Human beings believe what they see, consequently, you might not have even spoken a word when networking but your appearance will tell others a lot about you.

When we are networking it is essential to the process that you take into account your appearance. People with whom you are networking will assume what your status is: job, social level, level of education, how trustworthy you are, your personality, your moral character.

These assumptions by others and judgements are made in a couple of seconds. They’re usually based on past experience and bias.

If you’re running a business you will, no doubt, have planned and thought about all sorts of things in relation to how you come across to others. You might have spent time and money on your website, your business cards and your logo. All of this is futile unless you “look the part”.

We never really get a second chance to make the first best impression, therefore it is essential that we show ourselves in the best way possible from the starting point of a working relationship and maintain that impression.

Dressing to impress is not a pretentious matter, you are not trying to be something that you are not and it is not a frivolous matter to be dismissed as an exercise in vanity. While we find that there is no replacement for a fully operative skillset based on experience and knowledge, the right image, managed and maintained, will act as a sort of signature that vouches for your abilities.

When we meet someone for the first time and they look a certain way, we expect him/her to behave in a way that goes with that image. Our choice of clothes is vital to the strength of impact we make on others. Consequently, our image is something we ought to incorporate into our strategy for success. The vast majority of celebrities operate in this way – this is not a reason why you should not.

We have to be consistent in what we are saying about ourselves. Consider the following when selecting your clothing:

How do I want to be seen? – think about it and select three words that summarise how you would like others to see you. Even before uttering a word to someone when networking, what do you want him/her to believe about you? Having these words in minds will help you to choose clothing in future, and these words may change over time.

Having chosen your words, translate them into how they might look as sets of clothing, accessories or as a part of good grooming. Doing this will enable you to choose which items of clothing are appropriate. Looking professional does not necessarily entail wearing a suit but does mean the inclusion of good grooming and some tailoring. If you are seeking to look approachable it’s best to avoid contrasting colours, or sharp, severe suits, or indeed outfits which are all black in colour. Instead, you might include some textured garments with soft tailoring in mid-toned colours.

Ask yourself: what do I expect people in my profession to wear?

If you were attending a networking event and you met a builder, you would not expect him/her to be suited and booted, for example. In this case, we would experience a sense of disconnect between the profession and the outfit, and we would not necessarily be disposed to trust their abilities.

Similarly, if you were to meet a financial advisor, or accountant when networking who was not suited and booted, but wearing old, rough and stained clothing, we might experience the same sense of disconnect.

People hold a subconscious belief that if you have taken time and care over your appearance, then you will take time and care over your work.

Are you uncertain about how to appear when networking?

Looking to dress to impress?

Are there other insecurities you have about running your business?

Need help making the transition from employed to self-employed?

Do you want to be a better leader?

Are you struggling to define the mission and vision of your business?

Does your business goal seems out of reach?

Do you struggle to make important business decisions?

Could your time management use some work?

Need help drawing out strengths and creating new ideas?

Having trouble coping with the stress of running your own business?

Are you in need of a plan for how your business should look, feel and grow?

Do you spend a lot of time planning but don’t seem to be able to put the plan in to action?

Would you like a better work-life balance?

Do you want to develop new strategies and ways of thinking?

Are you struggling with manage conflict, delegate tasks or develop your team?

Would your business benefit from a fresh approach?

Do you have a business idea but aren’t sure how to turn it into a reality?

Do you often procrastinate or make excuses not to implement change?

If the answer is yes to any of the above then business coaching could be the answer you are looking for.

Claire Buck has jointly grown a successful business with a turnover in excess of £20 million. It was by no means easy and there were times along the way when self-doubt crept in. Those who are most successful in business seek out the opportunity to develop themselves and learn from others. Claire seeks to use her own success to support and inspire entrepreneurs like you and help you get the most from your business.

Claire won’t tell you how to run your business. She will give you the tools to find solutions and make the decisions that enable you to achieve your objectives. You will develop the confidence, communication skills and self-awareness that will be the building blocks for your success.

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