Nancy Katyal is the Founder, CEO, Lead Image Consultant, Storyteller and Soft Skills Advocate at “ThePerfectYou” (Pune, India), http://www.ThePerfectYou.in. She brings the perfect blend of knowledge and experience to make individuals as well as corporate professionals look the part through the words they speak, the clothes they wear, body language and etiquette.
She has spoken on key forums like the Toastmasters, Harkishan Mehta Foundation, Mumbai and Wikipedia Pune. Nancy Katyal is amongst the 12 Indians listed in the International Storyteller Network. Her columns have been featured in the Times of India and The New Indian Express. She also worked with TEDx Pune in 2013 as the Image Building Partner for the speakers. Her 10-year-old daughter Ishita was the youngest speaker at a TED Youth Conference in New York and really impressed the audience! You can follow Nancy Katyal on Twitter @nancykatyal.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Mrs Katyal, I could imagine that not every person would instantly know what an Image Consultant does. Please give us some insights about your profession.
Nancy Katyal: An Image Consultant helps you to make a lasting impression in your personal, professional and social life. They do this by engaging with the client on their roles and goals and providing the right consult to present their image to the absolute best. In today’s connection oriented economy, whether you are an individual, homemaker, corporate professional or student, an Image Consultant can be a key differentiator to help you make a leap forward.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: I remember when I lived in India some time ago, “Image Management and Image Consultancy” was considered as a booming industry. Companies trying to polish their corporate image, but also individuals who become more aware of the importance of their soft skills, etiquette and their image. I’ve come across many female Image Trainers and Consultants in the past. Would you say this is a job which is more suitable to women rather than men?
Nancy Katyal: A lot of companies nowadays cover the need for projecting the right Image in their leadership competency development model. Image is considered to be a key competency for leaders to influence and motivate their teams. This has been a key driver for the Image Consulting industry. Initially the industry pitched Image consulting to be a second career for a mother after her career sabbatical. Image consulting also empowers you to be an entrepreneur and control the work hours at the pace you want to grow. This work life balance is a very lucrative option for women and that is the reason we see high adoption of women consultants in India. However in recent times, there are many successful male Image consultants who are doing very well. I personally believe that the Image Consulting profession is for anyone who has passion towards helping people by making them look good, behave good and act good in all spheres of life irrespective of the gender.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: In your opinion, what are the qualities that make a great Image Consultant?
Nancy Katyal: The absolute essential quality for an Image Consultant is to have keen interest in helping people in managing the ABC of their image i.e. Appearance, Behaviour & Communication. They should love working with people to improve their appearance and manner in personal, social, and/or professional situations.
- Having an interest to acquire knowledge is also a key ingredient. For example, an Image Consultant needs to master the basics of any outfit, such as the lines, shapes, colors, textures, and/or patterns in the clothes and accessories. An Image Consultant should be able to build rapport with people quickly, as you need to be able to listen and empathise.
- She/he should posses an expert level competency and be able to understand the linkages in various subjects like semiotic non-verbal communication through clothing, grooming, and body language including etiquette, vocal, verbal communication and public speaking.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: What is the ratio of your clients, do you train and advise more individuals or companies? And what are the biggest problems that they are struggling with?
Nancy Katyal: 80% of my trainings happen at Corporate, schools and colleges. I also do 20% one on one consulting with students, corporate professionals, homemakers and celebrities, too.
The key concern area for the companies is helping the individuals manage their interpersonal skills to work better in a team environment for better results. The root cause usually lies with managing their self-image from inside out, as most people carry the perception of what is right based on their own old experiences. Once they understand their self-image and understand how it is hurting the way they are perceived, then with some basic knowledge they can quickly find a solution on their own.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: If you would have to advise someone to get professional training in order to be certified as an Image Consultant, what training would you recommend? There are many options available to get online training, too. Would this still be a good option or do you think it is crucial to experience this in a face-to-face training environment?
Nancy Katyal: I agree that there are many options available when it comes to online trainings. However, nothing can beat the hands-on experience and face-to-face learning environment. It offers a dynamic way to learn and a good student can really benefit from an interactive classroom session. In India Image Consulting Business Institute (ICBI) is the pioneer in the range of courses they offer in Image Consulting. Their curriculum offers in-depth knowledge with hands on experience and great support from the team of ICBI.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: In hindsight, what are the three most important lessons you learnt in your career as an Image Consultant?
Nancy Katyal: My personal key lessons are:
- Keep improving – We are in a world which is evolving and changing very fast. I realized quite early that I cannot rest with my academic learning’s and need to develop a knowhow about the changes and new developments that happen in the industry. This way you can adapt your style to the roles and goals of people in that industry.
- Networking– It is not about whom you know, it is about who knows you in the industry. It is extremely important to network and meet new people. I realized this after seeing this quality in the some of the best consultants, who indeed are very good with people. Networks open a whole new world of opportunity,not just for working assignments but also for furthering your learning’s.
- Perseverance – As individuals, we often tend to relax when we have attained some amount of success and that is the most dangerous attitude. I give my best to every work that has helped me build the advocacy for my brand.
Nancy Katyal: The key positive aspects for me are:
- Flexibility – As clichéd it may sound, however I always wanted to do something of my own and build on my own company’s vision. As an Image Consultant, I am able to get that flexibility to work on days I would like to. That gives me good work-life balance.
- Great earning potential – Unlike a 9-5 day job which pays you every month, a good Image Consultant can earn very well through weekly sessions. In fact most successful consultants are able to recover their course fee within their first year itself.
- Being the change agent– The feeling of bringing happiness to faces is beyond words. It is very fulfilling to be the reason for bringing out the change in someone’s life.
Nancy Katyal: I don’t see any. It is how you perceive your role. If you do this with assertiveness and enjoy the learning’s, then you can convert threats on the way into opportunities.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: What is the earning potential for a good Image Consultant in India?
Nancy Katyal: As an Image Consultant you can make anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000+ Indian Rupees every month (equivalent to 366 – 1466 US Dollars as of 28/01/2016) depending on factors like – who your clients are, what are the value add services you have to offer, your experience and the USP (Unique selling proposition) you give etc.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: What are the five most important tips you would like to give someone who is planning to pursue a career in Image Consultancy?
Nancy Katyal: The key tips that I would like to share are:
- Clichéd as it may sound; the first impression is always the last impression! What we say/do and how we look in the first few seconds of interaction leaves behind a lasting impression. So make a stellar impact in settings like interviews and meetings.
- It is not just people; every organisation carries its own personality, which affects its reputation, revenue and results. This is your brand. Have a strong personal brand so that people can relate to you easily when your name comes up for a topic of interest.
- Be dynamic in your approach and have a persona to suit different occasions. Mr Rakesh Agarwal, Founder and Chief Consultant of First Impression Private Ltd, an Image Consultant training firm expounds, “A hip and happening career, professional image consultants can release the locked potential of people and change their lives!”
- Have a process mind-set to understand the underlying need when a problem statement is shared with you. Ask questions to understand why is the person saying what he is saying?
- Enjoy working with people from different backgrounds. It’s not just jobseekers or corporate executives, but also celebrities, socialites, models, politicians, doctors, lawyers, and even the average person on the street who seek to project their best self. It could be to land a job, get a promotion, attract clients, find a life partner, and gain confidence or simply to feel good about themselves!
Nancy Katyal: The world is becoming smaller and we get many opportunities to meet and greet new people every day. Social media is bringing people together in the online and offline world. The opportunity to make an impression is huge. Globally image management is a sought after profession with many good institutes branding the image style topics and learning’s to appeal to the market for making a positive impression – every time.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: I’m a strong believer that schools need to re-think about what subjects they teach their pupils and students in today’s changing world. Providing students with Image Lessons would be something that would not just help them in their personal but surely also their professional life. What is your opinion about it? Are you aware of any schools in India or the rest of the world who provide Image Lessons and have it as a part in their curriculum?
Nancy Katyal: I completely agree with you. You have put this quite beautifully. The child’s first Image Consultant is the mother herself. The mother is responsible for grooming the child, coach their children on their visual communication or the image they want to project. A mother may however be biased by her own world view and that is where good schools can step in. Role plays and games can be used to help a child discover their self-image and understand to model the right behaviours in their role as a young person. Not aware of many schools who do this. I personally visit small communities where I play games with children to inculcate and impart image lessons. ICBI is the leading pioneer in the field of Image consulting, and over the years few teens are also part of the programs.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Let’s assume you would need to hire another Image Consultant for your company. What are the 5 subject-matter questions you would ask the job applicant?
Nancy Katyal: For me the way a participant presents her/himself, the way they would greet me and their communication and body language would be the deciding factors. As I believe an Image Consultant needs to practice what we preach.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Last year I started reviewing people’s online image. I noticed that they always appreciate finding out on how others perceive them based on their online presence. Reputation Management occurs already in the corporate world but many individuals do still think that they don’t need any personal branding advice. Often employees are wondering why they get no interviews or no jobs offered to them. They would never think that it could be based on their poor (or often inappropriate) online content that they put on various social media channels. Do you think there will be a stronger focus on doing some reputation management also on a more individual basis?
Nancy Katyal: Great Observation. I believe considering the vast growth of social media, how we manage our online image definitely plays an important factor in building our reputation. The first thing we do today to know about something is to Google it and people do Google searches on us too. Let me cite an example to show how important our online image management is. Whenever you receive a friend request on Facebook or LinkedIn, you decide to accept or reject the request on the basis of their profile picture and sometimes we go an extra step and check a few posts and decide whether to add them or not. Our online image in the coming years will play a significant role in our career growth.
Karin Schrock-Singh: MrsKatyal, it was a real pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much for your insightful answers and your precious time, I highly appreciate. Wishing you all the best for your future!
What was your biggest takeaway today from this interview? I would appreciate it if you could leave a comment and let me know. If you know anyone who could benefit from this article, make sure you share it. You’ll be helping them out and me too! Thanks!
Author: Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a trilingual Career Optimizer at www.Careerheads.com. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Her passion lies in creating multilingual, high-quality content in career matters, giving highly engaging public speeches and helping job seekers to optimize their career by providing professional coaching. She is the author of several ebooks, among them “44 Tips for a successful Video Interview” (http://careerheads.com/product/ebook-44-tips-for-a-successful-video-interview/). She has written several career and business articles for international HR and Marketing companies. Her favourite motto is “Learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime!” Follow her on Twitter @CareerHeads.