Polishing your appearance is important for making good impressions

Jason Jacobsohn

It should go without saying that making a good impression on others is important for building relationships. That said, your appearance makes a big difference with how you portray yourself to others during your networking activities.

Because many businesses now allow their employees to wear casual clothing, people can forget to dress appropriately when networking with others. With a few pointers on improving your appearance, you will come across as more professional and you will help your chances of forming new relationships.

Clothing

Probably the most important item to address is your clothing. You want to make sure that you’re wearing the appropriate attire for each networking event that you attend as well as other situations in which you interact with others.

Some networking events require more professional attire while others allow more casual or business casual clothing. Contact the event organizer or check out the organization’s Web site to find out about the dress code.

If an event usually draws professionally dressed people, make sure you dress accordingly (even if you are less formal at work). It’s important to stand out in networking. However, you want it to be for positive reasons and not because your clothing was inappropriate.

If you dress casual at work and an event requires more formal attire, either wear professional attire at work or bring a change of clothing. Don’t let your attire prohibit you from attending an event.

Also, when setting up meetings with people that you meet at events or with potential new clients or partners, make sure that you dress appropriately as well. If you know that this person dresses professional, it’s a good idea to dress the same way. If this person is more casual and you are casual at work, don’t feel obligated to dress up.

Make sure you still wear nice enough clothes so you come across well groomed. You can never do wrong with professional attire even if the people around you are dressed less formal. If you are unsure of what to wear in certain situations, choose professional clothing.

Other Items to Consider

Make sure you put on the appropriate shoes with the attire you decide to wear. Though this should go without saying, some people need reminders. Also, make sure your shoes are in good condition and look professional.

Get in the habit of polishing your shoes on a regular basis either by yourself or from a shoe shiner. People notice shoes and you should make yours look good. Every detail matters when you’re trying to make a good impression on others.

Another topic to address is wearing nametags at networking events. The correct position to wear your nametag is on the right side of your body.

By wearing your nametag in this position, it will be in the line of sight with the person who you are shaking hands with since you use your right hand to greet people. If you put your nametag on the left side, it will be harder for people to see your name when you meet them.

Exceptions do occur (such as using a lanyard nametag holder that fits around your neck). Also, if you have a clip nametag holder with no place to clip it on your right side, you may have to use your left side.

Just make it a habit most of the time to use the right side of your body to secure your nametag. Most people don’t know this so use this knowledge to your benefit.

You should also bring a quality and nice-looking pen with you to meetings or networking events. By using a quality pen, you will further come across as professional. Don’t bring a pen that you would normally use during work (unless, of course, you use high-quality pens during your day).

Buy a nice pen that you designate as your “networking pen” and only use in networking environments or situations that you want to come across as very professional. Impressions make a difference in how people perceive you and ultimately decide on whether to do business with you.

Obviously a pen alone won’t be the ultimate deciding factor in how you come across. It’s your entire appearance that portrays you to others. Make sure you have all of the details covered.

Final Thought

Your appearance is one of the first aspects others will judge about you. Don’t let your clothing and other related items prohibit your networking and relationship building.

About the Author:

Jason Jacobsohn is a seasoned networker who believes in relationship building as a key component to business success. He enjoys helping others succeed by making introductions, planning events, and sharing resources. In addition, Jacobsohn enthusiastically shares resources with his network through his e-mail newsletter, “Network Your Way to Success,” and http://www.jacobsohn.com, a comprehensive business and networking resources Web site. Further, he shares an additional perspective through his blog at http://www.networkinginsight.com


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