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

Building Confidence Like A Pro

Projecting confidence in your professional life is sometimes easier to think about than to actually practice. Many of us truly know most of the answers, know when and when not to ask for help, and generally know our stuff when it comes to our business and the tasks we are responsible for. Sometimes, having to prove those abilities comes down to being confident. As any successful salesperson or longtime executive will tell you, “acting the part” is 50% of success!

 

So, thinking of yourself inhabiting the shoes of the role you want can build your confidence tremendously. If you get stuck, it may help to remember these other confidence-building tips:

  • Build upon the image you want others to witness in you – Your image is all about your confidence – your swagger! – and not the price tag of your shoes or the balance in your checking account.

 

  • Say “No” when you must – You can’t always meet everyone’s expectations or behave in a fashion that matches the world’s apparent plan. If you know you can’t reach a goal, say it as soon as you know it. You will all be better for it.

 

  • Think of yourself as a business owner, even if you work for someone else -“Owning it” like it’s yours gives you confidence like nothing else, as it will allow you to advocate on behalf of your product, sell through your service, and stand up for yourself confidently when you need to.

 

  • Express Yourself in Practice – Through your writing, reading, and listening skills. Write to the point, with an eye for the memorable. Read with an open mind and take notes. And listen without abandon, more than you speak: this is how we learn most rapidly about what’s great (and not so great) in the world; listening well also shows respect to those you are working with.

 

  • Spend most of your time with people who support you – It’s hard to hear sometimes, but you dishonor your mind and spirit when you cohort with people who criticize, condemn or downplay your importance. Instead of letting your friends, colleagues or clients dictate who you are, build your self-confidence by tuning into YOU. If this is difficult to practice, consider working with a therapist or life coach for a period, to help you recognize what anxiety, dread, disappointment, joy, contentment, and relief actually feel like – and then notice how you feel when you’re with certain people. If people close to you bring you down consistently, find new friends, and figure out a way to connect with positive clients and colleagues to build back your confidence.

 

  • Define what “taking risks” means to you – and take a little one every day — When you distrust yourself, or don’t reach out to others, or remain closed to vulnerability, or stop making waves, you miss too much! Take a small risk each and every day to get out of your comfort zone and start making bigger waves with your confident self!

 

How do you maintain confidence? Share with us on https://www.facebook.com/SpImageConsulting/

#image-tips, #professional-dressing, #self-development, #shanna-pecoraro

Getting What You Want in 2018

We’re already well into the month of January – the beginning of the new year! 2017 was dynamic, to say the least. What will 2018 have in store? Your best guesses are just as likely as ours, but one thing we do know is how important it is to figure out what YOU really want out of life, and then asking for it!

Here are a few tips we’ve been inspired by in the past that we’re aiming to keep top-of-mind for 2018.

 

Figure out what you want!

Knowing the what is sometimes the hardest part, because you have to think critically about what’s driving you and what motivates you this year. Once you’ve figured it out, write it down. If you’re confident with it, say it out loud and then share it with friends, colleagues, or your spouse. You’ll never get what you want in life unless you SAY IT!

 

Ask the right person (first!)

Go directly to the person who can give you what you seek, and ask for it. If you want the job at XYZ company, try to reach out to the CEO on LinkedIn first. Or send an email if you can find it online, explaining why you think you’d be great for what they’re doing. Starting at the top is the best way to get buy-in quickly.

 

Utilize the “what’s in it for me?” question in all of your asks

People will often give you what you ask for because it also benefits them somehow. Starting an ask with a clear statement of what’s in it for you along with what’s in it for them, will lead to many more wins for you!

 

Ask for MORE!

Negotiators always try this, and it often works. Asking for MORE sets the bar higher so that, after the negotiation is over, you’ll likely get what you want.

 

Explain why you need it!

Sometimes explaining something with a “because” added on is an excellent way to share what you need. By doing this, you allow the person you’re asking to visualize why it’s so important to you, and your potential happiness provides them with added joy when they (hopefully) say yes!

 

In the end, always aim to get to a place where you dismiss anything you’re worried about, and just roll. You can rock it!

 

What do you think of these tips? What tips would you share with your friends?

Let us know at ……

Goal Setting

 

With 2018 just around the corner, it’s never too early to take an evening away from the holiday parties and gift-wrapping to consider where you want to be – and what you want to achieve – next year. A commonly referenced way to identify and then stick to your goals is to make sure they are SMART goals!

 

To refresh your memory, identifying and following SMART goals means that your goals are:

 

S: Specific – you clearly define what the goal is

M: Measurable – you can clearly measure where you stand in completing it

A: Attainable – you can do this without shaking up your whole life. Making it to the moon isn’t realistic for most of us, but losing 10 pounds might be!

R: Realistic – Your goal will only be met if it is meaningful AND realistic to achieve.

T: Timely – You start your work for this by January 2nd and can clarify when you will measure and ideally complete it

 

For you to get started on your goals, it is essential to write them down. Then, plan the steps out to achieve the goal. Doing this in writing, by hand, helps you determine if the goal is realistic and achievable. Then, you just have to follow through. A tip that’s helped some of our clients follow through in the past is making a copy of your goals and taping it to your bedroom mirror, bathroom mirror, and desk at work, so you can remember to check the steps as you are achieving them each day.

 

What are your goals for 2018? Let us know if we can help you achieve your SMART goals in the New Year!

Empowering Women Through Body Language

Whether we like it or not, we are judged by our image. In this space and with our clients, we’ve done our fair share of posts on first impressions and dressing for success for ladies. Considering the revelations that have rocked the pillars of Hollywood, journalism, the arts, and many other industries over the past month, our own conversations have circled back to power and respect. For example, in the workplace, what’s “too sexy”, and in interactions with members of the opposite sex, what’s “flirtatious”?

As a woman, you can empower yourself immediately, in nearly any situation, by being in control of the verbal and nonverbal signals you’re sending. And while signals change depending on where you are, your confidence will apply in nearly any country you are traveling to. Here are a few body language mistakes that lady leaders often make.

  • Head tilts – Tilting your head can signal, “I’m listening”, but using it too much may be perceived as a sexy invitation. If you want to project power and authority, try to keep your head straight and forward, in a neutral position.
  • Girlish behaviors – Twirling your hair, playing with jewelry, biting your fingers, and touching your neck can make you appear nervous.
  • Nodding too much – Constant head nodding shows engagement and encouragement, but not power.
  • Voice “rise” – Raising the pitch of your voice in the middle of sentences is not an authoritative way to express yourself. Try to maintain a stable and strong tone.
  • Expressive hand movements – In situations where you want to maximize your authority — minimize your movements. When you appear calm and contained, you look more powerful.
  • Soft handshake – A weak handshake is perceived to be less confident and even submissive. Always try to go for a firm handshake.
  • Flirt – Flirting may gain you quick likeability, but may cause you to lose your competitive advantage in the business world. Try to avoid blatant flirting.

 

To improve your nonverbal communication skills, try working with a female friend who will give you honest feedback. Practice going through a 10-min presentation or business lunch, projecting confidence and avoiding the trouble habits listed above. Take your friend’s feedback seriously, and try to incorporate it into your professional life. Then, ask a trusted male friend to do the same with you. Ask them for feedback on your “performance”, especially your body language. Notice what may be different in his feedback, find the balance, and incorporate it.

Self-awareness in business interactions creates chances for you to get your core message (thoughts and ideas) across and in front of your gender and image. Your enhanced sense of confidence will project no matter where you are in the world, or whom you are doing business with.

How do you project confidence in the workplace through nonverbal communication?

Timeliness Etiquette

Are you the kind of friend who shows up 5-10 minutes late to everything?

 

The incredible array of features and apps available on our smartphones have made it easy to schedule every minute in our days. And yet, we hear frequently from our clients how frustrating it is when guests, dates or colleagues seem to be late to just about everything.

 

The most important consideration in keeping a realistic schedule is avoiding overcommitting in the first place, and allowing extra time between appointments. Knowing that modern life doesn’t always accommodate this, consider these guidelines to manage expectations when you do need to be late:

 

  • Cocktail party or reception: 15-30 minutes late is acceptable, because these are designed for guests to come and go
  • Dinner party: Try to be extremely prompt. If you are more than 15 minutes late, that is rude, unless you know your host always runs late. But it can be awkward to arrive early, too
  • Business meeting or luncheon: arrive 5 minutes early, always. Time is money, and we shouldn’t waste each other’s money
  • Dinner date: In a restaurant, it’s disrespectful to arrive more than 5 minutes late. A bar or lounge may allow for a few added minutes, but keep in mind your date may not be seated until you arrive
  • Screenings, movies or live performances: Try to arrive at least 10-20 minutes before the show starts, especially if you do not have tickets in advance or assigned seating. If it’s a large venue or arena you’ve not been to, allow an extra 10 minutes to find your way around
  • Job interviews: You should always be on time, and ideally 5-10 minutes early for an interview. Try to allow extra time at the end of your scheduled interview in case there is time for a brief tour, conversations with other team members, etc.
  • Conference call: With virtual meetings, try to ‘arrive’ within 2-3 minutes of the start time. When everyone arrives on time and there is a clear purpose for the call, business can be taken care of and the call can often wrap quickly

 

The great thing about our constant connectivity is how easy it is to reach out to someone when you’re running late. If you’ll be more than 5 minutes late, send a quick text. If you anticipate being more than 10 minutes late to something, call the person with a brief explanation and offer the chance to reschedule, if appropriate. This act of respecting others’ time will reduce annoyance and maintain good relations.

 

What do you think? How do you manage your schedule? Let us know …..

Budgeting for Your Professional Outfits

We all want to look great at work. A good professional image can lift our self-confidence, earn respect from others, and even lead to a promotion. Looking good makes we feel better, which can often make we “perform” better. The tips below show two ways of thinking when making important spending decisions regarding your professional wardrobe.

 

 

“Critical Basics” need some investing

A well-tailored suit is an important spending if the suit is a must-have item in your professional wardrobe. It’s especially useful if you’re someone who doesn’t go up and down in size often. A great suit can be put together with a difference of shirts/ tops and accessories to look different week after week.

 

Some basics can have for a bargain

If you’re using basic core pieces for work (pants, trousers, blazers, skirts) and you’re looking at neutral colors (black, brown, charcoal, navy), why spend the big bucks? Look for moderately priced lines and clean details. The simpler the pieces, the easier it is to make them look expensive if the outfit well puts together.

 

Accessorize by spending on quality and timelessness

Accessories will bring magic to your wardrobe if outfits are classic. You always look great if you buy lasting pieces of jewelry in colors. To utilize your pricier accessories, consider bringing them over into your weekend / upscale-casual wardrobe as well. Quality handbags that well proportioned to your body can be a great investment.

 

Test-Accessorize with a tight budget

Buy diamonds or pearls that have a look you want at a very low cost compared to real ones. Costume jewelry is a great way to add a lot of variety to simple outfits. They can make you feel current, modern and in-style. If you’re someone who gets bored easily, a lower price point is best for experimenting with different looks.

 

If you’re going to go bright, spend liberally

A person who wears color well can really stand out in the workplace. It could be part of your brand. Brighter colors look best in quality fabrics, so be prepared to spend money to get the best available.

 

Budgetize your neutrals

Keeping to a neutral color palette may seem boring, but in most business settings, your clothes shouldn’t be shouting at others. A touch of color in items like ties, scarves, the stripe in a shirt, the color of fruit, can be perfectly sufficient. Neutral colors look more expensive in workpieces, saving you money to spend on accessories.

 

Classic details are “OK” to spend on

Symbols of prestige can carry weight in the business world, depending of course on what you do. A leather briefcase, a gold watch, and expensive wingtips can send a signal that you are highly successful and competent at what you do. Spend more on the details that send the message of success that you want others to notice.

 

Avoid devouring details of extravagance

Pricey watches can’t hide incompetence for long. If you’re using symbols to prove something that isn’t already there, you’re wasting your money! Get the experience and education you need to be great at what you do and then reward yourself with those symbols of success. In the meantime, keep your modestly priced shoes polished. Wear appropriate watches to work that don’t receive undue attention.

 

We recognize it can be hard to make these spending decisions alone. Let us know how we can help you make the best choices.

 

We will be teaching a class on Style at the AICI 2017 Global Conference in Mexico City, Mexico, May 18, 2017. If you’re involved in the industry and planning to attend, let us know, and we’ll connect over a margarita! For more info www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com