With Joli Andre

OP: What kind of training do you have, and how did you end up running your company?

Andre: Along with excellent skills learned as a teacher, I also attended Toastmasters International to enhance my speaking skills and continued on to join the National Speakers Association in 1995 to develop my sales and business skills. As a member of the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), I earned professional-level status in 1995. It was while attending the AICI conference that I met Dorothea Johnson, director of The Protocol School Of Washington, and became certified as a business etiquette and international protocol consultant in 1995. It was then that Polished Professionals, a corporate division borne from my image-consulting business, Looking Marvelous, began and grew.

OP: How big an impact does the appearance of the orthodontist and staff have on the patients’ experience?

Andre: Your image communicates before you speak a word. You want to create an image that commands respect, inspires trust, projects professionalism, and heightens the perception level of your business. A survey done by WomensCareer.com found these results:

? 91% of employers believe grooming reflected a higher level of professionalism in the company; and

? 61% of employers said grooming and dress had an effect on subsequent promotions.

OP: What is the most common mistake that a) orthodontists and b) staff make in the way they dress for work?

Andre: If there are any mistakes to be made, it would be to have dress codes that are vague or rely only on “common sense” to guide the professional attire of your staff. Unless you have a specific dress code or uniform, employees will come dressed in their everyday/social clothing. Clothing trends have never been professional. People see that they have to have two types of clothing—work and social—and that can be costly. When office managers or orthodontists find themselves consistently reprimanding staff for being inappropriate or too trendy, it is a mistake.

OP: How would you tell an office to dress to create an image of a) fun or b) trustworthiness?

Andre: When I spoke at the [Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists] PCSO conference, my presentation had several examples of fun practices as scrubs in SpongeBob SquarePants, angels, or Mickey Mouse prints. Costumes on Halloween always create a fun atmosphere. To answer b), consistency breeds trustworthiness. As long as the individual is head-to-toe clean and their appearance is conservative and appropriate to the type of practice, you have a winning combination.

OP: What can orthodontists and staff do to personalize a uniform, making it their own while keeping within the theme of the office?

Andre: Some offices have scrubs to match their practice dÉcor. Some wear a special logo or a named lab coat; others wear specific manager jackets, orthodontist attire, and staff scrubs in the same colors to show unison. When selecting colors for staff attire, have the whole team involved. Be sure the colors are complementary to the staff and to gain ideas from the team. What image are they trying to project? Who is the central client base?

OP: Are there certain colors or color combinations that have specific effects on patients?

Andre: There is a psychology of color when  selecting hues to use for your practice dÉcor or for team members’ attire.

White implies sterility, loyalty, cleanliness, and purity.  

Softer blues are calming, suggesting dependability, integrity, no nonsense, and attention to detail.

Navy blue suggests loyalty.

Green is the most popular dÉcor color because it represents nature and is calming and relaxing. Dark green is a masculine, conservative color that implies wealth.

Brown is a solid, reliable color. Light shades of brown imply genuineness.

Purple makes people think of luxury, wealth, and sophistication.  

Red is emotionally intense and stimulates a faster  heartbeat. It’s good for dÉcor-accent pieces. It’s the color of action-oriented leaders.

Yellow speeds up metabolism, yet implies fun. People who wear it come off as extroverted, spontaneous, and motivated.

Joli Andre is an author, speaker, and certified image consultant. She can be reached at (858) 759-9560 or at [email protected].