7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Going for an Interview

By Angela Marshall, 16th Oct 2014

businesswoman in an interview with three business people getting

The first impression you make on a potential employer can make or break your chance of obtaining the job. The first thing an interviewer notices is how you look (your appearance, mannerism and body language), then how you sound (pitch, accent and tone of voice) and finally the words you say. It is always important to look the part for a job interview and when you look the part it helps you to feel the part which in turn gives you confidence. It boosts your self-esteem to achieve a successful interview.

Within the first 3 – 5 seconds people form an opinion about you, so prepare – do your homework.

7 Pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Poor personal appearance
  2. Limp handshake
  3. Poor body language e.g. not smiling and avoiding eye contact
  4. Lack of confidence, showing you are nervous, too submissive
  5. Poor behaviour – arriving late, interrupting, impolite, dining etiquette
  6. Poor communication – unable to express your thoughts, poor grammar or speech
  7. Bad attitude – too aggressive, know-it-all attitude, overbearing or too authoritarian.

Whether you feel the interview has or hasn’t gone well do not let it be the last they hear from you. Follow up afterwards, it will help them to remember who you are. A thank you note is best as it will be noticed, otherwise if you have their email address then sends a short email.



Tips on Looking Smart in a Casual Office

By Angela Marshall, 9th Oct 2014


Dressing business formal is in some ways easier than in business casual, because it’s mainly a matching process. Smart casual is an ill-defined dress code that is generally a neat yet informal attire. There are a variety of interpretations to smart casual and a lot will depend on the type of company you work for and its environment.

Tips to consider:

  1. Wear neutral bottoms such as black, grey, navy, brown or taupe.
  2. Choose an assortment of tops to go with your neutral bottoms .
  3. Learn to mix and match your items so they change your look and you will appear you have more clothes than you do.
  4. Ensure your clothes fit you well.
  5. Wear pattern and colour for less formality.
  6. Always be well groomed – clean shoes, nails, hair, clothes and well pressed.
  7. Ensure your items co-ordinate e.g. shoes and belt, shoes and style of clothes, colours.

Even in a smart casual environment avoid displaying large tattoos or body piercings outside the ears, it may be necessary to slightly adjust your clothing to cover them.


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Ryder Cup Etiquette and Manners

You may notice my logo includes “Good Style, Good Grooming, Good Etiquette”. Last weekend was a great sporting event – The Ryder Cup. It is a wonderful event with great rapport and friendliness from the teams and also enthusiastic engagement from the crowd. It is a fantastic example of how you need to look the part, think the part and play the part.

Both the American and European teams all looked professional in their team kits and were all well groomed. Examples of the teams and crowds good etiquette and manners were:

Team Players

  • Quiet when the player was about to tee off
  • When the game started and finished the players shook hands with their opponent, caddy and referee
  • At completion of the game each player straight away took their caps off before offering their handshakes
  • If the score meant a match finished before the 18th the game was not confirmed as completed until the players shook hands
  • Players on both sides conceded putts to their opponent rather than complete the hole if it was pretty obvious the player would make the shot to win the hole

photo 2

The Crowd 

  • The crowds were quiet when a player was about to tee off (except for Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter, who openly encouraged noisy support)
  • Cheered when a player did a great shot, whether it was  an American or European (maybe a bit louder for the home team)
  • Allowed space for players to play when out of bounds
  • Quickly moved and showed where the ball was when it landed near them

It is a true sporting event where players showed respect to their opponents and yet played to win without any hostility or rudeness. Both captains congratulated their counterpart and all the players.

Not many sports are so gracious. It would be welcome to see footballers learn from their example (no more diving!).

Tips on How to Achieve a Professional Look

By Angela Marshall, 2nd Oct 2014

business people

Dressing professionally is crucial for success in a business environment. When you show up in sloppy clothes you are far less likely to get that promotion or raise that you’re hoping for! Although in today’s business environment what constitutes ”professional’ varies from company to company and department to department.

Whether you are new in the company, applying for a job or attending an important meeting you need to dress to match the setting. Some companies provide a dress code, but if they don’t then you’ll have to assess what is appropriate. Typically, the higher ranked/paying your job is, the more professional you should be dressing for it.


  • Dress for the job you want and not the job you’ve got.
  • Dress the part and you will think the part and act the part.

What to consider:

  1. Consider the Company, its brand and the departments environment.
  2. Pay attention to the people around you, ensure you look smart but fit in.
  3. Dress for the weather but avoid the amount of added skin you show. The more you show the less professional you are. Although this will be slightly different in a business casual setting.
  4. Colours – avoid distracting colours or loud patterns stick to neutral colours with some added colour.
  5. Be well groomed – neat clean tidy hair, nails, shoes and clothes well pressed.
  6. Have good personal hygiene.
  7. Wear the appropriate accessories – correct style shoes, colours and jewellery that is professional including a watch.

10 tips for a Quick Instant Update for Your Wardrobe

By Angela Marshall, 25th Sep 2014


It isn’t necessary to spend lots of money or go shopping to update your wardrobe. Sometimes all you need to do is amend the items you wear together. Think about your lifestyle: what items do you need for work and casual at home? Really, all you have to do is make minor adjustments to your own clothes and accessories. If you need to make some purchases, then have a plan on what you need and learn to shop smart.

Here are some tips on how to update your wardrobe without spending lots of money:

  1. Check out your existing wardrobe
  2. Mix and match your clothes, you can have less but appear as though you have more.
  3. Stick to 3/4  colours, for your basics, that work together.
  4. Decide what style of clothes, in the current season, compliments your body shape.
  5. Buy less and buy quality for your key items so they last.
  6. Buy accessories to change, update and smarten your outfits.
  7. A great pair of shoes together with a belt that tones in or even a hat can make all the difference when putting together an outfit for the season.
  8. Add a coloured scarf or belt to a plain outfit.
  9. Recreate your jewellery, double up a long necklace or add a coloured ribbon to lengthen a necklace.
  10. Don’t buy bargains and never wear them.

Remember CPW – cost per wear. When you purchase expensive items choose classic colours and shape so you can wear then a lot over several years. The more you wear an item the cheaper it becomes!


Business Manners – Always Be Polite

By Angela Marshall, 18th Sep 2014


Costs Benefits Choices On Signpost Showing Analysis And Value Of An Investment

Business Etiquette 

More companies are finding their staff need advice on how to be better mannered. This is a key part to having a good personal image. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we have come from we can always be well mannered and considerate to others. It may not be something a client, colleague or boss comments on but it does get noticed.

Whether in business for yourself, employed in a company or looking for a job we all need to be seen, how we come across is very important.  Remember this can be either face to face or through social media, both are very important. Head-hunters looking for a prospective candidate will look at your profile. Make sure your photo is a good representation of you and do update it. It is no good going for an interview looking years older. It’s always a shock when you see a journalist on TV, expecting a similarity with the photo you see each day in the newspaper and realising it was obviously taken several years ago.

Points to think of:

  1. Respect other people’s space, time, privacy and priorities.
  2. Always return telephone calls, if necessary leave a message on voicemail. Speak slowly and clearly. How good is your voicemail message?
  3. Where possible avoid loud rings/conversation on mobiles in public places, especially if they are business. Think about the kind of confidential conversations you may be having in public and how identifiable the information is, because you can’t be sure that the competition isn’t listening!
  4. Remember to be courteous to people at all times, including colleagues and visitors e.g. offer a drink, take a coat.
  5. Keep your promises or at least go back and update people.
  6. Introductions, general rule of thumb – juniors to seniors.
  7. Table manners can ruin your image, make sure you look and act the part.

Good Manners includes Communicating with People

Often people think good manners and etiquette are about using the correct utensils when eating and knowing what and where your plates and glasses are. Good manners are about being considerate and thoughtful to others. When we are polite it influences all working relationships whether it is with our bosses, colleagues or our clients. Being polite and having good manners makes a positive image and gives a wonderful first impression.



The autumn winter season will soon begin so consider sending your summer jackets and coats and key items you are not wearing to the cleaners and then putting them in breathable, non-woven garment covers, so that they are free from moths and dust proof. Make room for your warmer clothes and cosy jumpers.

5 Tips on storing your summer items:-

  1. Get rid of items you don’t wear – if you can’t remember when you last wore an item then you don’t need it. Donate it to charity or consider selling on ebay or swapping with your friends.
  2. Launder items that have been worn before you store them.
  3. Check your items to see if any need mending. Make any repairs or add new buttons or zips.
  4. Consider purchasing storage containers but first decide where the items will be stored and what container will be suitable.
  5. Clean the wardrobes, drawers and other areas where clothes are stored.

Change the clothes for the season and make sure everything is clean before hanging them up. Hang or lay the new season clothes in open spaces so fresh air will circulate around them to let them have a fresh odour and to ensure they do not smell of mothballs.





September means a start to a new academic year, whether the start of a new school, university, evening classes, or back to business for many. It may also mean you have now finished work as you have become a Mum, a housewife or recently retired. So it is a good time to consider your new lifestyle and what clothes you need to suit it. This doesn’t mean you need to buy all new clothes but it may well mean purchasing some new items to help adapt your existing wardrobe to your new way of life.

When you dress the part, you look the part, feel the part and you think the part.

Plan what you need for the various events in your life and look out for bargains where you have gaps and need new items.

7 tips for a great wardrobe to suit your lifestyle and budget:

  1. Take time to sort your wardrobe. Try mixing and matching items, to give your outfits a different look and make a change.
  2. Ensure your clothes are clean, neat and tidy at ALL times.
  3. Mend items when they need it or take them to a tailor or dressmaker. They will last longer and look better. This includes wearing trousers at the correct length so that they do not fray.
  4. Ensure your clothes fit you well, consider alterations where necessary. It will pay dividends when your clothes look like they belong to you and show your figure at its best.
  5. Have layered items for the changeable weather, wear a vest or thick cardigan in the cold, light weight tops work well in the warmer weather or can be worn underneath on cold days.
  6. Colours should mix and match, so choose three or four shades of colours that suit you and that go with one another. Have key items in neutral shades e.g. black, navy, grey or camel.
  7. Add accessories to your clothes to update them, adapt them for various occasions and to change your look.

The cost of living constantly increases so it is a good time to ensure you do not waste money on clothes you do not need or wear.  Sorting, organising and planning is key. A little time spent on your wardrobe will pay dividends and will give you extra money for holidays or for saving. For your key items that need to last and are worn the most try to buy the best quality you can afford so they last longer.

Think organise, plan and then shop.

Good Service and the Right Attitude

By Angela Marshall, 15th Jul 2014


Businesses across different sectors can be brilliant at providing good services that people want and need, whilst others are absolutely dreadful. I never quite understand why employees of companies think it is ok not to engage with their customer or client and expect their business to do well. Businesses that train their staff well on customer service reap the rewards, whilst others that don’t provide a good service lose out on the potential of the business. Poor customer service is very harmful to a company’s brand.

Great Service and Great Attitude

Bus Lunch iStock_000005908817Small

My husband and I enjoy eating in good restaurants, particularly  as my husband loves cooking and having food he knows takes great skill, plus I study wine so I love to learn from the sommeliers. A great restaurant is a great example of demonstrating how to treat customers. The staff make you feel special, ensure you are pleased with your food and wine and show great attention to detail. When they are enthusiastic about their business it shows. There are some great places all over the world but near to me I always enjoy Pollen Street Social and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons who are prime examples of this.

Poor Service and Bad Attitude

We are thinking of buying a new car and every time this happens we are always amazed how variable the service is, some sales people seem completely disinterested whilst others are most helpful and explain the benefits and offer a test drive. Sometimes it may be down to the local garage. As a rule, I don’t like to mention specific brands, but after having a conversation with some friends, I realised we all came up with the same brands. For example each Audi garage I have visited in the south east of England has made me feel they have no care in what I want or do.  On the other hand my local Jaguar and Volvo garages have spent a lot of time explaining their cars as well as offering me a test drive. We are still looking for the most appropriate car for our needs and it will be interesting to see the service that other garages provide during our search.

Some tips:

  1. Greet your customer when they arrive make them feel welcome
  2. Ask questions – obtain some information and anticipate their requirements
  3. Be a good listener – take the time to recognise your customer’s needs
  4. Treat the customer as an individual – make key notes about them and treat them as special
  5. Give more than expected – treat them as you wish to be treated and give them something extra above what they will expect
  6. Keep in touch – follow up, when appropriate, by contacting them but do not be a nuisance
  7. Say thank you – show you appreciate their business


Whether you speak to clients face to face or on the telephone always smile. It fosters good will in business, shows a sign of friendship and enriches those who receive it.


Network Professionally

By Angela Marshall, 8th Jul 2014


Networking is a way of establishing new relationships and is not about selling.  It is an opportunity to advertise yourself, plus increase your knowledge and share ideas.

The world has become smaller and life has become fast-paced, therefore strong relationships are more important than ever. We are all in the business of selling and how well we connect with other people will form the basis of our success. “People buy people” and they will interact with people they like and trust. Customers must have confidence in your ability to meet their needs.

Decisions in a company are made by people not computers therefore your success and the success of your company will rely on how well you communicate and interact with other people. Conversation is a skill and like most things it improves with experience and practice. Listening is important and a good listener is the one that will inspire others. Don’t stay with the same person, move on, but do it in a polite way.

Organising Your Networking

Organise how you are going to keep people’s business cards and contact details.  Set aside time and prepare what you want from an event. Consider preparing a one-minute speech or presentation, on yourself and think about information you want to ask or get from the other attendees.

Dress to Suit Your Business and Personality

Dress in a style that represents your personality, your company’s brand and your personal brand.

Attending an Event

Many people feel uncomfortable walking into a room full of strangers and some will avoid it. However, it is something we all must do to broaden our business relationships. Whenever you are invited to an event approach it as a good time to network and get to know new people.

Some general Tips:

  1. Walk in with confidence – Good posture, smile, eye contact, firm handshake and don’t stand so close to a person that you invade their personal space.
  2. Speak to people you know – Talk to them for a few moments to get a feel of the environment; ask for introductions.
  3. Introduce yourself to people – give a firm handshake, a smile and a greeting or remark reassures the other person.
  4. Importance of Giving and Receiving – the easiest way to get what you want is to help others get what they want.  In return you will receive advice, knowledge, contacts or information. “Pursue the relationship not the sale”
  5. Think positively – Know what you want to achieve from the event. Commit the time and make things happen!
  6. Working the Room – Occasionally you can get a prior list of attendees, identify any people you particularly want to meet, but keep in mind you never know whom other people may know.
  7.  Always be polite and conscious of others in the room and their awareness.

Finally – smile, look happy, socialise and enjoy.

Welcome to Angela Marshall's Blog. Angela Marshall
"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." Angela Marshall
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