Jump04 Image of Tube Map: Get Meeting Ready

Get Meeting Ready

THE JANUARY JUMP: TASK 4

Coming up in the January Jump, and in your next career steps, you will be meeting new people.  As the old saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression.

Today’s task is designed to help you look and feel your best for all your meetings.

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Today’s Task

We all know that first impressions count. Like it or not, we are constantly being judged on our appearance.

First impressions are obviously important for job interviews and for meeting new clients.  Also for major presentations, board meetings, and school parent interviews. But they are also important if you are seeking a promotion, pay rise or development move.

How you look and, more importantly,  how you feel can also help you in lots of other ways, including boosting your confidence and mood.

So, today’s task is all about ensuring you look and feel great!

Your ‘Go To’ Outfit

Do you have a favourite outfit or item that you wear for important occasions or meetings?  Perhaps it’s your favourite suit or dress which fits you like a glove, or a shirt that someone once said really suited you.  Or perhaps it’s your favourite pair of shoes, that can comfortably see you though a day of meetings across town followed by an evening drinks reception. Or do you have lucky pants perhaps, like a certain footballer?

Whatever your ‘go to’ outfit or items might be, your task today is to inspect them in the harsh light of day and decide whether they are showing you at your best.

The Inspection

Start by taking each of your favourite items out of your wardrobe.

Lay or hang each item in the room in your home that has the best lighting. The living room or bathroom is often good for this exercise.  I recommend that you take the items out of your bedroom: since you are used to seeing them there, you may not look at them with such an objective eye.

Take a few minutes to really focus on each item.  View it from all angles.  Then put it on, and look at it just as critically again once you are wearing it.

Now answer these three quick questions:

1. Is it in perfect condition?

Has it faded, bobbled, cracked, stretched or frayed? Are the seams still neat?  Are any hems hanging out or cuff edges worn?  Does it look as good as new?

2. Does it fit you properly and still suit you?

Over time, most people gain or lose weight, lose height, and their hair colour changes (naturally or with a little help 😉).  Any one of these changes might mean that, sadly, your favourite item of clothing or accessory may no longer suit you as it once did.

3. Does it look current, or has the style or colour become slightly dated?

I recently sat opposite a middle-aged man on the tube who was immaculately attired in a well-cut, high quality suit.  It suited him.  But – and it’s a big but – his suit and tie were both shades of brown.  And whilst those with a keen fashion eye will know that brown has had a small resurgence over the past year, this way of wearing it has not.  Had the same man been wearing the same outfit in shades of navy and blue, he would have looked a million dollars.

If you are not sure what is currently ‘in’ or ‘out’, here are a couple of quick cheats.

  • Visit an area where people in your career work.  For example, Liverpool Street and Bank are good for law and finance professionals.  If you aren’t currently working, or would like to move into a new career, visit an area where your ‘hoped for’ next career has a hub.  Grab a coffee, find a comfy seat, and people-watch for a few minutes. You are likely to see a range of people, in a range of outfits, and these will help you to assess how your own outfit might be seen in that context.
  • If you are short of time and/or going into town is difficult during the working week, look online for some ideas.  I would recommend avoiding the very high end fashion websites, which are usually more trend-led and may lead you down the wrong path.  Instead look at stalwarts like T.M. Lewin and John Lewis.  Remember, you do not need to dress in these brands.  You are simply trying to work out if your beloved brown suit, or wedge heels (sorry to any wedge lovers), or whatever your favourite item is, is no longer in style.

Take Action

Depending on your answers to the above questions, you may now be left with:

–  Items that look great, are still in style and really suit you

Congratulations!  You will look and feel great at your meetings.  Just take a moment to consider if you need to add any extra items to complete your outfit.

Then do the same for your second-favourite outfit, since you would ideally have another outfit ready for second interviews and follow on meetings.

–  Items that look great, but no longer suit you and/or are not in style

You might want to think about swapping these items with a friend, or donating them.  At Runneth, we support “Suited and Booted” for men and “Smart Works” for women.  Both are wonderful charities that help people get back into work and they very much appreciate donations in good condition.

–  Items that need repair, but are still in style and suit you

It is time to call in the professionals – for invisible mending, specialist cleaning, replacing soles, etc.  If repair is too costly to be worthwhile, you may need to replace it.  These are the hardest items to let go because you may still, just about, wear them.  But, those missing or broken details are noticed by other people and they are not providing the positive first impression you want.

 

Now you have your ‘go to’ outfit ready to go – or will do soon – and you’ll have one less thing to panic about when it comes to interviews and meetings.

Still to come in the January Jump… Tomorrow is LinkedIn Photo day!  Get your smile ready 😄

Find out more about the January Jump, and see previous tasks, on the January Jump Homepage. 

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