Later this month I’m helping my friend and colleague Lis McDermott, aka the Head Shot Diva in her one day workshop “Presenting Brand You”. Embroiled in one of my planning sessions, it struck me that this would be a rather good subject for this month’s blog.
The workshop will cover such topics as effective networking and dressing to create the right first impression. Plus, it includes a complimentary headshot by the wonderful Lis herself. She’s a great photographer so this is a brilliant bonus for you if you attend.
It’s aimed at women who are in business, that want to improve their brand and make sure they’re presenting the best version of themselves in their business environment.
It strikes me that for many of us, and I include myself here, our “business environment” is our lives. As a business owner with no staff, I am my business and I never know when or where I may bump into my next client. Yes, I find clients through the traditional networking routes. But I’ve also met existing and found new clients, when walking the dog, at the gym, at the school gates and out shopping. All of which means I have to represent my business all the time. There’s no 9-5 for me. And I have a feeling this is true for many of you.
So, in practical terms what does this mean? It’s clear we can’t be suited and booted all the time. Heels, muddy fields and a dog are not natural companions!
Well, I’d say it’s about being consistent, planning and organising (to start off) and being yourself in all your different guises.
Authenticity is the current buzzword. There’s no secret to it and it’s not hard to do. If you’re being yourself, people are more likely to trust you and like you and then work with you. It’s so easy to see through someone who isn’t authentic. We have an in built psychological sensor that will at once make us feel uneasy with that person and unlikely to trust them. As this response on Quora explains: ‘Humans are tuned in to nuances in behaviour as a survival trait.’
You can no doubt already picture people you’ve met that you think are a bit “fake” – I know I can!
I’m not though suggesting you turn up to events in shorts and a T-shirt because that’s the real “you”! I’m saying you should dress in an appropriate manner for the occasion while maintaining your clothing style and personality. And we all have a “clothing personality” that represents not only our body shape but also our personality.
Your Clothing Personality
Once you know what clothing personality or style you are, you can create a wardrobe full of clothes for all occasions that remains consistent with your style. For example, I’m a bit of a princess and given the chance, would wear heels and dresses every day. My friends laughed when they heard we were getting a dog as they couldn’t imagine me out walking it in the wind and the rain and the mud!
And they were right to laugh. Walking a dog requires wearing wellies and raincoats. I hated it for the first few weeks because I wasn’t able to be me – or so I thought. Then I gave myself a bit of a talking to and realised I needed to find clothes that were suitable for dog walking but also felt fabulous to wear. So, I went for quality and colours that suited me. Floral patterned wellies, blue and white spotted raincoat, pretty jumpers with a bit of sparkle. Crucially, I also decided that I would wear make-up when I went out walking, even if only a pretty pink lipstick. I became me again. Only it was the dog walking version of me. I was still representing my brand as a personal stylist and found I was getting interest in what I do when chatting to other dog owners.
That was all a bit long winded but it’s a pretty good example of how you can always be your brand no matter what you’re doing. So I trust you get the picture!
The colours you wear can also tell a story. I’ve touched on this in one of my earlier blogs. You can use colours to change both your mood and the mood of those around you. This in turn influences how they perceive you and your business.
Some business owners go so far as to align what they wear with their brand colours. It depends on what suits you and your lifestyle. Yet, it’s clear to me that I must always present the best version of myself to the outside world while remaining true to myself. It’s how I win work, make friends and, to coin a phrase, influence people.
So as a business owner you have to decide how you’re going to manage this. It’s easier than it sounds and I can help!
With my help, we’ll establish the colours that suit you and you may decide to make these your brand colours as well. We’ll also establish your clothing personality and create a capsule wardrobe that suits your lifestyle. This wardrobe will contain styles and the colours that are consistent and make you look great whatever you’re doing. I can be your personal shopper for the day and work within your budget to help you create your perfect wardrobe.
I know you value your business and want it to work. You’ve worked hard to gain the skills and expertise you need to do the work. So don’t let how you present yourself be a barrier to potential clients or referrers.
Because you’re worth it!
It’s worth spending the time and money on yourself to figure out your personal brand and get it to work for you. And, dare I say, you’ll have quite a lot of fun along the way – because I’m a fun kind of gal!
If you fancy a chat to find out more about how I can move your business to the next level get in touch – I’d love to hear from you. Call me on 07538946839 or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get right back to you.
Also, if anyone knows where I can buy sparkly dog poo bags do let me know!