When meeting someone for the first time, whether that person is an interviewer or prospective client, you need to pay attention to your image. A simple working definition of the word image is your particular message conveyed to those around you. Social scientists say that a first impression (good or bad) is made about someone usually within 7 seconds! If your image is not coherent with your behavior, then a disconnect can occur. Make it a point of developing your own Personal Brand as someone who would never commit the following Image Breakers!

1. Arriving Late

Please respect people’s time. Never be late, ever! If you are running late, even if its 5 minutes, phone the person who is waiting and let him/her know.

2. Chewing Gum

Chewing gum may keep your breath fresh, especially after coffee or lunch, but it’s such an unprofessional look. Try brushing your teeth more often during the day or taking a quick dissolve breath freshener instead.

3. Not Looking After Your Personal Grooming

Not taking care of your appearance can give the impression that you are not into the details. Get a hairstyle that’s attractive, up-to-date and easy to keep. If you have facial hair in odd places, have it removed. Shower, wear deodorant and brush/floss daily. Wear some make-up…not a lot but a little. Your shoes should be cleaned and well heeled. Clothing should fit well and be of excellent quality. Watch that the cleavage is not exposed. Avoid dressing too fashionably unless your industry is in the entertainment or high fashion field.

4. Failing To Plan And Be Prepared

Arriving at a meeting or interview unprepared is extremely annoying. Furthermore, the image conveyed is not a positive one. Once again, as the adage goes, “The devil is in the details…” Coming prepared shows that you mean business.

5. Being Too Casual Or Negative In Email Correspondence

Before people even meet you, judgments are being made. Did you remember to address the email in a polite way? “Hey” is not considered formal enough especially towards a client or someone you don’t know well. Treat those emails like a business letter including a polite salutation. The body of the text should have good grammar, correct spelling and end with a polite closing. No emoticons or text acronyms, please. Also, never take a complaining or negative attitude toward a client. Show him/her that you want to create a positive working relationship.
Making the deliberate choice every day to present a positive, coherent image will mean reaping benefits both professionally and personally. Personal branding is nothing more than being your authentic, professional self – 24/7.

SOURCE: http://www.entrepreneurmomnow.com/calgary/2013/business-style-first-impressions-count-5-image-breakers/


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