Personal public relations plays big part in business success. People want to do business with people they like, so it is those "personal" relations that are just as important as traditional media PR.
by Sue Currie
Ten seconds is all it takes to make a first impression – whether it's your personal presentation or the first contact a potential client or customer has with your business through the telephone, website or other communication collateral.
When they walk through their door – or you walk through theirs – your image is imprinted in the first moment.
Research has proven that 67% of first impressions are accurate. Your personal image tells the world who you are and where you are going. Your business image says the same. Every email, voicemail, and phone call you make creates first impressions that build your brand.
But it's not just your logo or your business stationery that needs to look good. How you present yourself in person also says a lot about your brand. For many small business people or business entrepreneurs, you are your business and how your project yourself is vitally important to the success of your business.
How you shake hands, make eye contact, conduct yourself in social situations and the clothes you choose to wear contribute to your personal brand. Your image is like the weather. People notice when it's extremely good or extremely bad. People shouldn't judge us by our outward appearances but of course you know they will. First impressions can indicate to a potential client, your sense of style, ambition and self-confidence level.
Another measure of your success in dealing with people is due to personality.
Your voice, way of talking, body language and the way you develop relationships with your clients all count towards giving you a ‘manner'. Your personal manner speaks loudly to other people. You may need to do some self-analysis on your plus and minus personality traits before establishing a self-satisfying public image.
Sometimes things like aggravating speech habits, lack of good manners, sloppy dress or grooming can be your worst enemies.
Punctuality, your tone of voice, these are the things about you that speak loud and clear to others. Make sure that they're working for you.
I'm sure you've seen many examples of people who have had too much to drink at the office party and regretted things done or said. Perhaps not such good personal PR for career progression.
Maybe that date who sounded so promising on the telephone really let you down when you met and saw how badly dressed and untidy they were.
I'm not suggesting you need to have a complete makeover and invest a fortune in new clothes – but it is those little things that people notice.
You've no doubt invested a lot of time, effort and money into setting up your own business and learning many new skills – why not invest some time and effort into yourself – you're worth it!
* Business image – brand all letterhead, newsletters, email messages for a professional
* Personal image – establish a strong visual image – develop your own style and personal brand. Be aware of grooming and professional dress sense.
* Self image – get rid of bad habits, develop self-confidence and charm, walk tall and smile!
Sue Currie, the director of Shine Communications Consultancy and author of Apprentice to Business Ace – your inside-out guide to personal branding, is a business educator and speaker on personal branding through image and media. Sign up for free monthly tips on personal and professional PR at
and learn more about how you can achieve recognition, enhance your image and shine.