I’m delighted to be here today to share personal grooming tips with a room filled with executives and sales professionals.
 
Your image is much more than just the portrait of how others perceive you. It is both a revelation and reflection of your character and style. In today’s world, we buy brands because we associate a particular brand with certain values. For example, there are many brands of shoes out there. But some of us go for one particular brand over others. Price is not always the considering factor. We also take into account the design, the feelings associated when you wear Brand X, past experiences with that brand; and other peoples’ feedback regarding that brand.

Thus, if you want to create brand-share in the minds of others, it really starts with having a good image to impress. After all, first impressions count. 

As a certified image consultant, I have personally witnessed the allure that a good image attaches itself to. It is powerful. It is magnetic. And it appeals. 
 
Here are three important tips all executives and sales professionals should bear in mind as they will help you navigate the sometimes complex social scene while networking and climbing the corporate ladder.
 


Tip #1: Perfect Your Poise and Presence
 

People judge us by our outward presentation. The clothes we wear indirectly express who we are and how much we care about how we look. Our facial expressions show whether we are having a good or bad day. Our body language reveals if we are tired or not in the mood to interact with anyone.
 
I always share this example with my audience. Imagine if you are at a social gathering of 100 people and you know you can only meet a handful of new people. What would you do?
 
Well…You have to decide whom you want to spend your time with, right?

Everytime I ask this question, members of the audience will respond that they will chat up the person who leaves you a good first impression. 
 
In the same way, you are also one of the 100 people in the room. And like it or not, people are also making the same decision about whether to approach you.

People buy people first. People look at your face, your overall presentation, body language and other non-verbal signs to decide if you are on their get-to-know-you list.

Being presentable and having an approachable poise will increase your chances of having successful social encounters. In short, show signs that you are friendly and approachable.



Tip #2: Increase Your Likeability Factor
 

Many people focus on their capability and overlook their likeability. Students spend lots of time developing their ability, graduating from one school after another. Business people too often focus on their products while neglecting a vital part of business – being a likeable sales person who can sell effectively.
 
It will be hard to make sales even if you have a good product if people don’t like you – particularly if you are working in a service industry. When you patronize a restaurant, a hair stylist, or go shopping, you expect people to treat you nicely. One rude remark is all it takes to make you think, “I’m never going to that place again.”

No matter how good the food is or how great the hair stylist is, you will never return.

Personally, there is a two-step system you can use to help increase your likeability factor. It always works for me. Step one would be to listen attentively. Step two would be to engage your non-verbal signals. 
 
Easily said, but honestly, less than 20% of sales professionals do that. They are only interested in closing the sale. 

You will not sell anything until your listener is sold on you. And that only happens if you have built sufficient rapport. 
 
People buy because they like you. Just take personal trainers for example. Almost any personal trainer can help you lose weight or build muscles. That is a given. But you will choose one personal trainer whom you like – either because of the way he respects his clients, or the way he looks etc.
 
This is very crucial in service-related industries like insurance and property.
 


Tip #3: Boost Your Character Quotient
 

Very often, your reputation precedes you. I discovered this when people I’ve never met before tell me they have heard of me prior to meeting. I was like wow.
 
Our personal reputation is of great importance. Some people say, “I do what I want, I don’t care what people think.  I wear what I want and if you don’t like it that’s your problem.” 
 
Such people are often inconsiderate and are often slow in their social skills development.
 
How could anyone say, “I don’t care what people think?”
 
Can a student go to school in a smelly uniform and possibly say, “I don’t care if people think I smell?”
 
Can an office executive go to work dressed in shorts and slippers saying “I don’t care what people think as long as I feel comfortable?”
 
We do care what people think, and so we behave appropriately and dress accordingly to the social norms.

As you can see, it is not difficult to equip yourselves with useful personal grooming tips that will take you places and help you build your brand as you carve a successful career as an executive or sales professional.
 
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Happy Chinese New Year to all my readers! It’s interesting how many of us prep ourselves for this period by cutting hair, buying new clothes, spring cleaning the house and going for facials etc. As people say, new year, new look.

While it’s a great time to enjoy the festive season with family, friends and food, do remember we all still need to look our best even after Chinese New Year. In fact, we should all make an effort to look our best 365 days in a year. 

Here are 3 tips on how you can glow day after day. I personally practise these tips myself. Hope you find them useful.


Tip #1: Limit Intake Of Fried Foods
 
We all love our fried foods. Honestly, fried foods just taste better as everything is so crispy and golden brown.
 
Wait. But do you know fried foods clog our arteries?
 
I’m not trying to scare you but it’s true. Imagine our arteries are drainpipes. And one day our drainpipes get clogged up. Well, this is a likely scenario because of the buildup of saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats from all the fried foods over the years. Unlike drainpipes where we can pour baking soda down them followed by a drainpipe cleaner, it is virtually impossible to do the same with our arteries.
 
Once the arteries get blocked, that can impede the flow of blood to our vessels.
 
Fried food soaks up the oil it is being fried in. This increases our bad cholesterol. What makes it worse is that we are unable to ascertain how many times the oil has been used and reused to fry foods. Reusing oil for deep frying, again and again can create free radicals which are carcinogenic.  

Fried foods also make us fat which is a double whammy. Think of the painful process of having to lose weight thereafter.
 
Well, I know as human beings, we have our own weaknesses and temptations when food is concerned. After all, Singapore is a food paradise. 
 
If you really love your fried foods, limit the intake to once a week maximum. Do explore other forms of food choices like grilled, baked or sautéed instead. You will then discover a whole universe of other food choices you never knew existed before.
 
 
Tip #2: Keep Your Stress Levels Low
 
Singapore is a stressful society to live in. In our constant pursuit to be number one in almost all fields, something has to give. And that often comes in the form of stress.
 
It is impossible to eliminate stress. But it is definitely possible to learn how to keep your stress levels low so that both your mind and body remain in tip-top condition.
 
Life should not just revolve around work. There is so much more one can do. I often share this with my participants that the best form of relaxation is to find an activity you enjoy doing. It can be a game or sport. Double the fun by roping in your family member or best friend.

Personally, I keep my stress levels low by exercising. Exercise has become an integral part of my lifestyle. I find something is lacking if I were to miss my workouts or runs. 

What I do is to make an appointment with myself for ‘me’ time. I schedule it down in my handphone. And when the reminder sound peeps, I’m off to the gym. 

I cannot possibly finish extolling the benefits of exercise but chief of it all must definitely be the release of endorphins (what many people term ‘happy hormones’) to the brain post-exercise.

Your mind is clear, your body feels good after perspiration and your footsteps feel lighter. 
 

Tip #3: Start An Appropriate Skincare Routine
 
Now that you have nourished your body and learnt how to relax your mind, it is time to do something for your exterior.
 
And there is no better way than to start an appropriate skincare routine. 
 
Regardless of your gender, your face is the first thing someone notices about you. Remember that some of your most vital non-verbal cues such as the smile and eye contact are situated on your face. You can’t possibly greet someone by looking down at the floor.
 
Before you start shopping around the beauty counters in the shopping malls, you need to first know your skin type. 
 
For those of you who have attended my personal grooming workshops, you will remember that there are different skin types such as normal, dry, oily and combination.
 
After you have analysed your skin type, you can then proceed to buy a skincare set that suits both your needs and budget. I would advise you to go for the basic skincare comprising a cleanser, toner and moisturizer. Remember, using the wrong skincare products is detrimental to your skin as it can cause a lot of skin issues.
 
Your skin is like a piece of paper. Constantly weathering by the harsh elements without any form of protection will only help hasten the ageing process.
 
Now who wants to look old, wrinkled and dry? I'm sure nobody wants to.

Just make an effort to incorporate all three of my tips into your daily life and I'm positive you will be glowing day after day. Here's wishing everyone good health, happiness and success in the year of the fire monkey =)

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