ON THE LINKS
By Sherry Maysonave
Empowerment Enterprises LLC
Fast Lane Hook Ups Ė Power Up Your Fairway Image
To race on the autobahn, would you choose to drive a 6-cylinder jeep or a Ferrari? Obviously, a Ferrari would win over a jeep, even the fastest jeep, right? Ironically - although decreasing their odds of winning - many smart men are choosing to wear jeep-like clothing when conducting business on the fairway - even in todayís highly competitive business environment.
Whether you work for a corporation or own the company, golfing is an asset to your business. A lot of business is conducted on the golf course, whether itís networking, investment tip exchanges, fund-raising, or finalizing a deal. Like golf, business is a game. What you wear is one of your first moves, a fundamental strategy to win. Just as the best clubs and balls can help a golfer gain a competitive edge, high quality apparel adds power and authority to your overall image. It deals you an ace when it comes to winning the mental game, too.
Unless you play golf on a nudist-colony course (or youíre a porn star), wearing clothing is not optional; itís non-negotiable. As Mark Twain said, naked people have little or no influence on society. So just like you select the best club for your shot, why not select clothing that works in your favor. Who wants to be a bogie when you can be a birdie or better? Your odds of successful networking (you can meet extraordinary people on a golf course) and making lucrative deals only increase when you pay attention to the details of your fairway image.
We know that you can wear a Brioni or Zegna suit and look like a champion. But what about when enjoying a few holes on the course, why does it matter what you wear? Think about it. You read the green before you putt. As people, we like to know whatís going on around us. With antennas up, we continually seek data about our environment, including other people. Whether conscious or not, in the same way we consistently read other people, usually not to be judgmental but to gain information about them. Based upon visual clues from their attire, grooming, posture, and demeanor, we unconsciously assess who we think they are. Then we decide how we are going to respond or treat them - all in a matter of seconds. And yes, we all prefer to be associated with winners rather than losers.
Communication statistics show that in only five to thirty seconds, three things are determined about you, whether accurate or not: 1) Your Socioeconomic Status 2) Your Educational Level 3) Your Desirability. Although this process may or may not be conscious, in the end we all tend to associate well-dressed individuals with intelligence, attractiveness, and achievement. Thus, those folks are granted more opportunities to prove themselves.
Another sabotaging factor that endangers your power on the course is this thought: in todayís digital world, how you dress doesnít matter. If thatís true, why are millions of dollars spent on web site visuals? In actual fact, you are the walking "Home Page" of your personal web site. Your image is also a web page of your companyís site. Do others click on you as having the answers or do they surf on?
First impressions and the visual aspect have never been more critical than they are today. Unlike fairway play, business moves at a faster pace than it did even a decade ago, thanks to the technology explosion. Harry Beckwith, author of Selling The Invisible, says that people do not simply form impressions, they become anchored to them. Beckwith claims that busy people - almost all people today - are apt to make snap judgments, and then base all their later decisions on them. A prominent CEO recently said, "If people only knew that it can take two years to undo one negative impression, surely they would try harder."
Like it or not, even your fairway image is linked to your success potential. Clothing is a primary communicator with its own coded language. It can signal that you are a leader with winning potential, or it can scream that youíre a loser. If your clothing is waving the loser flag, the brakes are on. You have to work extra hard to command respect and inspire trust.
Dressing casually, being comfortable, and appearing exceptionally well dressed is not an oxymoron. To command respect and to add credibility and authority to your overall image, follow these five power-up tips when you dress for tee time.
Rev Up, Add Power to Your Fairway Image
Copyright © 2002, Sherry Maysonave and Empowerment Enterprises LLC
Sherry Maysonave is president and founder of Empowerment Enterprises, a leading communication-image firm and author of Casual Power: How to Power Up Your Nonverbal Communication and Dress Down for Success (Bright Books Inc., $29.95). For more information visit www.casualpower.com or call 512-306-0178.