Together they help us compute first impressions of others. These regions sort information on the basis of its personal and subjective importance and summarise it into an ultimate score, a first impression.

In forming those first impressions, we automatically process relevant information about somebody, based on how important they are to our own motivations. Our split-second reactions to other people are assessments of their value to us.

Put simply, meeting people activates the same region of the brain responsible for assigning prices to objects.  After we’ve assigned a value to a person, we make the decision about how to orient ourselves to that person: do we want to get closer? Knowing what this person’s value is to us, do we want this person to be involved in our network?

Based on this study, one of the best ways to take advantage of a first impression is to give people a reason to trust and value you. Everything people see and experience of you in seconds goes towards their thought triggers.  Your appearance, facial expressions, body language and choice of words are all part of the decision-making process.

The ultimate goal is to give someone the impression that it’s not only OK for the first-impressionother person to get close to you, but that it would be well worth their time.

Dress to Influence!

It is essential to dress for the influence you want to have.  So many people don’t realise how much your clothing counts towards your perceived competence.  Anyone who travels or stays in hotels a lot, knows the benefits of the different service they receive when wearing the ‘uniform’ of a successful person.  I have on many occasions enjoyed a superior room or suite when I’ve checked into a hotel.

Of course it isn’t just the clothes, it is also your body language and communication style which together inform the receptionist or airline check-in staff that you are a customer worth looking after…well!

Over a cup of coffee, think about your diary for this week.  What are you doing, who are you meeting?  List the outcomes you want from those interactions/meetings.  Consider how you want them to perceive you.  Compile a list of words which bring together both the outcomes and the perceptions.  Finally, think about how a person would look, sound and behave to be successful in both areas.

Now you are beginning to think strategically about your image and the impression you want to have on others.  Impression management is your responsibility.

“I want to be comfortable” is something I hear often.  That’s fine, just don’t compromisePortrait of a businesswoman your credibility to be comfortable.

Tip:  The more flesh you show, the more credibility you lose.  Men in short-sleeve shirts, women in sleeveless tops are just two examples here.  Professional credibility doesn’t sit well with flesh on show!

Presentations – Traps to avoid when you speak

Whenever you begin to speak, whether your audience is one person or a thousand, you want to get a specific message across.  Maybe you want your opinions heard at meetings, or perhaps you are giving a formal presentation, internally or externally.

Anyone who sets out to present, persuade and propel with the spoken word faces these major pitfalls: Continue reading

Men’s Dressing – Combining suits, shirts and ties

3 Plains (shirt, tie and suit)
Great look, very current. Best if there is some relationship between the colours, e.g. Navy blue suit, pale blue shirt and medium blue tie. The contrast/blend and tone will depend on what is right for your colouring.

2 Plains/1 Pattern (Plain suit and shirt, patterned tie)
Interesting variation, try to have some link in the colour scheme. It is difficult to work with two different colour stories.

2 Patterns/1 Plain
Most common combination for business, works best if colours relate. (striped suit, plain shirt and foulard pattern tie). If wearing a patterned shirt, you are perhaps better to go for a plain tie.

herringbone-stanwyck-stripe-navy-suit3 Patterns
E.g. birds eye suit, striped shirt and woven tie. Difficult to pull off, unless the colours are well co-ordinated. If you manage it you will look very stylish.

Would you pass ‘the seven-second test’?

It takes only seven seconds for us to judge another person when we first meet them.

It’s not a conscious process, so we don’t even realise we’re doing it – but it goes back to our primitive roots when we couldn’t afford to make wrong decisions. Under pressure: We subconsciously judge people within the first seven seconds of meeting them. Continue reading