Game On!

I had a phone conversation lately with a prospective client who recently changed both positions and companies.  After I congratulated him on the move he revealed the only down side.  He could no longer work while sporting pajamas albeit a stylish pair yet sleep gear nonetheless.

Needless to say, he dusted off his biz-cazh wardrobe and claimed his cubicle. Keeping his eye on a coveted corner office he saw this as a window of opportunity.  A promotion into management is in his short range sights and he recognizes the importance of how he literally shows up for work.

Navigating the appropriate business casual execution for your office’s corporate brand can be challenging particularly if there is no established documented dress code (written for those who are clueless about what is appropriate). More frustrating, are those dress codes with nebulous guidelines which has some pushing the envelope with their own interpretation and others defaulting to what is at least acceptable. Unfortunately this can cultivate a slacker look rendering your overall presentation more casual and less business, which is no doubt comfortable but what does it say?

The natural herd mentality mixed with peer pressure can have the most confident corporate climber dressing not to impress but instead to fit in.  The more the workplace occurs as a close community of colleagues, the more daunting it may be to dress for success without alienating and even looking like a suck up.

If the ultimate goal here is career advancement within the company, don’t be afraid to show some clever and creative chops and dress to impress those from whom you wish to seek attention and recognition.  Raise the bar and strut your stuff by that corner office and one of two things will undoubtedly happen. At the very least, you will get noticed by both your peers and those up the line.  At the most the guy in the corner office will see you as a leader and innovator and your peers may see it as a challenge for them to engage in the same pursuit, so game on!

October 23, 2013 | No comments

Second Impression-Lingusitic Transgressions 2

As promised this is the second in a series entitled Linguistic Transgressions.  I’ve been loathed to take on this particular subject matter but nonetheless it calls me to weigh in.  Since much of our communication is transmitted via technology devices, it has been increasingly evident as to how poorly we write in our native language.  I am addressing my comment here within to those whose first or native language is English or for those who have mastered that level of proficiency.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS

Emails:

There is absolutely no excuse for not re-reading a business email before hitting the send button especially if it’s addressed to someone with whom you wish to leave a good impression.  Initially look for blaring typos and then read it for grammar, clarity and content.

Typos are unavoidable but are an easy fix (spellchecker, etc.). Just do it.

Scanning for grammatical flubs may have you doing some quick research if you’re not sure what the correct fix is but there are plenty of websites to help you to state your point in good form.  This subject certainly warrants far more elaboration but for now this will have to suffice.

Clarity - Did you really want to say that? Is there any confusion in what you mean?  Re-read your piece posing yourself as the reader instead of the author and see if it is crystal clear to you or are there any awkwardly constructed sentences.

Content – Only you know what you want to say so just say it and get to the point succinctly and thoroughly so that the reader gets it.

Texting:

Disclaimer:  I’m only speaking to those engaged in a business texting communique.  I realize that there is an entire population (growing exponentially by the nanosecond) on this planet that conducts their entire human engagement on a smart phone.  I’m not speaking to them.  I’m only addressing those engaged in a business texting communique.

Don’t introduce your self to someone initially by text.  Call and leave a voice mail. Address the person by name and identify yourself as well; don’t assume that they have you listed in their contacts and don’t get insulted if they in fact – don’t. Keep your message short and to the point.  Even though your device may allow 140 characters, you don’t have to use them all. Remember this is simply a means by which to communicate pertinent information, not an entire conversation. A pet peeve of mine (I know you’re surprised that I have those) is this disclaimer on text messages and emails sent from mobile devices asking for forgiveness on typos.  What’s next – forgiveness on poor grammar?

I’m just getting warmed up here!


August 1, 2013 | No comments

Second Impression – Linguistic Transgressions 1

How often have you met someone whose first impression has your eyes peeled only to have this person speak and leave you with your jaw agape?

This shall be the beginning of postings addressing how we native English speakers are butchering our own language to the confusion and even dismay of some non-native English speakers.  At  the very least we are setting a bad example to follow and contributing to the “dumbification” (my word) of the most widely used language on the planet in which to conduct business and international affairs. Be they grammar flubs, mispronunciations, misuses and just plain old annoyances in our spoken mother tongue, the following are anecdotal examples of some common missteps that are simply a nuisance to some and a major infraction to others’ aural sensitivities.  Some may appear to be more associated with geographic regions and others with socio-cultural and educational environments, so let that suffice as my disclaimer for the time being but nonetheless…

“We had went”. Now I refuse to believe that this is solely a transgression in the south where I currently reside, but no matter. We all learned the prefect tense in grammar school (hence the name).  We have just gotten (not got) sloppy with it. It’s one of my pet infractions that just stops me dead in my unforgiving listening tracks.  Obviously others have remembered some of the perfect tense, “I seen her” but not the helping verbs “have/had” that make it work, but these folks are just misusing seen for saw.

“Nucular”. This is by far my favorite mispronounced word in the english language. What adds insult to injury is that it’s in your face on a daily basis uttered in the media by journalists, politicians and worse yet scientists (seriously?)  The word is NUCLEAR (nu’ kle er). Just pronounce it as it is spelled…(unlike iron).

ATM machine. What do you think the “M” stands for?…(Automatic Teller Machine). This is acronym redundancy at its best.  And what about VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number). There’s plenty more…

There, I’ve said it…for now.

March 3, 2012 | Permalink

Top Tips for Business Attire

Some common missteps with easy solutions for an enhanced wardrobe foundation.

Men: Consider choosing ties that are proportional to your body, chest in particular.  The sixties retro skinny ties seem to work better on the thin guys. By the same token the more common full size ties (3.5” at it’s widest part) can make a thin guy look like he’s wearing a napkin in his collar.

Ladies:  Consider wearing your suit jacket (foregoing the shell) as a finished top as long as it closes high enough to the neckline.  If not, a tailor can adjust the lapel and apply a small snap.  It enhances an hourglass figure and gives you a beautiful triangular space to display a colorful necklace to show off your eyes…yes your eyes.

Men:  Your shoes are your style meter.  Even for you conservative guys, choose a shoe that is current, distinctive in design and preferably brown. Why brown? It will add more style to both your grey and blue suits and it shows you’re willing to travel outside the pack.

Ladies:  If you are going to wear peep toe or open toe shoes in the workplace, make sure your toes are in good shape (rein in those hammertoes) and nails colored appropriately.  You can’t go wrong with French.

Men:  Certainly by now you’re on board with flat front pants.  If not, that train has left the station, so catch up.  For most men the pleats do nothing for you except create a balloon effect.  Most of the current designer suits come with flat fronts so no more excuses.  And news flash: women prefer to see men in flat front pants rather than pleats.  Nuff said!

Ladies:  Thanks to Oprah and other media mavens, European custom fitted bras have been in the lingerie lexicon for quite some time now.  It’s absolutely true, these bras will put them in their rightful place, it’s an engineering thing – don’t ask.  It will truly transform the way your clothes fit.  So run, don’t walk to the specialty bra shop.

Men: Business casual, if not clearly defined by your HR department, is unfortunately too often misinterpreted.  Save the golf shirt and khakis for the putting green and choose a button down shirt and casual dress slacks instead. A great short sleeve option for the warmer weather is an Izod or Ralph Lauren Polo style as they have a variety of fitting options.  With either brand, at least it still says business without looking like you’d rather be someplace else…the golf course.

Ladies: Firstly don’t take your business casual cues from men.  For starters, just lose the jacket, which actually presents a perceived delineation between biz and “biz-cazh”.  The key is to look intentionally business-like while casually styled.

April 4, 2011 | 14 comments

Trendy – defanged

This is officially my first blog posting on this site-whoohoo!  I’ll try to contain my enthusiasm.  As an image consultant I hear my clients say to me, “I don’t want to be trendy or fall victim to the latest fashion trend”  Men in particular will say that in defense of wearing 10+ year old shoes that (duh) still fit.  Hmm to which I reply, “Define trend and/or trendy.”  Then I usually get an assortment of responses that boils down to, “the latest fashion thing or style.”

Personally I think the word gets a bad rep.  So let’s chat about this, shall we.  Mr. Webster employs words such as fashionable, in, current, now, cutting edge, contemporary, stylish …derived  from trend connoting direction, course, tendency, prevalence, style (ah there’s that word again).

Now I know that my clients come to me to simply develop a style that works well for them and fulfills their objectives, however some seem to get tripped up on that word-trendy.  But I will postulate here that IF trend=style/stylish (physical aesthetic context)=design, THEN trend is just the current design.  All elements of design; fashion, furniture, interior elements, architecture, consumer products and automobiles are all subject to and defined by current design trends and even cycles.  We could pontificate this area into the next fashion week however I shall be succinct.  We are visual creatures and our choices are initially based on that aesthetic and simply what appeals to our eyes.

So guys I will assert that you did not buy that new car to replace the perfectly good four-year old model for its Hemi engine.  You were seduced by its good looks and current design.  So update your style and buy the newly designed shoes, but feel free to justify with a more practical reason like they’re more comfortable.

November 11, 2010 | 3 comments