WALK YOUR TALK
Updated: Feb 6
5 SCIENTIFICALLY PROVED REASONS TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR APPEARANCE
I am an Image Consultant and sometimes (thanks God, not often!) I have to deal with people that consider Image a superficial matter, reducing their opinion to the obsolete “I am Essence, not Appearance”.
I could just answer with another saying: “It’s just Sour Grapes”, as practical experience proves that at least half of them hide under this overconfident affirmation a certain lack of talent in the field.
But instead, I usually give my interlocutor 5 scientifically proved reasons not to strut on the catwalk of the badly groomed.
They are results of psychology and cognitive neuroscience research, and are the explanation why personal image is important.
Our brain is like a triple processor:
-the conscious mind, that thinks through and uses logic to evaluate;
-the subconscious mind, that makes quick decisions, calling on our genetic and experiential "library";
-the unconscious mind, that controls vital functions like breathing, heart beating etc.
YOU HAVE 7 SECONDS TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION
First impression is created in a few seconds and is object of the activity of the subconscious mind.
SM makes a quick emotional decision with the help of a "shortcut" called a mental heuristic.
In this way, your interlocutor will take a small sample of you (initial impact) and use it to filter all future information about you. Furthermore, studies have shown that people weigh initial information much more than subsequent information when evaluating people (it's called "anchoring bias").
SO: You have few seconds to impress your interlocutor - needless to say, in such a short time, the perception is visual.
2. YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND TRANSLATES “ATTRACTIVE” WITH “CREDIBLE”
And because usually haste spoils the work,, the interlocutor's subconscious will not be able to distinguish between appearance and essence. It will "make mistakes", giving rise to cognitive biases (erroneous assessments).
One of these biases is the "halo effect": a person who is initially seen as having a quality in one field, will be considered good in other fields as well.
Visually, the “halo effect” is when an individual noticing that a person is attractive, well groomed, and properly attired, assume that the interlocutor is a good person.
In many psychological researches, both men and women ranked people with unattractive faces as less intelligent, less sociable and less likely to help others. In a research on newborn babies, they also preferred attractive faces.
And as wrong as this judgement can be in some cases, we are all users of this way of evaluating the people we meet, as our subconscious is something that we cannot control.
You might not care about looks (that's not totally true either, but I will address this subject in another article), but who doesn’t want to be credible??
SO: You better not leave to chance your appearance, whether your objective is to appear good looking or credible. Or both.
3. 60% to 90% OF FIRST IMPRESSION IS ABOUT COLORS
Martin Lindstrom, a famous neuromarketing expert, says: "when we make a subconscious judgement of a person in less than 90 seconds, between 62% and 90% of our evaluation is based on colors".
Color is a simple yet powerful tool that has an important psychologic (ex. blue is the color of credibility), physiologic (ex. yellow increases metabolism) and aesthetic (ex. cool colors flatter cool complexions) impact on us.
SO: Learning some basic aspects about colors' flattering / not flattering effects and about their psychological and physiologic impact helps us not only to look better, but also to positively influence the result of our interactions with other people.
4. OUR SUBCONSCIOUS APPRECIATES CERTAIN PROPORTIONS
Even if beauty canons change throughout the history and are ethnical based, studies have shown that globalization has brought their homogenization toward the european occidental pattern.
In other words, we all have already a beauty stereotype in mind, that is characterized by proportion, harmony and symmetry.
These stereotypes translate into ideal face and body proportions. Our eye (better: our subconscious mind) registers everything that is not in these parameters as a flaw.
- Of course, nobody is perfect and perfection is not the objective !
And yes, nowadays we are training our minds towards more inclusive beauty perceptions.
But this will take a lot of time, as we cannot erase in a minute millenniums of beauty canons from our subconscious.
SO: the smart solution is to be prepared to satisfy the aesthetic preconceptions of our interlocutor’s subconscious, by learning some simple yet efficient techniques to visually improve our proportions, through clothes, haircut, makeup etc.
5. ATTENTION HAS BECOME THE MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCE OF THE PLANET
Last but not least, visual image becomes more and more important as a consequence of the increasing speed of our current life.
The immense volume of information that is offered to our brains everyday exceeds in an exponential manner their capacity to stock it (it's called "the economy of attention").
Therefore, the most precious resource of the moment is not gold or oil anymore, but our attention, the direct result being an exponential competition between people, brands, ideas.
SO: We have to be more spectacular and more attractive, as we have less time to gain attention.
This is NOT about forcing ourselves towards higher aesthetic standards, but about smartly managing our potential, in order to put a spin on our personal presentation.
Appearance DOES NOT belie the truth, it say a lot about you, it's a fact.
It represent a part of your non verbal communication, what message do you want to put out there about you?
A professional Image Consultant can help you fully understand and learn efficient techniques to obtain your best version. It will help you rediscover yourself, enhance your strengths, while preserving your authenticity.