InTouch - Newsletter - #84

Welcome to the eighty-fourth edition of “In-Touch”. As always, I would love to continue the conversation so please hit reply and let me know what you think.

Story of the Week: "(AD)DRESS FOR SUCCESS!"

Carla Abrantes, a style expert and image coach, told me recently that, when rehearsing a role, actors are frequently advised to wear an item of the clothing that they will eventually wear on stage. For them, getting into a role obviously starts with wearing the character’s clothes.

As Carla elaborated on this theatre-related ‘garment philosophy’, I pictured myself rehearsing in my office, in hotel rooms and on empty stages – dressed more or less as I would be when giving the next day’s keynote address or leading a workshop.

What she told me has been scientifically demonstrated. The way actors dress to rehearse ‘in character’ – like my own habit of similarly preparing to face an audience in the right frame of mind and clothed accordingly – not only has great value in creating a positive impression but also affects how we are perceived.

A notable study revealed what it called the ‘white coat effect’. In it, participants were given a cognitive task and divided into three groups: in one group they all wore a doctor's white coat, in another they wore painters’ overalls and, in the third group, they wore their own clothes but could see a white coat hanging nearby.

The results showed that the participants who wore the white coat performed better on tasks requiring focused attention, compared to those who wore the painters’ overalls or simply saw the doctor's coat. Why? Because they associated the white coat with a doctor’s attentiveness and care. The study concluded that wearing clothing which gives an impression of professionalism and expertise can influence a person’s cognitive processes and behaviour, leading to improved performance.

As William Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” On the world stage, whether we are actors, businesspeople, parents or partners, we need to get two things right: (1) our words and (2) how we look when we deliver them. Then we can confidently address – and dress – for success.

Words of Wisdom

“Looking the part and thinking the part is more than halfway to living the part.”

Laurie Lindeen

"You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure."

Zig Ziglar

A Question to Ponder, dear friend.

“Have you ever felt that you failed to dress for success? Did it matter?”

Hit reply and let me know.