Tag Archives: communication

How important is appearance and presentation to getting or keeping a job?

Colorful ties

How you look, which includes your grooming and what you wear plus how you present yourself are very important to getting and/or keeping a job or in landing a new piece of business. In all my blogs and other writings, I do not spend much time on this subject, so here it is.

On page 199 of my book, The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business, I do say: “Don’t drink alcohol at client or customer events.” And I say: Dress well and stays in good physical condition for you.” Those tips are just as important as the other 16 Career Tips listed.

Gone are the days when we all must follow specific dress codes like men must wearing ties and women can’t wear pants or slacks. But even with these two examples, there may be exceptions.

I always thought about myself at the event and tried to think through what was proper attire. I would find out what others wear either every day or to any event. Then I would dress once small notch above that level. For example, it is easy to take a tie off but almost impossible to put one on, so I’d wear a tie.

And make sure your clothes are clean and look great and your shoes–men and women–are shined, etc.

Wearing too much aftershave or perfume can be a huge turn-off in office situations. So use these moderately.

I have always said that listening is the key to good communication, so listen before speaking.  And don’t dominate any situation. Make sure everyone is participating in any conversation. Ask questions to get others involved if they are reluctant. Remember that when you are talking, you are not learning anything.

Keeping in shape for you means just that. No one expects everyone to be a triathlete or marathon runner. However, being in good shape and looking that way just might mean to the other person that you have the energy to do the job.

It is hard for me to say what a woman should or should not wear in any situation. So talk to other women about what is appropriate and make a decision based on that input. Still, the general concepts mentioned here apply to both men and women. This is true if you are going to an event or making a presentation in the board room.

If you are presenting, rehearse. Know what you want to say and say it. Speak with a polite voice and with confidence. This will most likely help you create a great first impression.

So, in summary, dress appropriately, stay in shape, and listen before you speak. And, have fun.

John J. Bailey is a veteran public-relations professional, former agency owner and author of The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business. Learn more about John, hear what others are saying about his book, and purchase your own copy in hardcover and for Kindle.

Who will be cut in your company’s next layoff?

Being downsized is frustrating for anyone at any ageA 2012 Gallup study says that 70 percent of American workers are not reaching their full potential causing the U.S. to lose $450 to $550 billion (with a “b”) each year in lost productivity.

If you are in the 70 percent, you are working for a company not reaching its profit potential. This company will very likely look at downsizing or layoffs to lower expenses and therefore enhance profit. And when this happens, they will look at the 70 percent of their workers who are not reaching their full potential to cut.

So what can you do about this to enhance your position and move into the top 30 percent?  Here are a few steps to follow that will help you stand out in a positive way:

  • Understand your strengths and/or talents. If you need to, get professional input to be sure you know exactly what they are. Talk to your boss about them to be sure he/she knows.
  • Work with your boss so that he/she knows your strengths and/or talents and gives you responsibilities that allows you to do your best work.
  • Continue to learn more about your company and what it is trying to accomplish so you can add your part.
  • Also, continue to learn more about your job and your strengths and talents so you can do even better work.
  • Network well within your profession to enable yourself to be aware of the latest thinking and technology in your field.
  • Keep yourself in good physical shape for you to maximize the potential to have the energy to do your best.
  • Support what your company is trying to do at all times, be committed to its goals and communicate them to others.
  • Commit yourself to an unrelenting quest to make yourself better at what you do.

If you do these things you make yourself better at what you do and therefore better at contributing to the company’s success. And, you will own yourself and your future.

But if you are stuck, or your immediate boss does not want to help, or sees you as a threat, keep on doing the things that will make you better anyway. This may not guard you from being downsized or laid off, but it does guarantee you will be better at what you do for your next position whether at your current company, another one, or your own.

Note: The Gallup study is entitled “State of The American WorkPlace; Employee Engagement Insights For U.S. Business Leaders.”