Anna Soo Wildermuth

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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: Special occassions

Accepting an award

award cup.magesAt a recent event, a client was the last person to accept an award. Unfortunately, the other award winners were funny and seemed to have either practiced their acceptance speeches or were adept at adjusting to statements by earlier award winners.

If I had been hired to coach the client on speaking in public especially when accepting an award, I would have mentioned the following critical elements for a winning acceptance speech:

1. Remember, 30 to 60 seconds is the shortest length of time and 90 seconds to two minutes the longest when accepting an award.
2. Differentiate yourself with your own personal story to tie into the thank you.
3. Be generous with crediting the folks who helped you win the award.
4. Inject a bit of humor. It goes a long way.
5. Practice in front a sounding board.

Following these guidelines will give you an 80% chance to give a memorable acceptance speech.

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.

Christmas Garb

christmas sweaterThe holidays are a fun time to be more creative with wardrobe choices including the famous ugly Christmas sweaters. They have become a bold fashion statement to wear on casual days. For those who love the holiday spirit and but might not want to wear the ugly Christmas sweater, opt for wearing holiday colors in accessories, necklaces or a touch in a scarf for women.

Men can add holiday colors in ties or an outer wear scarf. If you chose to wear a Christmas sweater, choose one with one design and color. Try to stay away from printed words or jingles. Santa hats are also fun for weekend wear and parties.



Black tie or black tie optional dress

haircut disasterHaving just been to a black tie affair, I saw women wearing dresses in street, tea and formal length. There were strapless tops and jackets worn with pants. Men have the luxury of wearing a tuxedo for the black tie event and a dark suit for the black tie optional. Dressing for black tie or black tie optional used to have different meanings for women but now, women have the freedom to wear almost anything that has an evening look to it whether it’s a dress or a dressy pants suit.

I think of three things when choosing the right black tie outfit: knowing what the event norm is, making sure the outfit is comfortable and preparing at least two choices for the event. This is so that if there is a temperature change, I am ready!

When is red too much red?

christmas sweaterChristmas red is very popular during the holiday season when see an explosion of the color. We find that the more reds we see in lights and decorations, the more our spirits get lifted… it’s beautiful!

Wearing reds can be a nice way to celebrate the holidays; however, when I see someone wearing red shoes, red stockings and a red suit… I say No, No, No!
To keep in the spirit, keep the red suit, dump the red shoes and stockings or keep the red shoes, stockings and skirt and wear black on top. I also love the red-beaded necklace on a black dress. A touch of red, especially around the neck, for the holidays is fun.

Doom and gloom service person

stop-panic-attacksRecently, I had a service person come in (happened to be the owner) who began to tell me what I had done wrong instead of saying there may be a problem but we will do our best to fix it. Can you imagine a consultant or coach like myself right off the bat, telling a client that s/he has tremendous problems? Or you, as a new team leader or team member telling the group: We have problems we cannot begin to solve?

I am not saying that we need to be a Pollyanna but can’t anything somehow be made better? I understand the owner might have been under tremendous pressure but if he doesn’t work for repeat customers, that pressure may just get a lot bigger and lead to more serious problems.

Road Warrior

earthFor those on the road more than three times a month for business or pleasure, here’s a refresher on what to pack. Always have a quick-start kit of toiletries, packed and to ready to go. Every third trip, refresh the see through bag  with items, such as certain hair or grooming products (women– makeup) (men- shaving and colognes), that may need substituting or replacing.

Keep some zip lock plastic bags in different sizes around. They are very useful to pack items that may leak (The Container Store also carries leak proof bottles.) or food/beverages you could not finish in the airport. Try to pack items in clear cases. I find Travel Smith is a great tool to pick up some new ideas on practical packing.

The Oscars – Ladies on the Red Carpet

Women this ya winnerear at the Oscars decided elegance trumped shock and too much skin. The colors went from vibrant jewel tones to pale sparkles. Full length ball gowns appeared to be in the majority.

It is interesting to note that no matter who they are, women all over have the same challenges on what to wear and how to be comfortable for the evening. Of course, if one actually gets to a red carpet, a statement must be made. Diamonds in earrings and bracelets were the statement this year. Also, there were not too many necklaces on those wearing strapless dresses.


The Oscars – Men on the Red Carpet

that-touch-of-mink-movie-poster-1020503582Men’s evening wear, especially the tuxedo jacket color, has been pushed to be more fashion forward over the past few years. The celebrities on the Red Carpet at the Award shows (Oscars and Golden Globe) have led the way.

This year we have seen the white jacket popping up as evening wear. (It used to be worn only in the summer and during the day.) Now we see Navy (Armani) on the rise, replacing the conservative, traditional black. We will occasionally see purple or plum. (It takes a bold man to wear a purple or plum jacket!).

I still favor the man in the black tux with a hand-tied (no clip-on!)bow tie. Men cannot go wrong with this. Add a touch of elegance with gold studs and it creates a stunning look.


Entertaining in the business world

entertaining-foodist-484Choosing the right venue absolutely shows the person on the receiving end you want make this a special event and that it is about them.

Here are some guidelines to help you pick the right time and event:

– Lunch is best when you have a limited time and it’s a simple thank you gesture or the beginning of a business relationship.

– Dinner should be for those who have gone out of their way to help you develop business. It should be a special venue (cuisine and entertainment).

Some folks love long dinners and an event. For others it is about their favorite foods.

– If an event is important, do the research to select the appropriate play, game or concert.

Following these guidelines will always make the happening a personal one.