New Research: Dress to Be Confident and Creative at Work

Have you taken your prospecting to an entirely new level with video? Video is the new sales tool you can’t do without, and was the topic for my video webinar with inside sales expert Josiane Feigon of Telesmart last month. This month we shared ways you can put your prospecting on steroids with video.

It’s amazing how much impact video can have on closing sales—especially when you do a good job arranging your cubicle, controlling your tone of voice, and dressing for success.

For now, here’s some research that shows why attire is so important—not only for rapidly building trust with prospects, but also for improving your own productivity and creativity.

Dress for the Position You Want

We’ve heard the adage “don’t dress for the position you have, dress for the position you want.” By dressing more professionally, you’re sending subliminal messages that you want to succeed to those around you. And because first impressions are everything, it works: 50% of women and 37% of men believe if you don’t look the part of a leader, you won’t become one. (Center for WorkLife Policy study)

But Can What You Wear Make You Smarter?
It’s one thing to create a certain image to others with what you wear, but how does it affect you? When subjects wore a doctor’s white coat, they performed better on tests in a study by Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. When subjects were told that the white coats were artists’ coats, they did not perform as well.

We connect symbolic power with certain types of clothes. When we wear powerful attire, we feel powerful. Then, we’re more productive and creative in our work.

Fortytwo percent of people said they believe what they wear affects their productivity at work in a LinkedIn survey. It seems we have a subconscious belief that professional work attire makes us more efficient than sweatpants, and we take ourselves and our co-workers more seriously when we are dressed professionally.

Dressing down at work can also have negative consequences for the company. Casual dress policies created a thirty percent increase in flirtatious behavior, as well as an increase in sexual harassment lawsuits, according to a study by law firm Jackson Lewis.

Applying This to Web Meetings

While we’ve heard about wearing the right colors to a job interview or even to close a sale, there’s surprisingly little focus on dressing for video meetings online. But just as important as how you look in person is how you look when attending a virtual meeting.

First, consider what you’re trying to emit. Do you want to own the meeting? Go for bold colors. Want to be memorable? Add a splash of color. Always dress as professionally for the camera as you would an in-person meeting.

Also, avoid patterns, as they don’t render well on web cameras. Go for basic colors and keep it simple.

Don’t forget body language. Whether you’re trying to sell yourself as the ideal candidate for a job, or sell your company’s products, evoke confidence. Sit up straight, make eye contact (as best you can with the camera) and don’t fidget.

Remember that what you wear affects people’s perception of you, no matter where you are. Be conscious of the image you are creating with your wardrobe, and make it work to your advantage.


Leave a Reply