Professional Image

Seven Seconds to Impact

The seven second rule.  According to Katheryn Volin, author of the book “Buff and Polish”, within a time span of seven seconds, you have already decided whether or not you like someone you have encountered- and they have made the same judgment about you!  While they are making a judgment about you in seven seconds, within thirty seconds they’ve made at least eleven assumptions about you.

You only have a few seconds to communicate who you are.  Potential clients read your image before they get to know how amazing you are.  First impressions in business relationships are critical.  People consciously or unconsciously label you as “likable” or “unlikable.”  Every other interaction is an extension of this judgment and is filtered through these filters.  While opinions can change, the power of that first impression is forever, and if she is a woman, can if connected through an emotion, stay in her mind for a very long time.

The Invisible Edge

What makes people choose between two well qualified businesses? What tips their decision? Is it your message, your visual elements, and your charisma?  It is a non-verbal communication that causes clients to say, “I feel like you represent who we are and where we are headed.”

Step One:  Prioritize

Decide what is important to you. What do you wish to be known for to your clients or audience?  Having a clear cut – image and brand is crucial.

An image of credibility, professionalism and value says, “I pay attention to detail. I am working for you”

  • What do you want your clients to feel from their experience of working with you?

Step Two:  Know your target markets

You have to know your clients and potential clients down to the smallest detail! The more you know about them the more they will respond to you with familiarity and warmth.  People need to be able to recognize you, even when you are not in front of them.

  • When people think of the products or services you provide, do they think of you?  When they do, they understand your company culture based on what you represent to them.  They get you. You have the invisible edge.
  • Your target market is your community.  Make it a point to see them not just as your audience but also as your extended circle of friends.
  • Speak to their needs.
  • Think like your target audience. Buy what they buy, do what they do, live in their shoes. Know them better than they know themselves.

Step Three: Make it seem effortless

The only way it will be effortless is if you have all the necessary pieces, and you do it until it seems like second nature.  The more you know what those pieces are, and the more you work on putting them together, the easier it will become.

Add you own accents, colors and flair.  Something that let’s others know who you are and makes you unique.  No one does you as you do you.

Step Four:  Always put you in the mix.

Only one person can do you and that is you. For example when you see Oprah Winfrey, you know it is she. It is not about her clothes, hair, style of dress or makeup.  She presents herself in a way that demonstrates her lifestyle, brand, core values, and message. “This is who I am,” and the world speaks back and says, “We love you for you – you’re real!”

Find something about yourself that you like. Make it part of your identifiable charm.

Step Five:  Don’t switch it. 

When you switch hit your image, it means you are constantly changing your signature style.  This confuses your audience.  Your signature elements are things like a hairstyle that suits you, and no one else can quite pull it off the way you do.

  • Decide the key components of your image. Approach your mage as if you are making a delicious meal. It must say who and what you are, ring true and authentic and be pleasing to the eyes.
  • Make subtle adjustments without selling out. It is important to constantly add new tweaks here and there while remaining true to who you are.

Do not follow the crowd. Just do you!

Action steps

Your invisible edge is the secret to entrepreneurial success. With it, you do not need to compete for business because no one offers exactly what you do in exactly your way.

Be unique. Be you. Be successful!

Fay B. Castro

Rocklin, CA  (916) 709-4935

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