Business Networking- the Importance of Appearance and Communication Skills
Whether we like it or not, part of being a successful business owner depends on the way we look, and the way we communicate with others, especially when it comes to business networking. You could be the most professional, devoted business owner in the world, but if you wear wrinkled clothes, or clothes in need of repair, your peers will automatically assume that you arenít serious about building your business, and that you are a slob. And yes, the opinions of your peers do matter, as they can help you grow your business if you win them over as business contacts. People usually go with their first impression in forming an opinion of you, and if you arenít dressed professionally, or if you donít speak to them in a professional, courteous manner, then chances are high that their opinion of you will be influenced, and not in a good way. So, as a business owner, you need to learn how to dress to impress and communicate well with others, so that you can grow your business network, and increase your own success.
To portray a professional demeanor, and make a good impression, you should first think about the way you dress. You donít have to go to work in your Sunday best, but you do need to wear clothes that mesh well with the type of business that you are running, and they need to be clean, wrinkle-free, and in good repair. You donít want to run around with your shirt un-tucked and holes in your pants legs, that is for certain. Your goal is to appear professional, not rumpled and disheveled. If you look like you just threw an outfit together at the last minute from the bottom of your closet, people wonít take you seriously as a business owner, and will be reluctant to deal with you, or refer anyone else to your business.
Once you have critiqued the way you dress, you should move on to your communication skills. You need to be able to speak clearly and distinctly, and make certain that you talk in proper grammar, so that people will be able to understand what you are saying when you talk to them. You want to take the time, if you can, to think about what you are saying, and what the other personís reaction might be, before you actually let the words come out of your mouth. You donít want to approach a potential business contact, and immediately jumble your words, stick your foot in your mouth, and appear totally incompetent, not if you plan to add them to your business network.
Think about how you react to new people. How long does it take you to form an opinion of someone you meet for the first time? If they arenít dressed well, or donít communicate well, does that play into your opinion of them? The average person forms an opinion in their mind of a new contact usually within the first few minutes of meeting them, some take a little longer. Either way, you donít get a long time to overcome a bad first impression, so you should make sure that you are always prepared, so that you donít have to.