Web 2.0 Style: When to Dress for Success

September 15, 2009

Web 2.0 Style: When to Dress for Success

Image by Jim O’Connell


No one can miss the fact that we live in a media driven world now! Anytime we put ourselves out there, chances are we are going to see ourselves somewhere online. Some mediums will allow us total control of our images, while other mediums will give us little or no control, but we can still prepare for the inevitable.

CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENTS

I have seen all too often when authors will wear the same outfit to a televised interview that they wore on either the front or back cover of their book. This TV interview will likely travel across the internet. While I completely support re-wearing outfits, I do not support wearing the same ensemble for a still shot when you are promoting your book in a dynamic interview format! This tactic makes it seem like the author has nothing new to say; that they are on auto-pilot. But the good news is the author has control over this scenario. Here are some other media platforms that allow you too to control your professional image:

  • Icons – you have a lot or even total control over your icon pictures at social media sites like Linked-In, Twitter or Facebook. These online relationship building and networking platforms are great tools for business purposes. The opportunities on these sites are limitless and displaying a dynamic image is key.
  • Avatars – when you write a comment for an online article or blog post you have a chance to use a professionally supportive picture image avatar which can further spread your expertise and interests across the World Wide Web.
  • Skype – skyped business/conference calls are settings in which you have major control over your professional look.
  • Profile Picture – you have some control over the profile picture used on the company’s ‘About’ page. Although you may not have control over the background setting, lighting, or company required attire, you do have style options within those limitations.
  • Planned Media Events – participating in scheduled television or print media interviews, where more than likely your interview will be displayed on those businesses’ website, you have some control over the direction of your image as well by wearing a flattering professional style that is cohesive with your business endeavors.

UNCONTROLLED ENVIRONMENTS

It is your turn to speak on stage at a business conference. You have tirelessly prepared your presentation and for good luck decided to wear your favored professional looking LBD that you always get the compliments! The color black makes you feel secure and is just what you need to calm your nerves for this public speaking engagement. Plus black is always so chic, right? Things are going well during your presentation. It looks like the audience is really attuned to your message. A good sign is that some attendees are even taking pictures of you with their cell phones. You feel like a success! But as soon as you return to your seat you receive a message. A business colleague has forwarded one of those pictures taken of you. You instantly realize that your LBD dress is no longer your favorite. HERE are some extreme examples of what can happen under the wrong lighting situations while wearing black garments.

The idea is that although you do not have control over others’ actions or lighting ‘situations,’ you do still have some options in uncontrolled environments. The way to gain control over your professional image in an uncontrolled environment is to be prepared. Think ahead of time about the probable business scenarios that could end up on the internet so you can plan your attire accordingly within any setting.

With all of the different personal media gadgets and all the various online user-generated communication platforms, it is essential for us as professionals to think about the way we present ourselves on a regular basis. The media is not just for entertainment celebrities anymore. All professionals have the opportunity to fully engage in promoting themselves and the campaign could go viral whether you planned it or not. Preparation is vital.

I am going to extend this idea in the third and final installment of this Web 2.0 Style series by providing specific tips to make the most of your professional image online.

Read more at Part I and Part III which examines the importance of a professional online image and the tips to make it happen.

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