Category Archives: professional education

The 3 Golden Rules of Planning a Business Event

Remember the one Golden rule? Many of us have taken it to heart and practice it faithfully.  Other “Golden rules” exist as guidelines, to inspire better actions, to frame your mindset. Regardless of your objective, “rules” exist and can be quite practical. The following are 3 of the very best Golden Rules for planning a business event.

Golden Rule # 1. Know How You Will Measure the Event’s Success

The reasoning for doing this is two-fold: Have the goal in mind from the start so that you are conscious of how to make that happen. Defining a specific outcome should apply to even the smallest business event.

Golden Rule # 2. Direct the details specifically to your target attendees.

Once you know who you want to attend, many options will be up for grabs. Choose the venue that appeals to the audience…. the agenda (panel discussion, roundtable, speed-anything, structured presentations, should please them as well as anything served.  If you don’t intend to invite the entire free world, focus on  who your target audience member is.

Golden Rule # 3. Research the date and time before announcing.

Make sure you check the date on many holiday schedules- school, general, religious. What will be most convenient for your attendees?  Know what their general schedules might be. For example; is it easiest for the event to occur during work hours, lunch, after work, before the work day, or over the weekend?

Trust these Golden Rules to make your business event successful. These are tried and true and found to work. Follow them and then your ultimate success will be more likely and the results far more satisfying.

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Networking: If at first you don’t succeed… by Robyn Hatcher, SpeakEtc.

Our charming and beautiful speaker at last night’s Image of Success Networking Series has an arsenal of key techniques for us professionals to know when it comes to “working the room”. She refers to this as “Lessons Learned from Sticking it out When You Feel Like You Have Two Heads!“.  We at Fashion Societé especially adhere to Lesson #5, but recognize that are all important!

For a sole proprietor, marketing is always a challenge. Recently,  I closed an extremely lucrative deal to create and deliver a training workshop for a  large corporation.  I did not get offered this job as a result of Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter or any other media outlet. I got it through good old fashioned face to face networking. As I’ve mentioned before almost 99% of my work comes from networking. But this particular networking connection almost didn’t happen since I  almost left the event prematurely in an “I hate networking” funk.
I had really been anticipating this event. It was being hosted by a woman’s organization I had just rejoined and it involved shopping – one of my all time passions. But something felt off as I entered. I ran into two people I knew right off the bat but I felt like they both kind of dissed me.  And it went downhill from there. It seemed as though everyone I made eye contact with quickly looked away thinking they could find someone better to talk to. Had I had grown a second head or something? Was I wearing the wrong dress/shoes/makeup? I watched other people chat and exchange cards while I could only manage a few fleeting encounters.
I had really been anticipating this event. It was being hosted by a woman’s organization I had just rejoined and it involved shopping – one of my all time passions. But something felt off as I entered. I ran into two people I knew right off the bat but I felt like they both kind of dissed me.  And it went downhill from there. It seemed as though everyone I made eye contact with quickly looked away thinking they could find someone better to talk to. Had I had grown a second head or something? Was I wearing the wrong dress/shoes/makeup? I watched other people chat and exchange cards while I could only manage a few fleeting encounters.
I battled my inner evil twin – I’ve named her Clarice –  who kept chattering very negative thoughts in my head. She was encouraging me to leave and avoid further embarrassment and failure. I convinced my evil twin that we needed to stick it out a little longer, and possibly this was a test of our confidence. Overcoming this would be good for us, I told her. I promised her that even though we seemed to be striking out socially, we were in a designer clothing boutique…. we could do something we are very skilled at – SHOP!  Evil twin was appeased.  And wouldn’t you know it, while waiting to try on some dresses, I started chatting with a woman who had an immediate need for someone to deliver a presentation skills workshop.
Five lessons I learned from this experience:
1.       If at first you don’t succeed… don’t leave!  Our evil twins – read fears – can be very powerful. I very easily could have given in to her and chalked this event up as a failure. But instead, I revised my expectations and decided I would stay long enough to meet just ONE more person. (and try on one dress)
2.       Don’t make it about finding the most effective connections. Make it about connecting effectively. Once I quieted my evil twin and I stopped worrying about whether people liked me or not I could focus on just being me and concentrate on finding people that I could like.
3.       When you feel like you have two heads, it may be all in your head. What allowed me to stay at the event was reminding myself that my perception of what was going on might not be accurate. Were people really ignoring me or did one or two small things push the button on an old negative self-talk tape?
4.       And even if you DO have two heads…Own it! I don’t know why I wasn’t connecting with people at first. I don’t know why or if the people I knew were really dissing me.  But once I turned off the negative tape and replaced it with a positive one, I was able to say… “Wow… it’s unfortunate that there’s something getting in the way of me connecting but I know that this isn’t a reflection on the valuable person I know myself to be.  And finally…
5.       Shopping cures all ills!

Robyn Hatcher, not Clarice, wrote this post, not as much as a lesson in perseverance or in overpowering your evil twin or as proof that shopping always saves the day. She wrote this because often, people treat going to networking events as a sort of Supermarket Sweeps – how many cards can I collect before time runs out.  But remember, networking is about creating relationships not filling card files. Realizing that it’s quality over quantity makes a huge difference to your experience and ultimately to your bottom line~.

10 Powerful Secrets To A Winning Image -fantastic article from Canadian Expert Charmaine Mills

Having an image that is of a consistently high standard projects a message of quality and self confidence; it increases your responsiveness to your clients and colleagues, and removes the attention of yourself and onto the needs of the ones you are serving.

As people begin to see your name and become aware of the benefits and knowledge that you offer, before you know it thousands of people will not only know who you are but they will begin to seek out your services and expertise. They will identify with your brand which is you.

1.  Don’t overlook the power of a good first impression. People make amazing assumptions about your professional  credibility and potential performance based upon your appearance during a first meeting. It’s very difficult to overcome a poor first impression, regardless of your knowledge or expertise.

2.  Be notable! Identify the components that differentiate you. How do you stand out among the other options? Perfect an eloquent descriptive and memorable introduction of yourself and your position. To promote yourself effectively, you must know (and be able to articulate) who you are and why you do what you do.

3. Ultimately, it is always the person who dignifies the position, and not the position that dignifies the person. If we want others to take us seriously and view us as a professional, we must first view ourselves as one.

4. Body language is defined as a type of communication between one or more persons which does not utilize verbal words. Instead, body language is read by each person by carefully watching the facial  expressions, hand gestures, posture, and movements made by another person.  Body language can dominate the spoken words.

5. Raise your professional and personal standards until even you are impressed. The pursuit of excellence is not only politically correct it is also highly profitable. Do not settle for mediocrity.

6. You are always making visual statements. No matter where you are going or what you are doing, you are telling people something about yourself.  Thinking “big picture” means that to get where you want to be in three years, for example, you may have to pay extra close attention to those visual statements you are making today.

7. Invest in quality instead of quantity. Have clarity about the purpose you are buying for. Don’t spend money on something that doesn’t look great on you even if it’s almost free! Dress better than you have to and don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.

8. One of the main elements of an introduction is your smile, or at the very least, a pleasant facial expression. A smile sends a positive message and adds warmth and an aura of confidence. Others will be more receptive if you remember to check your expression.

9. Managing your attitude is an important business tool for every successful leader.  Your attitude is infectious and drives behavior, make it work for you.

10. There is power in perception. To those you meet, how you are perceived is who you are. What kind of image are you projecting? Remember, your career could depend on it.

Charmaine conducts transformational Image & Etiquette consultations worldwide through teleseminars, phone coaching and face-to-face consultations.  Her head office is based in Toronto, Canada.   http://www.advanceimageconsulting.ca

Introducing “40+ Women to Network with Today on LinkedIn”

40+ Women to Network with Today on LinkedIn

I'm one of forty plus women selected by the Women's News Bureau!

I’m proud to be one of forty plus women selected by the Women’s News Bureau to follow on LinkedIn today.

The Women’s News Bureau (http://womenpartner.org) has gathered over 40 women for you to network with today on LinkedIn to help you maximize your membership.  Read their news snippets and invite them to connect.  Then strike up a conversation about collaborating to introduce each other to your respective clients.

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.

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.