How are you doing? It’s been a while since my last blog so I thought it was time to get back to it and bring you something you’d enjoy reading and that would also be helpful to you, so this week I want to talk about the non-verbal ways we make an impression on other people, and how jewellery plays a role in making the right or wrong impression.
During March I gave a brief talk to business people and professionals at each of the meetings held by the Mauritius Business Network regarding the importance of paying attention to the finer details of our professional image. If you weren’t at the meetings, I thought it would be useful to share my insights with you and to get you really thinking about how jewellery, no matter how small the piece, can really impact the way you are regarded by colleagues, clients and stakeholders.
Let’s begin by asking a question – do you plan your clothes, hair, shoes and makeup before you go to work, maybe the night before? Why? It probably has something to do with the fact you want to look a certain way or make a certain impression, am I right? If this is the case, do you give as much thought to the jewellery/accessories you’re also going to wear that day? Do you take time to coordinate, think which pieces reflect your image and coordinate with your wardrobe, or do you just throw anything on, wear the same jewellery no matter what, or don’t bother wearing anything at all?
If so, I’ve got some news for you – by not paying attention to the finer details of your image, you’re letting yourself down professionally in two ways – how you portray yourself to others and the impression they create of you as a person; and the messages you’re giving to yourself about how you value yourself. Most of human communication, as high as 93%, is non-verbal, which includes the way we look – our clothes, hair, shoes etc. We know this, which is why we spend so much time on our appearance – we dress smartly so we appear professional, know what we’re doing, are trustworthy etc. We style our hair to show we’re aware of fashion. So if you’re not already doing it, why are you not giving as much thought to the jewellery you’re wearing, or thinking about the impact of what it is saying to others about you?
There’s a great quote by the designer Michael Kors who says ‘I’ve always thought of accessories as the exclamation point of a woman’s outfit’. I think this can also be extended to the impact of men’s accessories (just think watches!). Basically, the jewellery you decide to wear gives your outfit and image, the finishing touch, it pulls everything together. So if you’re not thinking about your jewellery or wearing the ‘wrong’ type or style of jewellery, what could it be saying to others about you as a professional person? Let’s look at some possibilities:
- Wearing jewellery not fitting for your style or the occasion could say you lack attention to detail;
- Bright jewellery could mean an outgoing personality, but in the wrong context, could say ‘I have poor judgement’’
- But if it is fitting to your personality, style and the setting, you could be saying, I see the details, I’m aware of my surroundings and context and I respect those I am meeting.
You may think I’m overthinking this, but we know we create an impression by what clothes we wear so why don’t we think jewellery has the same impact? So, what impression do you want to make? You may think that to appear professional, you must keep jewellery small and discreet, but it’s not always the case and depends on these factors – who you are meeting, your outfit, your personality, and the nature of your work. Let’s consider some possible scenarios:
- Do you work in an environment where you need to meet and greet clients? If so, you want to convey an air of professionalism. In this situation, quality made jewellery is perfect as it will convey your appreciation of high standards.
- What is your outfit like that day? If you’re wearing a plain, understated outfit, by all means add a dash of a coordinating colour but make sure it compliments your outfit rather than stands out. It mustn’t jar the eyes.
- What is your personality – are you outgoing and love making a style statement? You may think you can’t wear your favourite statement piece, but as with colourful jewellery, just make sure it compliments everything else about you, rather than stands out. Think about wearing just one or two pieces. And as always, make sure it is high quality. There is no room for fast fashion if you want to appear professional.
- Finally, what is the nature of your profession, what tasks do you perform regularly? A lot of professional work involves office work such as typing, or sitting at a desk in meetings. If you do these regularly, don’t wear anything that will restrict you, in particular, dangly charm bracelets. They become annoying to you and others as they clank against the desk when typing or writing. If you love to wear bracelets, wear one with an adjustable setting so it fits snuggly (and quietly) around your wrist.
But, as I mentioned at the start, it’s not just about the message we’re sending to other people about us. The second reason we should care about the accessories we wear is because it tells us what we think of ourselves. Not paying attention to the final details of the image we want to portray, or saying ‘this will do’, is you basically saying to yourself ‘I don’t value myself enough to make sure every aspect of my non-verbal communication is saying the right thing to the right people’. It sounds harsh but you’re letting yourself down at the final hurdle and why would you do that? So, to make sure you’re presenting yourself as the complete package, remember these things:
- People notice every tiny detail about you, much of it on a subconscious level, and this includes your accessories;
- Be mindful of who you are dealing with on a particular day;
- Be mindful of the impression you want/need to make;
- Be sure that your jewellery fits with the tasks you are doing – ensure they don’t infringe on your ability to do your job comfortably.
There is so much more to the psychology of non-verbal communication and image, but I hope this has given you an insight into how we need to pay attention to the details of our appearance, not matter how small we think they are, if we are to create the impression we want to in a professional environment.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog, I have several others on my website that look at wearing jewellery that is most suited to our environment, the occasion and the company we will be keeping. Please take some time to look at them here.
If you’ve liked this blog, be sure to share it far and wide. If you’d like to hear more from Liri, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or join our Facebook Group Liri Ambassadors. You can also join Liri’s VIPs where you’ll receive special offers, first access to collections, Free shipping and so much more. Simply sign up in the box below ☺