On November 30th, Elan Image Management presented a seminar titled, "Maximize your Personal Brand: Working your Image for Maximum Impact" to a group of independent market researchers who are members of the DC chapter of QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association). The two and a half hour seminar was fun, informative and interactive. It was a pleasure presenting to this particular group becuse I could relate to them so well–having been a market researcher for 15+ years myself. I understand the industry and the particular challenges they face as independent research consultants.
Audrey Burke President of the DC chapter and President of Burke consulting Group, chaired the meeting.
Me with Audrey Burke, DC Chapter President
Maritza Mattheus founder of Matheus Marketing took notes. Here is her summary of my presentation which is also accessible on their website www.qrca.org.
As a QRC, have you ever given thought to what your “professional presence” quotient is? I am not qualified to tell you what your quotient is, but here are a few questions presented by certified image consultant Natalie Jobity to the Washington, DC, chapter members in November. The accuracy of your answers may provide you insights on your professional presence awareness.
True or False
1. The person you most want to honor is always mentioned first in an introduction.
2. Taking notes at a meeting is rude because you must break eye contact to do it.
3. Recapping information for latecomers is the considerate thing to do.
4. At a meeting, make eye contact with each person until you have determined the color of their eyes.
5. The only time to privately call attention to someone’s appearance or mistake is when they can do something about it.
First impressions are lasting impressions. In fact, it only takes 60 seconds to form an impression and the work required to change that impression is enormous. So take time now to assess your appearance and your objectives on how you would like to be perceived. In order to enhance your image, just like corporations conduct a corporate branding analysis, conduct your own personal brand analysis and strategize on how best to achieve that personal brand. Image is important and it is a fact that cannot be ignored.
According to Natalie, “a strong, purposeful appearance is the hallmark of an effective image presence.” Below is a summary of the 12 steps Natalie presented to immediately enhance your image.
1. Pay attention to the way you look, from your hair down to your shoes.
2. How is your posture? Good posture can take 10 pounds off your appearance.
3. Use accessories, from jewelry to belts to glasses.
4. Pay attention to your undergarments – if you don’t feel comfortable with your “innerwear,” you won’t feel comfortable in your clothes.
5. Say your “thank you’s,” “good morning’s,” “please’s” whenever warranted. Image can be undermined if one is perceived as rude.
6. Don’t be afraid of color. Color has so much power and many people don’t use color to their advantage.
7. When shaking hands, make sure your grip is firm and you make eye contact upon shaking.
8. Pay attention to details. Tags that show on accessories or clothing look sloppy, as do missing buttons and ripped seams.
9. Try new clothes, new accessories and new colors.
10. Have fashion-fun days. Spend time “playing” with the clothes you currently own. See what new looks and new combinations you can create.
11. Know your body and accept its shape. Get rid of clothes in your closet that no longer serve you.
12. Natalie’s special tip: make sure the presence you communicate has a presence.
If you are not sure about your professional (or social) presence, Natalie can help. She has over 15 years of experience in marketing research, most recently working as a VP of research in the financial services sector for Harris Interactive. Coupled with her styling and image training, Natalie assists clients in enhancing their images. For more information, contact Natalie at www.Elanimagemanagement.com.