Your personal image: It's the most important YOU asset you own.
Your personal image, the perception that people have about you,
affects your success in every aspect of life - your life on the
job, your social life, even your love life!
That is true because, no matter who you are or what you do, your
success depends on what other people THINK about you - the image
they have of you.
Your personal image has a number of elements. The way you
dress, the colors you choose, the way you talk and the way
you relate to others are some of the more important ones.
Personal Image And How You Dress
One very dramatic real-life example of how the way you dress can
affect your success was recounted in the New York Times. The
Times reported on what happened when two young men attempted to
get an online service executive to give them $500,000 for their
The young men bought new suits for the meeting and their
presentation was equally buttoned up.
After just five minutes, the executive ended the meeting,
saying, ???These are *#@%+! surfers????
A couple of months later they came back for another
presentation. How were they dressed this time? Like surfers
- with Hawaiian shirts, shorts and sandals. For good measure,
they acted the part in everything they said and did. But they
didn???t change their presentation at all.
This time, they walked out with the $500,000 order. Clearly,
the way they were dressed made a huge difference. They now
???looked the part??? and this gave them the credibility they
???Looking the part, by dressing correctly has been proven
critical to success in getting people to do what you want
them to do.
In a famous experiment, two men approached 50 secretaries each
in the same building to see which could best get past the
secretaries to see the decision-maker.
Both used the same approach - but one man succeeded 24% of the
time, while the second succeeded an astounding 60% of the time!
Even more astounding, they weren???t two different men at all.
They were the same man.
The first time the man approached 50 secretaries he was wearing
a black raincoat.
The secretaries perceived him as a messenger or delivery person
-- someone who should not be allowed to get in to see their
When he approached the second 50 secretaries, he wore a tan
raincoat. This time the secretaries perceived him as an
executive, a peer of their bosses. So they granted his
request to see them.
The clothes he wore and the colors he chose in each situation
profoundly shaped the secretaries??? image of him and made the
difference between success and failure.
Personal Image And Your Conversation
Your talk (conversation ability) can be even more important to
your success in business than your grades in school or college,
according to a study by the Stanford University School of
The study tracked the success of MBA's 10 years after they
graduated. The result? Grade point averages of graduates
had no bearing on their success -- but their ability to make
The most successful graduates were those who could make
conversation with anyone -- anyone from strangers to secretaries
to bosses to customers.
Your image as being good in conversation helps you achieve
success in social and personal relationships in two ways:
(1) Good conversation promotes ???liking.??? We like to be
around people who can carry on an interesting conversation.
(2) Good conversation creates an attractive image of wittiness,
intelligence and self-confidence.
If you are able to carry on a good conversation, this makes
people think of you as having more intelligence, wit and self
confidence than those who cannot do so.
And, a university study showed just how important the perception
of intelligence and self confidence can be.
In a study to determine the characteristics of the ideal male
or ideal female -- intelligence and self confidence were rated
as most important by 60% or more of respondents.
The message in all this for people who want to put themselves
in position to succeed in their business, social and personal
Take good care of your most important YOU asset - your personal
Copyright W. Paul Barton