Project an Image of Success in 2020

Career Success

Clothing vs. Vocabulary

Have you heard the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” The premise is simple: If you want to get a promotion, it’s important that you look the part.

It wasn’t so long ago that you could wear well-tailored clothes with the right color tie and shoes to project a more successful image. But today, with companies having casual dress codes, and CEOs at tech firms wearing jeans and sneakers, it’s more difficult to make a lasting impression.

In today’s business culture, the way you speak is far more important than the way you dress and look. It technically always has been, but in the past, you could at least fake it until you make it with a wardrobe upgrade.

Vocabulary and the Corporate Ladder

The Johnson O’Connor Institute performed a study that underscores the importance of speaking with a good vocabulary to get ahead in business. In this study, they gave managerial professionals at 39 companies a vocabulary test. They discovered that the scores on the vocabulary test directly correlated with rank on the corporate ladder, with managers scoring the lowest and executives scoring the highest.

These findings suggest that if you want to get a promotion, one of the smartest, highest-impact changes you can make, is to start speaking with the vocabulary of a top executive. Once you start speaking with more poise, and a more sophisticated vocabulary, your superiors will begin to take notice, and subconsciously bump you up the social-professional hierarchy in their minds. They will start viewing you as someone who’s more competent and capable — someone who belongs in a higher position.

Dig more into the relationship between image, status, and vocabulary in our article on a now classic social experiment: Would People Follow You Across the Street Illegally?!?


For a thought-provoking reality slap on the importance of projecting a positive image, consider this: People Judge You Every Day


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Written by Greg Ragland, President, CEO of CommEdge LLC producers of Vocabulary Zone and the corresponding Vocabulary Certifications: College Preparedness, Ph.D. Vocabulary and Executive Level Vocabulary

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