When it comes to perception, there’s what you can change (your unfavorable behavior at the last office party), what you can't (Silvia on the board who despises anyone who’s not a Duke fan) and knowing one from the other. If you want to take care of the latter, read Art of War. In the meantime, here are five quick fixes that'll help you look like you have your sh*t together (even if you don’t) and the tools to help you get there.
“You can only hold a smile for so long, after that it's just teeth.” That’s from Chuck Palahniuk, but it holds water in real life. One Kelton study showed that teeth have a significant impact on one’s personal and professional success. As in: crooked teeth equated to fewer second dates. So, if you don’t judge a book by it’s cover, I applaud you. For the rest of the world, charm will only get you so far.
The fix: Smile Direct Club. It’s like Invisalign, but for the DTC crowd. Meaning: it’s less than half the cost of Invisalign and it’s all done via the mail. No inconvenient trips to the ortho every month and no reliving those metal mouth 7th-grade days all over again.
Mom was right. You should sit up straight. Slouching is sloppy, bad for your health and can make people think you’re lazy. No wins there.
The fix: Upright, a wearable that berates you when you posture lets you down. If you can’t catch yourself, retrain yourself.
You're tired. We're tired. Everyone is tired. But just because we run ourselves ragged doesn't mean we need to look the part.
The fix: In lieu of getting more sleep, drinking plenty of water and eating better (Who's got the time?!): Botox. “The amount of men getting botox has skyrocketed. About half of my injectible clients are men these days. They just don’t talk about it,” says Shelly Marshall, author and NYC RN at EveryWomanWellness. “For them, it’s not so much about ageism. Society is much more attuned to accepting aging and imperfections in men. But they like the way it makes them look refreshed and tell me that they feel that perception gives them a competitive edge. Plus, no one can tell.”
Your Body Language
Do you have a nervous tic? Restless leg syndrome? A bad habit? Be aware of it. Are you failing to make eye contact? Address it (and the person you're talking to). Does where your feet point matter? Yep. Your body language, like a book, is how people read you. Make sure you write your own script.
The fix: What Every BODY Is Saying, by ex-FBI Agent Joe Navarro. This guide to speed-reading people is a must, and it’ll make you hyper-aware of how you’re carrying yourself to boot.
“Is that really what I sound like?” There’s a science to why no one likes hearing their own voice. We can’t hear ourselves properly. But everyone else can. And, yes, it affects how they think of you.
The fix: Practice. Vocal coaches aren’t just for second-language students: they assist with presentation, precision and can help one talk their way up the corporate ladder.