A Lesson Learned

What You Present Is More Important Than What You Say
By MARIO TARELL  "The Fashion Critic"                                                                                                                                                      
6:32 PM CST on Thursday, March 3, 2011                                                                                                                                                    

     When we try to convey meaning through our communication with others, the majority of our message is communicated non-verbally and through voice and facial expression. Approximately seven percent of the message is communicated by words.   
     Appearance deals with every aspect of how we perceive an individual. In an instant, we form opinions about a person based on that individual's appearance, character, speech, and mannerisms. Those brief seconds define how we treat others and are treated by others. Likewise, our appearance is a direct reflection of the environment in which we were lead. Through our actions and appearance, others may form a lasting, and sometimes unfavorable impression of us that we may never overcome.

     Particularly within any workplace, looking the part is a key aspect of most forms of employment. For example, if one went to visit the doctor and he or she was dirty, unkempt, and sick looking, then this would not make it easy to have confidence in their ability as a medic. Employees who have high standards of professionalism are frequently perceived as being more credible and reliable than their co-workers. As a result, professional employees are frequently regarded as their company's leaders. Because professional employees focus on the workplace before their personal problems and agendas, professionalism makes the workplace more comfortable for employees and clients alike. Professionalism is crucial to running a successful business and avoiding legal problems.

     Your appearance is an important aspect of your presentation skills; you want to encourage the audience to listen to what you have to say. Remember that your presentation begins the moment someone recognizes you as the speaker. As the world around you evolves and changes so does the audience and the clothing you wear that is suitable for the audience you are speaking to.

     It is important to feel confident in the way you present visually through what you wear and you need to understand the professional image you are putting across. Image is created by a lot of different ingredients acting together. Physical appearance, dress, voice, manner, the views you express or the fact you don’t express any. The way you react to the people around you is presentation as well.  Images are so powerful because, however little you may like it, they do say something true about your personality. It’s no accident that you dress, talk and behave the way you do.  

     "A lot of times I get frustrated at what I perceive to be a negative attitude from people in the professional industry," says Matthew Marvin who is a model out of Atlanta, Georgia. "Over half of my audience is always in suits and ties, dresses and high heels, with a few people in jeans, sweatshirts, and sneakers. Most of the time I wear jeans with a dress shirt (shirttail out) and sneakers.  I had to learn that there was nothing wrong with the way I dressed.... only the way I was dressing blended me in with the audience instead of making me stand out as a speaker?" 

     "Once, another speaker privately suggested to me to tuck in my shirt and wear a sport coat to my next session, and I wisely took the advice. I was amazed at the difference my appearance made on the attitude of my audience. What's sad is, when relying on verbal communication only, your content can be excellent but it is almost always overshadowed by how you present yourself."

     "My advice to novice speakers is to look confident even though you may feel nervous. Avoid the worried, furrowed-brow look. Smile a lot. Walk with a bounce in your step. Put out that I am in charge but I still respect you vibe. The incongruity of looking too serious and worried and then smiling and acting enthusiastic as you speak may negatively affect your credibility. Before you actually speak, look at the audience to make eye contact with several people, and then begin."

     "Beauty combined with brain power has great effect. However, beauty without the brain power is still dumb. Your brain defines beauty by working through your personality. So if you want a better chance of someone finding beauty in you... study their personality. If possible try to learn about your audience before you present to them.  I think your appearance does label you. It is very important to get the right label or in my case labels!"         

Matthew Marvin

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