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Image in the mirror

Can you relate to any of the following scenarios? Despite hard work at your work place, your promotion has become a thing of the past. On a personal front, you invariably run into rough weather with friends. A negative approach defines you , and most important, you see yourself through what others think of you. If all this feels familiar, you need to reinvent yourself and go for an image makeover.
"A personality makeover does not just entail a simple change in make up, hairstyle, or wardrobe. What lends a "radiant glow" to the new you is the reinvention that will happen within, " says Parvana Babaycon of Optimum Image institute, an image makeover company based in Kolkata. She is a certified Image and Professional Development Consultant with internationally known London Image Institute and Academy of Image Works, Asia, too.

Parvana believes that a serious makeover starts with an honest assessment of how we see ourselves. "To understand your weaknesses and strengths is how you start, " she observes. In marketing and advertising, reinvention is related to a product re-launch and bringing out an advanced and improved product. "Similarly an image building is like an introduction and exploration of the self and a realisation of your personality and potential to the full."

Sabira Merchant, the diva of grooming , popularly remembered as the hostess for the Quiz Programme, What's the Good Word , hosts workshops all over the globe that are geared towards developing personal and corporate finesse which ensures that you make the correct first impression , have the right etiquette, appearance and confidence . Participants are encouraged to shed their inhibitions. Particular care is taken to enhance their pronunciation, diction, voice, modulation, communication skills, phone etiquette, table manners and dining skills.
According to Merchant, public speaking needs to be mastered and hence special focus is laid on lectures, role plays, exercises, and interactive discussions. "These are supplements for social and business graces of international protocol in today's world."

NIS Sparta, Asia's leading training, education and learning solutions provider based in Mumbai , also specialises in improved interaction and personal detailing and thus opening doors to greater opportunities.

All these institutes have in their kitty packages to train on business etiquette, right body language , effective face to face introductions, formal table settings, wine selection, ordering, tipping and appropriate behaviour in a business social setting are also taught. "A training like this positively reinforces your company's brand image, " says Parvana.

Renu Sikander who was inhibited and timid and could not adjust to a new working environ even suffered from physical ailments due to her shortcomings. After seeking the Match Life Consultancy in Hyderabad she is today soaring high, both personally and professionally. "They garnered my self esteem which is akin to a confidence boosting machine, and why not? For you are your most powerful when you rely on your inner compass." She strongly believes that in today's fiercely competitive business atmosphere, a poor first impression can ruin your chances of success and often, there are no second chances.

These specialists are also like councellors. They have an innate ability to make you feel at ease, helping you achieve your authentic style and flair effortlessly and taking your true self-expression to a higher level. This is also of great help to boys and girls who take time to adjust from college to corporate world.

An individual makeover also means a new look starting from a different wardrobe. Perhaps this explains why reality shows dealing with makeovers are increasingly getting popular by the day. People enjoy reality series such as How Do I Look? Or Naya Roop Nayi Zindagi by Sony, reportedly based on the popular US show Extreme Makeover where ordinary men and women undergo extreme makeovers involving plastic surgery, exercise regimes, hairdressing and wardrobe changes.

Even seemingly super confident celebrities go for image makeovers in order to reinvent themselves. "Material Girl" Madonna is a good example. Even image changes of celebs like Amitabh Bachchan (white panda beard), SRK (six pack body), Kareena Kapoor (zero size figure) are nothing but moves to reinvent themselves to retain the interest of people by constantly changing their looks, figures and hairstyles. Aamir Khan reinvents his looks with every film of his, breaking away from old roles, old looks and old habits.

Before you decide on a makeover, you must be prepared for a long-term commitment to make a change that brings out the best in you. For some, it may be a quantum leap in diction, attitude and lifestyle and for others, it may require a simple shift. Antara Sharma, trained with Tony and Guy at Singapore and associated with Optimum at Delhi, finds that a combination of right colours, a good fit, elegant textures and well-kept hair compliment one's personality making it pleasant without being overpowering. Nilufer Babaycon, a beautician from Kolkata believes that a light make-up that is not garish and suits one's lifestyle, portrays honesty and integrity. Guy Kramer, an international hair stylist, says that hair power is great and the right hairstyle can transform your face and give you a winning streak especially for interviews. Unkempt hair speaks of arrogance and a lackadaisical approach.
All in all, it's the image in the mirror that counts these days to make that big impression.
Anju Munshi
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