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What You Say Even Before You Speak

How to Cultivate the Image You Want

by Lillian D. Bjorseth

There are 84,600 seconds in a day. Yet, it takes only 10 or fewer to make a first impression.

One of the ways you make a first impression is through your image, a combination of appearance and behavior. It is the basis for the unconscious and conscious decisions people make about you before you ever engage in a conversation. You speak volumes before you open your mouth.

It's crucial to know what you 'say' in meetings, job interviews and when you are presenting whether your audience is one or one thousand. Your image could make the difference between getting the job, the sale or the promotion … or not.

Follow these ten tips to polish what you say before you speak.

  1. Become a student of Impression Management. Decide what impression you want to make in your business and personal interactions, and then learn how to make that impression through your appearance and behavior.

  2. Identify the unconscious messages that every color sends and determine how those messages fit into your master plan. Know what colors say power and authority, dependability, calmness, excitement, ordinary, cleanliness and much, much more.

  3. Recognize how the style and fit of your clothes affect how people perceive you. Learn the powerful role of a suit jacket and when to button it or leave it open. Find a tailor to make your clothes look as if they were designed for you.

  4. Know the difference between business casual and casual wear. Stick with the former if your company culture is more relaxed … even on the most casual of days. Differentiate yourself professionally!

  5. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Become identified with levels above you rather than below your job title.

  6. Check your ensemble front, back and sideways in a full-length mirror every time you get ready to leave your home. See what others see from every angle.

  7. Walk with confidence. The way you stride down a hallway or sidewalk or into a room is a powerful first clue to how you feel about yourse

  8. Stand as if you own the world. Once you have stopped walking, your posture becomes your telltale sign. It tells people how you want to be treated.

  9. Shake hands authoritatively. Learn how to do so and also the messages you and others send through how you grasp another person's hand.

  10. Use your face to your advantage. You send about 75 percent of your nonverbal messages through your face. Make good grooming a must. Consider the rest of your body as a pedestal for the most expressive part of your body.

Lillian D. Bjorseth helps you build high-value relationships by honing your business networking, business development and communication skills. She's the author of Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last, 52 Ways to Break the Ice & Target Your Market, and the Nothing Happens Until We Communicate CD and workbook series. . Lillian is an Inscape Publishing certified DiSC® trainer and a member of National Speakers Assn. Contact Lillian at lillianspeaks@duoforce.com, http://www.duoforce.com, 800-941-3788 (outside IL) or 630-983-5308. For more insights on communication skills and related topics, visit Lilian's thought-provoking blog.

Some Related Articles:
Three Business Image Mistakes That Can Derail Your Career


How to confidently talk and make friends - especially if you're shy


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