Looking the Part

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A person who has a strong sense of personal worth makes a confident, positive appearance. Looking the part is important as it influences the people around us. It will provide a boost to confidence and in turn a boost to your performance. Once higher performance is obtained it will then cycle back and make us more confident. Looking the part is an important part of being more assertive and confident as it is relatively quick and easy to do and pays off great dividends.

The Importance of Appearance

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In the dictionary, appearance is defined as an external show, or outward aspect. Your confidence depends significantly on your personal thoughts and perceptions about the way you look. Appearance is as important today as it ever was. The first thing noticed when meeting someone new is their appearance. That is why it is important as you only have one first impression.

The Role of Body Language

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Body language is a form of non-verbal communication involving the use of stylized gestures, postures, and physiologic signs which act as cues to other people. Humans unconsciously send and receive non-verbal signals through body language all the time.

One study at UCLA found that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by non-verbal communication. Your body language must match the words used. If a conflict arises between your words and your body language, your body language governs. The components of body language include:

Eye contact: The impact of your message is affected by the amount of eye contact you maintain with the person with whom you are speaking. One who makes eye contact is normally perceived as more favorable and confident.

Posture: Find comfortable sitting and standing postures that work for you; avoid any rigid or slouching positions.

Excessive or unrelated head, facial, hand and body Movement: Too much movement can divert attention from the verbal message. Your facial expressions should match the type of statement you are making; smile when saying “I like you”, and frowning when saying “I am annoyed with you”. Occasional gestures that reinforce your verbal message are acceptable.

First Impressions Count

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It takes as few as seven seconds – and no more than thirty seconds — for someone to form a first impression about you. Like it or not, people make judgments about others right away based on a presenting appearance. And you never have a second chance to make a first impression. Below are some tips to help you make that positive first impression when someone.

  • Body language. Remember that body language makes up to 55% of a communication.
  • Dress and grooming. It’s less about your budget, and more about clean, pressed, and event-appropriate clothing with neat grooming.
  • Handshake. Use a medium to firm handshake grip, avoiding a weak handshake, or overly firm one that can cause potential discomfort to another.
  • Body Movement. Use a mirror, or enlist the help of a friend to make sure that your movements are not overly active –and that they support the nature of your message.

Case Study

Mathew used to envy his best friend Carter. He always managed to succeed with whatever he touched. Mathew did have a good idea on Carter’s secrets, but was challenged in practicing them. Mathew realized that Carter has a great grasp on personal appearance, controlling body language, and confidence. 

His best friend learned that appearance was very important as the first impression that anyone makes is based on it. Together with this, Mathew also observed how his friend seemed to have a perfect body language that he controlled all the time. With these aspects in mind, Mathew started to experiment to see if he could achieve anything by improving his appearance. With a new haircut and a new suit his felt confident. This confidence improved overall his body language and he quickly learned that the secret was hidden in plain sight all this time.