Appearance matters more so today
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - August 16, 2020 - 12:00am

Almost everything takes place online. Doing groceries, buying stuff, following the news updates, and the most evident of them all – MEETINGS! Meetings with bosses and colleagues, product presentations, and consultancy meetings with clients; everything on the screen brings me to a fascinating observation.

Ever since the lockdown, people today are more forgiving. You can see this emerging behavior in television as newscasters, talk show hosts and anchors deliver their piece and reports from their homes. What do you see? Unshaven faces, greying and uncut hair, poor lighting, intermittent, and sometimes inaudible voices are ordinary day spectacles. While in some extreme cases an entire disappearance from the screen of the person being interviewed because he or she has lost connection. These were practices and behaviors that would not have been tolerated much less forgiven during pre-COVID days. Social media would have blasted them with unsavory comments, but today while specific “blooper” videos are made about them, in general, we all accept them as realities of the situation. Yes, people today are more forgiving. However, this does not mean that we are to be loose and uncaring about how we present ourselves even when we are “zooming” our way throughout the day. We do not lower our standards and allow the current situation to justify the lack of diligent preparation for meetings.

The most common expressions today are: “Can you hear me?” “I can’t hear you.” “Yes, I can hear you.” “Unmute yourself.” Somebody says, this is the age of the familiar sounds you would hear in a video conference: The sound of babies crying. Dogs barking. Cars honking and the noise of stomach gurgling and sometimes even sounds from the exhaust pipes of trucks and body parts passing to the consternation of the video participants. Trust me if I say that your appearance matters even in the age of online meetings and discussions.

There was a time when the famous adage was: “Don’t judge the book by its cover.” We’ve all heard this phrase from time to time. It has led us to a tendency to neglect our physical appearances believing that what’s in the inside is more important than what is seen on the outside. But in a WFH situation wherein human contact will be restricted, your bosses, colleagues, and clients would not have the time nor the opportunity to know your “inner self” to assess who you are anymore. First impressions and online appearances matter. One person says: “The longer I stay at home, the more homeless I look.” This should not be the case. While doing a webinar for a client, I remember the kind emcee paying me a compliment: “Francis, even in doing webinars today, you are still as dapper as you appear.” That is because I have to be intentional in fixing my “online appearance.”

Appearance includes many things, the style and neatness of your clothing, the crease in your shirt, your choice of colors, and a host of other technical stuff that would affect your appearance rating. Do not underestimate the following:

1. The power of looking fresh and well-rested.

2. Tempered hair even when getting longer so you would not look like you are having a “bad hair day.”

3. Lighting. Cameras from laptops automatically adjust as sensors pick up light. Do not face your laptop with a light behind you. Make sure that you have a well-lit shine on your face. Learn from professional vloggers and pick up their cues. An investment in a led ring light would not hurt to improve your appearance because a light behind you makes you look dark. And you do not want to look like someone who is with the witness-protection program.

4. The most significant factor is the smile on your face, followed by your attitude and sense of humor. A good sense of humor and a positive attitude is particularly crucial as you navigate or lead your people during these difficult times while you move into the upper echelons of business. These are part and parcel of appearances.

Yes, appearances matter not just for our sake but also to encourage others while they go through these very challenging times. Just consider that you are doing this not for yourself but for others. And one last thing before I forget… wear pants. Do not overwhelm others.

(Attend the live webinar this Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Francis Kong will host, and Pastor Chad Williams of Union Church of Manila will speak on “Finding Strength in The Small Things”)




  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with