Is it just the words that matter?
Years ago I led seminars for accounting and banking professionals who were looking to enhance their leadership abilities. One of the topics we spent a great deal of time on was communication skills – not so much written skills – but verbal communications. During these sessions we would discuss in great detail the basic channels of verbal communications: words, voice, and visual.
My students were often surprised about how much of a so called verbal message is transmitted though channels other than the words spoken. In fact, studies suggest only about 7% of any verbal message is communicated by the actual words being spoken. That means over 90% of any personally spoken message is transmitted though the tone of the message, which includes volume, inflection, and rate of speech, and the visual component which is represented by posture, body language, grooming and apparel. The reality is that any personally spoken message is estimated to be communicated 55% through the visual channel.
So, armed with this knowledge, doesn’t it make sense that appearances say a great deal about how information is communicated? A popular retirement management company has a television commercial that takes a night club disc jockey, cleans him up and puts a nice suit on him and asks him to convince unsuspecting potential clients to entrust him with their life savings. The prospects, each and every one, said they would trust this young man with their retirement. Even though he didn’t know an IRA from a checking account. Think they would have been as willing to sign up with him if he was dressed as a disc jockey?
Here is the bottom line… appearance plays an important part in how people respond to you personally and what you are trying to communicate to them. Of course, clothes are an important element in your image. Proper care and cleaning of your garments will pay off for you as people do judge us by our appearances and good looking, well maintained garments play an important role in achieving our goals.