Put on nice clothes and make yourself look good.
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (NCV)
While majority agrees on hygiene, the importance of grooming and engagement appropriate outfit has become a debatable topic because of the growing influence of self expression in our culture. Let me share my thoughts why we need to be culture sensitive, and apply this old school principle when applicable.
Outfit: Getting past the initial impression
Peeps who disagreed with how first impression can kill an opportunity missed the point. It’s true that outfit does not determine job offer after interview, or new projects after business meeting, or audience approval after delivering a talk. But a bad initial impression brought about by culture insensitive outfit, plus bad breath, is a show stopper. People will find it hard to listen to you or appreciate your credentials if your outfit is getting out of the way. The issue is not about our freedom for self expression, but of respect for the place or event we’ll attend, or the purpose of the meeting (job interview or biz presentation) and the people who agreed to meet us.
#OOTD (outfit of the day)
Daily outfit is not about sporting a signature brand, but a reflection of values (corporate values if you are required to wear a uniform or follow a dress code; or personal values if you have the liberty to wear anything), and the office you are representing ( your department and/or your position).
One of the parameters used in choosing a uniform design, or guidelines for #OOTD, if uniform is not issued, is the respect it should generate for the person, the office and the job. Most companies also define the behavior that is expected while the uniform is worn. We may disagree with it, but this is a norm that we must acknowledge.
Outfit enhances dignity
The choice of outfit adds value to our image. In ancient time, this principle was first introduced when God instructed Moses to prepare special outfit for Aaron to enhance the dignity of his office and job, and to distinguish his department from the rest.
Tell your brother Aaron to come to you, along with his sons Nabab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Separate them from the Israelites to serve me as priests. Make holy clothes for your brother Aaron to give him honor and beauty. Exodus 28:1-2 (NCV)
And yes, outfit is not the “only” basis for evaluating people
Now this reminder is to those involved in the selection process. It is incumbent upon us to be mature and look beyond what our physical senses tells us.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, Don’t look at how handsome Eliab is or how tall he is, because I have not chosen him. God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of the person, but the Lord look at the heart. 1 Sam. 1:7 (NCV)
Social Business Application
The discussion of outfit and how it influences initial impression is also applicable to social business. Online presence is not everything, but equally important is the value these online channels create when people visit our website, blog or social media accounts. Will it generate positive action, like a follow, a return visit, dig for more content, leave a comment , or contact you for a money making opportunity?
I always advise clients and young people preparing for corporate venture to think retail. Since the attention span of visitors is limited, public content should showcase their value proposition, design is pleasant to the eye, easy to navigate and a contact me button is visible and accessible
Do you have other thoughts on our discussion? Let us know via the comment section.
About the author
Sonnie is an experienced strategist for employer branding and communications; and people/ organization management and development.
He also received two awards, one for his advocacy on digital accountability, and another for the use of blog for mentoring.
He co-founded Blogwatch in 2009. Thru this initiative, bloggers voice were heard in convo involving national issues.
He co- founded LODI Inc. (Learning and Organization Development, Inc.) in 2018 as an offshoot to his year long #HRMentoring program.