Sell Yourself First!

Written by Shannon Smith

Did you know that humans think visually! The saying “I hear what I see” is true.


A UCLA study proves that 85% of all decisions are made with our eyes. The 3 areas of personal presence are the Verbal, Vocal and Visual ones. The one with the most impact is the visual presentation.


Whether you like it or not, the image and good manners you project affects other’s decisions as to your intelligence, character and ability. It further determines whether or not others want to do business with you. People notice ….AND they immediately place you somewhere on a scale. You rank only as others perceive you.


The way you dress and act has a remarkable impact on the people you meet professionally and socially. This greatly affects how they treat you. Clients have told me that they have lost promotions, deals have fallen through, memberships were denied and friends have disappeared because they paid so little attention to personal branding.


If your personal brand (image) and dining etiquette are not professional and congruent, attractive and attracting you will be passed over – guaranteed. Therefore, to be competitive, to have a greater influence on others, attract more business and be more successful it’s critical that you pay greater attention to “personal branding.” As an image coach I know that before you sell anything… your product, company or service you sell yourself first.

Large, successful companies understand the power of “branding” a product and the corporate image of their company. They spend a lot of time, money and energy to create “a brand” that is eye catching and appealing enough to sell their product through to market.

Have you ever thought of yourself as A COMPANY OF ONE? How much time, money and energy have you spent in developing a “personal brand” that is unique enough to sell through to your market? Chances are you haven’t even given it a thought- Right! Perhaps, like many of my clients, you too, will dismiss “personal branding” as frivolous, unimportant and superficial until you, like them, hit a brick wall; lose business, that big contract or the next promotion.

Perception is reality. Unfortunately, we all make snap judgments about others in the first 10 seconds. As an image consultant, the first step in assisting a client create a dynamic personal brand is to start on a fact finding mission with a “personal brand assessment.” Then, following the initial session we step into the bigger picture and move forward developing an action plan and determine scheduling.

Here are a few questions in one of the assessment tools I use with my personal clients to determine their attitudes, knowledge, goals and
the level of their etiquette IQ.

Be Honest!
1. Has your business changed? Has your position or responsibilities changed?
2. Has your personal life had a recent significant change? Is your “personal brand” in line with your present lifestyle? Business goals?
3. When was the last time you took stock – seriously? Does your wardrobe and how you use it reflect trust, congruency and responsibility?
4. How would your clients describe you?
5. When was the last time you changed your personal style… your hair style….your habits….or treated yourself?
6. What about deportment? Does the way you behave and conduct yourself reflect the importance of your profession and company or who you are now?
7. You may dress the part but do you act the part? Do you fidget? Do you have any nervous habits you are unaware of?
8. Do you have manners or do they need a tune up? Do you know proper dining etiquette and how to do business with the right fork?

How to pay the bill graciously or the correct protocol in dealing with the opposite sex in business? Have you had etiquette training?


More Importantly – Would you do Business With Yourself?
How did you do? Do you really know what your “first 10 seconds” are saying about YOU? Are you paying attention? Where do you really rate on a scale of one to ten?


We know that in the current economy, competitiveness has increased dramatically. The business has become more serious and conservative – not only in attitude and business attire but in etiquette and manner as well. Companies are hiring me as an etiquette consultant to train their employees in the fine art of manners, business etiquette, dining and appropriate dress.


Even though intelligence, experience and education count, companies tell us they are simply not hiring those who do not possess these all important communication skills. It is the whole package that counts.


The hallmarks of successful individuals in a fast paced global marketplace are their confidence, manners and poise. Mediocre is dead—and it’s about time. It’s not acceptable to dress inappropriately or do business with the wrong fork. There is a return to formality, elegance, manners and sophistication. People are getting dressed up again, dining in fine restaurants, are entertaining clients and being
entertained as well.


It’s been my experience that when an individual understands the power of “perception” that individual will make the changes necessary to ensure that he or she communicates more effectively through the power of his/her “personal brand.”

"You either create a brand that is distinct......or you become extinct."

Tom Peters, In search of Excellence

About the author:

Shannon Smith is the leading Personal Brand Authority in professional presence, soft skills, personal transformation, personal brand coaching, presentation skills, business etiquette, social manners, executive dining, table manners, and protocol.


She is a published Author of Power Manners – How to Use Your Personal Skills for Business and Social Success; contributing Author of Live the Life You Love, with Mark Victor Hansen, John Assaraf, and Dr. Wayne Dier, and Journeys to Success – based on the Success Principles of Napoleon Hill; the go-to Expert for press, radio, and TV. Shannon was the etiquette consultant for The Counterfeit Contessa, filmed at Casa Loma.


Her motto and mission: “Transforming Individuals from Unnoticed to Unforgettable” through the power of authentic leadership skills.

Special Limited Time Offer!

Good Manners are an essential element in everyone's personal portfolio!

Far from a collection of rules and regulations, this is a very practical easy-to-read guide with answers to many of business and social questions.


It explores contemporary manners and universally accepted rules of behavior, helping you through business and social situations throughout the world.


Find out how to make the best entrance, how to handle the business lunch, about small talk and introductions, and what fork to use and when.


Find out how well-mannered you are when you check out our chapter quizzes.

Buy Your Copy Now (Regularly: $36.95)