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: Personal Development

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.

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.

The origin of resilience

24Past studies suggest individuals that grew up in difficult environment are more likely to be resilient in the journey of life. Oprah is one of the examples frequently mentioned. Another critical component is perseverance. Never giving up, using your failures as a learning example and preparing for the next time a similar situation arises will help you be successful in tough circumstances.

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.

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.

Being an etiquette scold is not good etiquette.

24Let’s face it: when it comes to etiquette – which usually means simply exhibiting good manners in public – most of us are victims of a double standard. There is the standard to which you and I hold ourselves; and then there is the substantially lower standard which we and most of society find minimally acceptable. And we have learned over time that trying to help others move up to a higher standard is a losing proposition. The reason is a particular Catch-22 in the etiquette rulebook which dictates that calling someone out on a breach of etiquette is itself a breach of etiquette. Even if you attempt to delicately point out to your friend in private his opportunity for improvement, don’t count on any gratitude in return. Your best bet will be to make your point as best you can through the example you quietly project, recognizing that the only benefit, in all likelihood, will be the personal satisfaction you can take from at least attempting to raise the bar for civilized behavior.

Agree to disagree

coaching 2Today’s political environment is so charged that family members sometimes end up not talking to each other. Recently, I was riding in a car and the conversation turned challenging. I requested we not talk about politics unless we could agree to discuss by listening to each other’s point of view. We also agreed if we could not agree to disagree we should talk about other topics instead. If an agreement cannot be made to agree to disagree, then it is better not to discuss politics or any highly charged topic.

Handshake Etiquette

conflict_resolution250WA handshake is a personal touch to establish a relationship. The dictionary states that a handshake is “a gripping and shaking of right hands by two individuals, as to symbolize greeting, congratulation, agreement, or farewell.”

I am continually surprised at the greeting handshakes that are either only finger tips touching or the grip is so strong it hurts. If you cannot shake hands for health reasons, just say I would love to shake your hand but I have a terrible cold or ___. It is better to speak up than to ignore shaking hands.
The five-star handshake is palm to palm, nice and firm with one or two pumps made while you look each other directly in the eye. This handshake says I want to get to know you.