The Importance of Image

Image Insider Scoop - the NYC Image Consultant AcademyFirst impressions only take place once. That moment in which you introduce yourself to someone else is never re-lived, and the image we give to others becomes our personal brand. Clothes are a nonverbal code of communication as they can express how we feel about ourselves – how we want others to perceive who we are. This is the reason why public figures, from celebrities to politicians, spend high amounts of money to wear clothes tailored towards representing who they are or want to be perceived as. These phenomena can also be seen in marketing campaigns by big companies – these companies spend millions of dollars on spokespeople that can be analogous with their brand’s image. Establishing a personal image is, therefore, crucial, as much for personal affairs as it is for any type of business. Here are some steps to take in order to make sure you work towards your best image, one that reflects who you are and want to be.

Be Genuine:

Your wardrobe should fit your life. Dressing well is all about matching your personality with your external looks. Hence, every wardrobe has its own personality that matches its owner. In the business world, however, the concept of professionalism always pops up, and it may have different meanings for different people. In general the term “professionalism” is an extension of the promise of an organization’s brand, hence its relevance. In order to define your image, you need to assess your role, age, responsibility, levels of client contact, work locations and interactions, body type and personal preferences.

Learn the rules:

Knowing the rules of how to dress for the workplace can be critical to professional success, and you should always become familiarized with the rules that are in place. If you understand the rules on how to dress then you are well equipped to make choices that serve you in your professional scene. Knowing the expectations, you can then make a conscious decision to disregard them and are better prepared to deal with the consequences, in case you decide that the established rules can be omitted.

Have a purpose:

Body image issues, social pressure, compromised self-esteem, disinterest in fashion, etc. are all factors that affect the way we dress and can make us fall into a state in which we dress without an intention or purpose. Dressing should not be an unconscious choice that results from a pattern of questions (How should I look? What should I wear?), but rather an answer to the question: what are my clothes saying about me?

What image do you want to portray? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

For more information visit http://www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com.

Dressing in Europe

le métro se lèveEurope is a popular destination for American travelers. Whether it is a business trip or one for the purpose of tourism, Europe is full of places and events to attend which are sure to keep your agenda filled. As a business person, however, it is important to always distinguish between American and European cultures, while it is also important to remember that Europe is comprised of 50 different countries. Dressing in a different continent involves dressing differently, in order to account for different factors, such as climate, culture, on-going events, and activities planned for the trip. In order to check for some of these factors, you can search up in the internet travel guidebooks or official tourism websites that can give you information on the weather and many other factors that may affect your trip.

It is generally believed (in America, anyway) that Europeans dress ‘better’ than Americans. This is because Americans focus more on a casual comfort type of attire, which gives us a better general rule for dressing in Europe. You should always aim to dress better than you would for the same occasion in the United States. The article “Europeans dress better than Americans: Fact” for the bangsandabun.com website, the views are shared by the writer on why this notion is accepted. Now, let’s look at some relevant situations to be taken into consideration for choosing an attire while traveling in Europe.

Winter Weather

Scandinavian countries have very harsh winters. For example, in Sweden it gets down into the 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit in the south and to less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the north. Coastal cities can be humid, making the winters feel even colder. If you’re visiting in winter, you will need thick insulated jackets, thermal long underwear, waterproof gloves and scarves and hats.

Summers in Europe

As you move toward the south of the continent, the winters get warmer. If you’re traveling to Greece or Spain, you can expect winters with temperatures in the 50s or higher and little to no snow. Summers are cooler in northern Europe and hotter and more humid as you move south. If you’re visiting during the summer, bring a light jacket and some long pants with you in case the temperatures drop in the evening.

Casual Attire

Casual attire is common in Europe, but you might need to follow special rules when visiting churches, cathedrals, the Vatican Museums and certain palaces and castles. In many of those places, sleeveless tops and shorts are not allowed. Women must wear skirts long enough to cover their knees, and keep their shoulders covered. A large shawl draped over the shoulders should be enough if you’re wearing a summer dress or tank top and don’t want to change. Jeans are considered very casual in Europe. They’re fine for a day out touring the town, but not for dinner at a nice restaurant, even if you pair it up with a nice shirt.

Formal Attire

When dining out or trying to gain entry to posh clubs, cabaret shows, and other formal venues, you will need formal attire. For men, this could be something as simple as wearing a blazer on top of your shirt. Some five-star restaurants, especially in big cities like Paris or London, might also require a tie. Moulin Rouge, in Paris, for example, requires a minimum of a business attire: no flip-flops, no jeans, no shorts or T-shirts.

Do Europeans dress better than Americans? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

For more information visit http://www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

Cross-Culture Etiquette

All cultures are different, and these differences are evident in many aspects of society. From customs to attires, cultural differences are part of everyday life. For business, these differences are to always be taken account for, as they can limit the expansion of any industry as much as they can open its frontiers. For business people, it is important to always acknowledge cultural differences, in order to leave the correct impression. Etiquette is also a part of a country’s culture, and it can vary greatly. This article will focus on some of the main differences of cross-cultural etiquette and how to account for them, in order to give the best image of yourself possible.

Dressing correctly:

One of the most evident differences among cultures is clothing. The proper attire can help in leaving the best first impression, and you should always make sure to be dressed as sharp as possible for any occasion. Since clothing is the first thing people notice about you, your attire will set the tone for how you will be noticed throughout the rest of the interaction. Always make sure to not only follow the dress code for your industry, but also for the place you are visiting. For example, in some countries in the Middle East suit jackets and ties are not usually worn, however, it is always expected for a man to dress sharp. For women, jewelry, makeup, dress/skirt length, and hair style are acity-houses-village-buildingslways factors to consider when visiting a foreign land. Make sure to always do your research on the appropriate dress code for the place you visit, and when in doubt, make sure to dress conservatively.

Interactions:

On a business trip, you will always be interacting with people, and in many occasions, people native to the place you are visiting. Greeting others can vary in different cultures, as an example, it is widely accepted in countries like Colombia or Argentina to greet and meet others with a kiss on the cheek. Local customs can vary greatly, and it is up to you to do some research beforehand in order to accommodate to them. If you are visiting a country where their first language is different from yours but they can still communicate with you, make sure to do your best to understand without correcting their mistakes, as this can be deemed impolite and lead to misunderstandings. When considering topics of conversation do some research beforehand in order to assess what topics people usually discuss. It is always a good idea to learn some history of the place you are visiting and some cultural facts, as they can always be great conversation starters. Make sure to always give out your business card properly when contact information is brought up, and treat your and his/her business card with respect. 

Personal space is also part of interacting with others. Always respect the views of other cultures when it comes to personal space. For example, patting someone on the back is okay in most Latin American countries, but it is frowned upon in China. Always be informed on these type of customs when interacting with people from another culture.
Punctuality is a factor that can vary from place to place. Being on time is not always expected, so it is always better to be prepared for your colleagues or customers to show up late. You, however, should always make sure to be early.

What is your favorite country to visit on business? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

For more information visit http://www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

How to Assert Yourself in a Respectful, Non-bragging Manner

Many of us grew up learning from our parents and teachers how important it was not to brag about ourselves.  We were told, “it’s rude to be boastful”.  In fact, avoiding the temptation to brag is a commandment found in the books of several major world religions.

Image consultants – by the nature of what we do – work in the realm of perception.  We advise our clients to improve their confidence levels through their appearance, behaviors, and communication. We encourage them to utilize different colors, fabrics, and styles in order to dress for every occasion.  We teach them to enter every room with a purpose.  These things work for most, and yet, it’s a tough quality to teach.  Each situation where we are expected to impress presents itself with different clues and social codes.  One of the most frequent questions I get (and it comes from students of all ages and backgrounds) is “How do I assert myself without bragging?”

Blue jacket

It’s a great question, and I’ll provide some tips that have worked for me here.

One of the most vital ways that leaders impress those who follow them is through body language.  You can use this, too.  Basics, like eye contact, appropriate distance in a room, hand gestures, and most importantly – your posture – are incredibly important.  If you’re looking to share your intelligence with a potential client in a crowded room, make sure you approach them with strong posture, a winning smile, and a strong handshake.  Make sure your breath is fresh (but if you chew gum to freshen, be sure to spit it out before your approach said party).  Make good eye contact, especially with the people on your “list”, without staring them down. Practicing these tips with a parent, a friend or a mentor beforehand will make you significantly stronger at these things.

Have several topics on the top of your brain and be prepared to discuss them.  At least one topic should be relevant to your dealings with the person (i.e. business or educational), but also be aware of breaking news in your industry, in your geographic region, and know at least a new restaurant, shop, or movie you can recommend.  Usually, someone will speak to something that connects with one of these 3 topics, and you can confidently elaborate from there.  The fact that you’re prepared will make you appear confident, and not arrogant.

Finally, whether you’re at a cocktail party, a business meeting, or out with friends, you should always be inclusive of those present and those not present.  Emphasize teamwork by saying “we” and not “I”, even if you did the majority of the work on a project.  Future bosses, clients and friends all appreciate this.  Do not put other people down, as this does not help you build yourself back up, and once you’ve done it, the conversation can turn south quickly.  If someone has given you bad news or a negative response, simply state the facts without making it personal.  If you don’t know the answer to something, say it!  It’s always better to say “Let Me Get Back To You” than to provide an incorrect answer.

Finally, if you make a mistake – no matter how large or small – acknowledge it in the conversation.  This shows that you aren’t perfect (none of us are, after all!), but that you are confident enough to correct an error.  People appreciate this and will respect you tremendously for it.

We hope you’ve found this helpful, and welcome your stories, tips and comments on our blog.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

Getting Clients

One of the worries of any new business is how to get clients. It is probably also the most important concern. As wonderful as it would be to be told to not worry about getting clients, it is definitely something that should not happen. Focusing on getting clients is a huge component of every strategy for a startup company, and should, therefore, be a priority task. However, a question arises, which may not have any immediate answer: “How to get clients?”. This question can be answered in different ways depending on the industry in which a startup may belong. Nonetheless, a universal way of getting clients is to get referrals, which will be the focus of this article. Getting referrals might seem harder of a task than it actually is, and we will evaluate the most efficient ways of implementing this system to get clients for our business.  sunglasses-hand-smartphone-desk

The best way to ensure that you will get referrals is to do a good job. Good work goes a long way, because it is the most relevant factor that can differentiate a company from others. Good quality of work is claimed by every business out in the market, however, not all of them live up to these claims. Those that do will surely get referred to others by previous clients. However, good work can be offered by many companies at the same time, so, how can one decide which company is better for one’s interests? Being nice to you clients might seem like a good answer, but there is an even better way of leaving a greater impact on clients. Being pleasant. Being nice can be deceiving and can lead to companies taking the wrong choices in order to “be nice.” Being pleasant is a more straightforward strategy, as it implies making the client comfortable with the company, but it also calls for honesty and clarity, without being rude or unpleasant. As Mike Monteiro mentioned in his book “Design is a job”: “There’s a difference between being enjoyable to work with and being ‘nice.’ Being nice means worrying about keeping up the appearance of harmony at the expense of being straightforward and fully engaged. Sometimes you need to tell a client they’re making the wrong call. Part of client services is being able to do that without coming off bad. But being afraid to do it because you’re too invested in being “nice” is worse than coming off bad.

Referrals also extend outside of direct contact with clients. It also involves being clear and enthusiastic about the business one is a part of. Being able to communicate effectively what you do in an interesting manner is something that can be accomplished if you are genuinely enthusiastic about your work. This relates to networking, a very crucial factor in today’s market. Networking is market research. Take the task of networking with genuine confidence and interest, and it should be easy to then be visible, and to maintain relationships with prospective clients, or people who can get you referrals. Getting referrals is a proven effective way of getting clients in any business, and it is up to any startup to decide how to take on this task, in order to expand and become the company one desires.

How do you get clients? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

For more information visit http://www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

#business, #consulting, #consulting-for-men-2, #consultoria, #shanna-pecoraro

Dressing For an American Event

Life is full of events that require different attires. Dressing in certain ways is part of the event one attends. From high school graduations to weddings, it is important to understand the basics of dressing for all the events that one may encounter in life. Some are formal, some are semi-formal, and some are just casual. In any case, there are certain guidelines that can help one in deciding the correct and most proper attire for every occasion since this affects our personal image. Here are some tips and advice on how to make sure to be well dressed for any of event.

The first step in figuring out what to wear to any event is to decipher the invitation. This means to look in the invitation first. Most events have set guidelines on what should be worn and what should not, which is beneficial in narrowing down choices to just style and color. Different places tend to use different terms, but here we will use American terms, which differ from the English and European terms. The best way to follow the different dress codes is to follow these simple guidelines:

Black Tie: In these events, a tuxedo is expected. Weddings, operas, balls, charity dinners, and receptions are some of the events at which you can expect to see this dress code. Black Tie may also be referred to as evening dress.

Polo store

Black Tie Optional: In these events, a dark suit is just as acceptable a tuxedo. This is a product of evolution in dressing standards, which became more and more relaxed. As a result, instead of excluding those without a tuxedo from the events that required them, it was decided to just include them. For these events, if you own both a tuxedo and a dark suit, just choose the one fits you the best, the one that fits your image the most. If you only own a suit and not a tuxedo, remember the suit is just as acceptable as the tuxedo, so there is no need to buy one. However, if many more of these events are expected to be present in the future, buying a quality tuxedo is a better option.

Semi-formal: A dark suit, crisp dress shirt with a non-obtrusive pattern, and a conservative tie. For these events, tuxedos are not expected, and, therefore, should not be worn.

Black Tie event

Business Casual: For these events, ties are optional, but dress shirts and nice pants are required. Sports jackets or blazers are optional, but might be a nice addition to the outfit.

Casual: Fit well, free of holes and wrinkles. That is the best way to simplify the expected outfit for these events. Jeans, cotton trousers, and shorts are acceptable. In cool weathers, button up casual looking shirts are a good option, whereas for warm weather simple collared polo shirts that fit nicely are a better option.

If you are not sure what kind of outfit is expected from you at any event you are invited to, the best and most efficient way of finding out is to ask, in most cases, the host directly. If the host cannot be reached, try to contact someone participating at the event. In any case, if you are not sure on what to wear, try to wear an outfit that can be adapted to an event. If you show up over or under dressed, you can just excuse yourself to the bathroom and modify your outfit accordingly.

How do you dress for events in America? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

For more information visit http://www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

#business, #consulting, #consulting-for-men-2, #etiquette, #fashion, #image, #image-consulting, #mens-fashion, #menswear, #shanna-pecoraro

¿Cómo atraer clientes?

Todo negocio tiene preocupaciones de las cuales ha de encargarse para alcanzar el éxito, entre las cuales se encuentra encontrar clientes. Esta es probablemente la preocupación más importante para cualquier compañía, y es por eso importante fijar una estrategia que se concentre en atraer clientes a la compañía. Sin embargo, el responder la pregunta ¿Cómo atraer clientes? No es una tarea fácil. No obstante, es una pregunta que se puede responder de varias maneras, dependiendo del mercado en el cual la compañía se desempeña, pero algunas reglas generales se pueden aplicar en cuanto a cómo llamar la atención de nuevos clientes. Los referidos son probablemente la manera más efectiva de obtener clientes nuevos, y es importante evaluar cómo se pueden obtener estos referidos de distintas maneras.  sunglasses-hand-smartphone-desk

La manera más fácil, y obvia, de obtener referidos es hacer un buen trabajo. Un trabajo bien hecho va más allá del cliente al cual se le brinda, ya que este también hace que la compañía se distinga en medio de la competencia, a la vez que le da una razón al cliente para referir. Todas las compañías que se encuentran el mercado ofrecen la mejor calidad en su trabajo, pero no todas logran cumplir estas expectativas, y es por eso que un trabajo bueno, de alta calidad, puede ser un factor muy importante. No obstante, también hay que reconocer el gran trabajo de aquellas compañías que logran cumplir sus expectativas. A la hora de decidir entre dos compañías que hacen un buen trabajo, hay otros factores que toman en cuenta por parte de los clientes. Por eso, otra manera de distinguirse es diferenciar entre ser amable y ser agradable. Ser amable suena como una gran estrategia en los negocios, pero esto implica que la compañía prefiera ser amable al cliente en vez de ser clara con el cliente. Ser agradable invoca la misma etiqueta y los mismos modales que ser amable, sin embargo, limita la relación entre usted y el cliente. En los negocios no todas las conversaciones son placenteras, y el ser amable puede llevarlo a evitar problemas importantes al no querer desagradar al cliente. Hay formas, sin embargo, de afrontar estos problemas con el cliente logrando aun ser agradable. Es mejor afrontar los problemas siendo agradable que evitarlos intentando ser amables, ya que esto sacrifica nuestra calidad de trabajo, a la vez que le da una imagen de falsedad al cliente, una que no van a querer referir.

Los referidos también se extienden más allá del contacto directo con los clientes. Tener entusiasmo y claridad cuando se habla del negocio propio con otros es importante, ya que no todos logran comunicar efectivamente, de una manera que haga la conversación interesante, su propio trabajo. Esto ayuda también a crear redes, una de las formas más efectivas de expandir el alcance de cualquier negocio. Crear redes en los negocios es el equivalente a investigar en cualquier ciencia. Aportan la misma importancia en ambos campos. Obtener referidos es una gran manera de expandir el alcance a los clientes, y depende de usted como aplica estas medidas en su estrategia de atraer clientes.

¿Cómo atraer clientes? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

For more information visit http://www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com