How to Look More Successful

The business tips that can help you fake it 'til you make it


The business tips that can help you fake it ’til you make it

Like it or not, we live in a shallow world. When it comes to business, it’s those who look like a million bucks who get the bucks. After all, if you’re going to hand over a six-figure cheque, you want to give it to someone who looks like they know what to do with it. Here’s how you too can fake your way into the big boys’ club. Get a swanky postal code Working from your bachelor basement suite? Better keep that quiet. Having a downtown business address is as easy as hiring a virtual assistant or answering service, or taking out a membership at a packaged office such as WorkSpace in Gastown. “You can get an address, a phone number, a mailing address and an office to meet with clients on an irregular basis for a small monthly fee,” explains Gregg Taylor, president of Transitions Career & Business Consultants Inc. “It’s a business address, there’s a 1-800 number and there’s a personal assistant answering your calls for you.” And no one but you has to know it isn’t your own office. Walk faster Busy, successful people don’t have time to meander. By quickening your gait and walking with a sense of purpose, you’ll gain an ­aura of importance. But a word of warning: don’t confuse that with looking stressed. You want to appear calm and in control at all times. Lisa Powell, personal fashion consultant and ­owner of Evolving Fashion Inc., also suggests having a ready smile. “A person who smiles in business is a person who isn’t stressed, which means a person who is successful.” Learn big words “Read a dictionary to expand your vocabulary,” advises Powell. Just make sure you use your new powers of speech ­wisely; nothing screams amateur like someone throwing out big words incorrectly. Other ways to gain some sophistication include taking a wine-tasting course, attending a few symphony performances or enrolling in a language class. Who knows? You might even enjoy it. Buy new socks Powell insists her clients wear nice socks. “When you’re sitting down with someone and you cross your legs, people will notice: ‘Wow, those are really nice socks – he pays attention to detail.’” The minutiae of your appearance make all the difference. Make sure your shoes are shined and your pants are hemmed just right. Oh, and press your clothes. “If you iron your shirt, you’re probably ambitious. If you don’t, you probably don’t give a damn,” quips Powell. Travel Successful people always seem to be coming back from some trip or another. So keep an eye out for last-minute deals on flights and packaged holidays to places you can drop into conversation later on. And, suggests Taylor, try to set up a few meetings with business people while you’re there. “There’s lots of friendly people. Just say, ‘Hey, I’m visiting from Canada and I’d love to trade notes with somebody in London on what’s happening in Europe.’ You don’t have to do business to say, ‘I met so-and-so of such-and-such corporation when I was in London.’” Click here for more Need to Know tips. Do you have any business tips to share? Use the comment form below or email us at