Learn the science. Master the Art of Image Management

Featured Consultant – Swati Jena

“Why the change?” I am asked often.

NL-June-11I studied management from XLRI, Jamshedpur followed by people and change consulting, senior human resource roles and training and development. I have worked across major sectors, namely BFSI, IT, ITES, Telecom, Power, Oil & Gas, Steel, Government, Real Estate and Education. My area of work includes organization re-structuring, business process re-engineering, merger and acquisition, project management, organization vision and values, leadership competency development, coaching, etc.

“Why the change?” becomes an obvious question for the shift from doing the above to a seemingly different area of clothes and fashion and impression management, etc, etc. It seemed that I had shifted from doing something “cerebral” to something “superficial”.

Not true.

Image management in its true sense, is not about falsely portraying what you are not. Such changes cannot sustain. Image management is about beginning to behave like a person you want to become. Someone wants to be a leader. Someone wants to be more friendly. Yet another person wants to be credible. How can you become any of this, unless you “see” yourself as that person? That’s reverse psychology. Or as we say “change inside out”. Nothing about that sounds superficial to me.

Consider this.

A client of mine, a lady in her forties, in a middle management role, consulted me expressing the need to project “high authority” in office, at home, during social interactions. Something was amiss. My assessment told me nothing in her professional, social or personal life required that amount of authority. Then why did she have such a pressing need to “look” authoritative. I dug deeper. Recommended her going through a conflict management module with me. Yes, we will look at clothing – which will make her look authoritative – but only when and as much needed. There would be situations where she needed to be approachable. And her wardrobe should make provision for those situations too. 5 months after the consultation, the client wrote an email to me.

“Swati, your advice saved my personal life.”

Here’s more.

In the one year that I have been practicing as an image consultant, I founded my training firm, SJ School of Excellence. I have worked with close to 10 corporates already, touched close to 700 professionals through my workshops, worked in 2 countries, delivered diverse programs – visual communication, power dressing, personal branding, body language, managerial development, leadership, emotional intelligence, team building, personal excellence, etc. Some of these topics are so new to working professionals that sessions begin with statements like “Is this for me?”, “I have never heard of this”, “I am not sure what this topic means”, etc. But at the end of the day – “When is the next session?”, “How can I know more about this?”, “How can I improve myself?”, “Hope you are taking another session soon”, etc. Now, those are the kind of things that really makes this profession worth it!

That’s amazing. But the best part is this.

While I am practicing image consulting with entrepreneurship as the platform, with about 80% workshops and 20% individual coaching, some of my colleagues have found employment in the industry in relevant roles, and many who find individual consulting as more fulfilling than workshops. There are colleagues who are still in college, while others have already worked for 20-25 years; people from varied professions and with different career preferences. So the best part? There is place for everyone.

So finally, here’s what I tell people.

Image Management is what you make out of it. Just like many other thing in life, it is in your hands.

Whether I am entrepreneur or work in an organization, this expertise will stay with me for life.

I didn’t “shift”. I simply added another dimension to myself.

I didn’t “change”. I simply grew.

One comment

  1. Hemangi Goud /

    Very Inspiring! Such Articles keep me motivated.Thank-you.

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