Welcome to this
issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback
Silent Messages - Your Physical Image
You don't need to be a sharp-looking, smooth talker to succeed. That's like
saying the applicant with the best-looking resume--professionally typeset on the
fanciest paper should always get the job. Obviously, it's the person behind the
resume who counts.
But what if the resume is soup-stained, contains obvious misspellings, or
presents the job-seeker's credentials in a confusing, illogical way? That
applicant, no matter how qualified, probably would lose out if he or she
couldn't produce a resume that didn't meet at least minimal standards.
So it is with physical image. Few are going to be fooled over the long-run by
someone who merely looks good on the surface. But failure to do so could easily
undercut all your other skills and virtues.
A purchasing agent once told me how he was approached by a salesman who, at
first glance, appeared impeccable: nicely styled hair, well-tailored suit,
stylish shoes, leather briefcase, expensive pen, the works. Then the salesman
crossed his legs, revealing white socks. The purchasing agent was so astonished
at this incongruity that he totally lost track of anything the salesman said.
And, of course, no sale was made.
You make a statement by not only what you wear but by how fit and healthy you
look, your posture, and what and how you eat - even how you shake hands. A more
subtle element is eye contact.
So, if you're shy, or if you process information more through sound and touch
rather than through sight, you may forget that direct eye contact is vital - and
not just when you say hello, but all through the conversation.
A final element of a good physical first-impression is a smile. Like eye
contact, a smile is a small gesture with a powerful impact. Pianist/comedian
Victor Borge put it wonderfully when he described a smile as "the shortest
distance between two people." Shortening that distance by attending to your
smile is yet another way to sharpen your silent image...and thus, improve your
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