Remember the John Lennon lyrics, "Got to be good lookin' cause it's so hard to see?"Looks are important for both men and women. Yes, women are unfairly judged and held to a higher standard. Female candidates are scrutinized for every new hairstyle which is not the case for male politicians. That being said, I tell my clients and audiences to honor the power of the visual. First impressions are visual and almost instantaneous. We make decisions about leadership, trustworthiness, success level, and competence based on how others appear visually. Your stage presence doesn't depend on having a beautiful face or washboard abs. It does depend on how you carry yourself, what you wear, and how you look in the clothes you wear.
You are your own personal brand. Top companies invest outrageous amounts of capital in creating a brand and a big part of the brand is the logo, color, and packaging. Most people would perceive a Tiffany box as having more value than a brown parcel post. Real estate agents and sellers spend time and money restaging a home and manicuring the landscape because it increases value. Even animals in the wild groom themselves. Companies call me in to work with their leaders on executive presence. They don't present themselves as leaders and as a result they are not taken seriously and can't get to the next level. Wouldn't it be great if people could get past your looks and see the substance beneath the surface? Yes, it would but it isn't happening.
Appearance counts. Does that mean you need to invest in plastic surgery to look good? No. Is Hollywood anorexia a standard we want to uphold for our young girls and women? No. Should we be slaves to fashion? No. But when your look is outdated people think your ideas are old fashioned. If you look haggard, you won't be attractive on a job interview because energy sells. So, aim for good health, feel good about yourself, and dress well. Make sure your visual impression is consistent with your personal brand. When you step out on that platform it's showtime and you'd better look good.