June 28, 2011
Image gap is the difference between how a person wants to look and sound compared to how they are actually viewed by others. Projecting your desired image can build trust and is critical to successful communication. Projecting an inappropriate image, however, can erode trust and cause others to doubt your abilities. Four components of your overall image are your projected first impression, your depth of knowledge, your breadth of knowledge, and your enthusiasm.
Your projected first impression is the initial impact you make on another person due to your dress, voice, grooming, handshake, eye contact, and body language. First impressions tend to be long lasting and difficult to overcome.
To create a positive first impression, you should have a firm but not overpowering handshake. Sit and walk in a straight yet relaxed manner. Maintain high standards of personal hygiene and grooming. Speak clearly while naturally varying your tone and volume. Finally, dress appropriately for your job responsibilities and work environment since skillful dressing can evoke positive responses to your personality.
Depth of knowledge refers to how well you know your area of expertise. Demonstrating your depth of knowledge can project credibility and demand respect. You can develop depth of knowledge by studying company policies and industry standards. You can also take advantage of training programs offered by your company.
Breadth of knowledge reflects your ability to communicate with others on topics outside your area of expertise. Breadth of knowledge allows you to more easily develop rapport with others. It will also allow you to increase your circle of influence with various types of people. You can increase your breadth of knowledge by reading a variety of books and magazines, watching and listening to a diverse selection of television and radio programs, and interacting with a wide array of individuals. If you...