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

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.

Speaking at a Memorial

microphone-vectorI was recently reminded of a time I was asked to be the lead speaker at a memorial by my sister for her husband. Later, a friend mentioned how she enjoyed her husband’s service. The friend liked how each person who spoke shared a thoughtful insight and in some cases, a humorous story about her husband.

What is important in a memorial service is that the individual is brought to life in a unique way through the folks speaking. Make sure that speakers are given a brief guideline prior to speaking. Serving as a lead speaker at a memorial service is an honor. It is also a responsibility to the family to help coordinate the service.

Swimming with the sharks

sharksRecently, a well-known prime time news anchor tried to validate a point with a spokesperson by asking a question about a lie from the spokesperson’s team that appeared on the news. This anchor is known for integrity and has a knack for handling sensitive subjects with the guests on the show.

The spokesperson was a shark, a fast talker employing a high spin level skill at making observations and details sound like facts. The anchor, unfortunately, did not respond well even though he the truth was behind the question.

What I would recommend, is to ask the questions at least three times. Then, instead of doing the cha-cha with the guest, end the conversation on a high note by letting the other person to wallow in their own comments. Don’t swim with the sharks unless you possess some shark skills of your own!

 

C-Suite Presence

24There is never a bad time in your work environment to discreetly and judiciously project an image above your pay grade. But a particularly good time is when you are called upon to make an appearance before your most senior executives or Board of Directors. On these occasions, you must not underestimate the importance of body language. Your posture and engagement with that group must project the message that you belong at that table. Listen attentively so that you are sure of not only what has been said, but also what has been meant. Think carefully about what you are going to say and how you say it. Words matter, especially if you are careful not to use more than you need. And of course, give whatever assignments from that encounter that come your way your highest priority. In many companies, there is an executive pattern of behavior that is just a shade more refined than what most of us experience on a day-to-day basis. Think about how you can become comfortable with that behavior.

 

 

Customer service in a poor company

haircut disasterGood people get worn away when working for a bad company as in the story below.

As a business owner, I know that having good credit is very important for many reasons. For example, using automatic payment ensures I am never late for a payment. A company I did business with changed credit card companies making it necessary to call all the vendors to replace the card. This firm experiences many problems with their systems. They are trying to mitigate that by hiring good customer service people. However, no matter how good or how new, a customer service staff can only stay positive when dealing with legitimate complaints. Not ones stemming from receiving a call from a company saying a payment was rejected because they did not have the credit card.

I spoke four times to different representatives about this very situation. They apologize because they have the new card in the system but are uncertain of the problem. You can hear their frustration (forget about mine!).  How can a company keep good people when the system works against them? How can the reps  keep a cheery voice and attitude when the problem keeps recurring? That’s what wears them out, I suspect.

How do you connect with your audience?

Stripe Shirts with TiesThere much to learn by watching the politicians on stage, from the way they speak to their clothing choices. In a recent New York Times article, the vice presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, was featured about his clothing choices. He was compared to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
President Obama is a Hart Shaffner Marx customer (custom tailored to his physical size – tall and slender). Vice President Joe Biden was not wearing an off the rack suit either. The average man on the street rarely wears a suit today and if he does, it is not custom tailored. Tim Kaine wore a non-custom made suit along with a matching shirt and a not-current-style tie. His clothing sent the message: I am just like the average guy on the street and I am for you. The idea is to dress for the audience you want to connect with.