Sep 4, 201205:28 PMIn Her View
Business Insights & Inspiration
"It's a sign of respect . . ." by Shelley Menduni
Recently two airlines refused travel to passengers that they considered “inappropriately” dressed.
One passenger was approached by a Southwest Airline’s gate agent alleging she was showing too much cleavage. In another situation a passenger was confronted by wearing a T-shirt with a four letter expletive on it. Both individuals posted their stories to sympathetic bloggers but as one passenger clearly stated “It’s an unspoken rule that when you go out in public, you should be respectful”. An informal survey of passengers at Dallas-Fort Worth International airport found much support for limits on clothing.
Conversely, the next time you fly, check out first class/business class to see who occupies those seats. Several airlines admitted that when it came time to fill those seats, the customers who dressed better, were upgraded because they “looked” polished. Their perception is that they want that area to reflect a more attractive, professional customer.
So that brings us to today’s thought about our casual dress in the work place. Dress-down Friday for most offices has been a disaster on many levels. It has created confusion, a decrease in productivity, misunderstandings as to what “casual Friday” really means (unless there is a clear dress code in place) loss of credibility with clients, unhappiness at the senior management level (no one wants to enforce policy),etc. Uncomfortable situations when preferred clients meet with staff not dressed professional.
Let’s take a page from current political campaigns engaging young high school and college interns. Their dress code prohibited jeans except if they were doing very grueling field work or performing any kind of dirty work in the office such as unpacking boxes. They were expected to wear business casual when they reported to work because they would be coming into contact with voters and other members of the public, community and business leaders, the press, other politicians and elected officials. It was their job to look and act as professionals and contribute to the polished and organized look of their campaign. The results of dressing well – people responded to them as campaign staff rather than kids.
In short, ask anyone and there is a fine line in presenting a professional presence that includes comfort, confidence, and credibility. Mark Zuckerman has been criticized for his hoodie and jean decorum. Many have suggested that when presenting to executive board members, he should have put on a jacket, as a sign of respect for those he was engaged in conducting business. I am sure we could debate Mark’s signature style for quite awhile. And yes IT is normally more causal but again when you are interfacing with clients outside of your office environment, you need to be thoughtful to the image you are reflecting of the company. This branding needs to be consistent among staff. We all want to do business with those that convey trust, credibility, confidence, dependability. The easiest path to accomplish this is simply presenting a more polished and professional image. Business etiquette dictates that we conduct business with good manners, pleasant demeanor , respectful attitude. Dress as the individual that YOU want to do business with, be respectful.
Keynote speaker, corporate trainer, image consultant who inspires others to look & feel their best at any age. Award winning entrepreneur, sought-after speaker, Shelley Menduni has a passion for helping people look their best, feel confident and succeed! For over 25 years she has touched lives & made a difference teaching timeless style, color analysis & demonstrating through her words & actions that beauty flows from within. At the encouragement of her clients, Professional Imagery was born.
Today she guides audiences to achieve professional presence, learn strategies for increasing customer loyalty, teach basic leadership skills, civility in the workplace. Shelley brings enthusiasm, high-energy and years of “in the trenches” sales experience to speaking engagements, training and consultations. She was recognized as #1 Vice President in an international network marketing company, achieved numerous achievements including international sales trips and grew a successful organization.
Shelley is a dynamic presenter & consultant who shares practical information that empowers others to create their image with polish & style. She is a member of National Association of Women Business Owners since 1998 & was awarded the Columbus chapter’s 2006 Member of the Year. She has worked with Dress for Success Columbus, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Habitat for Humanity. She is an active member of HRACO and Worthington Chamber of Commerce. Shelley & her husband Carmine have been married for 42 years, have 4 children, 2 grandchildren and reside in Dublin Ohio.
“I’m happiest when I am helping my clients create a new & exciting image. Watching their transformation is like taking Cinderella to the ball! ~ Shelley Menduni