Image and First Impression

Interview with Anthony Turner

Anthony Turner: Hi, my name is Anthony Turner. I’m a Director of the Small Business Institute and today my guest is Julie Hyne, who is a lady who has been working in the area of image, personal styling and personal branding and Julie, welcome to the interview and thank you for giving us some of your time.

Julie Hyne: You’re very welcome.

Anthony Turner: Julie, one of the key things that I’m sort of aware of from some of the conversations that we’ve had is that we talk about image and we talk about styling and all that sort of thing, which has a tendency for some people to be fairly superficial. It’s actually really not just about appearance is is? It’s about feeling good and a whole range of other things. Would you like to explain to the viewers and listeners exactly what all this is about?

Julie Hyne: Well when we talk about creating a great image Anthony, it’s all about you. It’s not just about how you dress. It’s about how confident you feel, where your self esteem levels are and how you come across to other people and so I work with so many individuals in so many different ways and we start by having a conversation as to where they are now and where they want to be moving forward and sometimes that can involve a whole mental shift in terms of owning their own image, in terms of what they wear, how they speak, how they present, how they groom themselves and also everything else that flows through from that so how they behave, their body language. Also how the office looks so it goes way beyond the actual person themselves so we do start at the beginning. Obviously with visual appearance, that’s really important and then we move forward from there, perhaps in terms of how they present their verbal, how they project to other people, what’s the impact they’re having on people when they meet them for the first time so there’s quite a lot that we actually go through.

Anthony Turner: Sure and it sounds a lot more complicated than it seems.

Julie Hyne: Well, to me it’s not. If I present it to them like that, they’d probably be like “oh my goodness”, but we do it in a very gradual way, which keeps them very comfortable with the progress that we’re making.

Anthony Turner: Sure. So what actually constitutes what you would call say a good image versus a bad image?

Julie Hyne: Okay, well image is comprised of so many different things. Firstly we look at what’s going on with the person themselves on the inside and a lot of that is from how they’ve been brought up so it’s their cultural beliefs, their values, what motivates them and how they think about things generally so that’s what’s going on on the inside and sometimes that needs to be tweaked a little bit in terms of attitude because everything flows through obviously from the inside out. So then we look at assumed image and assumed image is all about one’s reputation so it’s knowing what other people think about you and sometimes people don’t stop to think what other people think about them and if it’s not in line to what they would like other people to think about them, then there’s a mismatch so we need to work on that as well. Then there’s the visual component, which is what they wear and that’s also is it appropriate? Is it enhancing them as an individual? Is the style they’re wearing really attractive? Are they wearing the right colors? What is the coordination looking like? Body language as well. Are they smiling? Are they having eye contact with people? So that’s that part and then we go into what we call proven image, which is are they doing what they said they would do over a period of time? Are they following through and are they being authentic to who they say they are? There’s all these different things that are going on, which constitutes a great image. It’s all about then having people perceive them the way they want to be perceived so that they can actually move forward and be successful.

Anthony Turner: You touched on something very interesting there, which is the authenticity of it because I think most of us have seen people or come across people who put on a good facade, but what’s underneath it is actually telling a totally different story.

Julie Hyne: Totally. Anyone can walk into a room and look immaculate, but it’s what follows through that really has the greatest impact so if someone walks into the room and catches everyone’s eye, but then as soon as they open their mouth, what comes out of their mouth is not consistent with what they’re actually saying, then that gives people reason to be very suspicious of what’s going on and it will take that person a lot longer then to actually gain the trust and rapport that he needs to be able to move forward. Does that make sense?

Anthony Turner: Absolutely. One of the things we did talk about in training is when we talk about social comfort and our description of it is that people come buy it from different levels so whether it’s inherited or whether it’s best quality or anything in between. It doesn’t matter. One of the examples we use is that if you saw a Louis Vuitton piece of luggage in Best and Less, you’d probably think it was a fake.

Julie Hyne: Totally!

Anthony Turner: Because it’s out of character with what you’d expect. Image is a very interesting thing because I imagine there are a different sort of expected or accepted images within different stratas of vocations, in terms of, I wear a suit and a shirt and stuff like that because I’m in a business environment, but if I turned up on a building site like this, this guy is going to totally be out of place.

Julie Hyne: You’re correct in saying that. Every industry has a different accepted dress code and it is important that people try to match that in whatever way because when people meet you for the first time, aside from the first impression, there’s also a few elements that they look for. One is your credibility, one is your likability so how like them are you. The other is your personal attractiveness and the other one is your level of confidence so they really do look at if all of those things are happening together so if they’re not feeling comfortable with you in terms of your dressing totally different to them, your language is totally different to them, you’re not connecting with them on the same page, then yes. It’s going to be very, very difficult. So I say for a lot of people that I work with that are going into like a career transition, it’s all about identifying the nature of the industry that they’re going into, what are they people like, what are their lifestyles like, what do they normally wear, what’s an acceptable dress code for them to go in and actually work with those people. You’re quite right and it’s the same. I have worked with a lot of real estate agents and they often get confused because there’s an accepted standard of dress for a real estate agent, but then if you’re working in country regional areas, that has to be modified quite significantly. I worked with a client recently who was a more mature gentleman and he worked in the inner suburbs in a very affluent area, but he felt that he was missing out on a certain market segment because he was dressing too formally so we actually had to work on giving him a more casual look to attract that market he was trying to get into, which has worked very well.

Anthony Turner: It really comes down to that whole first impression thing doesn’t it? Whereby literally you’ve got a very little space of time where you’ve actually got seconds and we actually automatically and unconsciously make judgments about people and we look for ways of how we can make ourselves right and then wrong in terms of judgment.

Julie Hyne: We do and that’s just our social conditioning that we do that, how we’ve been brought up so we do it all the time even when you’re just walking down the street. You’ll look at someone and immediately be summing up in your brain how old they are, what occupation they have, what level of intelligence they have, what school they went to. All of these things are going on in your head without you even realizing it so that you form an opinion of what that person is like.

Anthony Turner: In terms of creating first impressions and obviously without going over board with it, is there such a thing as sort of being over dressed versus under dressed?

Julie Hyne: Yes there is. We talked before about going into different industry segments. Certainly if you went into somewhere and you were significantly over dressed, people would be a little bit weary of you. On the reverse side of that, if you go in significantly under dressed they would think that you’re really not that serious about playing the game according to the rules and it’s just all about respect too. It’s about having done their homework and having understanding what it’s all about.

Anthony Turner: So what would be your tips as in a) building that rapport and also b) creating that first good impression in terms of different scenarios because what I’m looking at is a lot of our clients are going to be watching this video or hearing it on the radio. They’re going to be in different elements of business and typically small business owners and I think there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding of what is appropriate in terms of working as a small business owner. Some feel uniforms are the way to go. Some feel casual dress is the way to go. Are there any sort of particular styles or things like that from your experience you can say for these particular types of industry categories this may be better ways for you to dress to be respected as your industry?

Julie Hyne: Definitely. Which one would you like to start with? If you’re looking at finance and banking for example, that’s very traditional dress so a suit and tie in very conservative colors. Then if you’re going into accounting, similar thing. Legal profession, again fairly formal dress in dark colors which are very authoritative and give a very professional look. Then if you go into

Anthony Turner: Wait. What about the tie? There seems to be a casualization of the suit.

Julie Hyne: Business casual is something that a lot of companies are starting to adopt and it’s by choice and again it depends on the nature of the clients that they see on a daily basis and what their business is all about so if a gentleman opts to not wear a tie, but still wearing a suit as you are today, you’re still looking very professional. The tie makes it even more professional so taking the tie off brings it down a level and the open shirt actually gives an invitation to people to get to know you because it’s opening you up so to speak. Not to say that the tie closes you down, it doesn’t, but it is a more relaxed style of dressing, which some people say leads to being able to build a rapport and trust more quickly than if they were actually wearing a tie. So it’s up to the company. If they are dealing with people who are in very [unclear 11:46] positions, then I would probably still continue to wear the tie. A lot of people are going down more in business casual right now and dressing down a little bit. That’s just the way things are.

Anthony Turner: In terms of uniforms, how do you see that?

Julie Hyne: Uniforms are difficult, a) because there’s usually only one manufacturer. They usually choose one color and one color doesn’t suit everyone. Nor does one style suit everyone. So for women in particular who have lots of curves and bumps, wearing certain styles can look fabulous on one lady, but not fabulous on another and that can really affect their levels of competence and self esteem. If they feel that they don’t look good in their uniform when they’re going to work, that can actually affect their performance levels as well.

Anthony Turner: So how about businesses thinking of the uniform overcome that as, to make their people feel comfortable.

Julie Hyne: I think it’s important for a company that is looking at doing uniforms to consider who are they dressing in their organization, men, women or both and in working in someone who is going to produce that uniform, having different styles to be able to select from which still represent the corporate brand, but are going to be adapted to the different type of person so it might be that they can get jackets in different lengths or they can get different style trousers or different style jacket, so you might have one with a lapel and one without a lapel and the colors become important. Choosing colors that are what we call universal colors that everyone can actually wear.

Anthony Turner: What sort of colors would they be?

Julie Hyne: Generally navy blue is a good option. There’s a range of that. Periwinkle is another one. There are some pinks which are universal colors. Again, it’s just knowing which ones to choose. I’ve seen some real estate agencies for example choose yellow and yellow is a color particularly that people just don’t look good in. You just have to think really carefully.

Anthony Turner: In terms of a lot of people use uniforms and shirts and things like that as part of their advertising or promotional activity, what does that say to people in terms of the potential customer? Some would argue that shows that they belong or they stand out in terms of the shop where everyone is in casual clothes for example. Others say that it sort of puts them aside. What’s your experience of how people feel when they’re actually in uniform?

Julie Hyne: People can feel amazing in a uniform because it might be the smartest thing that they’ve got in their wardrobe to wear. Again it comes down to the fit, the color and how they feel about working for that organization if it is branded or has a monogram on it. If they’re really happy to work for that organization, then they’re going to feel fabulous about wearing something that actually has the corporate brand on it.

Anthony Turner: Let’s look at probably a couple of different scenarios if I may Julie. One is if you’re looking to present yourself or your business to a community, what I’m hearing and please correct me if I’m wrong, is that it’s a bad understanding realistically who your customers are and how you can best fit in with them at the appropriate level of where they are at. So for example, if I’ve got a lawn mowing business or something like that, wearing something with the work shorts and all that sort of stuff with the company branding and everything else, it would probably be quite reasonable to do. Are there sort of any specific areas where you’ve seen people make really big mistakes where you’d say in your experience, this is probably a don’t do in use of uniforms and those sort of things versus ones you say are good?

Julie Hyne: Again it’s about recognizing the people you’re meeting for the day. So if we looked at, if you’re dressing for the day, three things I always say is to be appropriate for yourself, so wearing things that actually compliment your particular body shape and style and personal colors. So be appropriate for yourself, be appropriate for the situation, so thinking about where you’re going and what that environment is going to be like and then being appropriate for the people you’re meeting. So definitely those three things are the three key things to think about when you’re getting dressed in the morning. Does it suit me? Do I look great in it? Is it complimenting me? Where am I going? What sort of environment am I going into and who are the people I’m going to be meeting? So if you can identify those three things very clearly, then getting dressed in the morning shouldn’t be an issue. You should be able to put something on which is going to reflect all of that and so when people meet you, you’re going to come across as likable, attractive, confident, credible.

Anthony Turner: Good. I imagine that would be the same for people who are looking to get work.

Julie Hyne: Totally, totally. I do work with recruitment companies as well in helping candidates present for interviews and it’s very much about what is the company they’re going into, what is the position they’re actually applying for and what is going to be the appropriate dress for them to wear so that they are readily accepted and there is no mismatch or no question marks in peoples minds as to whether this person is capable of actually doing the job.

Anthony Turner: Interesting thought about that is how if I’m going to a company and I don’t really know the company, how can I actually get that information to do that?

Julie Hyne: Google is a wonderful thing. You can do a lot of due diligence and research on the company that you are actually applying to. You can look at the Senior Executive. You can source them through LinkedIn and get a little bit of background as to who, if you can get the name of the person that is actually going to be interviewing you, see if you can locate those people on social media, find out a little about them, their background. Pick up on something that will become a conversation point for you when you actually go into the interview. That also helps break the ice and get the conversation going. It also tells them that you’ve done your homework and you’re interested in working for that organization because you know a little bit about it.

Anthony Turner: Okay. We talked about the image sort of stuff, how do you help people with their, sort of their self worth and their value systems because obviously underneath the facade as you said earlier is that internal feeling of whether we feel good about ourselves and all that sort of stuff. Are there things that you work with here that you can maybe explain to the viewers and listeners? These are things you can be working on to actually help strengthen your sort of self worth.

Julie Hyne: Attitude is normally a big one so we first do a little mini test on attitude and where that’s sitting. Then what motivates the person and looking closely at the values, I do have some sheets that I do take people through so understanding what’s important to them as an individual and how that aligns with whatever position they’re actually applying for and the company values that they’re looking at seeking employment from. When we work on image and I work on appearance, often there’s a lot of good things that come from that. So the whole mental attitude can shift when what they’re seeing in the mirror is different and pleasing to the eye to what they saw before. For a lot of people, the way they dress is very depressing for them and that’s very frustrating for them, particularly if they don’t know how to go about dressing themselves properly so once you take them through the process of dressing them properly, putting them in the right colors and the right styles and the right fit and you put them in front of the mirror and you explain how this works and why it works, the transformation in people is sometimes quite wonderful. Their whole posture, their whole sense of being shifts. So sometimes just doing that process actually changes people immensely.

Anthony Turner: One of the things I’m asked a lot is if you’re thinking about the person who may not understand and they may not know what to look for and that sort of thing. Is there sort of like a check list of things so when they get up in the morning that I can actually go through in my mind realistically or even have it on the mirror or something like that that can help me be appropriate to the circumstances of where I’m going?

Julie Hyne: Yes, it gets back to what we were talking about before really which is thinking about what works for you. If you as an individual haven’t really had your wardrobe assessed for awhile, then it might be a good opportunity for you to have a really good look at what’s in your wardrobe. Is it current? Does it suit you personally? Is the color right? Is it in good repair? Does it need fixing up in some way? Once you put that garment on, how is it sitting on you? Is it looking right? For women, it’s how do I complete this look? How do I accessorize it? What’s appropriate in terms of lengths of hems, lengths of jackets? Are they wearing make up? Is their hair well groomed? These are all the little things that people do pick up on so it’s really going the extra distance if you’re serious about projecting a great image is to look at every thing, not just one element.

Anthony Turner: For the guys?

Julie Hyne: For the guys, things like the color of your shirt? Is it not wearing because sometimes it wears on the fold of the color? Is the tie clean? It hasn’t got stains from yesterday’s lunch on it?

Anthony Turner: That’s one of the reasons I don’t wear one.

Julie Hyne: Also a lot of gentlemen don’t take the trouble to actually make sure the sleeve length of their jacket is at the right length so they’ll often have it coming down almost to their thumb, which makes the jacket look too big for them. They might stuff things in their pockets, which means we don’t get the nice silhouette of the actual suit. It could be they need to look at their shoes to make sure their shoes are polished and shiny and also for men too, wearing accessories, they’re not wearing anything that’s distracting to another person. Yes a watch is fine, a wedding ring or something like that is fine, but nothing that is going to be distracting to other people. So no Mickey Mouse socks allowed.

Anthony Turner: Okay, get rid of the Mickey Mouse socks.

Julie Hyne: If you really want to be professional. Keep that for the weekend.

Anthony Turner: You touched on some really interesting points there and I guess one of the things out of that is being aware of how you’re dressing and that kind of thing is actually going to impact how you feel about yourself and then the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to present yourself in a way that is confident and you’re more likely to get the role or the job or the deal if you’re going for a business deal or something like that.

Julie Hyne: Absolutely and there’s even statistics that have proven that people who dress in a certain way or people who dress well I should say are offered more or higher salaries, more important roles and actually do succeed more than people who don’t take the trouble to dress well. I think that those sort of statistics say something, that it is really important and it’s not enough to go “oh this will do” because it’s very, very competitive out there and yes 55% of a person’s first impression of you is based on what they see. 38% is based on what they hear and only 7% is based on what you say. So when you look at it in that sense, it really does come down to how people, what people’s first impressions of you are when you meet them for the first time and then of course what follows through has to be consistent with that whole message and if you can do that, then you’re on the road to success and it’s not that difficult.

Anthony Turner: Are there any really big faux pas that people make in terms of dressing themselves? I can imagine that you touched on color before. Color is something that suits or doesn’t suit people and some you can get away with. There are some colors that are probably not the right colors to use for certain situations.

Julie Hyne: Colors have psychological meanings attached to them definitely. Probably the most people friendly of all colors to wear is navy blue and it’s a great medium contrast color to put with a white shirt for example. Brown is a color which is a little bit boring for people. Black is very authoritative, very commanding and can actually put people off a little bit. Red is very energizing and empowering so if you’re feeling a little bit down and you need energy on one day, putting something on that has red in it can actually lift your spirits. Yellow is very fun and great for children. Green is very calming. Every color has different meanings. Pink is very feminine for example. White is very innocent. So for men, it’s probably not as difficult for men because you usually start with a suit and it’s either a dark gray or dark navy suit. For women though, it becomes a lot more difficult in terms of how do I put my personality into what I want to wear when I have to abide by certain dress codes? So that’s where we look at pattern for example. Gentlemen can do it in their ties for a pattern. Women do it with a scarf or a blouse or something like that. They’re able to incorporate different colors into what they wear, which doesn’t become distracting. It becomes complimentary to their own personal colorings.

Anthony Turner: What’s your view on bling?

Julie Hyne: Bling is great. Not in a corporate environment. Perhaps any accessory, when we’re talking about professional environments and accessorizing, accessorizing should be kept to a minimum so a watch, a wedding ring or a bracelet, maybe a necklace, but nothing, no over kill. Certainly nothing that clangs and rattles and bangs together. That can become very distracting. That’s great for social, but not for a business environment.

Anthony Turner: So Julie, we’re wrapping this up. Where can people a) get in contact with you, but also where else might they be able to go to get help if they’re not sure about how they can eventually, I guess two things. One, how they currently are appearing in public even though they may not be aware of it and secondly, how they can improve if that’s what they feel that they need to do.

Julie Hyne: I’m available. I do sessions with people often on Skype, which makes it very affordable for them and can put them through a style program which allows them to identify what styles actually suit them, what they should be looking for and what they should avoid because it’s not complimentary to them. We can also do things like a full wardrobe order where we go in and actually remove the clothes which are no longer serving you or sabotaging your whole look so we remove those and then we’re left with a gap as to “okay what now do we need to put in there” to make it work for you. Looking at current magazines gives people an idea as to what’s in fashion, but of course that’s where a lot of people get it wrong because what’s in fashion doesn’t necessarily suit them in terms of their particulars. So I work with people to help them incorporate fashion into their look in a way that actually suits them. So it’s like going to see an accountant. You go to an accountant because you want their expert advice and you rely on them to give you the truth. It’s no different to what I do.

Anthony Turner: So, website?

Julie Hyne: Website is www.juliehyneimagestylist.com.au.

Anthony Turner: Alright Julie, thank you for spending time with us this morning. I really appreciate it.

Julie Hyne: Thank you Anthony. My pleasure.