If image is all about how great you look, it makes the job of image management so much easier! However, the truth is that even though in the first instant it is about how you look in terms of dressing and grooming, the rest is about your body language and words. In this article, I'm not about to coach you on body language and the words you use. I found that there is something more potent - your own integrity in how you deal with people, which affects your body language and choice of words.
I once met a very, very successful business man who was a famous high end men's fashion retailer in Toronto. He was giving a talk to a professional group that I was a part of at the time. He was charming and seemingly generous when he presented. I was ecstatic as I contacted him for a job interview - I wanted to work for this person! However, once I was there he was very different from the previous night. Whereas he was charming and nice, the man in front of me during the interview was stern, cold and calculating. He was also chomping down his lunch. His body language showed his true self. His eyes were icy. Immediately I knew that I was not going to work for him. This man was cold blooded - a humanized reptile. I saw that he needed to be charming to attract people to buy from his retail stores. I also saw that he was internally not charming or generous. It was all a charade, how disappointing! To further add to the bad impression I had, he said to me that he did not believe in the roles that the group of professional women were in when he gave his presentation that night. This is not a man of integrity. This man may be a successful figure in the public's eye, but he is not an admirable man in my eyes.
I challenge all business owners who are reading this article to answer this question: who are you and what do you want?
Who you are must be congruent with how you look and how you behave. You cannot ultimately hide who you are inside, even though you may dress well and have good manners. You may charm some people, but can you really be charming forever when it is not a part of who you are? There will always be people who will see through a person's façade.
In the end, the moment before you die, are you going to feel you haven't lived your truest self with integrity? Or will you feel that you have no regrets?
Think about how you have so far dealt with your customers and prospects. Did you exaggerate the truth in order to sell your products and services to them? Did you use any tactics to pressure them to buy? Even if they did buy from you, how did that feel inside?
The best image management is not only about your outer appearance, but to deal with your inner self and cultivate it so that you are living congruently with your outer image.
So who are you and what do you want?