There was a major reorganization taking place in a multinational company in America.
And so the CEO is retiring and the buzz in the work place is that the most senior staying executive might take over his place. A consultant was brought in. The senior exec talked to him and wanted to get his personal opinion about the matter. The consultant was a frank, brutal-to-the-truth kind of man who looked at him and said, “Frankly, I don’t think you will be chosen by the board to head this organization.” The senior exec was devastated. He said, “But I have the seniority, I have the skills, I have the qualifications and I have the experience and it’s a logical choice that I will be the next CEO of this company.”
The business consultant turned confidant with a serious look on his face said, “Yes, my friend there is no doubt about that but… you just don’t have the CEO walk!”
The moment I came across this story I knew what that means.
What’s a CEO Walk? What it means is that the way you look and the way you package yourself all says a lot about you. People see you and make snap judgments about you and this is why the way you look really matter especially in business.
People are way more critical than you think – don’t give them fuel for the fire!
First impressions are lasting impressions. But if you’re like most people, you probably can’t see the first impressions you’re making.
Now some people do not like this. They claim that what they are in the inside matters more than what they look like on the outside. True. No argument there but how many people do you know have the luxury of telling people, “Don’t judge me with how I look, I am really a better person from the inside…” People might say, ‘What are you smoking?”
Here’s what you can do. Ask one or more of your close friends if you are guilty of any of the following image deficiencies below. If so, thank your friends for their honesty, and don’t take it against them but immediately do something to correct your deficiencies! Create an impression you want to last by being conscious of the following:
1. Your handshake.
Some people shake hands with a limp wrist dead fish handshake and they think they are conveying humility by doing so. For a man this is a sign of weakness or disinterest for a woman a sign that she lacks confidence. Shake hands with confidence.
2. Your clothes.
I hear consultants say, “Your clothes do not have to be expensive…” Now coming from years of the garments industry background allow me to tell you that it is extremely difficult to get good, respectable and decent business clothes from 168 boutiques. Just like every good thing in life you need to invest in quality. And quality costs money. Good clothes last longer and turn out to be more economical when used for the long haul.
3. Your Words.
Now we’re moving into the less visible qualities that define your personhood. If you have a weak vocabulary then you would not be able to express your ideas very well and worst, people would not understand you well enough to respect you. Avoid mannerisms like “ah” and “um” and using slang and cuss words are simply not cool! I have also heard young women use words like, “Super,” “Awesome,” “Cool…” but they do not add value to your career development.
4. Your grooming.
Long hair, sideburns, three-day stubble, bad makeup job, un-tucked shirt or blouse, unpolished shoes – says to people: “Can’t be left alone for a second with prospective clients” – also a sign of intellectual sloppiness!
5. Your hygiene
Foul body odor, dirty fingernails, chronic bad breath – One of those things you want to ask your most trusted best friend about because (1) chances are, you can’t notice it, and (2) some people won’t want to hurt your feelings.
6. Your posture
People notice the way you enter a room, the way you carry yourself. Take a few deep breaths to collect yourself. Stand tall and hold your head up high. Walk with purpose and direction.
7. Your character
While it is difficult to assess the worthiness of a person’s character it its first and few encounters people could sense whether the person exhibits nobility by the way they speak and most especially by the way they treat those who are below them.
First impressions do last and you never get a second chance to create a first impression.
But one thing we need to remember is this. The Bible says human beings look at the outside appearance, God looks at the heart. This is why we have to make sure that the inside is clean first and the outside will take care of itself.