By Jon Michail
There’s no point being in denial about the importance of good grooming. The consequences of this failure can be discrimination and exclusion, and you never get a second chance at making a first impression.
Why do we bother so much with appearances? Because of what the outside says about the inside. Grooming speaks volumes to our competence, health, and attention to detail.
There are reasons certain professions traditionally wear white. Chefs, pharmacists, and dentists all want to project an impression of reassuring cleanliness. This simple visual cue is something we can all learn from. Paying close attention to cleanliness is a social sign of maturity and competence. A signal such as this is the kind you may not even notice you are sending or receiving, but it can make all the difference as to how you are perceived and how you perceive others.
Of course, grooming applies to the environments we work in as well. No one wants food from a visibly dirty kitchen. And the purpose of a spotless, well-decorated, and inviting waiting room is to put visitors to the doctor or dentist at their ease.
Pretty as a Peacock
When we look to the animal kingdom we see how good grooming is linked to attraction. Peacocks are not only decked out in splendid feathers, but also preen themselves to perfection.
When I think of the human equivalent, I think of someone like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character Gatsby. A large part of the narrative of The Great Gatsby deals with the title character’s attempts to woo and win beautiful, wealthy, Daisy Buchanan.
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Perhaps Gatsby is more of a bowerbird – in his elaborate Long Island mansion. But when showing Daisy around this mansion in order to impress her, the tour is not complete until Gatsby has displayed his excessive collection of shirts. He showers Daisy in them – carelessly displaying the perfect grooming and wardrobe that his wealth and success have bought for him.
“He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray.”
Now, this may be going a little overboard, but Gatsby – immaculately groomed, beautifully presented, Gatsby, is trying to make an impression. And he does so spectacularly.
You don’t need the wealth of Gatsby to be well presented. In fact, good grooming can be simple to learn and economical to practice. But you might just find that paying a little extra attention to your appearance will pay dividends.
Health, Hygiene, and Handkerchiefs
Grooming and health also go hand in hand. Good grooming makes us look healthier whilst good health improves our appearance.
Actresses and models are always crediting their healthy, glowing skin to drinking plenty of water. And though we might suspect that their flawless complexions have had a little extra help, we also know that there is some credibility to what they say, because as good nutrition enhances our health, our good health enhances our appearance.
A large part of grooming centres around the basics of personal hygiene – like brushing our teeth and washing ourselves and our clothes. Looking and smelling fresh and clean is a huge indicator of health and prosperity, and though no one in HR would ever admit to such discrimination, you can be sure that the job applicant wearing a subtle but effective deodorant will win favour over the one with fishy B.O.
Grooming well for work is important because it indicates where our personal circumstances impact on our work lives. Projecting a sense of health, cleanliness, and pride in our appearance engenders trust that we are capable and competent in all areas of our lives.
When considering how grooming positively or negatively influences your life, think about the following:
- Paying close attention to cleanliness is a social sign of maturity and competence. A signal such as this is the kind you may not even notice you are sending or receiving, but it can make all the difference as to how you are perceived and how you perceive others.
- You don’t need great wealth to be well presented. In fact, good grooming can be simple to learn and economical to practice. But you might just find that paying a little extra attention to your appearance will pay dividends.
- Grooming and health go hand in hand. Good grooming makes us look healthier whilst good health improves our appearance.
The way that we present ourselves has a huge influence on how we are perceived, so why not make this a fun and effective part of your life?
Grooming Principles make up the sixth aspect of what we at Image Group International like to call ‘The 7 Aspects of Authentic Image Management’TM – a part of the IGI Personal Branding System.TM This is more than just a slogan – the word authentic is there for a reason. Research shows we live in the most distrustful time in history. Our team want to work with you, to create the absolute best outcomes for your business and life.
I’ll be releasing a series of videos covering these 7 aspects, and I’d like to invite you to view them. I hope that they will give you further insight into the power of authentic image management, and how to grow your power and influence. How’s that sound to you?
Jon Michail is a veteran coach with a Who’s Who clientele, the CEO and Founder of Image Group International, an Australian-based corporate and personal brand image advisory and coaching organisation that conducts transformational seminars, workshops and one-on-one coaching in over four continents. He is recognised as Australasia’s No. 1 Image Coach.