Style in Business – What to Wear to a Client Meeting
Whether you’re courting prospective clients for a valuable contract, or you’re developing the rapport of an existing relationship – how you dress to a client meeting matters. How you present yourself speaks volumes about you, your business and what you’re like to be doing business with.
So, it is something you should take a good amount of time and effort in preparing for.
Here’s some considerations for you when dressing for a business meeting
Know who you’re going to meet because different client types will have different expectations. This is where it’s helpful to understand as much as possible about the person you’ll be meeting. Chances are that a graphic designer will dress much more casually than a solicitor, for example.
Mirroring is an effective psychological technique that really does work when it comes to business meetings, and it doesn’t just apply to what you say and do. If you can dress in a way that’s similar to the client, you’re on your way to creating an effective rapport.
Erring on the side of caution is a good approach to take, and means a simple but semi-formal style. We’re talking a suit, shirt and tie here. You’re always aiming to come across as professional and reputable in your field, so whilst that quirky polo shirt and jeans might be right for the office – it could give your client the wrong impression.
That doesn’t mean you can’t add your own unique style to the outfit. Accessories are perfect for adding that personalised touch, anything from your choice of tie to cufflinks or pocket squares can add a special something.
Make sure you match by coordinating your outfit from head to toe. That means wearing a full suit rather than a different colour jacket to trousers. Ensuring your shirt compliments your suit is essential. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a contrasting colour, but if it’s going to clash with your suit and tie you might give your client a headache rather than the confidence that you’re right for their project.
Forgo your favourite shoes if they’re more comfy than smart. You really want the well-polished regular suit shoes than trainers. Sure, they’re not the most comfortable things to wear but when it comes to making the right impression, feeling the part is crucial and that sometimes means wearing clothes you don’t like.
Take account of layering when planning your meeting apparel – will you still have the right image when you remove your jacket? If it’s going to be one of those long, drawn-out meetings over lunch, you’re going to get hot and uncomfortable, and you don’t want to be the only one in a suit jacket when everyone else has removed theirs.
Ensure you still look professional by having the right shirt and accessories. We recommend the ‘point collar’ with a barrel cuff for a semi-formal and presentable shirt that works in the majority of business situations.