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: Unprofessional

The Bad Boss

noRecently, I read a Chicago Tribune Business Section article about what makes a boss bad. Here are some of key findings:

• They do not recognize your achievements.
• They verbally abuse you in public.
• They pit you against your peers.
• They offer no support or tools to help you achieve results.
• They have no interest in you as a person only as a tool to achieve their goals.

How do you survive with a bad boss (And, I had more than one before starting out on my own!) The best way is to treat their unfortunate appearance as a learning experience. Also, keep in mind that these bad bosses treat everyone the same way so it is not personal.

Working through bad boss experiences helped me work with clients to make them better leaders.

Alternative truth/facts

ElephangRecently the news has featured constant dialog about the phrase alternative truth / facts. In my work, I have noticed that some clients struggle to face hard facts like not missing deadlines, poor work performance and grasping real truths. I think these people are headed for career growth disappointment. Until they can truly be honest with themselves by letting go of the spin, they will lack the credibility and respect of their peers and peers are who senior leaders look to for validating promotions. Unfortunately, fact deniers may end up without a role in any organization.

Zip the lip

no_talking1Social media has a life of its own. It is worse than gossip and can haunt those who traffic in it and anyone around them. Facebook and Twitter are platforms to express news and instant emotional reactions, good and bad.
People have even gotten fired for being caught up in loose comments made in the news by high powered folks. They thought if it was ok by those folks, then they could say it too. However, the reality is that some have power and freedom without repercussions and others face the wrath. If something is that important for you to express it in writing, write the words to yourself first and decide the way you want to handle it the next day.

Fashion disasters while traveling, lesson number one

haircut disasterRecently, I was traveling on a combination of work and vacation time. Several parts of the trip went well. The travel itself was easy and many resources were available to help navigate between work and pleasure. However, when the weather did not cooperate it became challenging leading to lesson number one.

Lesson number one is to never make a decision in haste. For example, take my hasty haircut adventure. The weather plays tricks on my hair. It causes it to lose body resulting in a very flat and straight appearance. So, instead of investing more in products, like a Paul Mitchell Daily Body Boost, I went and got a haircut.

Never go to a salon thinking you will get lucky on a haircut! In my case, what was supposed to be a slight trim turned out as a very bad cut. It took my own hair stylist, who used her magic scissors, to make the cut work. Even with her skills, it will still take a few months, if I am lucky, to get my hair style back to normal. Sub-lesson one…never get an out-of-town haircut unless it’s from a stylist you know or received a reliable recommendation on.

The value of a bad boss

A key laying on a piece of paper with the word "leadership" on it.

It would be ideal to never be saddled with a bad boss. The type of manager who never appreciates what you do, who overloads you with unreasonable expectations and timelines and who sends you numerous emails late at night. This kind of leader can be brilliant, maybe even another version of a Steve Jobs, which is where value can shine through the craziness. You could be exposed to situations that provide insights into moments of high achievement.

As an example, when I was in sales, the owner was very demanding. However, as painful as it sometimes was, the skills I developed dealing with him helped turn me into a top sales person and trainer in less than two years, in a position I went on to hold for ten years. Even today, after twenty-five years, I still use many of those sales tools to procure and retain business.

Inclusive questions are best

reject-stamp-showing-rejection-denied-or-refusalAsking intrusive ones are definitely a relationship destroyer. Recently, a colleague lost his position through a major reorganization of his firm. He had been with the company for 30 plus years. It really was his whole life and, in fact, defined him.

Instead of peers helping him manage through this life-altering loss, all they could do was ask questions like, do you have enough funds to live on, what could you have done to prevent this and have you begun to think about the future?

However, the best question would have been, how can I help? He was basically in an unwanted divorce. The next time you have a friend going through a major change, don’t add to the pain by asking intrusive questions; instead, be a comfort.

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.



Workshop distractors

reject-stamp-showing-rejection-denied-or-refusalThis is a list of my not so favorite workshop distractions:

• The attendee who wishes you would finish before you start by looking at their watch 10 minutes into the presentation

• The poker/frowning face

• The chatter box who constantly talks to the person next to them

• The arms crossed over the body, totally closed to listening to any observations

• The naysayer who will challenge whatever I might say with another point of view

• The note taker who never looks up

If you happen to have any one of these folks in your class, never look at them. Focus on a friendly face and you will have a positive experience.