3 Rules Of Corporate Dressing: Grooming Talk For Schneider Electric
In today’s digital age, anyone can be a star these days. Through clever and selective presentation, we compete to see how many followers we have on Instagram or how many LIKES our posts have garnered on Facebook. While this is true on the personal front, the same cannot be said in the corporate world.
As the name suggests, the corporate world comes with its own set of rules governing what is acceptable behavior.
I was invited to give a corporate dressing talk at Schneider Electric today. It was heartening to see the room fill up quickly with eager participants who were a really friendly bunch of people. The smiles, giggles and laughter that permeated through the entire session were testimony to that. Not forgetting the spontaneity of the participants who stood up to ask questions along the way.
Here’s sharing my 3 rules to corporate dressing.
Rule #1: Who Are You Meeting?
We are surrounded by people everywhere we go. People can be classified into three types – our seniors (not only in terms of age but in terms of position as well), our contemporaries (who hold a similar position in another organization) and our juniors (think novices who are as blurry-eyed as the freshmen in university).
People like people to be like them. There is unity in strength. That’s why schools and public service sectors have uniforms. Similarly, the people you are meeting will dictate the dress code. If you want to engage in group-think and group-speak, then first, engage in group-dress. If you are wearing a suit and talking to a bunch of junior executives, I think they will feel you are barking at them rather than mingling with them. Ditch that suit and roll up your sleeves and hey, you never know how more chummy you guys will get.
Rule #2: Where Are Your Going?
Think the occasion. The occasion dictates the type of dressing norms you should observe. In the corporate world, occasions can be differentiated into 6 main categories. These are board meetings, presentations, client meet-ups, networking sessions, entertainment night-outs and the typical day in the office.
For board meetings and presentations, I would strongly recommend both guys and ladies to wear a suit. Of course, the ladies can choose to wear a skirt or pants at the bottom.
Like it or not, the image of a suit sends across a message that you are to be taken seriously and more importantly, you mean business. Very often, you want your idea or proposal to be accepted under such circumstances.
For client meet-ups and networking sessions, you can afford to wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants (for guys) and a dress (for ladies). This time round, the image is “softer” and projects a dual impression that you are both approachable and friendly.
For entertainment night-outs, you can choose to go smart casual. After all, your client wants to see the fun side of you.
For the typical day in the office, check what’s in the dressing dos and don’ts guidebook when you first got hired.
Rule #3: What Image Do You Want To Project?
In business, two adjectives come to mind. Are you professional and trustworthy?
I wouldn’t do business with someone I cannot trust. If you are late for your appointments, turn up with a sweaty look or mismatched clothes, you are just sending me wrong signals. A lady wearing a super short skirt with an even shorter hemline is also not to be taken seriously.
Business is time. And time is money. In the corporate world, this is even more pertinent. When you represent your company, the way you dress and the way you talk speaks volumes.
Do not cut corners. Get dressed for success today. Remember, anyone can work hard, stay sharp and yet look good.