27 Sep

5 Instant Leadership Impact Secrets

Walk into an interview, board meeting, or evaluation with genuine presence and it will make a powerfully persuasive positive impression. You know it when you see it. But how do you convey instant, charismatic presence? Follow these 5 tips!

#1 Wear Instant Presence

If the magazine cover doesn’t grab your attention you’ll never read it. First impressions stick. To project leadership presence, start with the visuals.

  • People respond to your visible cues and identify with you accordingly.
  • Dress like a leader. People will treat you like one!

Want to be an icon of your industry? Dress head to toe like a role model of leadership!

#2 Set the Stage

Your appearance is constantly being scrutinized. But the evaluation may be unspoken and unwritten. Here are typical comments from senior executives expressing disappointment:

“Our director comes to work looking wearing a baggy khakis and in need of a haircut.”
“She dresses with trendy flair. That’s great for creatives. But we’re bankers. Clients expect conservative and traditional, not wild and unpredictable!”

Understand your organization’s brand and culture. How do your senior executives dress? Wear a leadership look that resonates with that image. Dress for the big stage spotlight!

#3 Be Detail Oriented

I hear comments like these all the time from frustrated HR directors:

“He wears beautiful suits. But he never shines his shoes!”
“She’s supposed to be an executive. But the roots of her hair are showing because she’s overdue for an appointment at the hair salon!”

Nobody trusts executives who miss the essential details! Bring the complete package. Otherwise you broadcast a message that you are pretending to be something you don’t fully understand!

#4 Look Relevant, Not Dated

Neglect the “permanent” wardrobe features and you’ll look behind the times.

  • Your constant wardrobe item is your hair, so always have a modern hairstyle.
  • Keep your makeup fresh, your nails manicured, and overall grooming impeccable.

Looking relevant does not mean dressing like a younger generation! Dress your age. But show plenty of classically elegant and innovative style.

#5 Don’t Dress Business Casualty

Business casual often turns into business casualty. Get it wrong and you can sabotage your career. Memorize my rule: “Business comes first, casual second.”

  • Incorporate the same exquisite details/fabrics found in more formal business dress. Only the look and feel should be more casual.
  • Tone down patterns and colors. You want people to notice your strong presence – not your loud clothes!

Also, if you want to observe Casual Friday, beware. Dress elegant casual, not weekend casual! Remember, you have to always distinguish yourself as the leader!

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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.

Blog, Ezine & Website: www.illustraconsulting.com
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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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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