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Using Impression Management to Excel in Your Career
Having well-rounded socializing skills are not an option, but a necessity of business life.
Most people looking to move up the corporate ladder realize the
importance of mastering job-related skills. But what they may not
also know is that soft skills - the way they carry themselves, dress,
interact with others - can be just as important in determining whether
they will or will not be promoted, and may even be creating a negative
image without their knowledge. For example, I knew two managers
who were competing for the same promotion. Both were equally
technically competent and mentally ready for the move. Yet, one
had outstanding social skills, dressed for the position and could
easily strike up a conversation with anyone. The other was sloppy
in appearance, hid in a corner and had poor eye contact at social
events. Guess who got the promotion?
Conversely, there are also many professionals who think that they are
great at networking, making small talk, and connecting with people when
in reality they exude an unprofessional image. Having
well-rounded socializing skills are not an option, but a necessity of
With this in mind, here are a few tips on how to improve:
Set goals. Where do you want to be in one,
three and five years from now? Do you want a promotion? A new job
or career? What are you willing to do to achieve them? Write them down
and review them periodically to keep on track.
Remember "Successful people look successful!" By remembering
these points, you can help to more quickly advance your career.
Take a good look at yourself or better yet, ask your mentor for feedback.
Unfortunately, we never see ourselves as others do. If you are
not getting the results you want, ask for feedback from others to
better understand what is holding you back.
Commit to the change you want to create. To make any
change in behavior you must practice the new skill repeatedly for
twenty-one days. Set aside time to do this and make it a priority.
Dress appropriately. Wear clothes that fit well and are
appropriate for each business occasion. Understand the difference
between traditional business attire and the different levels of
business casual. Wear clothes that say you are there for business
and should be taken seriously. If you wear it to the beach, on a
hot date, or to the park - it's not appropriate for business. With that
in mind, keep mini skirts, T-shirts with slogans, overalls, low-cut
tops, sandals, jean jackets, sneakers, zip-front hooded sweatshirts for
your weekend or at-home wardrobe only.
Learn how to properly shake hands. Touch thumb joint to
thumb joint. Make it firm - not a bone crusher or a loose fish
handshake. People form an impression of you by your
greeting. Make sure they've formed a good one.
Keep your body language open. In business, many
professionals are not aware of how they are communicating with their
body. Fidgeting or not making eye contact, will give you
away. Keep a smile on your face and your body language open.
Fake it until you feel it. If you feel as if you have
already achieved your goal, it will happen. Individuals that
maintain an upbeat attitude portray a positive image and attract
is president and founder of First Impression
Management, a national business etiquette training and consulting firm,
helping individuals to excel in all aspects of their professional
presence, online at www.firstimpressionmanagement.com
or at 561-395-0256
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