Impressions count. When we’re going into meetings, we want clients to come away impressed with our ideas. Ideally, our ability to work and create solutions is what people remember. Unfortunately, people don’t work that way. We must acknowledge that appearances can get in the way of recognising skill. While ideally this would not be the case and it can become obnoxious, we should still care about our presentation to those we hope to impress.
This forms part of being a professional, in a world where presentation of professionalism is the first step toward business with professionals.
In terms of choice, nothing speaks volumes like our clothing options. Here, we have full control over colours, styles and so on. This makes it an ideal demonstration of our professionalism. Depending on the meeting, we might want to dress very formally or a little formally.
Dressing too formally might intimidate your clients. Sometimes we want to convey openness and friendliness. Conveying this through simple but quality wardrobe options is ideal. This could mean combining aspects of less formal wear, with formal.
Hubspot offers this advice on business casual wear:
“White is generally considered the most formal. Don’t wear a polo – you’ll risk looking underdressed in a room full of button-downs and blazers. Always tuck your shirt in, and no, you don’t need to wear a tie. Definitely do not wear athletic apparel or logo wear (not even your own company’s!).”
Like your clothes, you also have to choose your accessories. This could mean wearing your most expensive watch (or not). Necklaces and other jewellery might convey a sense of class, but you don’t want to overdo it so you look like a walking chandelier. If you are shopping for the right additions, especially while travelling, consider duty free fragrances as an option.
One of the most obvious ways to do well in a meeting is to prepare. This doesn’t just apply to our wardrobe. Make sure you know where the meeting is, how long it will take to get there and what it will be about. Jot down notes in preparation for questions and answers. It’s probably ideal to get there a little before the time, so you have everything ready when it begins.
Make sure to do a follow up to the meeting, by emailing or contacting. This lets you touch base and ascertain your actions went over well.