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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Cadillac service = loyalty

24Shopping on line has become the way for me to shop whether it is for the house, office or personal items over these last few years. Before 2015, retail shopping meant going to various stores. It was not always fun to shop. In fact, it became more of a chore that a joyous experience.

The service, easy returns and problem handling of Amazon, Zappo, and Nordstrom (my favorite ones) has always been stellar. Whether working in an organization or as a consultant, when you offer consistent 24/7 service, you will build up loyal customers and client champions for your organization.

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.

Ask for what you want

coaching 2Often, we fail to ask for what we want, maybe because we feel we will be refused, or that we don’t deserve it, or don’t know how to put it in words. The asking part is critical, word choices matter and timing is important. However, nothing matters if you don’t ask.

Shoe color is open ended

bold-neon-color-pumps-shoes-fergie-steiger-valentino-aldoMatching your shoe color means that the shoe color and style should coordinate with the outfit being worn. Today, though, everything is all up in the air! Current times suggest that red color shoes can be worn with the opposite wheel color. Yellow sport shoes can be worn with a suit. Women can wear a completely different color red shoe with a white suit. Comfort has become critical and style goes out the window if any clothing or accessory is not comfortable. To play it safe, stay with companion colors in choosing a shoe color to go with your ensemble.

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.

When is Casual Too Casual?

haircut disasterNot long ago, a major US airline stopped two young girls from boarding their plane because their attire did not conform to airline policy. The problem was their leggings.   There was some back and forth on social media, but libertarian impulses tended to dominate and the airline took the brunt of the social verdict. But every once in a while we should use an incident like this to reflect a bit more broadly on how far we have come, and where we are heading in the realm of casual dress. My answer to the first question is that we have come a bit too far and a bit too fast. For example, the time-worn rule of thumb, “No shirt, no shoes, no service” has been up for grabs for many years.   What qualifies as a shirt or blouse these days is not much more than a couple of square feet of strategically stitched fabric. What qualifies as shoes would be called a thong on any other part of the body. It will be difficult or impossible to reverse the trends we have experienced over the 30 to 40 years that casual dress has taken hold in the professional environment. But each of us can do our part to hold the line against future erosion of dignity and good taste.

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.

Breaking bread

networking-pic-gifSharing a meal with a new manager or employee is a great way to get to know each other on neutral ground. If time and geography allow, I always meet a potential new client before a proposal is written.

Recently, while coaching a group, it came up that they never had the opportunity to share a meal together. Food can be brought in during a lunch time. Since that time they had several opportunities to share a meal including once to celebrate and another time as they collaborated on a long project. Taking a client out for lunch or dinner as a thank you or just to get to know them can serve many purposes. I highly recommend it.

Can you hear me?

earMore and more folks today wear hearing aids. They are not just for the elderly any more.  Be sensitive to those who are using them. You don’t have speak loudly, just directly and succinctly. Speaking loudly makes it sometimes harder to hear. Do not act annoyed or impatient, instead, seek to understand. Wearing hearing aids can be very challenging for the new user.

Sleeveless shirts- business casual

wedding-1Business casual has become mainstream for women in the office. Most senior executives do not go sleeveless without a jacket. If the work population has more men than women, associated must wear sleeveless shirts with a jacket or sweater. This is understandable because sleeveless shirts have a wide range of styles and can be too casual. Sleeveless shirts with collars are an option. They have more polish and in very warm climates can look professional without a jacket.