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CORPORATE CONFIDENCE: TIPS FOR THE POLISHED PROFESSIONAL

Dressing well is an investment in your self-esteem; a message sent to the world that you are confident, professional and successful. Here are some practical tips to ensure you project a winning message!

TIP # 1
Making Positive Impressions: How you present yourself in the business world speaks volumes. First impressions are formed within seconds and it is therefore crucial to ensure you are properly prepared to present yourself as a professional. Stand straight, make eye contact, turn towards people when they are speaking and genuinely smile. Follow your office dress code, perhaps dressing a step above the norm of your office. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Willene Sieberhagen

TIP # 2
Investment Dressing: Well-known American business tycoon NELSON ROCKEFELLER once said: “People who make the right impression make more money than those who don’t.” It is important for employees to invest in the right image whether your day includes an important meeting, involvement with customers or staff, or negotiating a strategic deal – your image can be the key to your self-confidence, and can ultimately determine your success. Know which colours flatter your skin tone – your hair, makeup and clothing colours are all equally important! This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Marlise du Plessis

TIP # 3
Grooming: A well-groomed, immaculate person projects a successful person. Avoid shirts or blouses that gape, has perspiration stains or soiled collars or cuffs. Check for missing buttons. Ensure underwear (and tattoo’s) don’t show – you are a walking example of the company you represent. Check the heels of your shoes regularly to ensure that they are in a good condition, not scuffed. If you colour your hair ensure your regrowth don’t show. Nail-polish should always be double-checked before leaving home for the office. Your beard and or moustache must be neatly trimmed – at all times. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Riana Meyer

TIP #4
Business Meeting Etiquette: If a meeting is scheduled for 09h00 you should arrive at 08h50 to ensure you are on time. Announce yourself at 08h55, not earlier. And NEVER arrive late. In the absolute-there-is-nothing-you-could-have-done event you are late extend professional courtesy and let them know you are running late, together with a plausible reason (never because of traffic – if the traffic is hectic in the area then you must give yourself the relevant extra time needed). If your client is unavailable best let their assistant, or colleague, know that you are running late. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Willene Sieberhagen

TIP #5
Bold and colourful at the office? Introducing colour into your working wardrobe can boost your confidence for that important meeting or presentation, and its perfect for a creative and energetic work environment. Ensure that the tone and the intensity of the colour flatters your skin tone (refer to the Chata Romano Colour Chart). In certain office environments too much colour may come across as too arty or too intimidating. Ensure that your use of colour is in line with the corporate culture, for example: In a more conservative environment like a legal office or investment bank, focus on neutral basics with a pop of colour, not colour from head to toe. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Marlise du Plessis

TIP #6
Style: Dress the way you want to be addressed. If you work for a corporate company ensure you understand their corporate dress code; then dress accordingly. Whether we like it not we are judged by our appearances so dress every day with the objective to look your very best. Make sure you choose styles that suit your individual body shape. Never leave home without looking in a FULL length mirror to double check your appearance from the front, the side and the back; the all-important 3-point turn. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Riana Meyer

TIP #7
Business Meeting Etiquette: Even though business etiquette has become gender neutral it is still vitally important for both women, and men, to stand when meeting a client for the first time. Shake your client’s hand, palm to palm, with gentle firmness. Women don’t have to hesitate before offering to shake hands first. When a female colleague, or client, known to the rest of the people in the room, walks in to the room it is acceptable for the men to remain seated. A lot has changed in the last decade! This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Willene Sieberhagen

TIP #8
Take time to define and develop your personal blueprint. It’s not about following fashion trends and trying to look like someone else. It’s about finding your own uniqueness, understanding what works for you and what doesn’t work for you, in order to raise your game when it comes to personal packaging. Your personal image IS critical to business success. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Wendy Hind

TIP #9
Be authentic and be consistent in the clothes you wear, and the image you project. Create, build and protect your personal brand by taking control of your overall image. Consistency is vital – don’t create confusing messages with your dress and style by being appropriate one minute and not fitting in the next, or by copying somebody else’s style and not being yourself. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Wendy Hind

TIP #10
Business Meeting Etiquette: In a business scenario, one should hold a door open for superiors or clients (regardless of gender) simply as a matter of respect. Women appreciate gallant gestures, such as opening the door, or letting her step out of elevator first – so if any of our male readers feel inclined to do so, please proceed! This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Willene Sieberhagen

TIP #11
Business Meeting Etiquette: Whilst in meetings avoid checking your cell phone under the table. It is very distracting, and discourteous, to everyone around you. In addition: Paying attention to your messages, instead of the meeting, sends a signal that the people in the room are not important to you. If you are expecting an urgent call, mention it before the meeting begins and then excuse yourself and step away when you take the call. In longer meetings, wait until a break to check emails and phone messages. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Willene Sieberhagen

TIP #12
Your clothing consistently speaks clearly of what your personal brand represents. Have you considered the colours you wear? The style of your clothes? The length of your hemlines? The amount of cleavage you show? The height of your heel? Know what colours work for you, which lengths best suit you and which style solutions to avoid. And pay careful attention to your hair and nails; often it is the little things that people notice first! This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Wendy Hind

TIP #13
Style tip – Smart dress code: A ‘smart’ dress code in the corporate environment does not limit you to tailored black suits; soft suits, cardigans or shift dresses with jackets, in strong charcoal or soft taupe, can create a smart, stylish look! This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Marlise du Plessis

TIP #14
Business Meeting Etiquette: When receiving a visitor at your office it is best to advise them where to sit. Indicating where your guest should sit will make him/her feel more comfortable. When using a speaker-phone during a meeting, tell the person who called that you have them on speakerphone. Identify all the people in room and state their purpose for being present. All other electronic gadgets should be turned off or switched to silent. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Willene Sieberhagen

TIP #15
Business Meeting Etiquette: A junior executive should not be the first one to offer a business card. In the business arena, the senior executive should make the first move when offering a business card. When receiving a business card take the time to look at it because a card is representative of the person and their business. Write pertinent notes on the card later, not in the person’s presence. Never put the card in your trouser back pocket, put it into your business folder or wallet. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Willene Sieberhagen

TIP #16
Dress for success and deliver on your impression. Be authentic. Be consistent. Don’t compromise on your best colours, styles, lengths, fabrics and fit. It’s no secret, we are a culture consumed by image and you never get a second chance to make that very first impression! Create a powerful first impression! Regardless of who you are (and what you do), your hair, makeup, clothing and body language always speak first. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Wendy Hind

TIP #17
Casual Friday tip: A casual work dress code for Casual Fridays differs from a casual home dress code. So, no tank tops, beach sandals, cropped or frayed jeans! Full-length classic jeans with tailored jackets or shirts, and leather ballet flats or stylish sandals are more appropriate for a casual dress code at the office. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Marlise du Plessis

TIP #18
Unacceptable office attire: The following items are generally unacceptable at most corporate offices with a smart to smart/casual dress code – even on Casual Fridays:

  • Clothing, or accessories, that are worn, torn, frayed, with patches or holes
  • Revealing, or see-through. clothing
  • Tops that show cleavage or mid-sections
  • Tank tops, tube tops, halter tops
  • Very casual T-shirts, especially with offensive pictures / words
  • Tracksuits, or exercise gear like leggings
  • Shorts or beach wear, including sun-dresses
  • Underwear that shows
  • Biker or hiking boots / beach sandals or flip flops

This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Marlise du Plessis

TIP #19
Corporate colours: The days of men’s suits in basic colours, with white shirts only, are long gone. Yes, absolutely, men’s suits in basic, darker colours like black, navy blue, charcoal grey, etc are still, very much, the acceptable dress code, and, without question, project more authority. But, to this basic suit, add shirts in colour, such as blue, lavender, peach, lemon, apricot, etc. Still powerful, still presentable, still very professional. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Erika Swanepoel

TIP #20
Open Plan Office Etiquette: When answering phone calls, answer promptly (before the third ring if possible). Before picking up the receiver, discontinue any other conversation or activity such as eating, typing, etc that can be heard by the calling party. Identify yourself and ask how you can help the caller. Refer the caller to the proper person if you can’t help them. Articulate properly and have a smile in your voice. This tip was brought to you by Chata Romano Image Consultant Willene Sieberhagen

Watch this space for the next tip!

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