The topic of dressing for success came to mind recently, when I received the latest edition of my monthly college magazine.

You know the one…a brown wrapped package arrives via snail mail (for us old timers) or via the internet for folks who never owned a stamp.  This propaganda mailer is designed to keep alumni from the past up-to-date on their alma mater.  It also gives your school a chance to pitch their latest fundraising efforts, promotions, marriages, births, deaths, and assorted other class news through the years.

University magazine cover - then & now.

University magazine cover – then & now.

Still, this particular edition looked different.  There on the cover were two different pictures, side by side.  One was in living color and had been recently taken at the University.  The other was in Throwback Thursday black and white and hailed to the days when I roamed a campus.  The color photo featured several smiling current attendees dressed in college garb…2017 style.  That means, guys sporting short tousled hair, white tee shirts, shorts and some form of open toed sandals/flip flops.   The ladies in that same color photograph were dressed…shockingly to me, exactly the same way…except for the length of their hair, of course.  Now this does not totally surprise me, since I have taught many University courses through the years.  At no time did any student of mine look much different than them.  What was shocking was the old black & white snapshot.  In it, several well-coiffed ladies, were dressed in…e-gads …beautiful dresses, real shoes with heels, full makeup, and styled brushed hair.

So, what’s the big deal you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  That group from long ago, from my time at college, realized that this was a posed picture for the yearbook, or some publication, in which dress and appearance would have a positive or negative impact on the viewer.  All had taken the time to care how they looked for that picture and for posterity.

Okay, go ahead, throw the book at me.  I am an old coot.  But which group would you rather see walk into your classroom or business or job site or home…as a future son-in-law, employee, etc.?

I just went a long way to make my point about dressing for success.  The facts are indisputable.  You have no more than four to five seconds to make a great first impression on the next person you meet.  What will they be thinking?  Hey, this guy/gal really looks great.  Neat, clean and dressed appropriately for the occasion.   Or, would they rather just forget they ever met you.

Dressing for success has not gone out of style, and probably never will.  There will always be casual Fridays and wacky Wednesdays, and whatever else employers grant to weary employees.  Fact is the person who takes pride in their overall appearance has a leg up on success.

That includes, of course, enhancing your voice and speech skills.  Got talk?  Got voice?  Get the raise, get the promotion, get a new boyfriend, get a new car, get a new…well, you get the idea.

Odds are the people who won’t dress well or get voice/speech trained will not make the callback for a second interview. Think about it.  Ask yourself…are you ready to take on all of the challenges of the 21st century?  And while you’re polishing up your shoes, why not polish up on your ability to communicate well.  It will pay you dividends you never imagined.



BILL PATTI  Founder & President at YourVoiceProfessor  Bill is an award-winning radio and TV announcer, voice-over talent, and college professor … (Read full bio)