The Sabermetrics of Appearance

The art of using small statistical and often subconscious advantages to tweak your appearance on order to gain an edge in business. Advantages that, in aggregate and over time, have a not insignificant effect on success.
 
If you’re a baseball fan you have, in all likelihood, heard of sabermetrics. In the movie Moneyball, sabermetrics are employed by the Oakland A’s to defy conventional wisdom and outsmart Major League Baseball’s much wealthier teams. Wikipedia defines sabermetrics as “the empirical analysis of baseball, especially baseball statics that measure in-game activity”. It is used, among other things, to evaluate the contributions made by players, actions and decisions on wins and losses. For Example sabermetrics can tell us the average effect a base hit might have on a team’s chance of winning a game. Sabermetrics uses data to overcome biases and assumptions to get a more accurate portrayal and ultimately to get more with less.

In the following, we will borrow from sabermetrics and utilize some of it’s principals, we will apply them to personal appearance and our own individual actions in a business setting in order to improve our overall chances of success. Through several small adjustments we can statistically improve the impressions we make and the influence we have.

One key to the effectiveness of this strategy and a staple of sabermetrics instructs us to be careful not to fall into traps set by small sample size results. In other words, we should avoid making judgments based on a meeting or two, it is over many meetings that the uptick will become more evident. In fact the more often you put these concepts into practice the better the results can be. One way to look at this would be to consider that if you had the same meeting 10 times it maybe that the adjustments do show a statistical improvement in 8 out of the 10 meetings and it would follow that you could be participating in the 2 of 10 that do not show benefits.

Leverage how you dress to gain an edge:

Clothing choices play an important role in gaining an edge at work, as the saying goes “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Do you want to be thought of as professional or trendy? Reliable or eccentric? Perhaps you can pull off a bit of both if you lean in the direction of the classics but with a more modern cut. 
 
When looking at a style, give consideration to your silhouette, the overall shape you are depicting. If you were to approach from a distance, what do people see before you come into focus? This type of impression frequently takes a more direct route to the subconscious and is an important ingredient in our clothing selections. Do those tight jeans rolled at the bottom look stable trustworthy or professional?
 
When it comes to color, studies indicate that Navy Blue inspires confidence and darker colors in general imply power, to draw attention wear red and if optimism is your goal try yellow. Combinations and contrasts of color can help to bring about the impression you’re going for too, varying your color contrasts can attract different levels of attention but much of this will depend on skin, eye and hair color so don’t be afraid to experiment or utilize the color matching resources on the web.

Circumstances will often contribute to certain clothing choices, always dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared when it takes a turn. Making adjustments based on audience can also be a fun thing to experiment with, make a note of the interests of the people your with and consider the things they may mentally relate to being professional. For Example: Do they watch a lot of basketball? What are the most respected basketball coaches wearing?

If faced with a choice, choose subtle over overt, the goal is to look good effortlessly and avoid appearing overdressed or give the impression you’re trying to hard.

Get your shirt jump started: propercloth.com

Accessorizing for success:

Accessories are a great way to get the details right. A nice pair of shoes goes a long way when making an impression. Shoes can telegraph a lot about you and how you expect to spend your day so don’t be afraid to spend a little more to get the fit and look you’re going for and as with the other clothing elements, aim for the classic or more conservative styles. 
 
 Try: zappos.com
 
 
Try a pair of glasses, the right glasses can give an impression of intelligence and professionalism not found in other wardrobe options. In fact, studies have shown that not only do people associate wearing glasses with higher levels of education but they also give the impression of trustworthiness. If you want that trendy look, choose glasses with logos.
 
 Checkout: eyebuydirect.com

A nice watch can add style, elegance and an air of professionalism to any wardrobe but for the successful look, avoid rubber or plastic watch bands at the office.
 
 Watch ideas: touchofmodern.com

Edge-level Accessories:

A high quality bag says a lot about you, let people know you mean business and set your sites on a messenger/briefcase style bag in dark canvas or leather and try to stay away from backpacks. 
 
 Start here: tumi.com
 
Demonstrate your preparedness by having a notebook and sharp looking pen at the ready when note taking situations arise. Notebook appearance is also worth paying attention to, unless your going for the student look a cheap spiral notebook or something similar is best past over.
 
 Nice notebooks: public-supply.com
 
One of the more underestimated and successful ways to leave a lasting impression is with a superior business card. Let your competition treat them like a commodity while you hand off your card in style. Consider more attractive an ddurable materials like plastic.
 
 I get mine custom from: plasticprinters.com

Sit up and take notice:

As we mentioned earlier, your silhouette plays a role in gaining that business edge, make sure yours looks stable, feet spreed slightly apart to make a solid base and work on keeping a straight back without looking stiff. Even when sitting, situate yourself so that you’re sturdy and not hunched. Studies have shown that nonverbal communication carry’s more impact than the actual things being said. Be sure to direct your body, particularly your toes and shoulders at the person your communicating with to show them your interested and attentive.

Tip: Regular exercise contributes to how you carry yourself and helps your energy level too.

Remember to make eye contact and acknowledge people with a smile will not just help your chances of success but might just lift someones spirits on the process.

Growing your aura:

Identify more ways to apply sabermetrics concepts to your business success rate by paying attention to the first impressions people have on you — What makes them standout? What was your gut reaction to them? Be on the lookout for the impressions you give other people listen for cues and feedback and make adjustments (but remember small sample size).
 
Before you know it, these efforts will become part of your routine, the results will come naturally and you will begin to see success. You will also get a boost from a steadily increasing level of self confidence that can compound the advantages and that promotion is all but won. 

Tip: Always leave them with something to remember you by.

Finally, knowledge is power, stay on top of the appearance cues your giving others. Find the right combination of professionalism and being yourself to bread confidence and success.