Why Focus on Colors?
As professionals, we have grown through our career’s by following John T. Malloy’s “Dress For Success” or other guides on how to dress. When someone walks into the room with that certain professional presence, you know it & you feel it. You may not be sure what it is that makes you feel it but it is undeniably there. They look distinguished and have a certain “air” about them. You sense their confidence and pride in their stance. Likewise, if some human walks in misfit or is in an unkept/upheaval appearance you instantly distance yourself, look away or feel empathy. They are giving off vibes of they don’t care about their appearance, no pride or they don’t know how bad they look. More on this at: “You only get 1 chance to make that first great impression”.
So, what is it about colors that impacts viewers’ opinions? Colors are extremely important in how we perceive something. Colors come with preconceived convictions that have become dominant over the years. Here are some examples. Red, white, & blue, portrays patriotic. Black can portray death / funerals or very powerful. Red & Green are typically for the holidays. Of course, there are exceptions to all of these, but selecting the right one is crucial for your brand. Your branding is extremely crucial on LinkedIn as well. You only get 6-7 sec to entice that viewer to click on your profile or company page and then only another 6-7 sec to get them to take the next step with you. In most cases, it only takes 1 sec for them to pass over a bad impression or something that doesn’t grab their attention.
Impact on Impressions – 1st & Lasting Impressions
Someone experiencing a great first impression will continue to follow you. They will notice your insights as you share your articles, announcements and others’ posts. Your relationship should evolve and grow stronger assuming you continue to nurture it with ongoing insights.
In comparison, a bad 1st impression will be very memorable when they see you again. Bad 1st impressions may never be overcome. My favorite saying is, “You don’t get another chance to make that 1st impression, so make it count”.
Strong/Powerful as opposed to Weak
LinkedIn is the #1 Professional Network in the world. It is your “billboard” 24x7. Often the viewer has formed their 1st impressions without you even knowing. If you’ve noticed the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section, you can get a feel for how you are doing on making a good 1st impression, by the percent of the time that they view your profile and then send an invitation or message. This is not a reliable indicator due to reasons other than 1st impressions that may steer them away from taking that next step with you. Examples include mistaken identity, not finding a fit with their needs or the buyer is not ready.
Black is your powerplay color. It’s bold, domineering and exudes authority / leadership. It portrays sophistication and elegance. Black should be your color of choice for interviews and career enhancing moves in leadership positions. Dark blue isn’t quite as bold and powerful as black and therefore always a good choice. Dark blue portrays reliability, trustworthy, positivity, loyalty and peace. Those wearing dark blue tend to be smart, independent, and think for themselves. Black and dark blue depicts high quality and high tech. Dark grey is next best. Light grey is weak, washed out and screams that you can’t decide.
Red can be good for certain types of interactions. If you are interviewing for a position that requires a self-motivated, action oriented, aggressive character, passionate, then red is definitely your color. Red is good for a sales position and even better for a 100% commission position. Some wear red well and come across as genuine. Others may perceive you as showing too many signs of aggression.
A dark suit with a red, burgundy or black tie/accessories is the ultimate power suit for men and women. It says you can do the job, you can ascend in your career to more powerful positions and become a strong member of the leadership team.
All shades of browns and greens give an earthly impression. This is normally someone who cares about our planet and keeping our environment clean. A lawn service, recycling services and engineering are good candidates for earth tones. Brown suits on men in other services makes one appear old fashioned, out of date, and out of touch. Be wary of the suit salesman telling you “Browns are back”. The worst is to see a dark suit paired with brown shoes!
Softer pastel colors are best for those who work closely with people – healthcare, care providers, customer service, religious organizations, and education systems. These colors bring out the warmth and nurturing feelings. For example, pale pink always brings out the softer side. If it’s a color you would wear to church then it’s probably not a color that will earn you respect in a supervisor position.
Tips for TV Shows/Video
It’s easier to start with what not to wear. Never wear something really busy on video, such as plaids, paisley prints, florals, or polka dots. It not only creates editing nightmares, it distracts the viewer with all of the busyness. After all, you are in front of the camera to keep the viewers focused on what you have to say, not to “on purpose” divert their attention away from your message. “70% of communication is body language, 23% is voice tone and inflection, and only 7% is your spoken words!” (Source: A University of Pennsylvania study). Solid-colored blues are best, but check on the background to confirm. Never whites.
Exceptions to These Guidelines
The study of colors is fascinating. Surveys ask for opinions. Opinions are biased based on your geography, culture, wealth status, education and many more influencers. So of course, there are always exceptions to these generalizations. However, if you care about your career then put some effort into your wardrobe to “Dress to Impress”.
About the Author:
Lucinda Ruch, specializes in transforming business strategy into results. 26 years consulting in Fortune 500 companies and 8 yrs. coaching small business owners. Her LinkedIn accolades include: I.A. certified LinkedIn Public Speaker and Trainer, “Top Most Recommended” and LinkedIn accredited her in the “Top 1% Viewed”. She’s brought the Co-Founder of LinkedIn to Dallas for her social media seminar. She has not only spoken to 100’s of groups, taught 1000’s, coached/trained 3 Inc 5000 recipients, she has a client base on 3 continents. Catch her on The Dean’s List TV Show, TV Business Spotlight or her other TV/radio shows. Follow her blog at – www.LinkForSuccess.com