Can taking care of your appearance help you close more deals during negotiations? According to recent research, the answer is yes.
In fact, looking polished and professional can make you seem credible and like you’re worth working with. So if you want to give yourself the best chance at success, follow these tips for looking your best during negotiations.
1. Consider Your Clothing
In one study, researchers found that dark colors symbolized dominance and strength while light colors were seen as submissive and weak. So if you want to make a good first impression, start by wearing a darker color for your shirt or blouse while going with a lighter shade for your pants or skirt (or you can do it the other way around).
Keep your clothes clean. You don’t want to show up for negotiation in dirty or wrinkled clothes. Avoid stains and make sure everything fits well and is pressed before you head out. It might be a good idea to take an extra shirt in case something happens during negotiations (like someone spills coffee all over your brand-new blouse).
Make sure your clothes fit properly. Not only is it more comfortable to be in clothes that fit you, but they’ll also project a professional image. If you wear your clothes baggy or too tight, it can make you look sloppy and unprofessional. Wearing the right size clothes also shows that you care about yourself and your appearance.
Pay attention to accessories. Accessories have a huge impact on how polished you look, so be sure all of your jewelry, watches, glasses, and shoes are clean and in good shape.
2. Make Sure You’re Clean and Well-Groomed
Smell nice. Before heading to the negotiation, be sure you shower and use deodorant (or antiperspirant if you tend to sweat a lot). If you’re worried about the room not having good ventilation, bring an extra stick of deodorant or body spray with you just in case.
Avoid bad breath. Before you walk into the negotiation, be sure to brush and floss your teeth. It’s also a good idea to bring mints or gum with you in case your mouth gets dry.
Check your teeth. If you have stains or food stuck in your teeth, take the time to fix them before you walk into the meeting. Now, a smile can go a long way during any deal. It can make you seem more approachable and show that you’re friendly.
If you have issues with your teeth, such as malocclusions, as well as gapped or missing teeth, you can always get it fixed. One option is a tooth implant, which may be a better option than dentures since they don’t slip around.
3. Sport Confidence
You wouldn’t tell your child to go into the first day of school with her head down, would you? You’d most likely encourage her to walk with a smile and make eye contact. This is because she’ll appear more confident if she holds herself up straight with her shoulders back. She also has a better chance of success if she looks up and engages rather than wanders around looking down. The same thing goes for you during negotiations. Walk into the room with your head held high, shoulders back, and a smile on your face.
Holding yourself up straight makes you look more attentive and alert, which will make you seem more confident. This is why it’s a good idea to pay attention to your posture during the negotiation.
Another important aspect of appearing more confident is making eye contact while talking so that people feel like they’re being listened to.
Make a connection with each person in the room. Avoid standing off to the side or talking from behind a desk. Instead, try sitting on the edge of the table so that there’s no barrier between you and what you’re talking about. Show others that you care about them by giving your full attention and connecting with their thoughts and opinions.
Speak in a confident tone. You don’t want to come across as if you know everything since it will make others shy away from you, but you also don’t want to be so humble that people think you lack the expertise they’re looking for. When speaking, be sure to show your confidence without sounding too cocky.
Taking care of your appearance when negotiating doesn’t just help others perceive you in a better way. It also helps you feel more confident and ready to engage. So think about your clothes, hygiene, and smile before heading into a negotiation, and you’ll be sure to make an impact.