Today I was leaving from the office to attend a networking luncheon. It was a warm, sunny day so I decided to take the bus and walk a few blocks to the hotel. As I was exiting the bus, a sixty-five year old man leaned over and said,"Are you wearing Chanel?" I paused for a moment thinking he was referring to my perfume. I realized that he was admiring my suit. Sadly, I told him it wasn't Chanel but accepted the question as a compliment. I was a little early so I stopped into a clothing boutique. As I entered the store, the male security guard said, "That's a nice suit." I thanked him and wondered how I had garnered two compliments in five minutes. Once I arrived at the event there was 30 minutes of networking. A woman passed by and admired my suit. Well, that's not surprising. Women are fashion conscious and it makes for good small talk. After all, New York City is a fashion hub. At around 5:30 p.m. I left to meet my cousin at Starbucks at Rockefeller Center. A woman stopped me on the street and told me how nice my suit was. What was going on? Four complete strangers of both genders complimented my attire. Was something in the air? I don't think so. I've had people admire the suit before. It must be that it's an attractive suit. And what does that have to do with presentations?
You are a personal brand.The way you speak, how you carry yourself, and what you wear are signaling and communicating your brand, your style. It's your presentation to the world. And... while we can't judge a book by its cover, we often do make judgments about how people look. It takes seven seconds or less to make a first impression. People will actually discount what you say to believe what they see. That's the impact of the visual!
When you're in a book store, the first thing that makes you pick up a book is the cover. If it's not attractive, it stays on the shelf. Marketers spend thousands of dollars in research to test the right packaging design. People buy the bottle before they buy the perfume.
Your audience is making judgments before you begin to speak. Does your visual presentation support your message? Do you look credible? Do you carry yourself with confidence? They say that clothes don't make the man. Well, from my experience it sure helps when you wear a nice suit.