Did you know that humans think visually! The saying I hear what I see is true.

A UCLA study proves that 85% of all decisions are made with our eyes. The 3 areas of personal presence are the Verbal, Vocal and Visual ones. The one with the most impact is the visual presentation.

Whether you like it or not, the image you project affects other's decisions as to your intelligence, character and ability. It further determines whether or not others want to do business with you. People notice ...AND they immediately place you somewhere on a scale. You rank only as others perceive you.

The way you dress and act has a remarkable impact on the people you meet professionally and socially. This greatly affects how they treat you. Clients have told me that they have lost promotions, deals have fallen through, memberships were denied and friends have disappeared because they paid so little attention to personal branding.

If your personal brand (image) is not professional and congruent, attractive and attracting you will be passed over - guaranteed. Therefore, to be competitive, to have a greater influence on others, attract more business and be more successful it's critical that you pay greater attention to personal branding. As an image coach I know that before you sell anything... your product, company or service you sell yourself first.

Large, successful companies understand the power of branding a product. They spend a lot of time, money and energy to create a brand that is eye catching and appealing enough to sell their product through to market.

Have you ever thought of yourself as A COMPANY OF ONE? How much time, money and energy have you spent in developing a personal brand that is unique enough to sell through to your market? Chances are you haven't even given it a thought - Right! Perhaps, like many of my clients, you too, will dismiss personal branding as frivolous, unimportant and superficial until you, like them, hit a brick wall; lose business, that big contract or the next promotion.

Perception is reality. Unfortunately, we all make snap judgments about others in the first 10 seconds. As an image consultant, the first step in assisting a client create a dynamic personal brand is to start on a fact finding mission with a personal brand assessment. Then, following the initial session we step into the bigger picture and move forward developing an action plan and determine scheduling.

Here are a few questions in one of the assessment tools I use with my personal clients to determine their attitudes, knowledge, goals and the level of their etiquette IQ.


1. Has your business changed? Has your position or responsibilities changed?

2. Has your personal life had a recent significant change? Is your personal brand in line with your present lifestyle? Business goals?

3. When was the last time you took stock - seriously? Does your wardrobe and how you use it reflect trust, congruency and responsibility?

4. How would your clients describe you?

5. When was the last time you changed your personal style... your hair style...your habits...or treated yourself?

4. What about deportment? Does the way you behave and conduct yourself reflect the importance of your profession and company or who you are now?

5. You may dress the part but do you act the part? Do you fidget? Do you have any nervous habits you are unaware of?

6. Do your manners need a tune up? Do you know how to do business with the right fork? How to pay the bill graciously or the correct protocol in dealing with the opposite sex in business? Have you had etiquette training?


How did you do? Do you really know what your first 10 seconds are saying about YOU? Are you paying attention? Where do you really rate on a scale of one to ten?

We know that in the current economy, competitiveness has increased dramatically. Business has become more serious and conservative - not only in attitude and business attire but in etiquette and manner as well. Companies are hiring me as an etiquette consultant to train their employees in the fine art of manners, business etiquette, dining and appropriate dress.

Even though intelligence, experience and education count, companies tell us they are simply not hiring those who do not possess these all important communication skills. It is the whole package that counts.

The hallmarks of successful individuals in a fast paced global marketplace are their confidence, manners and poise. Mediocre is dead ---and it's about time. It's not acceptable to dress inappropriately or do business with the wrong fork. There is a return to formality, elegance, manners and sophistication. People are getting dressed up again, dining in fine restaurants, are entertaining clients and being entertained as well.

It's been my experience that when an individual understands the power of perception that individual will make the changes necessary to ensure that he or she communicates more effectively through the power of his/her personal brand.

You either create a brand that is distinct......or you become extinct. - Tom Peters, In search of Excellence

Author's Bio: 

Shannon Smith is a leading image strategist and founder of Premiere Image International. She is also an etiquette consultant, writer, TV personality and featured in national publications. Shannon assists individuals transform from unnoticed to unforgettable and provides one on one training and programs for company across North America in personal branding. Simply put – a contemporary finishing school for adults. Customized programs include image mastery, executive dress and grooming, presentation skills, manners, business etiquette, executive dining to international protocol.

Please contact Shannon at Premiere Image Intl. 416 324 8955 or visit www.premiereimageintl.com

Her book Power Manners – How to use Your Personal Skills for Business and Social Success is available at www.powermanners.com

Additional Resources on Business Etiquette can be found at:

Website Directory for Business Etiquette
Articles on Business Etiquette
Products for Business Etiquette
Discussion Board
Shannon Smith, The Official Guide to Business Etiquette