I was recently interviewed by Natasha Balbas regarding tips on maintaining a good professional image.

The following are excerpts from the article:

Carolina Tan, an image consultant for Enhance Your Image Training Consultancy, advises, “Never carry a briefcase or laptop bag and a handbag at the same time—you will be perceived as less businesslike and more disorganized.” Instead, Tan suggests carrying one laptop bag or briefcase in your left hand, so you can shake hands with your right without fumbling.

Idiosyncrasies can potentially sabotage your interview or professional meeting. Tan states that nervous habits like fiddling with jewelry, watches, mobile phones and cufflinks are all no-nos. It’s also a good idea to watch the other person’s body language as well. “Respect the other person’s personal space, which will be largest in the opening minutes of the interview. If you move too close, the interviewer may respond by sitting back, leaning away, or using repetitive gestures such a drumming the fingers.”

Tan suggests wearing clothing that clearly shows your goals and drive. How does one do that, exactly? “Dress for the job that you really desire, not the current job that you have,” she explains. It’s also important to find clothes for your body type.

As a quick pick-me-up, Tan suggests hydrating with at least 2 to 3 liters of water per day for an adult, as well as snacking on fresh fruits like bananas, apples, or whatever’s in season. She also insists on getting as much sleep as possible.

Tan teaches her students to develop a “voice of confidence,” a communication tool that will help you say what you need to say effectively and powerfully. “The easiest way to be confident is to actually be confident. When you know what you are talking about, and you know that you are right in the matter, you will automatically sound and be more confident. This is attractive.”

Tan states that some people speak too softly, too loudly, or even too fast. Enunciate and maintain eye contact.
Make your words count. Tan advises people to speak only when they have something to say. Over time, she explains, this will raise others’ sense of your authority, since they’ll grow used to your always knowing what to say and when to say it.