14 Oct

Go From Invisible to Influential in Your Executive Presence

 

Visual impact is the first way that your executive presence is perceived. Likewise, the main filter for visual impact is the way you dress. So never underestimate the power of wardrobe and style!

Knowledge vs. Action

  • Humans are hard-wired to believe what we see. If you don’t pass through that first filter by looking the part, you won’t be taken seriously or accepted as credible.
  • Most leaders these days already understand all of that. So why are they unable to play a bigger game and achieve the promotions they want?
  • Knowing about visible branding is one thing. Practicing it is quite another. Unfortunately the majority of today’s leaders neglect to consistently manage their external image.
  • Failure to act on your knowledge is a symptom that you cannot make deliberate, strategic executive decisions. Downplaying your visual image tells others you have diluted focus, lower expectations, and smalltime career goals.

Visible Executive Presence

  • But if you dress in a way that exudes authority, expertise, and power others will feel your executive presence in a palatable, electric way.
  • You’ll distinguish yourself from the crowd of competitors who also want those coveted roles at the top but are not yet dressing the part.
  • To do that, ensure that your wardrobe selection, hair style, make-up, and accessories are all consistent and congruent with the brand attributes you want others to see when they meet you.
  • If you want to give off the trait of an innovative leader, for instance, you cannot sport an outdated suit or hairstyle. That sends a mixed message with two contradictory images. People won’t know which version of you to accept and trust as real. They’ll doubt your authority.

Wardrobe Strategy Pays Off

  • You may have all the skills and experience in the world. But you still have to command the attention of decision makers. The fastest and easiest way to do that is to dress the way they do.
  • At first that can seem like a superficial exercise or experiment. But recently I had a corporate coaching client who took my advice and strategically upgraded his wardrobe while preparing for promotion.
  • Others noticed him more. He become more visible and relevant. He succeeded at capturing their attention, which is worth a fortune in terms of branding. Since his executive presence was amplified, people started paying closer attention to his ideas.
  • Suddenly he went from invisible to highly influential, and won the promotion. That illustrates the practical power and necessity of utilizing your wardrobe to drive your career

When you picture yourself in that high level leadership position you have wanted your whole life, how do you look? Does that visual version of you match what you see in the mirror?

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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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