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

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.

Strengthen your Emotional Muscles

GiftSeth Godin also talked about ways we need to feed and stretch our emotional muscles mentioning that at least once a year he takes in a retreat and reads material to do just that.

I try at least twice a year to take a class or obtain another certification in a skill that will help me grow emotionally and observe life from another point of view. Last year, I became an international coach credentialed as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC).

This year, I made time in my very hectic schedule to attend a digital marketing conference on artificial intelligence and the ways it is revolutionizing the field. Strengthening your emotional muscles will also help renew and energize your passion.

Confidence 101

voiceSelf-talk, experience and practice builds confidence. If everyone could take a magic pill or read a book to automatically give produce confidence it would still w not replace these three practices. Self-talk is critical because no matter how many times we practice, we need this inner voice to be on our side.

Barbra Streisand still needs to go thru a self-talk before she performs in front of an audience. Experience gives us memories we can retrieve from our history that guide us to what worked and didn’t work. This gives us confidence to be effective and make the right decisions.

How to disagree – gracefully

award cup.magesDisagreements are normal when working on a project, vision or strategy. I have always felt a successful end game needs to have different points of view to achieve a positive outcome. Now, that does not mean to always handle disagreements with kid gloves or bare fists. The main goal is to focus on the result. Four key items to remember are:

• Respect the person or persons
• Stay with the facts
• Honor the opposing side
• Leave the door open to revisit

Asking the question for clarity

26447en_USI_QuestionMarkRecently, a client suggested that asking questions shows ignorance.  Smart people ask questions for clarity and to connect to the issue. I like starting the question with a how or a what. The why question only works when you are establishing a reason for the issue. The challenge with beginning with why is that the conversation could go down a rabbit hole or the weeds which may be unproductive.

Lessons from successful folks

targetA recent Chicago Tribune business section piece about critical lessons from successful entrepreneurs brought to mind how relevant the lessons also are for everyone working for an organization. These are the lessons:

• Persistence – Rejection is Normal – Lessons Learned – Recovery is Necessary – Never Give Up.
This reminds me of my first rejection. It took a year for the nightmares to stop but it still stands as a good lesson learned. Now when I get rejected on a project I do not take it personally but rather as a business situation.

• Think Long Term – What is your vision and what are you installing to keep it in the forefront? Add a new skill to keep it moving forward or review what is needed to ensure you are headed in the right direction.

• Take Risks with Growth in Mind – Take on a new project with a new dimension to expand your brand. Exposure is necessary for growth.

• Stay True to Your Core Brand – What is that you stand for? What are you doing to help it grow in a direction of expansion not dilution. Work on projects that not only enhance your core brand but bring a new critical element to it.

No glory in leadership – it can be lonely

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

I remember once asking my coach why leaders seldom are one of the gang. Successful leaders make difficult decisions that are painful but necessary for the organization or project. After those decision, many times, those around us feel rejected.

Being the oldest of five in my family resulted in me making decisions not always welcomed when it came to my late parents or when I served as the president of an organization. What mattered to me at the time is the long-term benefit for everyone. Acting that way felt natural to me. Would I do things differently looking back? No, not really… because I still think I made good decisions.