Your personal image is important; it is what people think about you! Companies and some public figures use public relations firms to build or reinforce their personal image. The aim of a public relations firm is to persuade the public of a certain point of view for their client. Your personal image affects your success in your career, personal life and public life. Personal image does matter!
People make judgments about other people based on three (3) elements. How you dress, how you speak and how you act. I often have conversations with students to discuss how they are misunderstood. I share with them how I would make a judgment about a student in the first five (5) seconds of seeing them. They unanimously object to such quick leap to judgment. I usually turn it around and ask them if they saw a hot looking boy or girl across campus, would they make a judgment? The answer is always yes.
We make judgments about everything in a matter of seconds. There are other times when our judgment is important to safeguard ourselves. I may be walking down the block in the neighborhood near school and I see ten (10) boys dressed like gang members walking toward me. I could keep walking without fear and risk a problem or cross the street. We have to make decisions quickly based on what we perceive about individuals. Employers do this all the time in interviews, performance reviews and their promotion decisions.
Do you think your personal image enhances your career, personal or public life? Rich people tend to dress in a particular way. Their clothes may be no more expensive than yours, but it I casually nice. Most men wear khakis or jeans and a sport shirt. It could be the inexpensive variety, but it fits well. Women may wear a wider variety of clothes, but the image is similar. My wife reminds me that her patients constantly see her and will come up to her. She takes the time to dress reasonably. She is more concerned with her personal image because it could impact her professional image.
Do you only think about your personal image when you interview or go to work? Do you ever run into colleagues or bosses in your off time? How are you treated when you are in a store or other venues outside of work? During my off time, I tend to be very casual wearing shorts and a tee shirt. I never think about my image because I demand respect from how I speak and act. Besides, I want to be ignored when I shop. I choose when I want service!
Would it be a lot easier if I dressed up all the time? Sure, but it would not fit my concept of comfortable. I think that is important too. Your personal image should fit your personality. It may start with what car you drive, particularly in southern California! I think your personal image is whether your car is clean and neat versus what kind of car you drive. If your car is banged up, dirty and in disrepair says more about you versus a new Mercedes. In southern California, many if not most do not own their car.
When I was in the restaurant business, I wanted job candidates who were clean, well groomed and a great attitude. Personal image is important! It is not just for work or interviews. Have you thought about personal image when you are in social situations? I sure there are people who will say that they met their spouse when they just did a marathon or some other out of the ordinary moment, but it is rare. Your personal image tells the other person what you think is important.
You don’t need to dress up all the time to make a positive impression. Much more is necessary to look good! Do you look well put together? Are your clothes clean and pressed? Is it appropriate for the occasion? Personal opinion may enter into this, but that is why it is your personal image. Own it, it is your choices! Personal image is more than what you wear! It is how you speak and act too. In social situations, you may notice someone because the way they look.
Once you get passed the visuals, you begin to learn about the person. Things like personality, values and judgment is also part of personal image. Personal image includes self esteem, values, character, personality and much more. It gives you confidence to handle a variety of situations and people well. Have you thought about your personal image and how you are perceived? What changes have you made?
When I was seventeen, I was working in a corporate office of an international conglomerate. I was delivering mail to various drop off points throughout the building. When I was on the executive floor, I would notice how the executives dress, spoke and acted. I tried to identify characteristics of these successful people and emulate them. I think it worked because I was successful in business and life. That is the personal image I try to project. Personal image does matter and says a lot about you!
Photo by: BetterBizIdeas