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

More Info

Archive: Presentation Visual Impact

Do suits fit the man?

brown-shoes-blue-suitRecent articles in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune discussed how the suits for Sean Spicer and Stephen Colbert work or do not work. In the real world, suits for men seem to be evolving daily. That is because the fashion industry has been trying change the look of suit styles mainly to drive sales.

The current style for the slim and younger man is closer fitting jackets and stovepipe look pants. No pleat pants on the fuller body type or older men and lapels are back in vogue on the jackets for everyone.

Sean Spicer suits have a dated look because the jacket fit is too wide. He cannot wear the slimmer, youthful one. However, he can trim down the sides and bring in the jacket shoulder to sport a more fitted, smarter look.

Stephen Colbert finally got the message to wear flattering suits and say good riddance to the awful ones where the jacket and pants made him look like a stuffed sausage. Colbert now looks and moves with ease when performing his monologues.

Unfortunately, Spicer has not transitioned to the custom tailored suits that make him look more elegant and balance his rough speaking style.

Runway material

Key to LeadershipRecently, I heard a comment about an executive that leadership-wise, he was not runway material. What exactly is runway material? It is someone who enters the room with confidence, poise and an understanding of the audience.

This person intuitively understands the emotional intelligence necessary to make a connection. Once a leader shows senior management s/he are runway material, the path to the C Suite opens wide!

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.

How do you sound?

microphone-vectorExpressing passion when speaking about your subject is an important way to connect to your audience. The key is to control the volume of your voice. It is easy to mistake yelling for passion. Practice by audio and videotaping your presentations. This helps determine when and where the voice needs to change to reflect the key moments in the speech. When a voice raises in sound, it projects a different feeling than yelling does. Use one to three fingers on your throat to gauge when your voice goes too high or low. You can raise or lower your voice to make a point and determine the most effective tone based on the audience size and speech content.

Present to the audience needs

microphone-vectorIn group presentations, the key is to provide what the audience needs. Sounds simple, but is it really? In a recent meeting with a client, we worked on major areas to master when giving a group presentation. One, the answer to the question being asked should be backed with common sense, stats if possible and some context or history around it.

Secondly, the answer must flow in the overall presentation, whether it is to present a situation or provide forecasts for the group or organization.

Lastly and most importantly, the presenter must truly believe in it. Using these three simple rules means a 90% chance for a successful experience.

Why wear a tie?

Stripe Shirts with TiesIn a recent New York Times Style section, it shows President Obama wearing an open collar shirt with his suit. The trend lately has been an open collar shirt without a tie for high profile men. This reminds me of a zillion years ago when DreamWorks was formed with Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and David Katzenberg. The only person wearing a shirt and tie was David Katzenberg. Steven and David Geffen both were millionaires and David Katzenberg was really still a working man.

In many firms, it’s okay to wear a tie with no jacket unless it is required for a presentation. So, there are situations where certain folks can escape from wearing a tie. However, when President Obama speaks to the nation he is still has on a tie. Also, not every man can look elegant when tieless unless the shirt is impeccable.

Is a woman’s necklace the man’s tie?

petrified_woodI do believe a wonderful statement necklace on a woman projects the same presence as a man wearing tie. A necklace, like a tie, draws attention to the face. It frames the face and adds diversity in color and shape.

For the necklace to have the same effect as a man’s tie, it must lay close to the collar bone. It needs boldness with color, the stones or the metal. A long necklace can have the same effect if it contains more than three strands.

Passion vs. Script

lipsThere have been many books and articles about what makes a great speaker. Politicians, especially during an election year, are great examples of passion versus script. The folks that get up in front of you who truly believe in what they are speaking about, bring us into their world. We feel their commitment and beliefs. The folks who are scripted never really hook us into their ideas. They may have more substance and experience but unfortunately, they may struggle to attract followers or win elections by relying solely on script instead of passion.

Everyday performance matters

24Recently, I met with a senior leader who engaged me to work with a high potential member of the team he viewed as a potential successor. The problem is that this potential only shows up at important functions and meetings. Otherwise, he may be there somewhat physically but definitely not present at all mentally. My point is that every time you are in front of someone you must be in the moment. Often you are judged in everyday situations rather than the high visibility ones. How you engage everyday both visually and verbally are keys to building positive relationships which lead to success in every aspect of business and social intercourse.

Custom tailoring – not as easy as it looks

treadsOften, folks ask if they should get a custom suit or shirt made instead of buying off the rack. The reason is that they want clothing to fit their body shape perfectly. If you had an unlimited funds and the time to find the right custom clothier this can be done.

Recently a comment was made about Hillary Clinton’s clothing. Some say it is better than the colored pants suits (that looked like a rainbow of popsicles) she used to wear. This year, some say she looks like a CEO and others say the clothes appear too homemade. The real issue is probably her lack of time and the job of always being on stage everyday while on the campaign trail.

Also, Hilary wants to make sure it is not about her clothes, first, and secondly, her body type adds pounds in front of the camera. Most of her clothing has been tailored for her but it appears that she lacks the time to always get it right. My hope is that her go-to person for her “look” is taking notes and watching videos so the clothing gets adjusted to ensure it fits and moves right. Hillary’s preferences also count for a lot. My thought is that she wants to feel good 24 hours a day. Hillary has my vote in that she gets it right about 80% of the time.