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: Culture

Holiday career destroyers

voiceA potential landmine during the season of cheer is the company or client holiday party. This is a time meant to build relationships not destroy or put them on life support.

It is a time not to drink or talk too much. Always remember to smile and refrain from discussing politics or religion. Avoid pouring your heart out or telling secrets to your boss or a colleague. Just build relationships.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Cadillac service = loyalty

24Shopping on line has become the way for me to shop whether it is for the house, office or personal items over these last few years. Before 2015, retail shopping meant going to various stores. It was not always fun to shop. In fact, it became more of a chore that a joyous experience.

The service, easy returns and problem handling of Amazon, Zappo, and Nordstrom (my favorite ones) has always been stellar. Whether working in an organization or as a consultant, when you offer consistent 24/7 service, you will build up loyal customers and client champions for your organization.

Showing appreciation is critical to success

jumping couple in field under cloudsA recent Chicago Tribune business section article, talks about the importance of showing appreciation by saying thank you in different ways. Giving thanks in ways other than words such as lending a helping hand, offering a small gift, or breaking bread (having lunch or coffee), are three great ways to do that. Showing appreciation forges relationships, professionally and personally.