I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen it. Two individuals with equal experience, equal skill and equal connections, yet one of them always seems to do just a little better. He gets better treatment, fewer difficult customers, more perks and faster promotions. The difference? Image.
The image you project plays a huge role in how people perceive you. The world’s best marketers have known this for years – Nike, Coca-Cola, Cadillac, Guinness, just to name a few. They’ve learned that, as long as you have the substance to back it up, it pays to make sure that everyone knows who you are and what you stand for. And they’ve also demonstrated how very controllable image is.
The idea of trying to control the personal image we project is, for some people, a distasteful concept. It hints of narcissism and shallowness. The fact is, however, that image is a reality in all of our lives. Like it or not, you’re projecting an image anyway – people already perceive you in a certain way. And your current image may not be working in your favor.
As professional marketers will tell you, there is a lot involved in projecting the proper image, but here’s the process in a nutshell:
1. Pick one, single quality (not two or three – just one) that you would most like to be known for. It can be anything – honest, trustworthy, humorous, creative, dependable, efficient, compassionate, competent, confident, action-oriented, meticulous, etc.
2. Think of a role-model – real or fictional – who personifies this quality, and use him or her as your measuring stick.
3. Make a point to reflect this quality in absolutely everything you do – the way you dress, the things you say, the things you do, etc.
4. Be consistent – make no exceptions
It takes time, but you’ll be amazed at how differently people will begin to perceive you