Yet another of Dr. P.M. Forni’s rules of civility is “mind your body.” This isn’t a call to hit the gym or throw on a leotard. Rather, it’s a reminder to maintain proper grooming so that people are drawn, and not repelled, to our appearance.
We’ve all encountered people with foul breath, dandruff, and bad body odor. And we all know how unpleasant it is. Imagine that you are meeting with a new accountant or lawyer, someone who is desperate to win your business. Even if they are wearing a $2,000 suit, if they look sloppy or have poor grooming habits, you will most likely try to get out of the meeting as soon as you can. You may overlook their qualifications and opt for someone else who doesn’t offend you with their lack of grooming.
For example, a friend of mine once hired a photographer to take shots of her family. The photos turned out nice, but the photographer’s breath stank of onions and it was such a turnoff that they never used him again. Another friend of mine once worked in a restaurant in which two waiters had to be sent home because diners had complained of their strong body odor. It completely put them off their meals!
Appearance may seem like a superficial aspect of our lives, but when your poor grooming infringes on others—e.g., stinking up their environment—it becomes an issue. The same is true of people who douse themselves in heavy fragrance every day. That Chanel No. 5 may smell lovely to you, but if it’s making everyone in the elevator’s eyes water, it’s too much.
Basically, it’s all about being mindful and considerate. You may be fine with your own “natural aroma,” but that doesn’t mean you should subject other people to it. And by maintaining a fresh, well-groomed, and polished appearance, you’ll be cultivating an image that is professional and approachable. That can only help your business!