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: Networking

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.

Why work for free?

earthVolunteering for a nonprofit charity or trade organization has many benefits. My experiences in the Association of Image Consultants (AICI) and Chicago Minority Diversity Suppliers Council to name a few, have been very valuable.

These groups gave me the opportunity to stretch my leadership skills while working in a group situation or leading a team. Serving on the boards for the Ray Graham Foundation for the Disabled also provided me with many experiences.

I gained skills in how to navigate media situations while collaborating with leadership. This has served me well when working with Fortune 500 organizations. Volunteering in your organization for projects is another smart way to gain leadership experience and exposure.

Getting ready to mix and mingle

Clipart Illustration of a Bunch Of Floating Party Balloons WithHow do you get ready to mix and mingle especially if you are the shy type? The first rule, before you even step into the event, is to warm up your mouth along with your voice. Wear something you absolutely love, maybe a necklace or for a man, a favorite shirt.  Pick an event that has a fun happening, such as the opening of art gallery or art fair or an interactive cooking demonstration. Talk to the friendliest person in a group of three.

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.

Leaders give back

Key to LeadershipI recently attended a showcase where professionals shared their crafts and secrets to help their peers and colleagues grow in corporate careers and expand their learning. However, it was easy to spot the presenters who were only there to hawk their services. They provided surface content only. I firmly believe the folks who were truly sharing were passionate about their craft and wanted others to benefit. These folks are in my book and are leaders in their industry. What they give to others will result in them receiving it back 100+ percent along with heartfelt appreciation and respect.

10 Common face-to-face networking mistake

handshake1. Not having several personal introductions

2. Not having an ice breaker to start the conversation

3. Not having a business card

4. Not mixing with more than one group (or staying too long in conversation with one group)

5. Not listening enough (non-stop talking)

6. Not asking how, when and why questions

7. Not having a good time (projecting a look that reflects stomach pain might be occurring)

8. Not smiling (instead, wearing a more a grim facial expression)

9. Not making eye contact or looking around the room more than at a conversation partner

10. Not having a crisp handshake


Take away the nots and you can be a star at networking. The process will also become more fun.



Working from Home? The good, bad and ugly

24Recently in workshop for a Fortune 100 client, the questions came up on how people stay engaged when working from a home office, especially for months on end.

1.Dress as if you are going to the office in business casual attire. Not in pajamas or clothes you would clean the garage in. Dressing up will make you feel professional especially in an isolated setting. Ugly is working in your pajamas. It starts out feeling good but ends up making you feel unaccountable.

2.Do not eat lunch in your home office. Dining out keeps your socialization skills active.

3.Talk to folks in the office. Use FaceTime or Skype so you are on decision makers minds for any projects that may be good for your career mobility.

4.Take on special projects that will keep you visible with leadership.


The don’ts of social media

reject-stamp-showing-rejection-denied-or-refusalWe hear and read all the time of how important it is to have a social media presence. Using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will help give you more exposure. However, in the August 25th Chicago Tribune business section, columnist Rex Huppke of “I just Work Here”, writes about venting on anonymous websites. I agree and suggest taking it another step for Facebook which many folks, especially potential employers, read.

Below are what we might want to avoid doing on Facebook. Do not:

• Post too much personal stuff – it gives the impression you have a tremendous amount of free time – while at the office

• Post too revealing a personal picture, low cut tops or for men, hairy chests in skinny swim trunks (These belong on private sites or in People magazine.)

• Constantly brag about your business achievements

• Offer condescending advice

• Make fun of someone or something – leave that to Vanity or People magazine

• Post negative comments in general

Keep your remarks positive and you will create engagement while providing a human touch which is what we want.


Building a Strong Network

presentation-skillsNetworking is critical for both personal and professional growth. Following these steps will help you build stable and strong connections:

• Begin with friends and family. Connect with those that have connections to what you need for work either for a new position or a skill you want to acquire.

• Be crystal clear on what you want and don’t want. Being vague will leave you empty handed. Also, it’s very important to have a succinct pitch on who you are and where your strengths lie.

• Be a valuable resource. In both giving and receiving, deliver what you commit to.

• Be a consistent networker face to face as well as on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Have a strategy and apply it consistently. Face to face networking can be done at least once a week and make social media a daily habit.

You must have fun with it. Folks want to be with those who have a positive attitude and are sincere. Look the part so they want to be seen with you. Follow these guidelines to begin a strong network or refresh the one you currently have.


Who Knows You?

networking-pic-gifYou may have heard the saying: It’s not what you know, it is who knows you. I believe the new mantra is just who knows you.

Often, when a job opening is posted the hiring powers may already have someone in mind. This person is the one they know about including what they stand for, their personal brand and work history of success.

So, I ask— Who knows you and how do you network to increase the number of people that do?

There are at least five vehicles of networking:

• Formal events once or twice a month

• Informal, meaning casual by chance, in the hallway, parking lot, the elevator, etc.

• Social Media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Spoke to name a few

• Being published

• Having a leadership role in an industry or work-based organization

You must have your personal introduction and interesting areas of conversation to share at a formal networking event and be involved in three of the above five networking vehicles. Otherwise, no will know who you are.