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How Looking Professional Could Land You the Pitch

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Many studies have revealed it takes between 7 and 17 seconds for people to make a lasting judgment on your character, which places a high level of importance to looking professional when you want to land an opportunity.

Seventeen seconds, never mind seven, is not quite long enough to run through your pitch, charm your audience with an anecdote, and present all your corroborating evidence.

It is however enough time to make a first impression — you’d better make sure that first impression counts for something.

If you want to be successful in life, you can’t rely on just knowing the correct thing to say.

For every idea you put across, the person on the other side of the desk is conjuring up plenty of their own ideas from the thousands of visual clues that you are projecting.

How can you make sure the signals you’re giving are the right signals?

Dress for Where You Are Going, Not Where You Have Been

In “You Are What You Wear”, William Thourlby explains that people make 10 psychological judgments on someone’s character based on their appearance, on topics ranging from economic status to moral integrity.

A smart suit and neat haircut is the minimum, but you should also take care of the intricate details.

If you’re wearing a tie, make sure it’s well‐knotted in a classic style, such as a Windsor knot.

Check that your shoes are clean and the laces are neatly done up.

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Never be afraid of looking too sharp; you should always dress for the position you want to hold, not the position you have currently.

Project Confidence In Your Handshake

Try out your handshake on a trusted friend or colleague and ask for their honest response.

Is it limp or bone‐crushing?

Are your palms sweaty and moist?

Scientific studies have found the perfect handshake is a firm squeeze followed by 3 brisk shakes.

If you do suffer from sweaty palms, carry a handkerchief to wipe them prior to the handshake.

Remember to make eye contact and never leave your other hand in your pocket.

Be Sure Your Surroundings Project Your Destination

If your pitch is on paper, store it in a ring binder or presentation folder rather than a stack of loose leaf sheets.

If it’s on a computer file, be sure to bring your presentation to the table in a smart looking laptop, even if you have to borrow or rent one.

This may seem pedantic, but details always count.

An expensive laptop in a beat‐up backpack says you’re content with the minimum to get by.

A snappy dress-up to your machine like a leather laptop case on the other hand, sends the message you go the extra mile in all things.

Remember Your Presence Includes Aroma

Leave plenty of time so that you can go to the restroom and freshen up before any pitch; maybe you can’t help getting soaked in your sweat travelling across the city in summer, but it’s not something potential clients need to experience.

However, don’t spray yourself so thoroughly with aftershave that your smell enters the room five minutes before you do.

You want to smell fresh, yet subtle.

Citrus notes are particularly good.

By concentrating on these small details, you will project an image that is professional, persuasive and appealing.

Knowing you’ve passed the challenge of the first impression, you can concentrate on delivering a killer presentation and landing your firm the deal.


Dress for Where You Want to Be, not from whence you came…

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Garrett O'Brien

CEO, Chairman, Publisher, Editor at The HRIS World Research Group

Garrett is the publisher, editor, writer forThe HRIS World Research Group, which includes The HRIS World, The HRIS World Research, The HRIS World Jobs, The HRIS World News, The HRIS World NewsMagazines, and The HRIS World Videos

With more than 20 years in roles as a client executive sponsor (#thwCES), project manager as well as functional/technical lead, Garrett is sought for his expertise for project insights, thought leadership, and team management globally.

He has been involved in large-scale and complex implementations since 1991 and has recently moved his operations to be with his wife in Brazil.

Garrett has had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest talents in the industry, and constantly shares his experiences and knowledge through content and webinars.

He maintains his fluency in Portuguese, German, French, and English with his various endeavors and contacts..

When not working, you will have to be adventurous to stay up with him as Garrett loves motorcycling, gunnery, boating, sailing, flying, and sports fishing -- and accompanying his wife on her various likes

About The HRIS World Research Group

The HRIS World blog, which is read by more than 50,000 from more than 160 countries monthly, manages to have more than 550,000 pages viewed monthly. 40%+ of the audience are decision-makers in their organization (and about half of that being C-levels!).

As CEO for CGServices USA Inc, he focuses on multi-provider, multi-line implementations consultation for HRIS systems

Council and Education Member of Gerson Lehrman Group Council, helping institutions of the world leaders meet, engage and manage experts across a wide range of sectors and disciplines.

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