Defined in Wikipedia, “the halo effect is a cognitive bias where the perception of one trait (i.e. a characteristic of a person or object) is influenced by the perception of another trait (or several traits) of that person or object”. An example would be judging a good-looking person as more intelligent.
Halo effects happen when the perceiver does not have enough information about you but makes assumptions based on one or two prominent traits—these one or two prominent traits “overshadow” other traits, similar to the radiation of light in optical halo effects or halos in iconography (rings of light around someone’s head).
Just as we can instinctively like someone, or we draw a favourable conclusion about them because of the school they went to, or the way they shake hands, the opposite (horn effect) can happen and we dislike them based on similar isolated cues.
Since one can unduly influenced by an unfavourable (horns) or favourable (halo) first impression based on appearances, here are 10 points to help you create the impact you need for that first impression.
1. COLOUR ME RIGHT
Eyes experience a “shutdown” when looking at neutral colours for long and they will automatically avert. When someone isn’t looking at you, chances are you’ve lost his attention and he won’t be listening to anything you’re saying. Be aware of the psychological messages sent out with the colours you wear – a splash of red or any other bright colour is always good as it signifies a zest for life and a raring spirit.
2. PROPER FIT
Clothes that are too big will make you look sloppy and clothes that are too tight look like they have “shrunk”. Make sure everything fits well and clothes must look like they are natural extensions of you. You must look comfortable in them.
Ladies should never to work or to a social event with a “bedroom” face. Putting on a little make-up is one of the ways to show you care. On the other hand, putting on too much make-up is a definite image-destroyer! The minimum is ‘polite make-up” – powder and lipstick, and Coco Chanel’s warning is “a face without lipstick is a face without energy”!
4. SLOPPINESS UNLIMITED
Check for missing buttons, loose hemlines, stains (like ink or curry) and cigarette smells on your clothes. Don’t sabotage yourself and undermine your own confidence.
5. PUTTING YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
“You can tell a man from his shoes” so make sure your shoes go with the rest of your outfit. Never allow your shoes to look scruffy and don’t forget to peel off the price and number tags from your new shoes before you wear them.
Gentlemen : the colour of your socks should be the same colour as your shoes or your trousers. White socks with leather shoes are definitely not cool!
Ladies : the colour of your stockings should be lighter than your shoes and the colour of your shoes should the same colour as your skirt or trousers, or darker, never lighter. Make sure your feet are buffed and attractive in open-toed footwear.
6. REVEALING TOO MUCH
Avoid see-through fabric in your work wear and revealing too much of a cleavage at work is not professional.
7. TALK TO MY HANDS
Make sure your hands are neatly groomed and ladies, and don’t allow the nail polish to be chipped. For men, nothing puts a person off faster than seeing that long nail on the last finger!
8. KISSABLE LIPS
Don’t allow your lips to be chapped and dry. Treat those lips and drink plenty of water. Ladies, one observation to note is that the darker the lipstick, the older you’ll look.
9. CROWNING OR CLOWNING GLORY
“When people’s hair looks lousy, their self-esteem goes down. They feel less smart, less capable, more embarrassed and less sociable,” reported a recent Yale University study by a group of psychologists. Another interesting finding from this study as that men are more likely than women to feel awful when their hair don’t behave. Your hair is your crowning glory!
10. SMILE POWER
Lastly, you are not fully dressed unless you are dressed with a smile!