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The Power of Appearance!

Appearance is a selling mark of professionalism today more than ever before. There are two chief factors in good appearance; cleanliness of body and comeliness of attire. Usually these two go together. Neatness of attire demonstrates the sanitary care of the person, while outward slovenliness suggests carelessness for appearance that probably goes deeper than the clothes covering the body. Like non-verbal communication, appearance says more about a person even before they open their mouth. To confine a smart brain in a shabby appearance is self sabotage.

Studies continue to reveal that appearance is the single most intangible quality about something which does not solicit a neutral response. It is either attractive or repulsive. It either inspires interest or broods indifference.

One does not need to be rich to appear well – anyone with the desire to look good can. Appearance entails the proper care of the hair, the hands and the teeth. To maintain an incredible body cleanliness and neatness just requires little more than a small amount of time and the correct use of soap and water. The hair, of course, should be combed or brushed.

Nothing can be more offensive in man or woman than a foul breath, and no one can have neglected teeth without reaping this consequence. We all know how disagreeable it is to be anywhere near a person whose breath is bad. It is positively disgusting.

The same care should be given to all other usually neglected body parts and accessories that could disgust those about us; the feet, the arm-pits, the ears, the nails, the nose, etc. I emphasize that neglect does not imply natural defects. We all have body parts or organs that are under or over developed. The size and shape does not matter. The cardinal duty is to take great care of our body and attire at all time- no matter how humble they may be. It is not the shabbiness that is unavoidable, but the slovenliness that is avoidable, that the world frowns upon. No one, no matter how poor he may be, will be excused for wearing a dirty coat, a crumpled collar, or muddy shoes.

No customer wishes to do business with a person who contaminates the atmosphere. Many an applicant has been denied the position they sought because of bad teeth or lousy attire. In an interesting study by the American National Association of Colleges and Employers, 49% of employers surveyed in 2005 found that non-traditional attire would be a “strong influence” on their opinion of a potential job candidate. The cost of lousy appearance is not imaginary but real. Though it is true that bad teeth don’t prevent the owner from laughing, they may limit his or her positive influence.

Let it therefore be your first duty to give your appearance your best effort before serving a customer or dealing with others. Even in the social arena, a dirty and shabby appearance has ended many relationships and stood in the way of great prospective relationship opportunities. We cannot fully estimate the total advantages and spontaneous opportunities that a good appearance will give a man or woman throughout their social and business life. Smart people are easy to like and to trust. This explains why most sales people feel more confident and convincing when looking smart – and they eventually make more sales than their shabby counterparts. Other studies show that customers are proud to do business with people and companies. A change in appearance can influence sales - and employment opportunities.

“In civilized society,” says Johnson, “external advantages make us more respected. A man with a good coat upon his back meets with a better reception than he who has a bad one.”

Do not be deceived, every business is show business. And in show business, people base on impression to estimate value. A good appearance is irresistible. We usually expect honey to be beneath a beautiful flower - not mentioning a sweet fragrance. And reverse could be true. Most people do not expect much from a dirty, shabby and ill-looking front desk officer. The old adage emphasises that cleanliness is next to Godliness. This is another way of suggesting that ‘dirtiness is next to evil’. In fact, most people are offended when they meet someone appearing less than they should – grace in dirt or awkward wear.

It is said that never judge a book by its cover but to this day, men and women still judge books according to their covers. It is for this reason that branding has taken centre stage in business – not only for products but also of people.

Isaac Maloba is a Human Resource consultant and Chief Administrator at Potential Management Centre ( POTMAC)
Tel: +256 703660926

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