Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
If you’re preparing for an important meeting with a potential client, investor or business partner you’ll no doubt spend hours obsessing over every tiny detail. But very often it’s not what you say but how you say it – so how important is the way you present yourself at a business meeting and how do you know how professional to appear?
Surely whether you successfully close out that business deal or not has nothing to do with whether you sport a goatee? Some people are spending plenty of time wondering about it however, as it seems like every couple of months there is a new study declaring that clean-shaven men look more trustworthy, or that the bearded male appears more intelligent. People that want to conclusively prove that men with facial hair can’t be trusted they point to the fact that not since Harry Truman in 1953 has an American President put down the razor long enough for stubble to grow.
So if you like facial hair because you think it makes you look more mature, more attractive, or simply because you hate shaving should you suck it up and make yourself look more business-like or should you hope that your unique personality helps seal the deal?
Studies tend to show that people who wear glasses are perceived to be smarter, and they often make people look more professional. But there are plenty of other judgements that are made about people who wear glasses. To some people glasses can make you look as if you lack confidence, are introverted, or even physically weak. So do you take the gamble and try to look smarter at the expense of possibly looking less capable, or do you opt for contact lenses and let your eyes do the talking?
There used to be a time when business meetings would always be conducted in a suit. You wouldn’t have even wasted time wondering whether informal attire was acceptable or perhaps even preferable because the idea of not wearing a suit wouldn’t cross your mind. But in the age of Mark Zuckerberg and his ubiquitous hoodie many people think that rather than showing you don’t really care, dressing casually shows that you are focused solely on business, not how you look. If dressing casually allows you to feel more comfortable and confident, then why not dress down? Well, there’s at least one good reason: to many people, how you present yourself still speaks volumes about the type of person you are. Do you really want not wearing a suit to be the cause of a bad meeting?
Talking of casual, is it acceptable to lean back, cross your legs, and be a little free with your hands while engaging in discussions, or should you sit upright with feet firmly planted on the ground trying to maintain a serious face? In some circumstances a relaxed or casual way of approaching a business meeting could make you come across as confident and assured. However, sporting a nonchalant attitude can easily make you look as if you’re not entirely interested in what’s going on or, even worse, as though you have no respect for the people you’re meeting.
Be confident, be comfortable
Ultimately what you say is much more important for you to be able to make your case clearly. Nobody is going to want to go into business with you purely on the basis of whether you wore a suit or not, but someone might decide that even though they weren’t a fan of your whiskers your pitch was so great they couldn’t decline it. So decide what will make you feel most comfortable and confident and settle on that. Now turn all of your attention to what really matters – business.