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Society & Culture

CONTENTS Dress for success 52 New entrant charms movie lovers with 3D experience 54 Book Review: How to win friends and inuence people in the digital age 55

It is the rst digita l IMAX 3D theatre system w screen th ith a at is nine metres h igh and 1 7 metres w ide


Dress for success

n a Friday morning, Derek Bbanga, dressed in a slimtting cream coloured suit with a sky blue shirt, is the odd man out. His personal brand elements a golden tie pin, blue and yellow cuinks and a pocket handkerchief round o the business outt. Kenya is a more formal society, he explains, as if nding an excuse for his sharp outt on a day when many dress down. We dress up more than they do overseas. But

Casual has become the new formal. But does this always work? AAMERA JIWAJI nds out

the American and West European inuence has meant that we are becoming more relaxed. More people are dressing in business casual. Its easy to understand why Bbanga dresses sharply, even on a relaxed day. He is the lead consultant at Public Image Africa, a training company that provides services for companies and individuals in international and business etiquette. He is also an image coach working with various

political aspirants and athletes. Business casual is one step down from business formal which is a full suit and tie, and one step up from smart casual, he says. Unfortunately people dont know where to start and so it goes from the sublime to the ridiculous. Judging from his presentation this morning, it is clear that Mr Bbanga is more conservative in his interpretation of business casual. People who work in the consultancy eld and the nancial

sector are expected to dress more professionally compared to those in advertising or the more creative elds. Generally, though, business casual oers the leeway of not wearing a tie or a jacket for men, and a pantsuit and sleeveless top for women. But Mr Bbanga is quick to add that while interpretations of business casual may dier depending on industry or individual, the dening factor ought to be the impression that you intend to create. Dressing is about

| Nairobi Business Monthly MAY

Society & Culture

Dressing is about perspective. It is not about what you are comfortable in; it is about the job that you are expected to do. You dress for the client. Clothing infers credibility and authority. It communicates how seriously you take your job Derek Bbanga

perspective. It is not about what you are comfortable in; it is about the job that you are expected to do. You dress for the client. Clothing infers credibility and authority. It communicates how seriously you take your job and it says I am the best in the industry. And anything that is well packaged is half sold, he says. He subconsciously ngers the lapels on his jacket, and with an imperceptible gesture, adjusts the way it sits on his shoulders. Creating the right rst impression through personal presentation is a topic he is passionate about. Mr Bbanga draws a parallel between Kenya and Washington DC in the United States. Washington is the political and nancial capital of the United States and people who work there are dressed in full suits even during the hottest days of summer when temperatures rival those of Mombasa. Whereas in Mombasa, in spite of the prevalence of air-conditioned oces, short sleeves and open-toe sandals are the norm even in a professional working environment. The dierence, he says, is that people in Kenya dont see dressing as a priority even though the way a person dresses is the second most powerful form of non-verbal communication. Attention to detail in small areas like making sure your clothes are well ironed, wearing colours that suit you and using the right accessories make all the dierence. You can work within a budget to look well groomed, he adds. It says a lot about your personal brand. The West is undergoing a transition where people are moving back to dressing formally because the importance of personal presentation is being recognised. In the West, you may not have a job but you are dressed like you work at a bank because employers want

GET IT RIGHT WITH Business Casual

Dos Be the best business casual you can be, so no tears or wrinkles, shoes shined, clothes t etc. Be a little more formal than your client/ customer. Wear a watch (for men). It is a must once youre in the business world. It says that you have a concept for time. Digging for your mobile phone to tell the time is unsophisticated. Wear some understated jewellery (for women). Like brooches or pearls. They look fantastic! Dress appropriately and pay attention to the psychology of colour. Make up (women). Research has shown that women who use makeup earn more money and get promoted more. Donts Jeans. Instead try khaki, cotton, toile, corduroy etc Open sandals. T-shirts i.e. anything without a collar. Polo shirts are okay. Short sleeves (for men). Wear a long sleeved shirt and roll up your sleeves. Sleeveless tops (for women) no matter what Michelle Obama does. Show too much skin e.g. through sheer tops, revealing tops, or short skirts. Embrace your femininity but rather be known for the statistics that come out of your mouth. Baggy clothes. They say that if your clothes are too big, you are hiding something and if they are too tight, you are insecure.

to hire a person who has the right appearance. Perception is reality. It would be interesting to track a companys approach to dressing and its success. He made an oblique reference to the recent Newsweek magazine which had dedicated an entire issue to exploring the urban myth of whether good looking people are more successful which in his experience is true and then added that we all need to dress in a way that

maximises our own strengths. He illustrated his point by looking at Kenyan youth. The relaxation of dress codes among the younger generation is negatively inuencing their ability to progress, Mr Bhanga said, and made reference to a recent presentation at a public university when lecturers commented on the distinct lack of professionalism in the way students speak, dress, communicate and behave. There are brilliant people out there but they are letting themselves down through a simple lack of attention to detail, Mr Bbanga said. Yes its unfair to judge someone on the way they are dressed but you need to stand in front of people and have condence. You must dress to give yourself power and presence. Look at Mark Zuckerberg. The founder of Facebook, a twenty something billionaire, has recently MAY

changed his public image and moved away from a hoodie and jeans to smart-casual trousers and a collared shirt. Even he had to clean up his act, he notes. He must have been told to by his advisers. When competing with people with same qualications and skills, the nal decision comes down to non-verbal communication skills, which include presentation, body language and emotional intelligence. These skills, he argued, add sophistication and allow a person to do their job condently. The key is to develop a style personality. The more you dress down, the more of personal presence you lose, he said. He pointed to his glasses, ngered his pocket handkerchief and then his tie pin and said: These are part of my style personality. Everyone needs to develop their own. Nairobi Business Monthly |