Category Archives: image consulting abroad

Forget looks – if any one of us had a ton of power, how would we behave?

The news seems to be overloaded with important, influential people that the public has at one time –and a long time at that- greatly respected. Then one sunny day, a story unfolds where his or her utter lack of respect for others (particularly for someone especially dear) obliterates our opinion of them.

Could it be that despite the rise in awareness of the need for civility still hasn’t gotten around to some of those with power?

With the many definitions that civility encompasses, the meaning that civility is an outward-looking approach to life rather than inward sits right in my mind and heart. One single word simply sums it up- RESPECT. Being mindful of situational manners especially in combination with recognizing the differences in another person and their culture is another notable focus of civility. We can disagree; we can live our lives differently, but let’s handle it by communicating this respectfully.

So, how do we recognize respect? If character is the tree, manners are the shadow. Polite people are not necessarily civil. Civil people wear their values on their sleeve. Their manners- social and corporate- communicate what they stand for and it is obvious.

So You Want to be a Civility Trainer! was the subject of the AICI Annual Conference in Orlando during May 21’s evening’s session, and a well-attended one. Experts Yasmin Anderson-Smith MCRP, AICI CIP, CPBS and Lewena Bayer ICTC MCT, CC™ knew it would be, as the impact of Civility in today’s fast-paced world has them developing international respected training programs, receiving a U.S. Congressional citation, running a youth empowerment program Every Girl Can ™ and “Macaroni and Please”, garnering awards as spokespersons and authors as well as focusing on the long-term goal of an International Civility Conference. Yasmin is president of KYMS Image International LLC based in Washington D.C.  Lewena is the founder and executive director of the Center of Culture Competence and The Civility Experts Worldwide in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. She is also a recipient of the Canadian Civility Star Award.

During the session the ubiquitous “How do you think that landed?” was addressed as it commonly is a question asked to determine whether communication went well. Why? Because there is so much riding on the success of your communication. Lew shared the story of purposely impressing an important hotel manager who only made her gasp due to his awful conduct. She relied upon a code of conduct of 3 specific principles that define civility in order to deal with him: #1 respect, #2 restraint (personal) and #3 responsibility in order to maintain the dignity of the meeting.

There are misperceptions that Civility is only about etiquette. Some have said that it might have something to do with the military. Under the big umbrella of Civility lie good manners sprinkled with a heavy dose of feelings and concern about the comfort of others, plus much, much more. “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you”, practice humanity and embrace other cultures with openness are the working fundamentals of civility.

What does civility have to do with image consulting-alot! To really embrace Civility, you acknowledge that the common thread is that both Civility trainers and Image Consultants share the common goal which is to provide a meaningful, positive experience. There are several considerations the image consultant can ponder in approaching teaching civility:

  1. What approach suits your training style?
  2. Who is your audience?
  3. How will you portray the situational context i.e. will you be persuasive but not preachy?
  4. Which type of specialist will you describe yourself as:
    a. Consultant
    b. Coach
    c. Trainer
    d. Expert
  5. What will set you apart from the growing numbers of civility trainers out there?

You will build your own credibility in the civility business through a combination of continuous learning, consistent effort to maintain high personal and professional standards, and constant attention to real-life applications and benefits of civility to others. For more reading and resources about civility, I recommend The Power of Civility, Yasmin Anderson-Smith, Lew Bayer et al, Choose Civility and Civility Solutions by Dr. P. Forni, and Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey.

How to get into the blogging phenomenon, stylishly.

What a remarkable session Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP provided on Sunday afternoon, May 22nd at the AICI’s Orlando conference. And take that from a perennial blogger! From posing the question “What are the 5 most-asked questions people call you with?” I knew the time spent in Blogging and Writing Your Way to Expert Status would be constructive to the audience of image consultants. Why? The answers to that could lead right into creating a very successful source of new clients!

The attendees replied that they are frequently asked:

♦ What should I wear to a funeral?

♦ Should I get plastic surgery for this?

♦ What can I wear to get hired?

♦ What is appropriate attire for my new job?

♦ What do I need to know about clothing for people with disabilities

This interactive exercise led into how one finds the right subject for a blog. For image consultants, this means to go directly to the 5 main aspects of their business: What are they? Break the 5 down and explore the millions of ideas you can think of from there. And here’s the best tip: start off with what people consistently tell you that you are very, very good at! By delving into our passions we are naturally led to find our natural “voice”.

Imogen was very passionate about case study writing, because people love to read about stories they can relate to themselves. Case studies are popular because the outcome becomes a tried and tested “lesson”. Conclude she says, with a question that encourages them to comment about their own personal experience. This engages them to come back again and again to your blog, and works even if they’re not inspired to comment just because they’ve read the article.

Imogen Lamport B.A Comm, AICI CIP, buys only the finest designer clothes, has the body of a supermodel, and never worries about what to wear. And if that were true, she never would have started her company, Bespoke Image. With a BA in communications and a background in PR, Imogen served as past President of the AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) Melbourne chapter. In 2009, she became one of only eight image consultants in Australia to earn the Certified Image Professional certificate, acknowledging her highly competent level of training and experience. Imogen’s blog, Inside Out Style, gives free daily style tips and attracts devoted readers from around the world. She is also the Plus Size Womens Guru on LifeTips, with style tips for the curvier woman.

Style, Certified.

In the world of image consulting, being a certified member of the AICI puts this industry and our clients at an advantage. Not only does the certificate add to the accomplishments of many of Fashion Societe’s team of speakers, it also opens a world of resources to you, the reader/consumer who can benefit from a qualified image expert guiding you to express your highest potential in a) physical appearance, b) behavior (including social skills, stress management, etiquette, cilivity and protocol) and c) communication skill (including body language, relationship-building and conflict resolution).

Like any learning process, pursuing a certification keeps image consultants working towards their full potential and stay competitive within the industry. There are three levels of certification with the AICI—First Level Certification (FLC), Certified Image Professional (CIP), and Certified Image Master (CIM). With an FLC the consultant has met business standards in industry development and technical awareness; as a CIP the consultant has proven that they are well-versed in hands-on training methods and have passed the AICI FLC Test in addition to submitting the AICI CIP Application; a CIM is the most accredited of image consultants and has worked, with verification, over 2,000 annual full-time hours while establishing a sound continuing education track along with acquiring a lineage of professional achievements. With each of these certifications an image consultant is afforded public exposure and professional support while their clients are assured guidance by a competent and trained individual.

Learn more about the certification levels with AICI and how you may begin your road to becoming an image consultant.

Met these 2 lovely sisters from Russia who are attending the AICI conference for the first time

First night that the Exhibitor Hall opened, I met up with attendees Yulya Petrova and Alina Akhmetianova from St. Petersburg, Russian Federation. They are both very excited to be here. These 2 beautiful sisters have been to the States before- even to Orlando- but this is the first time to attend an AICI conference.

Yulya Petrova studied intensively with Karen Brunger through her online education courses at the International Image Institute. Later on Yulya followed that with a 3 month course back in Russia. The classes took place twice a week for 3 months. Her studies were private, costly, but worth it. She has pursued a dream since childhood to make women beautiful, and now has a career that includes wardrobe consulting, color analysis, makeup application and body-typing. Alina also has achieved a high education and supports her sister as the assistant in the business which is aptly named Elite Image Consulting”.

Designers from the United States captivate both sisters; they named Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, and Marc Jacobs as names of favorite clothing lines- neglecting any from their local area.