Visual Presence: Your First Day at Work

Tomorrow is your first day at work after months of interviews. Of course, you want to make a good impression. You want to be received as a team member and you want to be taken seriously. How can you do this without saying a word?

It’s all about presenting a Visual Presence that is both authoritative and approachable. Visual Presence is one of the most overlooked components of becoming an effective leader, according to The Leadership Style Centera business focused on helping women become more effective leaders.

Visual Presence consists of three components: appearance, facial expression, and body language. When all three are in sync with your credibility, you will build trust and respect without saying a word.

Here are four key components of appearance that contribute to your visual presence. (While the examples given are generally for women, the broader concepts also apply to men.):

Color choices make a difference

If you are like most women, your wardrobe is centered around black, which is an authoritative color. Whether you wear a skirt or pantsuit, separates or a dress, bring in an approachable color. Approachable colors are pastels, earth tones and beige tones. You can do this with a top or a scarf.



Combine tailored with relaxed clothing

Tailored speaks authority; relaxed conveys approachable. For instance, a tailored dress can be paired with a cardigan jacket or a sweater. Or pair a tailored jacket with boot cut pants or a fluid skirt. 

Graceful fit speaks professionalism

Avoid wearing clothing that is too tight or revealing. You know it is too tight when the clothing fits snugly, like a second layer of skin. Allow some room for movement.

Check the length by sitting to see where the hemline hits. If it ends up more than five inches above the knee, it is too short. And finally, bend slightly forward to see if the top is revealing. Remember, when standing still clothing often looks great, but when you move around and sit it could be a different story.


Look in 3-way mirror, or in your mirror 3 ways

Before you leave for the day look in a mirror straight on, then from both sides. Never take for granted that your side and back view is going to look the same as your front view. Often you will see a fabric bulge, pucker or ripple. Remember that people see you leaving as often as they see you coming.

You are now better prepared to set the tone, and to be taken seriously and listened to.

This marks the second guest post on the Robert Half Finance & Accounting blog in a series from The Leadership Style Center on improving your leadership presence.