THE BLOG

Do You Look the Part?

07/03/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011


Authors, when you go out into the world are you believable, authoritative and trusting?

A UCLA study done more than 20 years ago discovered that when you are on television only 10 percent of your message is received by the audience through verbal cues while the other 90 percent is non-verbal. The majority of what you are "saying" is based on your posture, body language, hair, clothes, affect, tonality, etc.

Judging a book by its cover when it comes to the actual author is the truth:
You need to present yourself in the best possible light and for most of us that means getting the help of a professional when deciding on styles and colors of hair and clothes. (Does your lipstick scream 1970's?)

Weighing the issues: Sad but true, the camera does add 10 pounds! Now with the advent of High Definition, not only does the camera add weight, it also adds years by accentuating wrinkles and blemishes. There are ways to dress with colors and styles to make you look slimmer and things that flatter you on every level.

Wear great colors for television: The perfect color for anyone is some shade of blue. Avoid black and light beige because they drain you of color as does white (and it is not that flattering to many skin tones.) Also stay away from small prints or anything too wild or busy. The key is to have people listening to you not giving most of their attention to your appearance and judging you. Make sure your hair, clothes and jewelry never detract from your message and your efforts to engage the audience.

Avoid flashy jewelry: Layered necklaces, earrings and bracelets that dangle should be avoided. You don't want to make a lot of noise or create friction with your microphone while you are being expressive.

Don't rely on your best side: There is no guarantee from which side you will be filmed or with how many cameras, so you want to make sure you look good from all angles.

Consider a little nip and tuck: With the advancement of non-invasive cosmetic procedures such as fillers and Botox you may want to consider them if you are on an extensive book tour. Visit your friendly dermatologist and see what science has to offer. You do not have to get a full surgical procedure and look like a plastic version of yourself to put your best face forward.

Invest in quality pieces as reliable stables: If fashion is really not your thing, do what I always do for every interview. I wear black pants with a black top and a colorful blazer over it (red, cranberry, purple, etc.). I finish it out with black shoes and some simple pieces of jewelry so that I always look polished and professional. (And I don't have to think too hard about it!) It is worth investing in a few designer blazers because they travel extremely well and they look great.

My own pet peeve is when I see an expert on TV who has a PhD at the end of her name and she is sporting long bleach-blonde hair, a mini-skirt and pink lipstick. You don't need to try to look like your teenage daughter to be attractive.

At the end of the day you want to look and sound authentic, believable and confident.


Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: www.HowToWriteMyBook.com