7 WAYS INTENTIONAL STYLE CAN EVOKE POSITIVE FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Selling your message as a coach or a speaker boils down to your ability to exude confidence.. Confidence convinces people that you know what you are talking about. (Of course, you will still want to actually know what you are talking about as well!) Looking and feeling great is not just about your appearance. It is not only about what other people think of you.
Looking great on the outside is something that translates to the way that you feel. The concept is simple: to gain recognition as an authority in your niche, present your message with confidence.
Confidence is not just attributed to feeling good about your outward appearance. It is the absolute belief in and full expectation of success. When you have confidence, you have accepted yourself and your abilities. Your knowledge, belief, and passion outweighs any fear that you may have when it comes to your goals.
Style that reflects your brand's message displays confidence to the people that you encounter. People will put trust in the words that you say because you are backing them up. Your job is to convince people that what you offer is exactly what they need. You are competing with other people that do the same thing as you so you have to find a way to stand out.
A great example of this is Candis Hickman. She is a relationship coach who believes in helping people find their dream love life. Consider one of the messages on her home page slideshow:
“Reclaim your confidence, rejuvenate your sexy and free your mind.”
Then take a look at this photo and analyze whether that message is apparent.
Her style reflects who she is and shows the confidence she has as an individual and as an entrepreneur. It also causes people to trust that her message has credibility. How can you teach someone to reclaim your confidence if you don't display undeniable confidence yourself?
To piggy back off the last point, your increased confidence will communicate to your ideal client that you know your stuff. It will cause them to have a greater trust in you.
Now don't go off saying:
"Tiffany Ima says your style will make people trust you"
Your style is a GATEWAY.
It is a reflection of who you are – a mirror image. It is not an exact replica, which means you will have to (gasp!) back up the message you are sending.
Trust and believe, you will lose people's trust when you cannot back up what you have said to them. It might take some time since first impression can last FOEVA, but eventually, they will drop that trust like a hot potato.
I hate to break it to you but yoga pants will not help you command authority. The way that you present yourself carries weight in the way that people characterize you. Many amazing people are immediately written off because of the way that they choose to dress. It's unfortunate but true nonetheless.
I’ve tested this theory myself. (yes this is super weird that I’ve done this, but what can I say, I’m obsessed with human perception)
I chose a specific time and day to walk into a certain retailer (and I will not mention the retailer) well dressed. I did not ask for help. I took my time shopping and lingered in certain areas. I was intentional about displaying behavior of someone who needs help. Rest assured, it was not long before I got help.
I walked into the same exact store, with the same associate that helped me, only I was wearing sweatpants. I did the exact same thing as before.
This time, I did not get hands on help.
This seriously sucks, but it is a phenomenon that carries some serious weight.
Of course, there were most likely other factors (the amount of foot traffic, the associates mood that day, they could have been distracted etcetera)
Even so, this kind of reaction is common in some retail stores. This also translates to personal interactions.
COMMUNICATE YOUR PERSONALITY
Your closets are a gateway to what is in your heart.
Yep, that was mad cheesy, but still true.
The clothing that you buy says a lot about you. A closet full of trendy items says that you want “in the know”. A closet full of classics is more likely to be for “no fuss” type of person.
You have the ability to infuse your personality into what you are wearing. You can become a walking advertisement for yourself. It is a way to educate people about who you are as a person.
As much as you want to believe that you don’t judge people by their clothing, you do. It’s ok, though, you are not alone. Our mind is set up to have perceptions and draw conclusions based on visual stimuli. It is impossible to change that. The good news is having that knowledge is powerful. It gives you the opportunity to shape people’s perceptions of you. You can learn to use your clothes to say exactly what you want to people.
Maya Elious is the perfect example for displaying her personality. She sells through her unique and personable content. When she posts photos of herself they speak to who she is as a person: strategic, put together and calculating. Everything she does has a purpose, and once you see her content, the appearance of her brand is backed up.
DISPLAY YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
Similarly to displaying your personality, you can also use your clothing to display your brand identity. This can be done in an obvious way by wearing a t-shirt with your brand’s name, but here we are talking about the subtleties that communicate your brand on a subconscious level.
For example, if your brand was all about simplistic living, your style should match that too. You probably won’t be pattern mixing and have multiple items in different colors in and prints. It is more likely that you will have solid colors or neutrals put together simply and effortlessly.
When you build a brand and business as a solopreneur or coach, your personality becomes your brand. In order to stand out online, you become your own brand.
When you are choosing clothing for anything connected to your image, like your photos or if you are going to a conference. make sure that it makes sense to your message. For example, if you are someone who teaches people who are shy how to have better interactions with people, you want to have a look that is approachable and friendly. You will choose colors that are more subdued because you need to look attractive to someone who may be turned off by an “in your face” approach.
CREATE A PLATFORM FOR MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
Having a distinct style really opens up opportunities to make connections with people. I know you’re thinking that it is far fetched, but hear me out on this. The thing is, you can allow a compliment to to be answered with a simple thank you or you can use the open door to ask the person who complimented you something about themselves.
It’s amazing how your clothes can start a conversation.
For example, the girl in this photo had a distinct love for vintage pieces and the way she was dressed communicated to me that she was open to new things. That is why I was comfortable asking her, a complete stranger if I could photograph her.
In addition I was able to reveal my love for finding unique items at a low cost while shopping at a thrift store. An awesome person connected with me and we recognized that we had something in common. That is a way to start building a relationship with someone instead of a superficial interaction. It is truly up to you to determine how far you want to take these connections.
COMMUNICATES CARE AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL
When someone is handing over money, or trust, they want to know that you take care in your work. Since they have not yet worked with you, they will look for other queues showing you take pride in what you do. For example, someone who is looking to a visual brand designer might pick up on your style to understand whether or not you may work well with them. If your design style is very clean and modern, your style will reflect that as well. It shows that you live your brand message and take care in your work.
A person who takes care in the way that they dress will be perceived as someone who cares about other aspects of their life, especially business. It shows that you take pride in who you are and again, communicates your confidence.
On Sunday, January 31st, I am offering a FREE workshop, "10 Ways To Build An Intentional Style That Reflects Your Brand Image!" We will go over: The benefits of defining your style as a creative entrepreneur or blogger. Why your style contributes to your powerful brand image + actionable tips on how to incorporate it Tips on how to incorporate your style into your brand image. How to say exactly what you want your style. These tips will help you hone in on the things that make you, well YOU and build an effective and humanized brand! Can't wait to hang out with you :)