Special Correspondent

Use the right kind of voice modulation, pronunciation and toneStand erect and not slouch, but that does not mean a military posture A white or light-coloured shirt, a sober necktie and a cheerful attitude fit anywhere

Bangalore: Many professionals today talk about going for an "image makeover." In most cases, it is only a matter of fashionable yet sober clothing, good grooming and the right kind of accessories.

"There is more to your image than appearance though that is what mostly creates the right kind of first impression," says former HR head M.K. Rao. The way you make eye contact with another person, the way you shake his or her hand, the words of greeting you first say and your entire body language go on to create that first impression.

"The way you speak that first sentence, just a `pleased to meet you' or `how are you' can convey many things about you. With the right kind of voice modulation, pronunciation and tone, it can tell a lot about you. Factors such as your standard of education, whether you went to a top school and university and how confident you are, come out in the way you speak," says Mr. Rao. What is to be avoided at all costs is an affected accent or speaking too softly or too loudly, he adds.

You need to stand erect and not slouch, but that does not mean a military parade posture but just not looking awkward. A very stiff appearance may indicate you are nervous. One needs to keep the right amount of physical distance, unless meeting a close friend, relative or spouse. Or it may send the wrong signals, especially to one of the opposite gender.


"Yes, your appearance does matter. Unless you are in advertising or media-related work, formal clothing like a light coloured or white shirt and necktie may still be necessary. Formal, well polished shoes and not sports shoes and a brief case of leather rather than a shoulder bag. Shorter hair is back in fashion but the style should suit your face and general physique. Women may need to avoid streaked hair or loud clothes. Always find out the dress code of the company you work for or the one you visit and dress accordingly. A white or light-coloured shirt, a sober necktie, black or tan shoes and a cheerful attitude will fit anywhere," says Mr. Rao.

Not everyone can afford the high-priced labels in clothing. But what you wear must be clean or well laundered and should fit you well. Just spending a few minutes to press your clothing and shining your shoes can make you look well even in budget clothing.