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You may have a great message, an important revelation, a life changing product or service to reveal, but if you lose your credibility, you’ve got no chance. The messenger is as important as the message, because unless people buy the messenger, they won’t even hear the message. Yes, first impressions and appearances DO count.

Think of the last time you bought a book. First, you bought the cover Then, the pitch on the book’s dust jacket about the book, the accolades, the author. If any of those don’t grab you, you’re not buying, even if it’s a life changing, wonderful book.

The bottle blonde TV presenter who has an important message about Canada’s Prime Minister’s latest mindless announcement is a good example. She blurts out “Holy Crap!” and then “Sweet Jesus!” right at the beginning of her announcement! Swearing and blaspheming because you lack the vocabulary, poise, intellect, and professionalism required to make a point lose you your credibility before you can even get to your message.

Showing up late for a meeting, taking two days to respond to a phone message or email, not doing what you promised – will cost you your credibility with the people who count even before you open your mouth.

Personally, I watch men’s eyes – if they can’t keep them off passing women, I know they’re weak and undisciplined. Women who flirt are also a no-no. I’ll read your Facebook page and your tattoos before reading your resume.

The seminar “marketing expert” who minces around the stage in a brightly coloured satin suit and uses foul language comes across like a drunken pimp to people who matter. Not shaving, reeking of tobacco smoke or alcohol, ear and nose hairs, dirty shoes – all of these will cost you dearly, as will talking too loud, talking over people, chewing with your mouth open, not listening.

The same goes for spelling and grammatical mistakes (I know I make some) and not being well prepared, seeming desperate, being a “pushy” salesperson, not selling to a need, and not knowing your product or service. Cutting your prices is another credibility killer.

The place you choose to meet people, the pen and binder you use, the state of your car, how you answer your phone, your voice mail message, the way you treat serving staff in restaurants, all these things are being closely observed by those considering taking your advice, buying from you or hiring you. Think about this and prepare yourself accordingly.

Robin Elliott