By Janet Udogu
What you wear is as important as how you wear it. Your clothes may not be the real McCoy at a business meeting but, it can sure be an albatross around your neck. Trust me; you do not want to leave a sartorial impression that will rock the deal for you. Much as your dressing is not the business of the day, it would go a long way to decide whether your client will take you seriously or not.
Research shows that first impressions are formed in as little as one-tenth of a second, which is like a blink of an eye. So you need to put your best foot forward. Dress how you would like to be addressed. And you do not have to break a bank to achieve that.
Most times, the precedence for the whole deal may be set by your dressing. That is why you have to be very careful about it. Prior to the deal, you have a fifty-fifty chance of wrapping the deal in your favour. Do not force the pendulum to swing against you with bad attire.
They say that foreknowledge is forearm, indulge me while I furnish you with 5 tips on how to project a more professional image at your presentation:
Research your audience
One of the first things to do while preparing for a business presentation is to do a background check on your audience, the circumstances and the environment in which you will be presenting. Regarding clothing styles, it is different strokes for different folks. An understanding of the organisation and situation should be your guide. However, as a general rule, endeavour to dress well; black, grey, or navy blue business suits, for both men and women, are advisable.
Have an eye for detail
While choosing the right style is good, you should also use your clothing to direct the attention of the audience to your face and your eyes. Whatever you do, avoid making the messenger louder than the message. Do not create distractions and diversions. They say the devil is in the detail.
Make sure your clothes are well ironed and fix any missing button, keep your shoes in good condition and also pay attention to your nails. Also, pay attention to your accessories – invest in high-quality, useful accessories. Carry a nice pen, briefcase, portfolio, and a leather-covered notepad or tablet.
Offensive odours are put offs
Avoid anything that could give you or your clothes a pungent scent before meeting with a prospect, whether it is alcohol, cigarette smoke, heavy colognes and perfumes, or plain old bad breath and body odour.
Your hair is your crown
The hair may appear insignificant in the overall scheme of things, truth be told, the way your hair looks really counts. Men must cut their hair and make sure they are cleanly shaven. On the other hand, women should not leave their hair fluffy and scattered all over the place but they should creatively tie their hair up in a ponytail or simply keep it out of their face.
To nail your presentation, you need to be as engaging as you are dynamic. And that can only be achieved if you are at home in your own clothes and shoes. Comfort is the watchword. Your clothes should not be too tight or restrictive else, they will hamper movement and have a negative impact on your delivery. Women should beware of high heels if they will be on their feet most of the time.