Gifting, Re-gifting, and Giving in this Holiday season

Plenty of people, it seems, stress about holiday gifts.  From the inscription on the card to delivery methods, to the actual gift or service (or gift card, as the case seems to increasingly include), we worry whether what we’re gifting is appropriate and will be received with delight.

 

What we don’t speak about as often is the challenge of what to do with that gift you didn’t ask for, or that doesn’t fit, or that just doesn’t work.   As a receiver, do you politely return or exchange your gift, and as a gift giver, how can you reduce the likelihood of giving a bad gift in the future?

 

gift or re-gift

gift or re-gift

We suggest a few tips as a gifting best practice, here:

 

  • Regifting is recycling. It’s actually a fairly innovative practice, but should be used sparingly and with as much thoughtfulness as you would expend in purchasing a brand new gift.
  • Regifted items should always include their original box from the store or site, and original manufacturer wrapping if at all possible.
  • Don’t regift something that you know the receiver would never desire. It is better not to gift at all than to place your host/friend in an awkward situation.
  • Do not regift items like fresh food, or personal items that involve size and color (like hats, gloves, scarfs or clothing). If something is vintage or truly retro, note it in the message inside your card.
  • Whether it’s a regift or an original purchase, if you think your gift’s receiver may not understand the intent behind the gift, write a nice sentence or two about your idea for its use in the corresponding card. Or, if you’re going to exchange gifts in-person and the timing is appropriate, nudge the person and explain your intention. This can help to eliminate questions and ease your anxious “gifter” mind.

 

To avoid gifter’s anxiety, start to designate a section of a drawer or closet as your “Gift Storage” to save a few unisex or last minute gifts that could be appreciated by most anyone.  Use this place to store items you’ve received that are unused and worthy of a possible regift.  Include a few roles of wrapping paper (solid colors without a holiday theme are best) as well as a few gift bags with handles, a few blank cards, and a pair of scissors and tape.  This will help you be prepared for any unexpected situations – and come out ahead.

 

Here’s to your season of giving,

 

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

#business, #conversation-etiquette, #gift-giving, #holiday-shopping, #image-consulting, #shanna-pecoraro

Budapest Taxis

Budapest taxisTaxi services are so widespread and common it seems that the taxi industry should have itself figured out and under control. Obviously, this isn’t the case. Sure, new startup companies like Über and Lyft are starting to innovate and revolutionize the marketplace, but traditional taxi providers are still extremely relevant and act as such.

The difference between taxis in Budapest and New York City is dramatic. New York City’s taxis are driven by (excuse the generalizations) frustrated, often unfriendly people. There are few dress requirements – it’s always a surprise. The taxi experience in New York is different every time one steps foot in a taxi. Sometimes there’s music, sometimes there’s a fresh scent, sometimes the seats are comfortable. This gives traditional companies a bad image. Nothing is standardized so they are being replaced by companies that are successfully standardizing a difficult to standardize industry. Consumers want what they expect – nothing less.

Budapest taxis are much better standardized. Every time you step into one of these taxis, the cars smell good, drivers are well dressed, and are polite. Even further, they understand English enough to professionally communicate with western tourists.

Budapest churchAs you step into a taxi in Budapest, you will be greeted and asked if you would like to listen to music. If you don’t want to listen, they won’t make you listen the music they like. As a passenger you are entitled to travel in an environment free of disturbing such as the radio, honking, and mobile phone by the driver.

Perhaps this is why these standardized companies like Über and Lyft have had less success integrating into Budapest than they did integrating into New York City. Budapest’s taxi experience is far superior to that of New York’s.

What has is your most favorite taxi experience? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

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

#business, #conversation, #conversation-etiquette, #etiquette, #fashion, #image, #image-consulting

Online Networking

Networking is a vital component to any business in any industry. The connections you make can either lead you to success or failure, and it is not dependent just on the number of people you know. To network correctly, a lot of thought, work, and time has to be put into this process of networking. As an example, a study by Aberdeen Group has found that 73 percent of 18-34 years old people have found their latest job through the connections they have, and it is likely that this number is increasing with the trend of increased usage of social media. As a result of this, online networking has become the best and most effective way to connect with others. A girl in the park bench

Online networking is definitely the most effective way to network right now, however, it has to be done with some factors in mind. When networking online, personal image takes on a higher importance level. It is important to make sure that any social media you use (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) excels at showing the best version of yourself, the one you want everyone to notice. Grammar and spell checking your posts is a great way to make sure you do not make a fool of yourself online. Always proofread any content you post on social media. When using social media platforms that focus on job searching or providing data to employers, for example LinkedIn, make sure to have a complete and updated profile.

The dynamics of social media are worthy to be given a look at. There are many websites that provide information on trends and all types of statistics that can be helpful when trying to maximize your use of social media to reach out for others. Although it is important to like and share posts by others that may be interesting to you and your connections, make sure you also share your own opinions. This opens the window to discussion, which can eventually lead to better connections with others. On the same track, it is also a good idea to join groups that share a common interest. As an example, joining a group in Facebook that serves the purpose or connecting people is a great way to network with others. These groups usually share posts and have discussions, which lead to great networking opportunities.

As effective as social media is, online networking is not the only way to make connections, and it also is not as effective if not linked with what can be called offline networking. As great as you can make your profiles and posts look, you can never be as effective in giving off your best personal image as in a face-to-face interaction. After making connections online, make sure to arrange in-person meetings, phone calls, or even video call meetings. Make sure to attend any conferences or presentations that you may find from the groups you have joined or people you have added. An in-person discussion can leave a great impact. Offline networking is crucial in keeping those connections you make, as it is important to nurture a network you want to grow. As final advice, always do your research and know the market is as full of competitors as it is of opportunities, hence why being intimidated should not come off as a surprise. Always do your research on what you want to do, and take your time to make sure you give it your best.

What is your favorite online networking strategy? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

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

#business, #conversation, #conversation-etiquette, #etiquette, #technology, #technology-and-consulting, #technology-and-image-consulting

Office Etiquette

The way we behave can deeply impact the way others perceive our personal image. Bad manners or not following the proper etiquette in different situations can deeply hinder our progress in the workplace. Many of us have mastered proper etiquette for dining situations, but it is important to note that proper etiquette extends to any social events. Parties, cocktails, and even interactions in the office such as meetings or encounters with co-workers, are expected to be respected by certain social conventions that we just call etiquette. The best way to establish good relationships with the people that surround us at work is by behaving properly, in order to leave a good impression, and improve the way we socialize with others. Here are some basic guidelines to follow at the office: business meeting

Cellphone updates can wait – Using your cell phone during meetings or presentations is disrespectful, and it shows the person you are supposed to be paying attention to that you are uninterested in what he/she has to say. Therefore, attend to your phone outside of these situations. If you decide to use your cellphone during these events, this might strain your relationships with your coworkers.

Respect personal space – Regardless of the setting in which your office is, it is important to always respect personal space. Shooting an email as a way of communication before you try to chat or approach a coworker is a great way to show your respect for their personal space and their time. Pretending those walls of the old private offices and old cubicles are still there is a great way to learn how to respect others’ personal space.

Respect the dress code – Dressing up or dressing down might be equally bad calls for the workplace. Dress to fit in with the others. Ask around or follow the lead of your boss or coworkers that have been at the office for a longer period of time. Dressing too formal is just as bad as dressing too casual for work; that is why it is important to do your best to fit in.

Always be prepared to learn – At the workplace it is important to be confident with the work you do; It is, however, important to not be arrogant. Always be open to the ideas of others, and be respectful when sharing your own ideas. Don’t hold back in sharing, but don’t close your ears to ideas that may help improve your own work, especially from those who are more experienced than you.

Personal affairs are to be kept out of the workplace – Two examples: Job searching and gossiping. These two things can wait. Gossiping in the office is unproductive, not just for you but for your co-workers as well. It is distracting and it creates an unprofessional environment. On a similar note, do not use company resources to search for a new job. A lack of respect and loyalty is all that can be accomplished by performing a job search at your job.

Are your co-workers polite? 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, #conversation, #conversation-etiquette, #etiquette, #image, #image-consulting, #manners, #new-york-city, #shanna-pecoraro

Cocktail Party Etiquette

Cocktail parties are high profile events that people love hosting. It is a great way to keep in touch with friends and acquaintance. It is also a great opportunity to develop new friendships that can potentially lead to professional relationships. Although free food and drinks can be found all over the place, cocktail parties are the best opportunities you can get to socialize with new people. However, these type of parties have an etiquette to follow, and it is important to follow it in order to leave a good impression on those that attend the party. Here are some of the most general rules to follow at any cocktail party:  Office party 3

Invitations and arrangements – As a host, it is important to always make plans depending on the number of guests on your list of invitees. Seating arrangements and appetizers are examples of things to plan along those lines. As an invitee, make sure to inform the host of the party whether you will be able to attend the invitation or not.

Showing up on time – Usually the time “starting” time of these type of parties are a time range rather than a set time. 30 minutes after the start time is a good time to arrive.

Follow the dress code – Do not try to just show off your clothes at the party. Follow the dress code the host has set. If you are not sure what the dress code is then just ask the host of the party.

Socializing – Always offer a handshake when meeting a new person. Offer genuine smiles. Give your name and ask for the other person’s name too. Remember these parties are made to meet and talk to people, so take advantage of it and make the most out of your time. Always be polite when retiring yourself from a conversation: When talking to a group of people, excuse yourself from everyone in the group. When talking to a single person, try to get them to meet others with you, if not, then you can walk off by yourself without feeling guilty. Be authentic when talking to others and as motivational speaker Jonathan Sprinkles said to me once “Always be interested rather than interesting”.

Eating – As a guest, always make sure you’re eating small portions. Make sure to eat small bites you can chew up quickly in order for the eating to not interrupt your conversations. Cocktail parties usually have waiters walking around with appetizers or a buffet to line up for.

Gossiping – Do not do it. Gossiping can show disrespect and can be misinterpreted by others. Keep your topics away from gossip. Cheap talk is not for these events. You want to learn more about other people and have them learn more about who you are, so make sure to stay away from those other topics.

Drinks – Alcohol will be present at almost every party, and drinking it is a regular activity at these parties. However, make sure to drink with moderation and away from your limits, to not embarrass yourself in front of others and to be safe in situations where you might have to drive home for example. When holding drinks, use your left hand to hold your drinks in order to always have your right hand available for handshakes and greetings. Familiarize yourself with the different types of glasses and how to hold them.

Saying goodbye – Do not sneak out. Always thank the host and say goodbye. This will show your appreciation for the invitation. Remember you got invited to the party because you are appreciated by the host, so make sure to keep up a good impression by maintaining discipline and good manners, which will also help you make new connections with people you did not know before!

What is your favorite cocktail? 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, #conversation-etiquette, #etiquette, #image, #image-consulting, #manners

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

Dealing With Difficult Clients

Difficult clients are one of those obstacles that will show up in any business. Customers being unhappy, not satisfied with your service/product, or just being difficult for no apparent reason, are always going to appear, and dealing with them in the proper manner can be crucial. Although these clients can be problematic, they are just a challenge that can be overcome, and transformed into an opportunity. Some general steps can be followed in order to deal with difficult clients, although more specific actions are to be taken in different industries. Nonetheless, knowing what to say and how to say it can be tracked down to tips and techniques, that can help these problematic situations help our business grow, while also establishing better relations with our clients.

In order to deal with unhappy clients, our mindset has to change. The priority in these situations is to shift into a customer service mindset. Regardless of our point of view in the situation, we have to simplify the circumstances to: The client is unhappy, and it is up to me to solve the problem. This way we give the client the situation 100% of our focus. Once our mindset is adjusted, we will be able to listen to what the customer has to say. Listen actively. There is a reason why the client is approaching us in the first place, and that is, they want to be heard. Neutral statements, such as “Let’s go over what happened”, or “Please tell me why you’re upset” can be perfect starters, as they notify the customer that we are ready to listen to what they have to say. Allow no interruptions in these situations, including from yourself. Focus on listening. Do not rush trying to solve the problem or having an answer ready, as this will distract you and not give you a good idea of what the customer is complaining about.

Showing the customer that you are paying attention to them does not come from just listening to what they have to say. There are cues that customers unconsciously look for in order to feel like they’re being given the attention they expect. When it is your turn to talk, repeating what the customer has said to you in your own words will show the customer you understand the situation from his/her point of view, and that you were paying attention in the first place. This may also help calm down the client and reduce some of their stress.

After all of this, it is up to you how you’re going to solve the problem. It is up to you to learn from the situation that has been presented to you by the customer. The effectiveness of your customer service can help your relationship to the client grow, but it may also improve your company’s approach to business.  So, present a clear solution, whether you tell the customer exactly how you will fix the problem or you will take your input in how your client thinks the problem can be solved. Take action, and follow up, that way you will have dealt successfully with a difficult client, and you will be ready to face any other obstacle that might be presented to you in the future.

How difficult are your clients? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna

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

#business, #consulting, #etiquette, #image, #manners

Personal Image For Young Professionals

What makes a person emulate the style of another person? Why is it that the person dressed in a tailored suit and tie is upgraded to first class, over the one in jeans and a t-shirt? What makes a person enter a room and command attention without uttering a word, while his colleague goes unnoticed? The answer to these questions, and many other, lie in the power of personal image.

A person’s image is tied to the perception others have on him/her. Therefore, the way one dresses is crucial in a quest to achieve success. In this occasion, the spotlight will be for young professional college students. As young professionals, these college students already start attracting attention in a business world where the millennials are the ones in charge right now. However, as the upcoming generation to take over control, college students are to work for their success, and because of the importance of personal image in achieving this, it is important to discuss some of the ways in which to get around dressing.

One of the most important ways to assess how to dress in different environments is very simple: Ask. In new settings, such as a new office job, the best way to get around the question of “what to wear?” is to simply ask the company what dress codes are in place. The question can even have a positive influence on the superior’s perspective on you, as you show interest and planning in your new job. Besides asking, it is always good to look around and see what people in the environment you’re new at are wearing. However, there is an “ultimate rule” that should be followed in every situation you may encounter: You can never be overdressed for an occasion.

As mentioned, one can never be overdressed for an occasion, or at least that is the mindset that everyone should follow in a professional setting. This leads us to another great rule to follow: Dress to impress. It is important to be able to convey a strong first impression, and the only way we can achieve this is by LOOKING good. The value and purpose of personal image is not to be underestimated. Therefore, in deciding what to wear, it is always important to think about the question: “What do I want others to think of me when they see me?”

On a more generalized note, there are some other rules that can, and should, be followed outside of a professional context. As college students, it is important to drop the “Highschooler appearance”. The “Logo Mania” that takes place in many wardrobes is something to be avoided by a young professional. Remember, you want to express who you ARE or aim TO BE, therefore you don’t want to be walking around showing others what brands you’re wearing. Besides this, it is also important to remember that hair is a part of your personal image. Although it is not a piece of clothing, it still affects the way others see you, and it is therefore a factor to take into consideration.

Overall, the whole purpose of dressing “correctly” as a young professional college student is not to follow a certain pattern on what is acceptable to wear, but rather to dress for success. The purpose of dressing appropriately for different occasions is to adapt the perceptions of others to what we want them to perceive. Just as by acting a certain way you make others link that behavior to their sense of who you are, dressing a certain way will also affect this perception.

How has your personal image affected your life? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna

For more information please visit www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

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

Job Interviews

Applying for jobs is a tedious and repetitive process, which always makes the same question pop up in our heads, regardless of how many times we have done it, “What do I need to get hired?”. This question does not have a straight answer, and all responses seem to vary based on many factors, such as what job we are applying for, what person is in charge of the hiring process, what are the qualifications for the job, etc. Nonetheless, there are some guidelines that can help us stay on track in making sure we do our best to show we are the best fit for the job we are looking to get hired for. We will focus on the interview part of the job application process, since this is where we get to have the impact, while we also get a greater variety of choices as of what to do to adapt for the different job applications we may have.

The first thing we want to cover, since it is probably the one that catches most of us off guard, is the question “Why do you want to work for us?”. In order to answer this question properly, we need to do our research beforehand. We need to know exactly what the company’s purpose is, what it does, what it expects from its workers, and how it handles its customers. By doing this research, we will be able to see how we fit into the company’s needs, and answering this question will becomes easier. It is important to do our research not only to know what to answer to the questions that involve the company itself, but also to know if that job is what we are looking for, and if we are the fit THEY are looking for.

In addition to understanding what the company does, we need to be prepared to explain what we can do for the company. In a market like the one today, the competition faced by every applicant is not one to be underestimated. In order to prepare to stand out from the vast pool of applicants, we need to make sure our image is sharp, that we are on time for our interview and any other type of appointments, and again, that we are prepared. As job applicants, we are selling our personal image to the employers, so we need to make sure our attire is appropriate, since this is the first impression we have for our job interview, and the employer wants to make sure its employees offer a clean image of the company itself. Being on time for our interview is also part of our personal image, it shows that we are punctual not only to appointments, but to the job and any meetings we might have to attend.

It is almost a necessity to reiterate the importance of being prepared to our interview. Besides doing our research of the company we are applying to, we need to also have the material to support us when we make statements about ourselves that are relevant to the job. Having extra copies of your resume, reference letters, and paper to take notes, are all important things to keep in mind when going in for an interview. Although the interview might be the most nerve-racking step in the process, it is when we get our chance to show the employer what we cannot show them in paper, so make good use of that interview time and do your best to impress, and be impressed, by your future employer.

What is your favorite interview question? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

For more information please visit www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

#business, #consulting, #consulting-for-men-2, #etiquette