By Angela Marshall, 12th Feb 2015
The world has become smaller as people travel more whether it is for pleasure or business. Businesses have to be more competitive therefore it is more important than ever to present yourself in a positive way and giving the right first impression can make the difference between being taken seriously or not. We all subconsciously make a judgement about one another within the first few seconds. 55% is on the way we look, 38% is on the way we sound and only 7% is on the words we say. It is, therefore, vitally important we “look and act the part”.
Looking the Part
When we consistently dress well and are well groomed we look the part, stand out from the crowd and command attention in a positive way. It has a doubly positive effect as it helps us to feel good as well as promoting a positive response from others.
Actors often say “When you put on the right clothes it helps you to become the part”. Always think about ‘your part’ where you are going, what type of business you are in, how you wish to come across and then decide which clothes you are going to wear. A successful dresser finds a distinctive way of dressing that is appropriate for what they do and is a true reflection of their personality.
Projecting a Professional Image:
Dealing with people as part of your job means you need to have good people skills as much as technical skills. People will assume that you know your job but what they are going to “buy” is you. To communicate well it is important to have the three “As.” To be approachable, accountable and accessible and to have five key qualities: competence, credibility, control, confidence and consistency.
- Ensure you are well groomed and well dressed.
- Look in the mirror and assess what you see. Be dispassionate and look as though you were looking at a stranger.
- Walk in with confidence and have positive body language.
- Be well mannered.
- Remember to smile. A genuine smile is a great asset: it’s friendly, disarming and confident.
- Inspire the belief in others that you can do the job.
- Deliver what you say you can.
By Angela Marshall, 5th Feb 2015
A variety of people have left messages for me to call back and increasingly I have noticed that I can hardly catch the person’s name as they speak quickly and not very clearly. It then takes me several re-runs to obtain the correct information. Plus they often leave an incorrect number, particularly if it is a mobile. Luckily I can recall the details on my landline as well as on my mobile. Although some numbers do not show.
Messages and Voicemail
Voicemail can be very efficient and save time, however it doesn’t mean we need to forget our manners. Telephone messages are personal and your voice gives a lot away about yourself, through the tone, pitch and accent of your voice.
Tips for leaving and receiving a voice message :
- Answer message – ensure you are smiling and speak with energy, so you sound enthusiastic and friendly.
- Return calls – always return calls as soon as possible.
- Speak slowly and clearly – allow time for the person to hear your message and repeat numbers when leaving details.
- Identify yourself – give your name and if necessary your company and department, when you’re on the receiving end of a phone call.
- Personalize the conversation – and always be polite, whether leaving a message or answering a message. A telephone manner is very much part of our personal image and being polite and courteous is crucial in building up good relationships whether in business or in our personal lives. It shows respect.
Allow for People Hard of Hearing
Slow down it is important for people who may be hard of hearing, they may not be deaf, but may not hear as well as you plus people need time to register what you are saying.
By Angela Marshall, 29th Jan 2015
Looking after your clothes and knowing how to wash them correctly is an important basic life skill. Before you load up the washing machine, you have to do some preparation work.
What to consider:-
- Separate items by colour and texture – light from dark and wash white separately. Heavy and light delicate texture. Towels and jeans do not go with delicate fabrics and keep wool and cashmere for a separate wash or hand wash.
- Always check the care label.
- Choose the correct setting cycle on your washing machine.
- Choose the appropriate washing powder – colour, for whites, biological or non biological.
- Wool and Cashmere – ensure you use appropriate liquid and machine cycle or wash by hand.
- Do you need fabric softener – avoid for cashmere.
- Do not over load – 2/3rds full maximum.
Fabric piling is the formation of small, fuzzy balls on the surface of a fabric. It can make a garment look old and worn. Certain types of fibres e.g. angora and cashmere are more prone to fabric piling, but fabric piling can be prevented, to some extent, by the correct washing and care of clothes. Wash your garments inside out and on a shorter gentle wash cycle (unless heavily stained) and ensure you remove them from the dryer, if it is appropriate to use, as soon as the cycle is complete. To remove fabric piles it is best to use a knitwear comb, otherwise stretch the fabric over a curved surface such as an ironing board and carefully pull off the piles .
Suggestions on How to Look after Various Fabrics
There are so many fabrics and mix of fabrics available, but here are some suggestions:
Cotton – this is relatively low maintenance and can be washed in warm water and tumble dried but 100% does need ironing to look smart and for a crisp look use starch spray.
Silk – depending on the type of silk it is best for the item to be dry cleaned. If the items are machine washable or you wish to risk it (e.g. after having had the item for some time), then I recommend washing it by hand and avoid wringing the garment, drip dry and use a very cold iron if needed.
Polyester – this is generally machine washable at a low temperature and use low heat in your dryer or hang out to dry. Avoid having the item in the dryer for too long. Generally the good thing is it doesn’t need ironing.
Cashmere – check out my blog – for information and tips on how to look after cashmere.
By Angela Marshall, 22nd Jan 2015
Dressing well and looking stylish means wearing clothes that fit well, are clean, neat and tidy but also reflect our personality, so we feel comfortable and portray a confident and positive image. It is important to be well groomed whether in formal or informal situations. Looking scruffy doesn’t give a stylish appearance or show respect for yourself or the people you are with.
It is important to learn and adapt your style as you change whether by becoming older, developing your personality or changing your lifestyle. We all will go through various phases in our life – teenage, parenthood, new job to promotion to later life in retirement.
Here are some tips on looking stylish:-
Well Groomed – Be Clean Neat & Presentable
Ensure your clothes, shoes, hair and nails are clean neat and presentable.
A Style to Suit Your Personality
Understand what styles, fabrics and textures compliment you, reflect your personality and that you feel comfortable and confident in. Avoid others advice or wearing what others look good in if you do not feel great and enjoy wearing them. Add accessories which you enjoy which will bring out your own style and reflect your personality.
Dress appropriately for the occasion
There are such varieties of choice whether casual, informal, formal or eveningwear. Check out the dress code and ask for an example if they do not make it clear when attending events e.g. informal and no jeans, formal with tie or dress better than trousers for ladies.
Style rather than High Fashion
Transitional trends become less important as we get older and the way to look your best consistently will be through simplicity; consider style rather than high fashion.
Mix and Match
Learning to mix and match helps to avoid the need of too many clothes and gives variety to what you have.
Finally, remember to walk with confidence, a good posture and remember to smile!
Pics: ladies cape from Lacorin
By Angela Marshall, 20th Jan 2015
When we behave professionally at work or when out and about in public it helps us to come across as a better person as well as showing we know how to act appropriately and with confidence. It is something we can all work at to improve our consideration and thoughtfulness towards other people.
Here are some suggestions on behaving professionally:-
Look directly in the eye of people who are talking to you – avoid looking away, staring too much or making weird faces.
Listen well and apply what you hear – avoid talking about yourself too much. Show interest in others and what they say and never ignore them when they are speaking.
Be respectful to others – talk to everybody with equal respect whatever level or position they are in.
Keep promises – if you give a promise to somebody, then make sure you keep it. It shows signs that you are reliable and honest; a trait which will boost your integrity and professionalism.
Be punctual – respect other peoples time whether they are clients, colleagues or friends.
Avoid being over emotional, angry or proud – try to keep it simple and staying calm and quiet is best in this situation.
Be interested in what you are doing at work, and show it – employers are more confident with your abilities and skills and will show their appreciation and recognise you as a valuable contributor to the company.
On the 21st January 2015 Argos are launching the UK’s first official National Employee Motivation Day.
Look around your office or workplace. Are your colleagues smiling? Joking? Happy in their work? Or are they scowling… miserable… or downhearted?
21st January 2015 is a day to help celebrate the efforts of the nation’s workforce and encourage everybody to feel more motivated in their jobs. Behaving professionally helps to be motivated and to motivate others.
By Angela Marshall, 15th Jan 2015
Our body language is the way in which we show what we are thinking and feeling through conscious and subconscious gestures. Our body movements and facial expressions give out lots of messages. We can say one thing but mean another and our body language will show this, as it is largely controlled by the subconscious.
We need to ensure we are giving out the right messages. We need to appear confident, trustworthy and, in the right situation, powerful. We also need to recognise other people’s body language, so we can adapt our body language in given situations e.g. if a person feels threatened we can put them at ease.
Learn to understand both yours and other people’s body language. Ask for feedback from friends or colleagues or review any videotapes of you making a presentation. You may see things you would never have believed or realised you did before.
Here are a few tips on positive body language:
- Facial expressions – convey happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise or dislike. Learn to use expressions to get your point across.
- Good posture – head up, shoulders back and in a comfortable position. It conveys a positive message, whereas slouching shows a lack of confidence or sloppiness. It will also affect your breathing and therefore your voice. Ensure you sit upright as much as possible.
- Eye contact should be given regularly, about 75% of the time. Steady eye contact will give the impression to a person that you are honest, confident and receptive. Generally, men give more contact when speaking and women when listening.
- A smile is a much underrated business tool. It conveys enthusiasm, happiness and interest. It is a sign of friendship and fosters goodwill in business. It also helps to relax the muscles in your face.
- Your voice conveys a variety of feelings – anxiety, concern or interest. It can betray your mood, sound positive or negative. When talking, you need to consider pitch, tone, rhythm and speed of your voice. Your voice is particularly important on the telephone – ensure you speak clearly, concisely and at the correct level of tone. Smile when leaving a greeting or message on the telephone.
- Give active signs of listening – nod or comment e.g. ah, oh or mm.
- A handshake leaves an impression with other people. It says how professional, confident and sophisticated you are. A firm handshake is important; nobody likes a limp handshake or one that squeezes your hand too tight.
- The use of space is important. A powerful individual feels quite comfortable taking a lot of space and will use expansive gestures. A shy person will feel less significant and will take less room. There are 4 spatial zones – intimate, personal zone, social zone and public zone.
Personal space is highly variable, and can be affected by cultural differences and personal experiences. For example, those living in densely populated places e.g. cities, tend to have a lower expectation of personal space. Research has revealed that there are four different zones of interpersonal space:
- Intimate distance ranges from touching to about 18 inches (46 cm) apart – reserved for lovers, close family members and friends.
- Personal distance begins about an arm’s length away; starting around 18 inches (46 cm) from the person and ending about 4 feet (122 cm) away – used in conversations with friends, to chat with associates, and in group discussions.
- Social distance ranges from 4 to 8 feet (1.2 m – 2.4 m) away from the person – reserved for strangers, newly formed groups, and new acquaintances.
- Public distance includes anything more than 8 feet (2.4 m) away, and is used essentially for larger audiences e.g. speeches or lectures.
By Angela Marshall, 8th Jan 2015
Since the casual dress started some 20 years ago, companies are increasingly aware that their employees’ personal brand and the ‘company’s brand’ are no longer completely united. If you work for yourself have you forgotten your most important asset your personal image and brand?
Companies need to be clear on what the brand is, what it looks like, and how it will be seen by their customers and the public in general. As an employee the way you look, sound and behave has an impact on how you come across to your colleagues, clients and bosses.
- How well do I represent my business and job with my appearance?
- How well dressed am I today and how well am I representing the business’s brand?
- Do I look good every day, not just some days (you need to show you are consistent in your appearance, as it indicates you are with your work).
- Who am I and what type of business do I represent – creative, conservative, trendy or more relaxed in style.
- Am I well groomed all of the time?
- Do I have positive body language?
- Does my voice sound positive and do I speak clearly?
The Importance of a Good Appearance
- In today’s competitive world doing a good job is what you are paid for, but looking stylish and giving that little bit extra will make the difference and help you to stand out from the crowd in a positive way.
- Our appearance is the first thing noticed and the last thing forgotten.
- Within the first 3-5 seconds of meeting us people form an opinion about us and they will decide whether they like us, trust us and want to do business with us.
- At work your image is your company’s image; it is how people see you and your company, so make sure it is a positive one.
- Our appearance is an indication of what we are like as a person, it gives out lots of messages.
- Good appearance makes us feel good, it gives self-confidence, projects a positive image and in turn people are more positive towards us, which makes us more confident. This is known as the “Circle of Success.”
Positive Body Language – we need to ensure we are giving out the right message. I will cover this area in more depth next week.
- Your voice conveys a variety of feelings – anxiety, concern or interest. It can betray your mood, sound positive or negative. When talking, you need to consider pitch, tone, rhythm and speed of your voice. Your voice is particularly important on the telephone – ensure you speak clearly, concisely and at the correct level of tone. Smile when leaving a greeting or message on the telephone. Your voice can betray your mood, sound positive or negative.
How you Behave – this will be covered in more depths in a few weeks.
By Angela Marshall, 18th Dec 2014
With the Holiday season coming up it is often the time we meet our partner’s parents for the first time. When going to meet them it can be daunting and you can feel very nervous. All families have their own style, habits and some can be good or bad but none of us are perfect. Some of us are more affluent, better educated, had better opportunities in life, but the one thing we can all be is polite, respectful and friendly. Instead of treating it as something to worry about, think of it in a positive way on how you will see and learn how another family lives, and how great it will be to meet your partner’s parents and learn more about them.
My suggestions on what to consider:
- Wear an outfit you feel comfortable in and represents your personality but not too outlandish. Something simple, tasteful and appropriate for the event e.g. going to a restaurant, visiting their home.
- Be on time – bad manners to be late and disrespectful.
- Address the parents as “Mr” and “Mrs” until they say otherwise.
- Follow your partner’s lead – watch if they are more relaxed or more formal than your family. Handshake or hug, follow what the parents do.
- Take a Gift – flowers, chocolates, plant or wine if suited and they drink.
- Use your Ps and Qs- remember to say please and thank you.
- Body Language – head up, shoulders back, sit upright in chair – look confident and remember to smile!
- Offer to Help – be useful, wash up, carry food to the table, and help to make the food if necessary. Ask if not sure what to do; all families have their own ways.
- Compliment where appropriate – like something in the meal, dessert, drink, item in the home.
- Be Prepared with Answers to Questions- make conversation; find out from your partner what common interests you may have.
- Be too quiet or too talkative – join in but no take over the conversation.
- Complain or be negative about people and things in work or school. Avoid controversy and be positive.
- Talk about politics or religion – especially if you know they have different views or beliefs to you.
- Get drunk – avoid over indulging with alcohol.
- Swear or use inappropriate language.
- Help yourself to a drink or food from the fridge or cupboard just because your partner does, wait to be offered.
- Expect all the attention – remember your partner has been part of their family and may get more attention.
- Display affection in public to your partner – avoid PDA, especially on your first meeting, parents may feel awkward and uncomfortable.
- Be late or too early.
- Be Rude – avoid offending people, being moody or answering abruptly if the family offend you.
The key thing is to be polite, respectful, and friendly and leave them with a good impression that you are a nice person. If you have special dietary requirements ensure you let them know ahead of time, preferably via your partner.
Enjoy and have fun!
Finally, remember to write a letter of thank you.
By Angela Marshall, 15th Dec 2014
I enjoy attending Christmas Fairs and meeting unusual small individual companies. This year I attended the Mary Howard Fair at Sandown Racecourse and met a small company called Eve Victoria who sells great candles, diffusers and soaps and they happen to come from my home area in South Wales. It is ideal presents for me to give friends and family a little taste of something from my home.
However, my key and wonderful purchase was my Christmas present, from my husband, a beautiful alpaca cape from Lacorine. I love capes as they are so easy to wear for so many occasions. In cold weather they are ideal for shopping when going from the cold outside to inside shops, going to a football or rugby match and you need to keep warm, wonderful to look smart over a long dress and attending a wedding. They are so versatile. My sister in law looked fantastic in the Alpaca fur hat and ideal for her when she goes walking the dogs as well as shopping and everyday wear.
It is a family run business that specialises in bringing you beautiful and unique handmade Alpaca clothing direct from Peru. All the products are created from natural herd loss which happens during the harsh Peruvian winter.
I cannot wait for Christmas when I can wear my new cape. I purchased the cinnamon colour to suit my warm muted colouring.
By Angela Marshall, 11th Dec 2014
Whether you are 25 or 50 it is important to look stylish and dress well. Every year, at your birthday, look at your wardrobe and check what needs tweaking to suit your personal style and age. As we get older we also change and develop and what may have suited us a few years ago may not look the same or suit our personality now.
What does dressing well and looking stylish mean?
Wearing clothes that fit well and that are clean, neat and tidy. Ensuring you are always well groomed whether in formal or casual attire. Understanding your own style which reflects your wardrobe personality and age group and dressing appropriately for every occasion. If in doubt it is better to be overdressed than under dressed. Learn and adapt your style by understanding and knowing what works for you and ensuring you feel as well as look good.
Everything must fit well.
- Find a good tailor. Most decent dry cleaning places will also do alterations, but preferably get to know one personally so that they can check the fit of your clothes personally.
- A jacket fits across the shoulders and the sleeves are the correct length. Your suit sleeves should end just above the hinges of your wrists, so a quarter to half inch of shirt cuff shows.
- Trousers are fitting correctly at the waist, should not be baggy or so skin tight that they will tear. Ensure the waist is comfortable and not so loose that you need the belt to hold them up and the length is correct with shoes on. Your pants should just clip the tops of your shoes, not bunch up over them.
- Shirts should be the correct sleeve length and not puff out at the waist.
- Suits should fit like a glove, a good suit should hug your shoulders, not slouch off them. A tailor can check for any alterations as most off the peg suits require some alterations.
- For women ensure the skirt or dress length compliments your legs.
Clean Neat & Tidy
Ensure you are always well groomed by ensuring your clothes, shoes, hair and nails are clean, neat and tidy.
Understand what styles, fabrics and textures compliment you and reflect your personality. You need to feel comfortable in your clothes to feel and look good which in turn gives you great confidence. Don’t wear what others look good in and yet you do not feel good when you wear them. Add accessories which you enjoy and bring out your own style.
Dress appropriately for the occasion
There are such varieties to chose from whether casual, informal, formal or evening wear. Check out the dress code and don’t be afraid to ask when attending events and ask for an example if they do not make it clear e.g.is informal jeans or no jeans, formal tie or no tie.
Dressing Our Age
As we get older it is wiser to introduce more and more of the classics into an outfit and add some new trends which will still be good to be implemented. Transitional trends become less important and the way to look your best consistently will be through simplicity; consider style rather than fashion. Buy a range of colours to add to your classics but check if your colouring is softer and needs lighter or more muted tones. Buy better quality and experiment with different neck lines, textures and cuts which will add a touch of youth to your outfit and keep things varied.
Accessories add style, are great to update your look and add colour plus they are a great way to express your personality. As we get older they help you to stay fashionable without being too trendy . Chose the best quality you can afford for business. Women always carry a spare pair of hosiery.
Welcome to Angela Marshall's Blog.
"I am in the third phase of my life and having been a successful image consultant for 18 years, I now enjoy the freedom of blogging about life in general, especially fashion, grooming, etiquette and manners."