An important point about what your body language is conveying
In this sixth and final week for CIOs who want to BTO (Be The One) to work with, the focus is on, Whatever can be seen, Will be seen. Let me explain. How you listen, speak, present, handle, carry and conduct yourself might be at a high standard, but if your personal habits or how you dress yourself or your dress standard is less than a C level standard, it will be seen and will form an impression. An impression that is less than positive.
Some of the key areas where I’ve seen CIOs dress at a lower than C level standard include, For men: Wearing dated suits, eye glasses and neckties; Wearing unpressed business shirts; Wearing unshined shoes and carrying and using tattered accessories (eg. an over-used spiral lined notebook). For women: Wearing too much or distracting jewellery; Wearing thongs as footwear; Wearing too much make-up.
What I suggest to my CIO clients are these two things.
1. That they pay attention to someone of their gender who is at a C level position, and whose dress standard they admire, and then consider how they might learn and adapt that person’s standard to their own dress standard.
2. That they ask a trusted friend to observe them in meetings, presentations and other interactions/encounters, and give them private feedback on their dress standard and on other personal habits.
Recently I read an article in an IT publication focused on personal branding, including dress standard. Many comments in response to the article decried and lampooned the focus on personal branding. One comment said the article promoted ‘valuing style over substance’. My response to the decries about the focus on branding and dress standard is this.
Certainly there are cases when business people look the part, say the right things, have a great LinkedIn profile etc. – and are hollow, a mere husk underneath all that style. However, in today’s business world, if you as a CIO don’t pay attention to your dress standard and other personal habits – people can and will form negative impressions about you and may not listen to your ‘substance’. Even if that substance is extremely valuable.
The key message for this post: Whatever can be seen will be seen – and Will form an impression.
What to do in the next seven days: Talk with trusted a colleague and gain their commitment to give you private feedback on your dress standard and other personal habits. Offer to do the same for them.
p.s My Mind if I listen in Fresh networking and body language techniques’ presentation last week for The (ACS) Australian Computer Society was well received by the 170 member audience. If you want to discuss this presentation for your organisation or association please let me know. (firstname.lastname@example.org, ph: (02) 9416 2311). The presentation would work well at a Client Thank you/Appreciation event, which includes networking.
p.p.s On 4 December 2013, in Sydney I’m conducting an IT Technician to IT Executive, one day workshop for the ACS. This workshop will help you improve how you listen, speak and present yourself and your ideas, so that you wield greater influence with senior stakeholders. Here is the link to the event: http://acs.org.au/branches/new-south-wales/events/upcoming-events/event-details?eveID=30278684268267