The Benefits of Set A Dinner Time  

Whether you live alone, with a spouse, or have oodles of kids, pulling together an evening meal requires planning and consideration.  The first and most important thing to determine is the time at which the meal will be served. Once this time is set and regularly adhered to, many other benefits come into play.

With a set dining schedule, you’re likely to find yourself enamored with:

 

Healthy options. Kids who eat with their families regularly tend to have healthier eating patterns. They consume fewer sodas, fried foods and saturated fat, and tend to consume more fruits and vegetables, according to the American Dietetic Association.

 

Increased communication skills. When you eat as a family, your opportunities for communication are likely to improve. A “Family Dinner Experiment” conducted by Oprah Winfrey in 1993 challenged five families to eat dinner together every night for a month, for at least 30 minutes. At first, the families found it challenging but by the end of the study, they wanted to continue the practice! The biggest surprise for the parents was “how much their children treasured the dependable time with their parents at the table”.

 

Routines make you feel happier. Researchers at Syracuse University found that family routines such as eating dinner together nightly are associated with happier marriages, improved children’s health, and stronger family ties.

 

Finally, while eating with others – family, friends or colleagues – it’s important to remember the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as You Would Have Done Unto You. At dinner, avoid excessive gossip and sharing of secrets. Put your mobile phones away for the entirety of dinner. Try not to make fun of people, and avoid making up stories. When you set an example and focus on what you want to see in the world (instead of complaining about what you don’t see), you’ll find it easier to actualize the vision you are seeking.

 

And that can all start with your dinner, at a set dinnertime!

 

What time do you eat dinner?  Tell us, and find more of our etiquette tips as well as our fashion and styling insights by following us on Instagram:  https://bit.ly/1OROobY

Finding Your Productivity Flow

Whether you are an independent image consultant or a corporate executive, you likely relate to one of the biggest challenges facing leaders today: your productivity. There is simply too much that distracts from what you think you should be doing: there’s content to read/watch, meetings to attend, scheduling of those meetings, client work, and more. If the “executive overwhelm” is starting to take its toll on your ability to find professional balance, you should consider these 4 steps, which have worked well for our team members and many of our clients these past few years.

 

Determine Your Top 3 Goals in Business: Your goals should be concrete, measurable milestones. For example, you might seek to increase revenues by 15% by this time next year. Or, you might look to find a new job within a certain period of time. Once you’ve determined your goals, write them out. Place these “Top 3 Goals” on your work desk or in a planning device you visit often, as a strong way to ensure that each task you spend time on or each meeting you attend is one that maps back to one of these 3 goals.

 

Work smart: Stop multitasking! For most people, multitasking is like trying to run all over the place at the same time. Instead, work in 60-90 minute blocks of uninterrupted time followed by a 10-15 minute break. Close your email and alerts during critical focus periods. Use time in transit and travel to catch up on messages/news that doesn’t require as much mental bandwidth, so that when you are at your desk, you have the energy and focus to dive into the bigger tasks.

 

Measure Your Execution: “How am I doing?” is a critically important thing to ask yourself, and being able to answer this depends entirely on how measurable the goals are that you set. As time marches on, be sure to check in with yourself regularly to see how your goals are lining up, so you can adjust your schedule and strategy to ensure optimal success.

 

Always Remember the Value of Your Time: A final consideration to keep in mind is the value of your time.  If your standard rate is, say, $350 an hour and you end up wasting one hour in a meeting that wasn’t productive, you’ll start to recognize that you just lost $350.  Thinking about your time from this perspective each day allows you to focus on what’s really important to reach your goals.

 

You can see more of our productivity tips, as well as our fashion and styling insights, by following us on LinkedIn

#leadership, #productivity, #shanna-pecoraro

Your Digital Presentation

As image consultants, we are in the business of making people look their very best. In keeping with that expectation, it is important to take care of your own appearance and presentation. Nowhere has this been more relevant than in the social and digital sphere.

 

Just as you would utilize a client’s natural gifts to enhance his or her style, you should attempt to be consistent in your looks on a daily basis. Here are 3 important areas to consider for the social and digital sphere:

 

#1. PROOFREAD!

When posting on FB, Twitter, Instagram or another social channel, be as polished as you can with spelling, grammar, and syntax. While everyone understands an occasional autocorrect error, messages with the wrong word in them make you look careless – and autocorrect often replaces the word you wanted to say with a completely different word! So, taking an extra 3-4 seconds to read ALOUD your posts beforehand will help you catch mistakes.

 

#2. APPROACHABLE PROFILE PHOTOS

When selecting your primary profile photo (and any others that are frequently viewed), it’s important they be as polished as possible and have been taken within the last 5 years. Avoid goofy photos, or photos with more than one person in them. Make sure your face is well lit, and that you appear approachable. A smile is not an absolute requirement, but looking smug won’t help you personally or professionally (and in this business, personal networks matter a lot!).  If you’re unsure, send your primary photos to 3 friends and ask for their candid opinions before changing your profile photo.

 

#3. TOPICS TO AVOID

It’s not uncommon to feel compelled to comment on hot-button news topics. The past few years have shown much of the world to be divided on topics, and when you add in elements of religion, politics, or sex, you risk alienating potential references and even friendships.  If you must get political, I suggest picking a single issue that’s important to you and focus 1 or fewer posts per week on the topic, written in an educated tone. You may also choose to keep one account (say Facebook) for personal posts, and another (LinkedIn) for business or public posts.

 

Does your company have a social media posting policy? We look forward to your thoughts or suggestions on this matter!

Finding Inspiration on Pinterest

Sometimes, clients need a little visual encouragement to consider a new look (even when they are desperately asking for it!). It’s not always easy to find what you need for inspiration – and when you do, often times e-commerce sites and links only work for a short time, plus, finding the right INSPIRATION for a look can be researched without having to simultaneously SHOP by colors, styles or price.

 

The team and I at NYC Image Consultant Academy have recently moved our Polyvore images of inspiration over to Pinterest, and use the collection of thousands of looks, across many boards and pins, for client inspiration. From casual, skinny-jeans-on-the-go vibes to radical, artsy-runway looks, we have been inspired by it all!

 

If you could use a little help for inspiration with your clients, follow us to check out our pins here: https://www.pinterest.com/spimage/

 

 

Want to learn how to become a stylist and a strong, independent image consultant? Or bulk up on color theory?  We have more than 20 years of experience in the fashion and image consulting worlds, and love to share knowledge in our classes and programs! …. Click here to learn more http://bit.ly/1OROobY

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Ethics, Clients, and You

If you are an image consultant, you are expected to be responsible. That not only means responding to client calls, incoming emails, and being timely to appointments. It means you hold professional ethics in high regard. And while our current political state might make it seem that ethics can be put to the side, we heartily disagree.

 

As image consultants, we must always maintain our sense of integrity so that we protect the relationship between professionals, who are, after all, individuals.

 

Occasionally, we have observed image consultants using a questionable sense of integrity. This happens when someone uses a credential under false representation; it happens when someone lets a valid certification expire but does not acknowledge a change in her/his professional status.

 

In some cases, these consultants’ ethics have been compromised unknowingly, whereas in others there’s been a blatant disregard for what is right and wrong.

 

Using a credential under false representation is essentially unethical; you can’t say you’re a doctor if you’re not a doctor, and you can’t say you’re an AICI certified image consultant unless you’ve actually been certified. Being certified is a fact, and a fact is something that can be checked. It can be proven, and if you mislead about your credentials, your statement of false-fact may eventually be unproven and your integrity will be compromised.

 

Knowing that your certification has expired yet presenting that you are a professional with the credential anyway is an example of known disregard because you are lying about your professional status.

 

In AICI, we have 3 certification levels.  There is the CIC, or Certified Image Consultant.  There is the CIP, or Certified Image Professional. And then there is the CIM, or Certified Image Master (which is also the most advanced). If you haven’t been credentialed and would like to explore your options, talk to someone at AICI International Board or reach out to your mentor, but do not make use of certifications you don’t actually carry.

 

In case it’s helpful, the link for AICI’s Code of Conduct can be accessed here:

https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/aici.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/documents/AICI_Code_of_Accreditation_D.pdf

 

We look forward to your thoughts and comments on this matter!

5 Types of the Difficult Clients

“The difficult people who we encounter can be our greatest teacher.” – Eileen Anglin

 We hear horror stories all the time about obnoxious, overly difficult clients who often make things harder than they should be. While it’s not always repeated in self-help programs, we state here that the health and quality of your business life matters! Dealing with crazy-makers proactively will help you in creating the business you want.

If you’re starting to notice that your clients are making you crazy, consider watching for these signs as you engage with people. If they act a little too shady a little too often, it might be time to fire the client!

Here are a few crazy-inducers you may recognize:

 

  1. The late or never-paying client. They promise to pay, they may even have a contract, but the check just doesn’t arrive. They pretend they didn’t get your invoice, or your emails, or your phone calls, and might finally pay after you chase them for what feels like the eternity.
  2. The interpreter: They “remember” everything you say, and later, will tell you that you stated (and meant) something completely different than your actual words. They take all your words and interpret them in their own way, especially when it’s not possible for you to remember everything you’ve ever said.
  3. The Grumbler: They tell you about their terrible life over and over. Also akin to an “Energy Vampire”, every time you encounter them, you walk away feeling drained, exhausted and debilitated.
  4. The Balance-shaker: This crazy client starts off praising you. They say things like “You really get me,” or “I like your work”. In the next sentence, they rip you apart, accusing you of double-dealing, sub-standard work, or unethical behavior on your part, completely unexpected. This “give then take” approach makes you unbalanced, which is the whole point.
  5. The Racer: Always in a hurry, the racer is known to never care if you’re busy with other projects or clients. They say things like, “I need it yesterday,” or “I know you’re booked, but I need you to sneak me in first thing in the morning!”

 

There are many other crazy clients out there – and some switch personalities from time to time! Unless your business is psychology or psychiatry, you are likely not trained to fully diagnose the crazy. But if you notice yourself thinking about problem clients over and over, it’s probably time to first set boundaries. If that doesn’t work, you can distance yourself – and then, if things still don’t improve, you may have to find better clients.

 

How do you handle difficult clients?  Share https://www.facebook.com/SpImageConsulting/