The last wordOn 1 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Trainer and writer John Charlton gives some advice on what not to wear whenconducting a training course Imagine my horror recently when I unwrapped a birthday present and discovered a pilot’s shirt. Or rather, ashort-sleeve shirt in the pilot style. Naturally, I stuffed it in the charity clothes bank. It’sprobably now being worn by a sweaty moustachioed taxi driver in Bucharest’sLatin quarter.The sight of this item set me thinking about trainer stereotypes and the ongoing debatesurrounding ‘smart casual’ business dress. This phenomenon, too often a socialand professional minefield, is still in favour, according to recent research byIRS. Yet very often good trainers let themselves down by theirchoice of attire and they underestimate the importance of appearance at theirprofessional peril. Image consultant Lesley Everett says 55 per cent of impressionswe form about people are based onpersonal appearance and 38 per cent on voice quality. That leaves 7 per centfor words. Add the truism that decisions at interviews are made within 30seconds of candidates introducing themselves and it’s clear that we tend toplace far more emphasis on what we see rather than what we smell or hear. Sightis the most powerful sense. So how can trainers hit the right couture note?The simple answer is to dress appropriately for the audienceand environment in which they’re performing. Casual wear is probably OK in a blue-collar type environmentbut not in a business one. There co-ordinated conservative attire is the rule,and ties are a must for males. As Oscar Wilde said : “A well-tied tie isthe first serious step in life.” Although I think he would have made Open University lecturers anexception to that rule.It’s also imperative to minimise colours, wear matching shoesin good condition and to keep clothes clean. In her book Walking Tall – Key Steps to Total Image Impact,Everett recommends an image audit and self-critique analysis which involvesseeking and taking advice from a trusted source. Sounds fine – just make surethat source isn’t an Open University lecturer wearing a pilot’s shirt. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed.