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  • Writer's pictureLevern Darrell Scippio

Image Consulting | The Art of Teaching Soft Skills

Normally, I would start by defining what an image consultant is, but because there are so many terms that have become entangled with 'Image Consulting' I will address this question in a later segment. First, let us start with a different question.

A man walked into a bar that he has never been to before. Immediately, he sees three attractive women that he would like to meet. Each one is in different areas of the room. Typically, he is shy in these situations, but tonight, he is feeling a bit randy. As he starts his approach, he notices how well the young ladies are dressed. He looks down at his choice of outfit and begins to feel insecure. His mind starts to wander and think about all of the things that the young ladies may not like. Still unsure and somewhat unconfident, he decides to make a go of it. Who should he have talked to first?

Pickup Artist (PUA) | Mystery of The Game

At this point, you may be thinking that this article is about picking up women you meet in a bar. I assure you that it is not. It is about attraction and how an Image Consultant can help you develop it. So, what does a Pickup Artist have in common with an Image Consultant, you may ask? I will be happy to explain.

August 6, 2007, VH1 released a dating themed reality television contest named The Pickup Artist. The show by hosted by a Pickup Artist who calls himself Mystery (Real name: Erik von Markovik). At first glance, the concept seemed like a sleazy process for teaching socially awkward men to become the ultimate Pickup Artist, but interestingly enough, that was very far from the truth. Actually, Mystery was tutoring these guys to feel comfortable in their own skin. During the eight episodes, the contestants learned about body language, storytelling, wardrobe selection, grooming, hygiene, and self-confidence. The finale was, of course, seeing who can get a beautiful girl to go out with them by using all that they learned from their lessons.

Although most of us have some type of strategy when we approach a romantic interest, many people found the concept of the show misogynistic. In some people's minds, the thought that one man was teaching other men how to "pickup" women was wrong, yet many of us learn how to approach women from our fathers, uncles, brothers, and friends. The guys that Mystery was coaching were insecure, shy, and downright scared to talk to a woman. By the end of the show, most of them had conquered that fear. They were adept at how to start and hold a conversation in a variety of social settings, how to use body language to build comfort, trust, and a level self -esteem they would have never reached without this opportunity. Mystery helped them develop a new image, one that will benefit them for years to come. Even though, the Pickup Artist scene has received a bad wrap there has come some benefit of the concept. People have built self-worth, self-esteem, attraction, and confidence. This core idea is exactly what Image Consulting is about.

The Law of Attraction | Warning: This is going to get a little deep

In any situation where you are engaging another individual positively, you are hoping to bring about a high level of attraction. In a job interview, sales conference, social gathering, or blind date, you are hoping that you and the other person have enough in common to entitle a second interaction. Is there an actual science associated with human attraction?

An attraction is the highest form of physical recognition. Interpersonally, there are different levels of attraction, but without a connection, there can not be a bond made. Whether it is coworkers, associates, friends, or lovers, without some form of attraction, the relationship is probably doomed.

This has led many people to ask, "is there a law of attraction?" Is there a set of rules we can follow, and if we follow them, can we attract anyone and anything that we want to attract?

Rhonda Byrne, in her 2006 film "The Secret", spoke of her philosophy where if you think positive thoughts, you will generate positive experiences into your life and vice-versa.

Like attracts like, and Thoughts become things!

These are the concepts of her movie and book but have first come from ancient Greek philosophers. Since that time, we have uncovered quite a bit about science, gravity, magnetism, and thought. So, if this is an older way of thinking, can we incorporate what we know now with the idea and concepts of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle to understand "the Law of Attraction".

Rhonda Byrne's "Law of Attraction", is based on the idea is that your thoughts become things or matter. Since our thoughts become stored in our brains, that should mean that our brains would become denser over time, but instead, our brain density remains constant, and its size shrinks as we get older. The other possibility is that the matter created by our thoughts exist outside of our brain and therefore is no longer in our possession.

I like to think we store a reservoir of our emotional energy gained through daily experiences in the form of potential energy. It is collected inside our DNA and RNA for future use or expansion of offspring. This is possibly how our thoughts become things. Past down from parent to child, generation after generation.

DNA and RNA represent our atoms, and since the body has a mass, poles, and state of velocity, we are host to a field of energy. We are a complex smaller version of planets. We are surrounded by a gravitational field, just like the earth. The more experiences you have, whether positive or negative, your potential energy will increase in mass, density, and proximity, thereby increasing its gravitational field. This field is a part of who you are. Some may call it an aura or life force, and it attracts smaller, less experienced entities.

On the other hand, a magnetic field is different. With a magnetic field, you are attracting a counter-balance of what you are putting out and pushing away traits that are too similar. This is why we have the social phenomenon, "Opposites attract."

Magnetism is not about the mass or density of an entity but the direction, velocity, and proximity of its charged particles. Magnetism is usually associated with high functioning individuals in society. Actors, Musicians, Models, and Athletes, but everyone has a magnetic field. Traditional magnets are made of iron, nickel, or cobalt. Every cell in red blood cell in the human body has iron in it. We are all giant magnets.

Since direction, velocity, and proximity are necessary for magnetism, In the case of a human, that would be equal to an individual being active and very focused. Magnetism is a field made of kinetic energy.

Every planetary and human body has a gravitational and magnetic field surrounding it. The strength of these fields at any given point is proportional to the planetary body mass, direction, proximity, and velocity. Within human existence, gravitational and magnetic fields represent our ambition and performance.

This is the reason you may find someone who you think is less attractive or not very nice, having little resistance in attracting romantic interest.

These individuals usually have high self-esteem and are involved in some extracurricular activity, or at least that what they lead you to believe.

By now, you are probably asking, what does this have to do with Image Consulting. I have not forgotten. I will get to that soon.

An Examination of the Words, Image & Consultant

Before I define the phrase Image Consultant, I want to make sure we have an understanding of the root words.

Image | What is it, and why does it matter? defines 'Image'(noun) as

  1. a visual representation of something.

  2. a mental picture or impression of something

  3. a popular conception

By these definitions, 'Image' would have to include more than just your choice of clothes. It is what you show the world. It is what people remember about you after being around you and interacting with you. It is a common perception a group of individuals would agree on about you.

The way you stand. The way you walk. The way you wear your hair. How you talk. Your manners at a dinner table. The way that you smell. Your use of language. Your ability to listen and empathize. How well you hold eye contact and the way that you dress. Many factors make up your image.

The importance of your image highlights the fact that people judge each other. Everyone will use a combination of your characteristics, traits, skills, and prejudgments to create a persona of you. That persona will have a foundation of biases, stereotypes, and prejudices first; then, depending on your interaction, the structure will change.

No matter what steps you take to make people view you in a particular way, some of them will not change their perception of you. That persona is fixed in their mind. This is the reason you should never adjust your image to meet someone else ideals, but rather adjust to represent your ideals.

Consultant | What consultants do? defines a Consultant (noun) as, "someone who is paid to give expert advice or training on a particular subject." I like this definition because it does not stop at just giving advice. It goes the extra mile to provide training.

I believe a consultant to be someone who will work with you to understand and help you grow in a given area or as a person. They have experience and skill which they share with you to guide you to a new level of independence.

Consultants are hired to provide information to solve clients' problems. They ask questions to pinpoint the greatest area of concern then make a recommendation based on the feedback. The consultant will then work together with the client to implement a solution. Once a solution is identified, the client must understand the skills used and cultivate the confidence to do it on their own. That is when the consultant works with the client over time to reinforce new behaviors and habits. Now the client can confront similar issues without guidance.

What is an Image Consultant?

An Image Consultant is a paid professional who advises their client on how to develop an attractive persona incorporating the following characteristics, habits, traits, and skills: Verbal Communication (Phonetics, Phonology, Pragmatics, Morphology, Syntax, Semantics), Nonverbal Communication (Eye Contact, Facial Expressions, Gestures, Posture, Body Language [Kinesics], Distance [Proxemics], Paralanguage, Touch [Haptics], Time [Chronemics], Oculesics), Appearance (Fashion, Style, Wardrobe, Grooming, Makeup, Gender Representation), Socializing ( Behavior Modification, Daily Hygiene Routine, Etiquette, Manners, Mannerism, First Impressions, and Lasting Impressions)

Most Image Consultants specialize in a particular niche.

There are very few Image Consultants skilled and knowledgable enough to take on all aspects of a person's image.

Their goal is to invent a "New You." It is similar to crafting something from its' rawist form into a timeless work of art.

Impressions | Can an Image Consultant help you make a great impression?

First Impression

Scientists have said that it takes 7 seconds for most people to form a first opinion about someone and less than 1/10th of a second to judge their initial facial expression. During that time, we choose if we are going to trust them or if we find them attractive, or if we think they will responsibly complete tasks.

First impressions are influenced most by nonverbal communication and body language. Research suggests that body language and facial cues have the most substantial impacts on first impressions. So, in practice, we decide a large part of our opinion about someone before they even open their mouth.

Clothing, hairstyles, accessories, and other features of a person’s visible appearance have a seemingly more insignificant weight on first impressions.

5 Ways to Create a Good First Impression

  1. Dress to impress.

  2. Make eye contact, especially when speaking, but do not stare.

  3. Smile (we search for smiles and notice them at great distances).

  4. Use a firm handshake.

  5. Be original and polite.

7 Ways to Create a Better First Impression

  1. Compliment the other person if it seems appropriate.

  2. Fluctuate your voice, not to sound monotone.

  3. Use appropriate non-verbal gestures and language.

  4. Control your posture. Make sure to stand or sit up straight.

  5. Use the same words or synonyms to match the other person's vocabulary (remember, we prefer people who are similar to us).

  6. Remember, no one is perfect, not even you.

  7. Be confident, be yourself, and do not pretend to be someone you are not.

9 of the Best Ways to Create a First Impression

  1. You are talking to a human. Show interest in the people you meet.

  2. Make it about them. Do not just talk about yourself.

  3. Tell them why you enjoy talking to them.

  4. Project trustworthiness

  5. Inspire confidence in your abilities

  6. Be friendly, approachable, and likable.

  7. Have a meaningful conversation.

  8. Express gratitude, shake their hand and leave.

  9. Begin with the end in mind

Halo Effect | How to make your First Impression attract more positive experiences?

The Halo Effect is the trend of using our positive First Impression of a person, company, brand, or product to make an overall positive assumption about the entity.

An example of this cognitive bias is, "He is handsome therefore he must also be smart" The perceptions of a single trait are carried over to other aspects of that person even if they have revealed those traits.

However, this effect does not just affect our perceptions of people based on their attractiveness. It can comprise other traits as well; People who are overweight, for example, may be seen as lazy.

It promotes rapid declarations, even if a prejudiced one.

The term is from religious art when a person is judged 'good' or 'saintly' by portraying them with a heavenly light called a halo around their head.

When you chose only to see the one thing this person was good at instead of objectively observing all of their characteristics independently, you are casting them in a similar light.

A good Image Consultant can teach you how to use this phenomenon for your benefit, a great one can teach you how to make it happen.

The Primacy Effect | How to make your First Impression a Lasting Impression?

After most people create a first impression during a face to face encounter, their original judgment tends to persist even if confronted with verified information contradictory with the initial perception observed. This is known as the Primacy Effect, Also called the law of primacy (or principle of primacy).

Studies show the first obtained information is weighted greater in the mind than the later information. Some suggest that the initial information shapes the meaning of later information.

This effect can occur in both formal learning situations and social contexts.

A Lasting Impression

The two places to find evidence of a lasting impression is in a history book and the way people talk about you when you are not in the room. The memory may be a good one or bad. Most of us do not want the latter. What are some of the things we can do to a positive lasting impression? 14 ways to make a lasting impression.

  1. Remember and use their name at least 3 times during your conversation.

  2. Tell a joke that makes them laugh in a charming and funny kinda way.

  3. Smile and keep eye contact for at least the first 3-5 seconds from the beginning of the conversation or introduction.

  4. If it is an appropriate situation to shake hands, make it a firm handshake about 3 seconds long while keeping eye contact.

  5. If they are showing signs of distress or confusion, ask how you can help them.

  6. Be Real, Be Genuine, Be Authentic, Be Honest, Be Realistic, Be Respectable, Be Reliable, Be Sincere, Be Modest, Be Unassuming, Be You

  7. If the person you are speaking with says or does something funny, smart, clever, interesting, or brave, Give A Compliment.

  8. Add value or utility to the conversation or project.

  9. Listen first, then ask questions.

  10. Introduce yourself before being introduced.

  11. Show Appreciation by Saying ‘Thank You’

  12. If you say you're are going to do something, say it like you mean it and do what you say you're going to do.

  13. Find some way to make history.

  14. Win!!!

Why Fashion Stylists, Wardrobe Stylists, and Personal Shoppers are not Image Consultants?

All of these professions pick outfits for their 'subject' to wear. All of them decide what looks best on them. All of them can teach the 'subject' how to do it for themselves, but none are specifically hired to do that.

  1. Fashion Stylist - "is a professional who coordinates all aspects of a person’s visual aesthetic to make them look as fashionable and appealing as possible." ( Fashion stylists are usually hired by celebrities, musicians, fashion houses, and Hollywood A-listers to construct an outfit (or series of outfits) or look for an event (or series of events) like published editorial features, print or television advertising campaigns, music videos, concert performances, and any public appearances. In most cases, they are a part of a larger team. Sometimes they only focus on the clothes the subject wears while makeup and hair are styled by someone else. Fashion Stylists do not typically teach their clients how to do this for themselves.

  2. Wardrobe Stylist (Personal Stylist) - are the same as Fashion Stylist, but they focus on a personal wardrobe rather than a single event. A wardrobe stylist is hired to come to your house and review the clothes you have, then determine what you need. Typically, they will provide you with a list of items that you need (based on what was removed or you did not have), and it will be up to you to purchase them. Some wardrobe stylist will take it a step further.

  3. Personal Shoppers