Entering the realm of business, as exciting as it is, brings about many changes in your life. Being responsible for your business means being responsible for how you look, what you say, and how you say it. The same goes for people that are in charge of representing their company or their company product/service to the outside world.
Leaving the image grooming for stylists, I would like to focus on the image that you create by communicating with your customers, potential customers, competitors or business partners. Effective communication is not easy, and you have to take into consideration many different factors before you can take your idea to the general public.
Here are some clues how to convey a successful and professional message that will enhance the probability of your product/service success.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
It is vital that before any business meeting or product/service presentation you get to know your target audience. I am not encouraging any industrial espionage, but rather suggesting that you make an attempt to adapt yourself to the kind of people you are going to deal with in order to create the most appropriate atmosphere for your message to be positively viewed.
Adequate dress code and manners are highly required while talking to people on high positions. They perceive it respectful, and yes, they will notice if your tie has stains. Such a small neglect can drastically decrease your image, and significantly influence future decisions of your audience.
Your concepts have to be understandable from the very beginning so your target audience does not get lost. This would require from you some linguistic preparation. Learn proper vocabulary, especially while talking to people of a particular specialty, like IT, mathematics, physics, etc., who are used to technical terms. You do not have to rearrange your entire personal dictionary, but make sure you know what you are talking about, and eliminate such rookie mistakes as confusing terms or using them incorrectly.
EKHM…, UM…, EEEE…
While presenting a product or idea, make sure you are prepared, and know exactly what you want to say. Anticipate possible questions beforehand to omit hesitation particles which make you look less competent in the eyes of your audience. Never read from the paper! You are competent and an expert in your own field and that is the image that you want to sell out. Write down all the main points which you want to mention, but do not put your whole presentation on paper; bullet points which you can expand further with your own words are extremely helpful, since they facilitate the flow of your speech, and keep you from being stressed about forgetting something.
In spite of our constant fight for perfection, we are all fallible. Do not be afraid to admit making an error. There is no point in hiding it, if at some point you get painfully aware of the fact that you confused some terms or presented the wrong product or service. Upon spotting a mistake our primal instinct tells us to make up an excuse or deny it. However, admitting to a mistake makes us more human in the eyes of our audience.
Getting it off your chest also lowers your own level of stress, and increases your credibility. Making an excuse is more energy consuming than acknowledging an error. It also leaves us with a risk of being incoherent during the rest of the presentation. You have to remember that mistakes are unavoidable, and what makes all the difference is how we handle them in public.
One of many rules of the world of business is respect to your fellow businessmen, which refers to the size of a message you want to convey. You cannot be too descriptive nor too stingy with details. You have to be exact in both writing and speaking. This is why you should skip formal style and stick to semi-formal business style which aims at exactness and presentation of bare facts. No phatic communication is allowed – it is meaningless, thus redundant. Do not mistake a fact-based style with being impolite – you should always start with a greeting and finish with a farewell, but put aside weather conditions, health issues or latest office gossip.
Establishing certain image of your business is as difficult as it is important for its further development. Every little detail counts, and every little detail can decide upon your overall success. The art of presenting a product or idea is one of the most crucial business activities you will have to face in your professional career. Nowadays, the inspiration is not everything. You have to be able to promote it, and wrap it in an encouraging and interesting package to attract your target customer base or simply to convince your future investors of its lucrativeness. Bearing that in mind, make sure that you yourself are as presentable and perfect as your product.