A few weeks ago I submitted a post on the correlation between confidence and success, and was surprised to find how many responded and expanded on this concept. This post is a follow up as such, and discusses the impact of beauty in the world and how it affects our success rate and confidence levels. I’d like to start by talking about beauty in general. According to Wikipedia ‘Beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction…….An “ideal beauty” is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection.’ It’s how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. It’s balance and symmetry, and split into external beauty (physical attractiveness, health) and internal beauty (intelligence, charisma, grace). How does beauty affect success? A few days ago I happened to be listening to a Cheryl Cole tune on YouTube and saw another video of her audition on Popstars: The Rivals (see below). When she finished singing, two of the judges commented on her beauty ‘beautiful eyes and skin’, ‘stunning’. But I couldn’t help but notice how none commented on her voice. We know that she was put through and has become one of the most iconic and successful stars, but how much was due to talent and how much was due to beauty? After reading the comments underneath the video, I noted that others had picked up on this observation and were put out by the fact. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpWus7NUeyY[/youtube] I’m sure you have all heard of the now very famous Susan Boyle. As soon as she emerged onto the stage for her audition, each judge smirked and would have easily written her off….fortunately they listened to her and were all gobsmacked to find that she could carry a tune. But why the knowing glances? Did they assume that an average looking woman was unworthy of a talent? In this instance her ‘averageness’ won her international acclaim. Still, the lack of percieved beauty meant that a talent for singing was a must. How does beauty affect confidence? Lady GaGa is a name that has been snowballing across media channels for quite sometime, mainly because of her outlandish fashion and shocking performances. It has been stated by the lady herself, that she is made to look taller in her videos and that plenty of ‘smoothing’ goes on. That is then added to an amount of makeup that would stock Debenhams across the country for a week. And so I ask, what’s wrong with her ‘natural’ look – the one before the teasing, stretching, smoothing etc ? Could it be that not only does she enjoy the drama and attention, but also deems this excess makes her more attractive? If her performances and live chats are anything to go by, then her ‘look’ also gives her confidence. Is it expected? Is it a given that successful people should ‘dress’ the part. The British queen always looks well turned out with matching hat, dress etc. OK, you may argue here that she is not successful, but she is an icon and public perception gives her popularity. A popularity that she knows is partly based on her image and look. Stars are made to walk the red carpet and pose for pictures….then wait for the write up on their choice of outfit and general health. Popular with the media = positive views from the public. Fair? Has the media fanned the flames of beauty = success? And how has the media underlined this theory? It seems to me that beauty is exploited by the media. That they congratulate those for looking good and abuse those who don’t. Have they created a perception of beauty as a role model for success and hinted that conforming to this norm is the way to go? So given the information above, how do we sway perception in business? The way we dress Clothing expresses individuality, it also speaks of success and defines our purpose – formal, informal, stylish, creative, extravagant etc. Clothes can say ‘ take me seriously’ or ‘I’m successful’ or ‘Be comfortable’ or ‘Look at me’. If the queen of England can dress with a message, then so can you. Body language Public figures use body language to convey and express a mood or tone – confidence, comedy, lightheartedness, sadness, comfort etc. Its a way of extending a message which bypasses looks. Being comfortable in our own skin No matter how we perceive ourselves, we need to show others that we are comfortable with who we are. No need to conform or cover our less flattering areas. Know our strengths and work with what we have. Never underestimate the impact of a ‘winning smile’ or firm handshake. Apologies if there are fans of Susan Boyle that took offence to my term ‘average’. Just because I don’t happen to find her attractive, doesn’t mean you should conform and follow suit ; 0 ) Any experiences of beauty and confidence to share? Anyone used body language and clothing to convey a mood for a purpose? All comments welcome.