Your Personal Image is Everything

Your personal image can mean the difference between selling to or losing a customer. All through nature image can mean life and death. Male birds have the pretty feathers and need to attract their mates with a dance. In the animal world, the males need to show they are the most attractive, the biggest and the strongest. Humans are no different. We dress for success in both business and at the bar. Everything we do as a society is affected by our image. How people treat us. How we treat others. How we conduct businesses and pleasure. All are influenced by the image we portray or perceive.

All of us have made a quick decision about what we buy based on the look of the product or label. We all also make judgments of people based on our first impression. Our first impressions given or received are both very important. It is often said that we shouldn’t judge others or products by their packaging. However, it is human nature and important to our survival to do so. Therefore, it is our responsibility to make sure we portray the right image and to read others’ images correctly.

 For example, a man walks into a doctor’s office. He begins to fill out the forms at the reception desk. He gets confused and asks the receptionist “what year is it?” The nurse hears this and looks into the waiting room to see who it is. She sees the new patient and quickly sizes him up. She then tells the doctor that her next patient is a doozy because of what he said and how messy he looks. The patient then walks into the doctor’s office. The man is dirty and unkempt. The doctor figures the man is an uneducated farmer. She thinks this man obviously hasn’t seen a doctor in a while and can’t wait to hear his story about why he is there. She soon learns she is right, he is a farmer. However, he is articulate and very intelligent. He has a master’s degree from Cornell.

The way you dress when you meet people is important. If you want to make a good impression on a Fortune 500 company CEO you will want to dress in a sleek suit. If you want to make a good impression on a local hardware store owner you will want to dress more casually. The same goes in your personal life. You wouldn’t want to dress the same for a backyard barbecue as you would for a cocktail party. It is important that you dress for your audience. Dress up too much and you risk alienating those around you. Dress down and you could insult your host.

The same is true for how you speak and act. You don’t want to sound and behave unintelligent when going for a job interview. Nor would you want to offend your friends or colleagues with arrogance and a know-it-all attitude.

The image people perceive of you is influenced by

  • the clothes you wear
  • the food you eat
  • the friends you have
  • the hobbies you enjoy
  • your body shape
  • your teeth
  • your hair
  • your car
  • the way you talk
  • the way you act
  • everything

Does this mean you need to change who you are and go through an extreme makeover? No, but it does mean that you need to be aware of the image you portray. If you want to do certain things in life you need to make sure the image you portray will accomplish these goals and accurately reflect the real you. If you have been having less than ideal success in business, relationships, and family life, it could simply be you are portraying the wrong image of yourself.

Your business’ image is more than your marketing material. Your personal image is more than the way you dress. Both your business and personal image are interconnected. Everything you do reflects your image for good or bad. The way you hold yourself, how you treat others, and the way you speak all say a lot about who you are. You need to be aware of this throughout your daily life. With the right image you can go far in life. Make sure you are not giving mixed messages.

 If you are interested in portraying a particular image, do your homework and make sure you cover all bases of that image, not just how you dress. Knowing how images influence others will also help you form correct impressions of others. This can help you greatly in business and personal relations and keep you from making false judgments of others. Like a bird make sure you show your true colors.