Putting Your Best Face Forward

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Putting Your Best Face Forward: Tips for Presenting Your Best Self to the World


Whether you are trying to impress an interviewer in order to land your dream job or are just out in public engaging in normal activities, presenting yourself in the best possible manner will do wonders for your success and happiness. The way you conduct yourself reveals a lot about you and determines how people treat you. The fact is you are constantly being evaluated by others for clues and information. This is not necessarily bad or even conscious. As sophisticated human beings we go beyond language to communicate. We use other indicators such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body posture to read and understand people.

In this mesh of verbal and non-verbal communication, your signals can be easily misread by others if you are not careful. To avoid this unnecessary confusion, you must learn to be aware of how the world sees you and how you see yourself. If there is a discrepancy between these two viewpoints, then you must decide if and how you can make the two images more congruent. The following tips for effective personal presentation should help with this process.

Believing in you is critical

Nobody will ever see you as you would like to be seen until you see yourself that way. Having the confidence that you possess what it takes to achieve your goals is the seed to all future action and success. Having a positive demeanor and being self-assured will demonstrate a sense of control, which will garner you respect from others and enhance your image. 

First impressions count

Most people believe they are good judges of character and consequently do not like to admit when they are wrong. This is why first impressions are so important. People start to form an opinion of you as soon as they meet you, so starting off right is crucial. If you are scheduled to meet someone important for the first time, plan accordingly for the meeting. Visualize yourself meeting the person with a firm handshake and abundant confidence. Think about what you will say during the first few minutes of conversation. Go over several possible scenarios and plan your actions. These small steps can make the difference between dazzling the other person and falling short of expectations.

Lead with a smile and a firm handshake

A smile and a firm handshake set the right tone for the interaction. In your planning, visualize how you will shake hands while you introduce yourself; how you will smile and look into the other person’s eyes when speaking and listening; how you will carry yourself with your shoulders out and head up. Speak in a clear and strong tone, and be an active listener by following the other person with your eyes and by asking questions. Most importantly, relax and enjoy the conversation.

Clothes make the person

While it is not necessary to spend a fortune on your wardrobe, a little care and attention to what you wear will pay dividends. Your clothes advertise your personal style to the world and dictates how people will perceive you. Dressing shabbily clashes with the message of confidence and care that you want to convey. Make sure that you dress appropriately for each occasion and that your clothes are reinforcing the image you want to create. 

Good personal hygiene shows consideration for yourself and others

A disciplined approach to good hygiene will show personal pride and help you avoid sickness. By regularly washing your body, hair, and hands, maintaining good oral care, trimming your hair and nails regularly, shaving, and other hygienic measures, you will demonstrate consideration for yourself and for others around you. This will help make interactions with you a pleasant experience.

Listen to your body language

Your body language can be saying a great deal without you knowing it. It may even be contradicting your words. Pay attention to your movements and posture. Are you sending out signals of openness and warmth, such as having an open body posture and smiling, or are you being sabotaged by unconsciously displaying signs of disapproval or disinterest, such as by crossing your arms or looking away? In such situations, most people will not bother to investigate your true intentions, instead assuming that you want to be left alone. Be vigilant and ensure that your body language is consistent with your overall message.

Consistency holds it all together

You will not be taken seriously if you are not consistent in all parts of your personality. You cannot expect to be seen in a certain way if your actions and behavior do not match your words. People will be confused because they will wonder if you really are who you portray yourself to be. Once these seeds of doubt are planted, your credibility will slowly erode and you will not be trusted or seen favorably. Be sure to take a holistic approach and present a unified image of yourself. Be congruent.

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