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: Career Builders

A good sense of humor

smile_postcard-p2392812495396762627onr_325One personal trait I observed in working with successful executives is a good sense of humor. It’s shown in the person who can laugh at their own mistakes and take embarrassing moments and turn them around with humor.

I also believe if you can laugh at least once a day it makes those around you much more enjoyable. Surround yourself with folks who have a sense of humor to help you smile and laugh more often.

Letting go of a bad boss

haircut disasterGetting over a bad boss is difficult. A bad situation, managed poorly by a toxic boss, can also be a good learning opportunity to help raise awareness and increase sensitivity during future strained situations.

Understanding our communication style

coaching 2We all have very individualized thinking and communicating processes. In everyday situations, we manage to engage in pleasantries. However, it is in those difficult conversations that we go to our natural internal communication style.

It is critical to know what your style is so it can be effective and not work against us. A way to know your communication style is to mentally keep a log of when stress makes an appearance because that indicates the end of effective communications.

Greeting left to right

networking-pic-gifRecently, I was at an event with a group and a friend greeted me. He looked confused on how to start shaking hands or even to say hello. This was a social gathering and everyone was friends.

Always begin left to right when greeting a large group. The only time you don’t use the left to right process is in a business situation where you begin with the most important person in the group. It can be the client or the most senior person in the room. Hugs are only allowed with permission. This also holds true when making introductions.

How often does an image need updating?

question_makrs_cutie_mark_by_rildraw-d4byewlIt is important to keep updated and fresh. Anna’s rule is at least once every two to three years to take a look at your hair style, eye wear and clothing choices. When was the last time you refreshed your hairstyle? As women age, makeup can either go lighter or need more color.

Men’s hairstyles change. A young man’s hair style can look foolish on a man over 50 unless he is updating his clothing choices appropriately. Jewelry styles change but good classic lines never become dated. Men’s pant styles rules get broken everyday based on the age, figure shape and industry.

We always want to stay contemporary, especially in a professional environment.

Speak to be heard and recognized

networking-pic-gifOften, I hear: Why are my ideas not heard but someone else says the same thing and it is taken favorably and even as their idea! Why is that?

Ideas get recognized by the way they are stated. Also, ideas are important but they become real with results.

Another key issue is an that an idea can be like seeds in farming. They need time to grow to mature. Be the farmer, nurture your ideas and plant the seeds of thought with more than one source.

How to give constructive feedback

a winnerUsing the three to one rule will help you give constructive, inclusive feedback. Feedback must always be given in private unless agreed upon in a group setting. Feedback is never intrusive and is only given with the intent of future growth and forward movement.

The three to one rule works by starting with three things the person does well and one item they can do better. This approach softens the criticism and empowers the giver and receiver of the feedback.

Interviewing dos and don’ts

voiceRecently, I was asked to help the daughter of a friend prepare for a job interview. These are the dos and don’ts of interview preparation:

Do:
• Prepare by learning what the job and the organization are about
• Have a personal story about yourself
• Be able to state why you are the best person for the job
• Be able share a situation where it did not work out and what you would do differently
• Be enthusiastic and answer questions with confidence even if you’re uncertain of the answer

Don’t
• Go in with the idea that they need you
• Go in without being fully prepared on what the job is about
• Go in dressed for an outdoor event
• Go in with a weak handshake

Impromptu Speaking

Mouthyq2beImpromptu speaking can create more impact in meetings and when presenting to a group because in these situations, folks can see your confidence and composure in action. Toastmasters use a wonderful segment in each meeting called table topics. Someone selects a topic and calls another member up to talk about it for two minutes.

I also found that very often, clients have to answer questions and instead being caught off guard, they responded calmly.

These are a few tips to help answer with confidence when caught in an impromptu situation:

• Take your time to answer
• Repeat the question
• Or rephrase the question
• Offer another way to answer the question

Failure is an option for success

haircut disasterI recently heard Seth Godin give a talk about “Engagement – Do the Work You Love”. One of the elements of the talk stressed the importance of failure and the lessons learned from it. As we begin to grow and become more proficient in a subject, I believe we continue to strive for success and we work diligently to not fail. What that occurs, I think our growth ceases.

Folks I work with try and learn from situations that did not work out. An important failure I had early in my career was that my son told me to get out when making a pitch that suddenly heads south. I did not follow his advice.

In my presentation (the RFP was 50 pages), the interview was scheduled with two folks. Instead it turned out to be a team of five! I was terrible but instead of getting out of the interview, I forged ahead with my struggling presentation. It took me a year to get over it.

A few years later, I was asked by another company to put on a year program for 300 with 30 at a time in one day. I went into the interview with five people, performed well and won the project. This first failure was painful but it was the lesson that keeps giving.