Appearances are not deceiving

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS-Staff Writer

Positive first impressions have been known to seal business deals, acquire a coveted job or cinch a vote for a political candidate.

The combination of a positive attitude; neat manner of dress; and relaxed body language can predict a winner, according to many of the inspirational messages sent to the general public.

Although many people believe that a person should be judged by what is ‘on the inside’, the fact remains that your outward appearance speaks volumes about your personality.

If you are preparing for a job interview, or you have to represent your company at a seminar, you may not have the money to invest in an expensive new suit. Bearing this in mind, there are smaller steps you can take to make sure your appearance hits the mark.

Your smile has much more to do with impressions that you may think. The popularity of at-home teeth-whitening systems shows that people really are looking at your smile.

Although it is not a good idea to make drastic changes to your hair (color, perms, etc.) before an important engagement, a little more attention to detail can go a long way. Deep conditioning, trimming ends, etc. are a few of the possibilities.

Accessories also are scrutinized when you are in the public eye. People do tend to look at your shoes and jewelry. A neglected pair of shoes, wornout watch-band or saggy belt may convey a sloppy attitude. It’s a good idea to own at least two each of accessory items, you can alternate them, balancing the wear and tear.

Bad weather can hit at any time, so keeping an umbrella in your car should be a given. Protecting your clothing is important. if you get caught in a downpour, you don’t want to look like something the cat dragged in.

The problem of where to put a wet umbrella can be solved if you ask the receptionist for the appropriate area as soon as you arrive.

Stories abound regarding last-minute grooming emergencies. A broken zipper, ripped hem, spilled coffee on a white shirt, etc. Depending on your manner of dress, you can easily put together a personal ‘first-aid kit’. Individual stain remover pads, small sew kit and other items can be stowed in a small plastic container in the glove compartment of your car.

You never know when these items will come in handy, either for yourself or a friend. Also, you will never have to face the terror of approaching a job interviewer, or an audience of 100 people, with a stain on your clothes.