Around a month ago I stumbled upon Rhea Drysdale's Medium article about The female marketer's fear of marketing. After I read it at the time I couldn't help but nod in agreement when she complained about her image being an important focus when she is trying to deliver her message in a professional environment.
She says she is hesitant about shooting SEO videos for her company because she is scared of the comments she might receive regarding her physical appearance or overall image.
In the past she has tried to move away from her t-shirt/jeans uniform to a more feminine look, with the only result of getting compliments about her new appearance but very little attention to the actual content of her message.
While I do agree that this is a poor feature of our society, I think that unfortunately it's not disappearing any time soon and that contrary to popular belief this is an issue that affects both men and women. It is true that women are perhaps more aware of it since we have been programmed to constantly worry about our appearance, however even if many men choose to ignore this problem they should know that the way they look it's also affecting their jobs, the deals they are making and the general opinion potential business partners are forming about them.
Drysdale goes then to mention Emily Graslie, American science communicator, particularly one of her Youtube videos where she discusses her fear of putting herself out there, constantly suspecting that people are more interested in what she's wearing or how she looks than in what she has to say.
Rhea's and Emily's suspicions are partially right. We humans are a visual bunch. Now more than ever visual content is ingrained in our lives. However this doesn't mean that we don't care about the message -we do- but we are too used to being distracted by all the other stimuli around it. Which brings me to my personal recommendation: turn down the noise.
What I mean by that is that we all have a personal style, certain cuts and fabrics that suit us better, outfits that make us feel confident... and that dressing smartly (in a clever sense) for each occasion will give anyone that blank slate we need to be listened to first and looked at second.
I understand that this isn't an easy task for everyone and that many of us don't have the time to deal with that ourselves, that's where professional stylists can help. We go through your wardrobe with you, finding the pieces that flatter you most and go best with your personal approach to fashion, shopping for the ones you might be missing and putting spot on outfits together. Clothing is a powerful language and we can use it to send the most appropriate message.
There are many professional stylists now in most big cities, if you live in a place where you cannot find any, thanks to Skype and overall online technology there are plenty of options available. Just make sure you meet someone you trust and understands you, your personality and your company.
With a personal stylist's help you can make sure that next time you have something to say you will feel calm, put together and confident that you are going to be heard.