By Angela Marshall, 13th Nov 2014
The Importance of Networking
Whether in our business or personal life it is important to network with other people. Why? It is an ideal way of obtaining information & connecting to others, as well as increasing your understnading of other people and your knowledge in general.
What is Networking?
It is an easy way to build mutually beneficial business relationships through meeting people, sharing ideas, gaining information and resources and making new friends. Whether it is for business or your personal life. It increases your contacts locally and throughout the world; very experienced ‘networkers’ claim they can speak to anyone in the world within 6 interactions.
It 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. For example say that you need to speak or find someone else or say ” I mustn’t keep you from meeting other people.”
“Nothing worthwhile ever happens quickly and easily. You achieve only as you are determined to achieve… and as you keep at it until you have achieved”. Robert H Lauer
By Angela Marshall, 6th Nov 2014
Our lives are very busy and we are often rushing around. We can all be guilty of focusing on ourselves and it is something we need to do from time to time to achieve what needs to be done in our lives. However, it is also important to be thoughtful and considerate to others and to have a thought for other people’s desires and wishes. Being thoughtful is more than just being polite, it is helping to make the world a better place to live in. It is about doing things that you would like others to do for you.
It only takes a moment to be thoughtful to others. It doesn’t have to cost money e.g. opening a door for a lady with a pushchair or a man carrying a heavy parcel or saying “please” and “thank you” to a waiter when you order your meal or a coffee. It is not only polite, it also makes it a more pleasant experience for the waiter and it can make you feel better too.
Just doing little things for people you know can make big differences in their lives. Consider phoning a friend or member of the family who lives on their own and say a quick hello. If you know someone is going through a bad time ring them or send a note or card with a message you are thinking of them.
Being thoughtful is effortless and easy for everyone to do and if everyone does it, the world will be a much brighter place.
Things to remember:
- Be humble – think about others as well as yourself
- Do good deeds for others and don’t expect anything in return – go out of your way to make someone’s day a bit brighter. Do to others as you would wish done to you.
- Take time to think about the things you say or do – taking responsibility for our actions and considering how it might affect other people.
- Make a person feel special – give them some time, listen and show interest.
- Smile – go out of your way to smile at everyone.
- Pay Attention to what is going on around you – notice what a difference you can make and take action.
- Benefits – with practice we gain experience and learn the joys and benefits of helping others and it improves our own life as well.
To sum it up if we all learn to be thoughtful, we will all grow as individuals and our world will become a better place. There will be fewer problems as we take care of each other rather than being selfishly motivated.
By Angela Marshall, 3rd Nov 2014
“God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we listen more and talk less”.
I regularly notice how presenters on television interrupt the person they are interviewing, especially with politicians. They ask a question but do not wait for the person to complete the answer before they interrupt and even raise their voice to them. However, there are some who have a great way of interrupting to get an answer to the question without being rude. This is a great skill that takes some practise and experience, Eamonn Holmes on Sunrise Sky news and Vanessa Feltz on BBC London 94.9 are very good at this. On the other hand, politicians can be the worst, especially on “BBC Question Time”. They constantly interrupt one another.
There are two sides to communication, listening and conveying our opinions, and a good communicator always listens to other people’s opinions, needs and wants. Only by using our listening skills do we develop and learn and understand other people’s views and ideas.
We can all be guilty of interrupting someone when we are excited, totally disagree with another person’s point of view or don’t get the answer to our question. Our opinion will be taken on board much more when we listen first and then answer afterwards. When a person doesn’t allow us to voice an opinion then it is more difficult, but if we are polite and ask them to allow us to speak we will have more chance of our opinion been listened to and valued.
To be a better listener we must use both ears, watch and maintain eye contact, give undivided attention, and finally be understanding. We are then engaging in active listening!
- Stay Silent- When we are silent and listen to the person we are more likely to notice the tone of their voice, their body language and what the meaning behind the words they are saying is. It will help us to remember and recall what they said.
- Avoid Interruptions – It’s often difficult not to want to interrupt but when we allow the person to express their views and ideas there are fewer misunderstandings and we learn and appreciate their comments better.
- Give Good Eye Contact – People communicate at least as much with their body language as they do with their words. By giving good eye contact it helps to observe the meaning of their words as they express and show their feelings. It also shows you are listening.
- Show Active Signs of Listening – Give active signs of listening – nod or comment e.g. ah, oh or mm. Ask questions to ensure that you understand.
- Pauses – When pauses occur in the natural flow of the conversation, don’t feel that you must instantly fill the void. Silence is ok. Usually it is there because people are digesting what has been said before, or because the topic has been exhausted.
- Seek to understand before you seek to be understood – When we enter into conversation, our main aim is to be better understood. We need to remember to collect information before we circulate it.
- Effective Listening is a Matter of Attitude – Effective listening is more than just skill; it’s also a matter of attitude.
Being quiet and listening more is proven to be beneficial and the results will all be worthwhile. When we speak less, we do more, as our focus switches from talking to doing.
It is something we can all practise to do better!
By Angela Marshall, 30th Oct 2014
It only takes a few seconds for someone to assess you when you meet for the first time. Make it a positive one! In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based firstly on your appearance (the way you are dressed, your body language, your behaviour and, your mannerisms). Followed by the way you sound (pitch, accent and tone of voice) and finally the words you say.
First impressions are extremely important as they set the tone for your relationship in the future with that person.
Whether you are meeting someone for the first time in a social or business environment it’s important to know how to create a good first impression.
7 Tips for a Positive First Impression:
Dress appropriately for the occasion whether it is formal business, casual or evening social but express your personality that represents you and your business. Ensure your clothes are well pressed and that they fit you well. Have good grooming by being neat, tidy and presentable, including your nails, hair and shoes. If you look and feel the part you feel more confident and have better self-esteem.
Good Body Language
Have good posture, eye contact, give a good handshake (if appropriate, especially in business), give active signs of listening (nod or comment) when they are talking and remember to smile. It creates good will and is a sign of friendship.
Be on Time
Plan to be on time in fact it is better to be a few minutes early and allow for some flexibility.
Be Yourself, Be Calm and Relaxed
Appear confident even if you feel a bit on edge. Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time. The more you meet people and practice the easier it will become.
Small Talk and Network
Think of topics you can discuss and find out as best you can some common interests e.g. football, tennis, and music. In the UK it is always easy to start with the weather as it changes so often and can be different in different areas.
Making a good impression includes being polite and courteous to the other person. Remember to turn off your mobile phone especially once you have met. However, you may need it to buzz if you are waiting for them!
Be positive and enthusiastic as your attitude will show through unless you are a good actor.
By Angela Marshall, 23rd Oct 2014
Receiving a Gift
When a person has gone to the trouble of giving you a gift it is only polite to say thank you. We should appreciate the act of giving and the time it took to think of the gift, buy it and possibly wrap it. If a person has arranged for it to be sent it is even more important to thank, so they know you have received it.
If it is a personal friend a written note is still the best but at least a text, email or phone call is better than nothing. So often people forget or never get around to it. It isn’t necessary to go overboard in expressing our gratitude; it doesn’t have to be long and complicated, but it is most important it is done.
If we do not express gratitude, our relationship might change because we are giving the impression that we don’t care about the other person.
Gifts can be accepted in different ways
In the western world gifts are generally opened at once unless it is for a specific day in the future. However, if you take a bottle of wine to your host they may well not open it as they have already gone to the trouble to arrange the meal with appropriate wines.
Different Cultures for Giving and Receiving a Gift
There are cultural differences, so it is important if you are in another country or visiting a country you are aware of these differences.
In the Western world people are fairly relaxed but others can be more formal, it is important to know and understand the culture.
- Present gift with both hands.
- Do not open gifts in front of the giver.
- Acknowledge immediately and in writing.
- Don’t give a clock. It is a reminder that time is passing.
- In business, a gift is given to the organization not to the individual.
- Refuse a gift 3 times, and then accept reluctantly.
- Avoid white paper.
- Yellow flowers signify death.
- Don’t give knives: it means the severing of friendship.
- Flowers – avoid white lilies as they can signify death.
By Angela Marshall, 16th Oct 2014
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:
- Poor personal appearance
- Limp handshake
- Poor body language e.g. not smiling and avoiding eye contact
- Lack of confidence, showing you are nervous, too submissive
- Poor behaviour – arriving late, interrupting, impolite, dining etiquette
- Poor communication – unable to express your thoughts, poor grammar or speech
- 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.
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:
- Wear neutral bottoms such as black, grey, navy, brown or taupe.
- Choose an assortment of tops to go with your neutral bottoms .
- Learn to mix and match your items so they change your look and you will appear you have more clothes than you do.
- Ensure your clothes fit you well.
- Wear pattern and colour for less formality.
- Always be well groomed – clean shoes, nails, hair, clothes and well pressed.
- 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.
By Angela Marshall, 2nd Oct 2014
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:
- 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
- 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!).
By Angela Marshall, 2nd Oct 2014
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:
- Consider the Company, its brand and the departments environment.
- Pay attention to the people around you, ensure you look smart but fit in.
- 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.
- Colours – avoid distracting colours or loud patterns stick to neutral colours with some added colour.
- Be well groomed – neat clean tidy hair, nails, shoes and clothes well pressed.
- Have good personal hygiene.
- Wear the appropriate accessories – correct style shoes, colours and jewellery that is professional including a watch.
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:
- Check out your existing wardrobe
- Mix and match your clothes, you can have less but appear as though you have more.
- Stick to 3/4 colours, for your basics, that work together.
- Decide what style of clothes, in the current season, compliments your body shape.
- Buy less and buy quality for your key items so they last.
- Buy accessories to change, update and smarten your outfits.
- 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.
- Add a coloured scarf or belt to a plain outfit.
- Recreate your jewellery, double up a long necklace or add a coloured ribbon to lengthen a necklace.
- 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!
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."