Don’t Take a Vacation from Professionalism

 It’s summer and sizzling – no matter who you are we struggle to wear something that is comfortable, attractive, and work appropriate.  No matter how high the temperature rises, the right business clothes still make a strong statement in the workplace. 

At this time of the year, I am ALWAYS asked to spend time on this issue. The debates rage on about socks or no socks.  Covered tattoes/or not.  So to keep it simple and for those that care if their image is sending the right message, I offer the  following thoughts.

Do your due-diligence.  If you have not received a memo from HR about summer attire, consider emailing them or your boss to get clear guidelines.

No flip-flops: These shoes are great for the pool but not for work. Crocs and those “FiveFinger” barefoot shoes are still not considered a way to put your best foot forward.

Appropriate hemlines: Ladies, it does not matter what is in the fashion magazines- hems should be knee-length.

Add some color – leave black for winter and brighten up your wardrobe with more color (did you know that bright colors indicate that you are happy?)

Think layers – when the AC is blasting, have a jacket or cardigan (not your grandmother’s sweater) to add on & still look great.

Watch out for lighter fabric – Light fabric may feel better but it can wrinkle easily and sometimes can be see-through.  Polyester tends to be warm.  The best fabric is actually a light wool blend.

Sleeveless? The straps of your shirt should always be an appropriate width. Never spaghetti straps.

Stay polished – It’s easier said than done when it’s hot & muggy but remember you’re going to work so you should always be tidy.

Whether you intend to or not, every day when you dress, you’re always making a statement.  Statistics show that your physical visual is 55% of your overall communication.  We all tend to relax more in the summer but that’s not a green light to wear whatever you want at work.
 

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Executive Presence: The “It” Factor– do you have it?

Think back to a recent meeting, was there someone who just seemed to attract and engage everyone around the table? Someone who has the ability to command attention and leave everyone wanting more? That’s the “it” factor.  Executive presence is the ability to project confidence, poise under pressure and decisiveness. The “it” factor includes speaking skills, assertiveness and appearance.  So before going into your next meeting, consider the following advice from author Ashley Cobert to provide that leadership demeanor.

 
Be polished, poised and prepared:

A person with executive presence never lets people see them harried.  They are not flustered when speaking and even in the wake of a crisis will show up looking put together. The secret? Spend extra time beforehand to prepare yourself for anything. Be calm, collected and the person with all the answers and you’ll be seen as a leader.
 
Mind your body language:

In your next meeting, look around and note how everyone is sitting. People with executive presence demand more control over the room. (Ever heard of the power stance?) Stand or sit tall, look engaged by leaning slightly forward, and take up space by putting your arms on the table, not huddling them to your body.  Make sure to maintain eye contact with everyone in the room, which is not only personable, it conveys confidence.

 
Make others feel special:

As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  People who have executive presence are approachable and engaging, whether they are dealing with a receptionist or a CEO.  They’re natural, sincere, and show a genuine interest in those around them.

Whether you are a small business owner, college graduate, or seasoned professional,
executive presence is a learned skill set.  There are no age boundaries or minority limitations – executive presence is a quality worth cultivating.  It will give you an added edge to help you grow your relationships with customers, employees, and associates.


My specialty is packaging people! Everyone makes judgments about a person’s character, credibility, intelligence, or income level based on first impressions.
What do you think your image tells the world?
  
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What message are YOU sending?

Have you ever sent a pocket call? You know where your smart phone accidentally gets bumped in the bottom of your purse and redials the last person you spoke to on the phone?  Suddenly you are on speaker phone and you don’t even know it.  Yikes!  This has happened repeatedly to a family member at the worst possible times (think bathroom) – but it brings to mind how instant our communication has become in today’s world.
 
What message are you sending?
Communication today happens in a flash with a touch of a button – in the blink of an eye.  Technology has made it possible via smartphones to retrieve our email, text and phone messages without face to face contact. Unfortunately the translation of our message can get lost or not accurately reflect our intent.  It is important to remember that all communication should be an extension of our personal brand.
 
What’s the quality or tone of your communication?
Ever receive an email that you don’t really understand?  Without body language cues or voice inflection, you don’t know how to interpret it.  Remember when using email communication it’s critical to be aware of the quality or tone you are using – analyze the potential for your words to be misread.  For example, you might have meant to offer a suggestion to an associate but they took it as a criticism.
 
How do you communicate your personal brand?
In your email, text messages and verbal conversations do you consistently use a formal, respectful, warm and genuine style? Or can it be interpreted as a hurried, negative, harsh or urgent tone? We all have communication essence.  Could you tweak your style to communicate in a way that is more supportive and sounds more optimistic? If you can be objective in analyzing your style, you can improve the quality of your brand messages.
 
What is your brand of communication?
Ask yourself  and/or a trusted friend honest feedback about how you communicate.  You may discover that your communication is being perceived differently than you intend for it to be.  Here are a few common personal brand communication styles that may help you categorize the defining characteristics of your written words.

Urgent
Sad
Complacent
Negative
Terse
Matter of fact
Positive
Playful
Humorous
Intimate
Gracious
 
I challenge you this week to think twice before leaving phone messages, texting or emailing.  Pause before sending personal brand messages – is it truly conveying your brand to the business world?
 
I look forward to your thoughts & feedback.
 
Looking for a fun and different speaker for your next meeting? Contact me!

 

Where's My Magic Wand?

 

Happy New Year! We are off and running in 2015!  As I write, the temperature is hovering around 9 (wind chill factor is -7) and the wind is fiercely howling. Hopefully everyone survived the holidays and life is getting back to normal– whatever that is because I haven't figured that one out yet.

It's the beginning of a new year and an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, and start fresh.  When I think of what should be accomplished in 2015, it can be overwhelming and a little bit daunting.  How I wish I had a magic wand!

My goals for this year start with basic principles for a life of success & I shamelessly share thoughts gleaned from a little book by Michael Aviles "A Magic Wand".

 

"You're in charge"

We can let circumstances rule us or we can take charge and rule our lives from within. -Earl Nightingale

It all starts and ends with you.  We need to take control and assume complete responsibility for our life.  Too many times we make excuses or play the blame game.  One of my favorite authors, Stephen Covey states it best in "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People".  He states "Be proactive, it means more than merely taking initiative.  Among the most important personal choices you can make is to accept complete responsibility for everything you are and everything you will ever be". Brain Tracy takes it even further when he writes " The acceptance of personal responsibility is what separates the superior person from the average person."

So if you are feeling like you need a little help to get things done, like a fairy godmother or little elves working away?   Proudly wave your magic wand & say "If it's going to be, it's up to me".

 

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