Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! Why do we run from mad people in our clime? Because of their appearance of course. Am sure you won’t run from them if someone clean them up, and get nice clothes for them. Am sure there are well dressed mentally unstable people we shake hands with everyday without knowing because they are well dressed.

I have seen people who did well before an interview panel, but got disqualified because of their appearance. A young man who was the best candidate for a particular job lost it because he slouched when he sat down. Can your imaging that? One of the interviewers said, “Although this young man is brilliant, but the way he is sitting shows that he is a lazy man.” Another young man lost a golden opportunity because he did not comb his hair.

A businessman lost a golden opportunity to convince some investors who wanted to invest some millions of dollars into his business because he was wearing sandals when he met them. Sometimes it might be the way you talk or walk. Do you know that as a marketer, the color of your suit affects your sales? (We will discuss that at the next Inspire Africa Project Conference).

Use clothing as a tool to lift your spirits, and build confidence. An old professor used to give this advice to students on last-minute preparation for final examinations: “Dress up for this important exam. Get a new tie. Have your suit pressed. Shine your shoes. Look sharp because it will help you think sharp.”

Make no mistake about it. Your physical exterior affects your mental interior. How you look on the outside affects how you think and feel on the inside. Anyone who has ever served in the army knows a soldier feels and thinks like a soldier when he is in uniform. A woman feels more like going to a party when she is dressed for a party. By the same token, an executive feels more like an executive when he is dressed like one.

Your appearance talks to you; but it also talks to others. It helps determine what others think of you. Your appearance is the first basis for evaluation other people have. And first impression matters a lot. The way you look the first time you meet someone is difficult to forget. In fact, sometimes it seems as if the picture of that first impression is permanently embedded in their minds. Anytime they remember you, that picture will pop-up.

David J. Schwartz shared the following experience. “In a supermarket one day I noticed one table of seedless grapes marked 15 cents a pound. On another table were what appeared to be identical grapes, this time packaged in polyethylene bags and marked 2 pounds for 35 cents.The Entrepreneur

I asked the young fellow at the weighing station, “What’s the difference between the grapes priced at 15 cents a pound and those at two pounds for 35 cents?” “The difference,” he answered, “is polyethylene. We sell about twice as many of the grapes in the polyethylene bags. They look better that way.”

Think about the grape example the next time you’re selling yourself. If you package yourself properly, doors of opportunities will open for you. Tomorrow watch who is shown the more respect and courtesy in restaurants, on buses, in crowded lobbies, in stores, and at work. People looks at another person, make a quick and often subconscious appraisal, and then treat him accordingly.

If you pay close attention, you will discover that when we look at some people we usually respond with, “Hey, John” attitude. But when we look at someone well dressed, we will respond with “Yes, sir” feeling. A person’s appearance definitely talks. The well dressed person’s appearance says positive things. It tells people, “Here is an important person who is very intelligent and prosperous.”

The shabby-looking fellow’s appearance says negative things like, “Here is a person who isn’t doing well. He is careless, inefficient, and unimportant. He is just an average person. He deserves no special consideration. He is used to being pushed around.”

One of the things that sets bankers, lawyers and others apart is the way they dress. If you pay close attention, you will discover that they don’t wear bright colors. It’s either black, gray, dark blue or other simple colors. That’s the right way to dress in the corporate world. So if you’re going for an interview in a bank and wear an orange or yellow suit, you may not get the job. You have to do you home work before you go.

The bottom line is to dress the way you want to be addressed. A lady who got a job because she looks seductive might not occupy certain positions in that company. They may be hailing you because you’re attracting clients to their organization, but when they are looking for a senior manager, chief operating officer, or chief executive officer, they won’t look your way. Why? Because they feel that someone like you is not fit to occupy such positions. Anyone who encourages you to move around half-naked does not love you.

As a man, if you decide to have facial hair, make sure you keep it very clean. Cut your nails. Wash your socks. The smell of your socks can send away your international partners. Deal with bad breath. Am sure you have noticed that if you close your mouth for sometime it will start smelling. Kindly get sugar free chewing gum or anything that can help keep your mouth fresh. Always remember that it is the duty of God to open doors for you, but it is your duty to make use of those doors Wisdom is profitable to direct!

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