Clear Comm Consulting

Everyone has a uniform, whether you want it or not!

Oct 1, 2005

Now that we’re in the heart of football season, any fan can tell you the details of their favorite team’s uniform. But, you have a uniform as well, even though you may not think of it that way.

For Bill Gates, it’s the blue open-collar business shirt and dress pants, occasionally with a jacket, but mostly not. The President has a blue business suit for official duties and the “ranch outfit” in Crawford, which he seems to wear with much greater ease.

Martha Stewart, now free from her ankle bracelet, always has the seasonal theme going, often with a sweater draped strategically over her shoulders. And Gwen Stefani always has a plan, even when what she’s wearing has been “thrown together.”

So what’s YOUR uniform? There are probably the work week adult clothes, which are then traded in for the weekend stuff your neighbors recognize you wearing. Just as Brett Favre is always known for his green and white jersey with the big 4 on it, so, too, you are remembered.

The impact of your presentation

Anytime I am coaching or training someone I always say, “You’re on. You’re always on!” It’s a great way for people to remember that they are always a living, breathing, walking representative of their gender, race, profession, employer and family name!

If you think of it in those terms, you realize the uniform you choose makes a big difference. People are judging you all the time, often without exchanging words with you. It may not be fair, but it is true. That equation is multiplied a thousand times over when you are in front of an audience or a TV camera. (After spending the last 30 years in broadcasting, you can understand I learned this lesson many times over.)

“Dress for Success” still rings true

While most of us spend a lot of time on the words we deliver when we’re in front of an audience, we sometimes forget about the uniform we wear and what it says about us. Too often “casual Friday” turns into “casual Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…” Remember to err on “up” side of the clothing equation. Be more formal than you might otherwise. Dress just above the people in your audience. They want to respect you from the start … earn that respect before you say your first word.

And remember that lesson even on the days you are not making a presentation. The old “Dress for Success” adage still stands strong. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Make sure your uniform is a winner every day.

Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting,, a Phoenix, AZ-based communications consulting firm which is helping people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: [email protected]

Follow along with Cary on Twitter @CaryPfeffer

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