Anna Soo Wildermuth

Welcome to Personal Images, Inc.!

Here I'll give you up to date tips on developing your personal and professional image to ensure your first impression will be your best impression. Also I will blog about current image and communication blunders. Feel free to join the discussion by leaving comments, and stay updated by subscribing to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting my blog. – Anna

Change One Thing is a superb book that gives excellent advice to help jumpstart your engine." Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Archive: Business Etiquette

Be a master host

entertaining-foodist-484Entertaining a client is a good way to continue to build a relationship. However, if not handled appropriately, the relationship may get damaged. To ensure it is an impactful and enjoyable event, follow these tips:

• Be respectful of the client’s time, let them choose a convenient time and date.
• Pick a dining location that is easy to get to.
• When extending the invite, share the purpose – a thank you or a catch up on a project.

These are guidelines I have used that have helped make entertaining a success for the client and myself.

Who pays for the meal?

conflict_resolution250WThe question comes up about who pays when dining together. A client never really pays. For friends and colleagues, the key is in the invite. The expectation is that the person who extends the invitation pays. However, if some says let’s meet for lunch, it is a shared expense.

Political correctness

A key laying on a piece of paper with the word "leadership" on it.

Lately, we have been hit by the media that political correctness doesn’t matter…that saying what you think is the best approach. I agree with ignoring rudeness from rude folks because taking the high road not to engage seems to be the right thing to do at times. I often wonder, though, if with that approach, we send the message that we are tacitly agreeable. Perhaps, a facial expression showing distaste may send the most appropriate message that we disagree with rudeness, arrogance and untruths.

Networking tips

networking-pic-gifToday, most of our networking seems to be done via social media. This is due to a lack of time and the ease of posting on the web. However, nothing beats face to face events.

Companies are beginning to see the value in the face to face and try to get their folks to at least some events a year. For those have not been networking recently, here are some tips to remember:

1. Have a plan – Know who is attending and what success would look like after attending the event
2. Prepare a personal introduction including who you are, what you do and the benefits you bring customers
3. Bring plenty of business cards
4. Plan an ice breaker – an easy way to start a conversation – sports, movies or talk about a place you would like to know more about
5. Have fun
6. Bring a partner – a wing person – and take turns starting the conversation
7. Continue the relationship with those you like by following up soon after the event.

Political chatter etiquette

ElephangAt a recent family event, several members sported political badges of the two opposing party nominees. It caused spirited conversations but many uncomfortable moments. This event was supposed to celebrate a milestone event bringing two families together!

A recent NYT article talks about folks going to therapists because of the presidential campaign. Folks are worried and anxious about this election. While I understand we all have the right to express our viewpoints, it would be nice to attend a joyous occasion and leave the politics at home. Remember the long standing etiquette rule: Never discuss politics or religion at an event!

Anatomy of an apology

voiceAn apology for a transgression in a business situation can be a complicated thing, and it is so organically linked to the context that generalized protocols can be treacherous. Let’s start with this one: you aren’t ready to make an apology until you really mean it. The person to whom you are apologizing will have an acute ability to sense whether you are just going through the motions or are sincere. That person will also know if your transgression is a one-off, or whether it fits a pattern. If the latter, you will have much more work to do. And people can always tell whether you are apologizing for your deed, or only for having been caught. Many missteps are possible when making an apology. On the other hand, if you do it thoughtfully and meaningfully, you may do more than repair the damage – you may strengthen an important collegial bond.

RSVP?

coaching 2A common courtesy is accepting or not accepting an invitation. However, this little nicety appears to have gone by the wayside. Is not responding a response? It is not. When is the appropriate time frame to respond? As soon you know if you are able to attend or not, respond so you don’t forget it.
If there is a respond-by date, use that as a guideline to answer the invitation. Responding to an invitation is being respectful to the party throwers. If you don’t know whether you can attend, at least let them know you received the invitation.

Graceful conversations

Key to LeadershipIn the US, the presidential elections have thrown conversations and accusations down the rabbit hole where actual issues get more personal than policy driven. It seems that in our politics today, honesty is clouded. Name calling then becomes the narrative.

In the workplace, sometimes actual issues are skirted around to avoid offending others. The worst thing that can occur is when real issues never get resolved. The elephant in the room gets larger and looms over not what is said, but what is inferred. It is important to dialog honestly without resorting to gutter-speak.

This lesson can be applied to my role. When coaching clients who have not been told or have not truly heard the critical issues holding them back, it is important to get to the heart of the subject. My job is to ask questions that help the client realize what it takes to be successful. For that to occur, they must be honest with themselves. That allows for graceful conversations.

Offering sympathy

earRecently the world has been hit with major tragedies. Situations arose where we have been indirectly in contact with those directly affected. It’s important to actively listen and offer sympathy with a simple “I am sorry”. Offering commentary on the event is best kept to yourself unless you have faced a similar situation. Active listening offers much more than event analysis to the person in pain.

Avoid political minefields in the workplace

haircut disasterThe 2016 presidential election campaign is like none we have seen before, and the challenges associated with avoiding conversations which can alienate colleagues, bosses, and customers are greater than ever. Innocent ice-breakers under the most informal of circumstances can turn passionate. Given the state of polarized feelings on political topics, it might be best to plan in advance just how far you are willing to go in stating your preferences, and how, exactly, you should express them. Restraint might be your best default. Conveying an attitude of open-mindedness can temper the decibel level.