By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
What to wear for a business meeting: Clothes create impact. In today’s busy world, the visual has become extremely powerful, grabbing instant attention. As clothes form an integral part of our first impression, dressing appropriately sends two strong non-verbal messages—“I mean business” and “I am meticulous”. However, dressing for business is confusing as different workplaces demand different attire. Shark Tank investor Robert Herjavec said that even in “business casual” industries, entrepreneurs making a pitch to investors will fail to create an impact if they are dressed inappropriately.
Research on your potential client: While researching on your prospect’s business and industry, spend a few minutes on their corporate culture. Are they a Fortune 500 global company or a traditional Indian business house? Are they a promoter-driven SME or a tech start-up? Dress codes are driven by corporate culture and vary across companies, going from strictly formal to smart causal. Even within a firm, dress codes vary across positions—CEOs dress better than junior managers.
When in doubt, “dress a notch above your client”: As a rule, always dress a notch above your potential client. For instance, if your client wears jeans, wear chinos; if he wears chinos, you wear a jacket; if he wears a jacket, you should wear a business suit. Dressing a level above your client enhances your professional image and wins you respect. However, dressing several notches above your client can be intimidating, acting as barrier when building business relationships