Customizing and designing corporate programs to help organizations take their businesses to the next level is one of my great passions. Large, successful companies always understand that people are their most valuable asset. But not all of them train their personnel about how to positively represent their corporate brand through their professional presence and what I call the ABCs of Image (Appearance, Behavior/etiquette and Communications skills). Today business branding is such a huge phenomenon that it takes real branding expertise to differentiate yourself from all the noise in the marketplace and stand out from your competition in a way that positively resonates with your target audience. But that will happen in noticeable ways once you make a commitment to invest in the professional image development of your people.
Organizations are often apprehensive about how their employees will react to an image seminar. But I love to make my presentations fun, interactive, and educational – while sharing many fantastic image secrets. I know that most of the tips I offer will be new to the people in the audience and that they will leave the seminar knowing that they really learned how to step up their image in ways that are easy to quickly implement at home. I always love the questions I get from my audiences and I use those to tailor the presentation to them as I go. While they are learning from me about my expertise, I am also learning from them about what a pain it was to get dressed that morning, the embarrassing power lunch they had last week, or something they posted on Facebook that they wish they could take back because it might harm their reputation.
Yes, many of us grew up with parents who were excellent role models. They wore formal business dress every day and attended professional networking and social events to learn proper manners and etiquette. Maybe we had a parent who learned the art of effective communication as a public figure. But I’d be willing to bet that most of us did not grow up knowing all there was to learn about our professional presence. We most likely didn’t get it from our parents, from school, or even from college courses. Now we are at a place in life where a polished professional image is crucial if we are going to build relationships that create greater business success.
Please don’t expect that every one of your employees will know all these important skills and the ABCs of Image. Invest in some quality training and give them the confidence, soft skills, and kind of professional appearance that they need to navigate the contemporary business world with grace and ease. Ours is a diverse multicultural business environment propelled by social media, and to succeed today we have to be ready and willing to reinvent and strategically hone our image skills.