Authentic, Authenticity, Body Language, Confidence, First Impressions, Image consultancy, Leadership, Lyn Bromley, Men in Business, Women in business

How to Express Your Leadership Presence

iStock_000017925351SmallLeaders of men and women come in many guises, from successful business people like Richard Branson and Sheryl Sandberg, to spiritual and political leaders like Gandhi or Martin Luther King.  One thing effective leaders have in common is presence and by learning how to maximise yours, you will be developing an essential vital non-verbal communication skill that will ensure you look like a leader. The art of communication is surely one of the most vital skills of any leader, the power to persuade and appearance plays and important role in that process. In this very visual world, we are all influenced by what we see and so our appearance needs to match what’s on the inside – our abilities, characteristics and values. Otherwise, we get mixed messages. The ability to manage our image is a positive communication skill and something we can easily learn like any other for career success.

Deep impact

First and foremost, you have to make an impact. Effective leaders will almost always have ‘presence’ or that indefinable X factor. They will either give an impression of quiet authority or of obvious power, according to their personal style. Your posture, demeanour and the way you interact with people – as well as appearance – will all contribute to your personal presence. It has often been described that leaders ‘take up space’ and are comfortable doing so. They stand, move and dress confidently and assertively.  Good leaders will be well aware of the subliminal messages of non-verbal communication, including image and your body language, and will use these tricks effectively. Leaders also make the rules rather than follow them and have the confidence to dress to reflect their personality and business. Think of Sir John Harvey-Jones with his natty suits and flamboyant socks, Richard Branson’s early years in his approachable knitwear or Anita Roddick’s style echoing her individuality and ethical interests. Each of these leaders has a very distinctive personal image. You need to develop your personal style to suit your style of leadership. Whatever look you choose, you must be true to your personality and remain individual to ensure you’re memorable.

Feel the quality

And, whether you believe money is the measure of success or not, when it comes to appearance, quality counts.  That doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive items you can find – it’s about seeking clothes and accessories where the quality of the material and craftsmanship is evident.  A perfectly fitting lightweight wool suit, an immaculate silk tie or a beautifully stitched handbag in softest leather – they all breathe quality.  Too often in corporate life, an individual’s impact is marred by the inclusion of an item that jars.  A smart tailored suit and crisp shirt can be undermined by teaming them with a cheap plastic watch and biro.  It gives out a message of poor judgement, poor quality and a sloppy approach to work.  The subliminal message you want people to pick up from your appearance is ‘here is someone who knows what they are doing, where they are going, with sound judgement and an eye for quality and detail’.

Role Model

Another aspect of effective leadership is taking your duty as a role model seriously.  Individuals leading their own businesses can obviously make the rules, but should remember that they are role models for those following them up the career ladder and so should set the standard for the company.  Giving clear messages to your employees about how you expect them to dress at work will make them feel far more comfortable than a confusing ‘anything goes’ atmosphere.   Make it clear to your staff or team just what you expect of them – and avoid vague terms than can be misinterpreted. The current trend towards a ‘modern professional’ dress code, where an employee is expected to make judgements about what look each day’s activities require, is a good test of their business acumen. Judging when to opt for ‘formal business’, knowing when ‘relaxed business’ will do or when ‘business casual’ is the order of the day takes perception – and that’s a valuable skill to have on your team. You will want your staff and clients to have absolute faith in you and your ability to make good decisions, so a good leader will need to earn respect.   Your clothes can play their part – err on the side of formality or, if the culture in which you work demands a business casual approach, keep it smart and co-ordinated and of good quality. And, of course, your clothes need to match the culture and values of your organisation. For example, in a young, innovative company, you’ll need to be more casual and keep a closer eye on fashion trends. Knowledge of colour will also be valuable to know how to look more authoritative when you need to. This is especially true when selecting business casual items as they are often more colourful and require good co-ordination.  There will also be occasions when you need to project more approachability and subtle changes in the way you wear colour can help achieve this.

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events for FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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Body Language, Business Etiquette, Confidence, First Impressions, Interview Tips

34 Crucial Interview Tips

In this info graphic by College Atlas, they share 34 crucial interview tips.  In their research, speaking to employers, they feedback the job-interview-tipskey points they noticed, or those that put them off a prospective employee.  In our experience and research, we have found the same.   Here are the common mistakes made:-

  • 67% fail to make eye contact
  • 47% have little knowledge about the company they are applying for
  • 38% don’t smile
  • 33% have poor posture
  • 33% fidget too much
  • 26% have a weak handshake – a personal dislike of mine!
  • 21% play with hair or touch their face
  • 21% cross their arms
  • 9% use too many hand gestures

More than 2000 managers claimed to know whether they would hire someone within 90 seconds

Most Common Mistakes

  1. Over explaining why you lost your last job
  2. Conveying that you are not over losing your last job
  3. Lacking humour, warmth or personality
  4. Not showing enough enthusiasm
  5. Inadequate research about the prospective employer
  6. Concentrating too much on what you want
  7. Trying to be all things to all people
  8. “Winging” the interview
  9. Failing to set yourself apart from other candidates
  10. Failing to ask for the job

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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Authentic, Authenticity, Body Language, Communication, Customer Service, Lyn Bromley, Uncategorized

Communication Skills for the NHS

body_languageDid you know that one of the most common complaints about the NHS is poor communication?  The NHS trust in the area that I live in, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust, or SWFT, has a great reputation and scores very highly in feedback surveys.  At their recent nursing conference they still decided to select ‘communication’ as their main theme.  It’s interesting isn’t it, that those who are at the excellent end of the spectrum often choose to learn more.  You might think that there is no need, if they are already doing well, why strive for improvement?  Well, it is this very attitude of wanting to continually improve that puts them at the top of their profession.  The aspect that I most noticed about the group of 200 or so professionals, was that they were totally engaged and had an attitude of wanting to learn more, even though I had the ‘graveyard’ slot immediately after lunch!  This is a byproduct of what happens whether there is a culture of continuous improvement in place – people have an expectation of learning and are open to taking on new information.  They know that they are not there to be ‘fixed’ because something is broken, they know that their employers value them so highly that they continually invest in their professional development, whether that be clinical training or soft-skills training.

For people who wear uniform, their communication skills are really important, especially when they are in a caring profession because we have an expectation that they should be, well, caring!  If we are met with a situation where they are not, it really jars with our preconceived idea of how they should behave.  Their appearance is key – we expect them to be smart, clean and tidy.  Of course their uniform helps with that, but grooming is incredibly important too – you wouldn’t want to be treated by a nurse that looks a little grubby!

Their uniform already tells us much about who they are – it’s a shorthand to tell us that they are qualified and there to help.  They have an opportunity to bring their own personality to bear through their communication style, tone of voice and body language.  Nurses probably come under more scrutiny than most.  Imagine being a patient in a hospital bed.  Once you have read your magazines, eaten a few grapes and done your crossword, what else is there to do but watch the interactions of the staff in the hospital?  We find people infinitely fascinating and they draw our attention to them all the time.  We pick up on subtle clues from the unspoken word – our body language gives so many clues to what is going on and how we feel.  Are we stressed, are we calm and have everything under control?  Patients observing these interactions between health professionals will read all kinds of information from them and they will pick up on the smallest changes in body language – we are programmed and attuned to do this.  Remember our flight or fight response that I have spoken about in my earlier blog ‘Are you being Authentic?’

The nursing profession is the ultimate in customer service and we do have high expectations.  In all the interactions I have ever had with our local NHS nurses, they have all been excellent and am very thankful for that!

 

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions

 Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director for Regional Support of FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke training and workshops or one-to-one coaching. 

First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map.

Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038

Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com

Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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Body Language, Business Etiquette, Confidence, First Impressions, Image consultancy, Lyn Bromley

Top 7 Mistakes That Ruin Your First Impression

GroomingGrooming

      1. Poor grooming
      2. Not paying attention to the required dress code
      3. Poor body language
      4. Wearing clothes that do not suit your body shape
      5. Wearing unflattering shades of clothes
      6. Too much, or too little make up (or unkempt facial hair for men)
      7. Unpolished shoes

Poor Grooming

The key issues I see and hear about from employers are dishevelled or crumpled clothes, unwashed or unkempt hair, dandruff and unpleasant smells – a shower or wash every day and showing your clothes an iron is a must!

Dress Codes

It’s important to observe dress codes, it is all part of respect for the person you are meeting.  Is there a company policy on dress code?  If so, observe that, if not take a look at what you peers are wearing and ‘model’ someone who is getting it right.

Body Language

My favourites of the body language misdemeanours are the limp fish handshake, or the bone crusher handshake – both of which are very unpleasant!  A smile, good eye contact and good posture are key to making a good impression, along with a firm handshake of course!

Clothes

Clothes that are too big, too small or that do not suit your bodyshape are unflattering.  They also call into question your judgement.  If you can’t dress yourself properly, what hope is there for you delivering on your targets or meeting your objectives?!

Colour

Some colours can give you a glow, make you look well and healthy and others can make you look out of focus, grey or just plain ill – it’s important to know which shades suit you best.  Everything you wear should be flattering to you and working in your favour, not against you.

Facial Grooming

For women wearing too much or too little make up are key mistakes that I see.  Too much says nightclub (which is fine if you work in one, but not for in the office) and too little says ‘I’ve not bothered’.  A little goes a long way and improves your credibility.  For men facial hair is fine, so long as it is well groomed and not too long.

Unpolished Shoes

Shoes should always be clean and of the best quality you can afford.  Shabby shoes says shabby person.

If you would like to know more on how to make a good First Impression, please check out some of my earlier blogs.

Have a great day,

Lyn

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions

 Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Membership Director of FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching. 

First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map.

Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038

Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com

Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

 

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Body Language, Business Etiquette, Confidence, First Impressions, Image consultancy, Leadership, Lyn Bromley, Men in Business, Women in business

Mind Your Manners!

Business Etiquette

Image courtesy of Felixco, Inc. at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What does business etiquette mean to you?  The word etiquette is, of course, a French word and we use it to describe the manners and courtesy that are deemed desirable in both social and business life.  Interestingly, the French don’t use the word etiquette to mean the same thing – they use ‘savoir vivre’ – ‘to know how to live’.  Equally interesting, I think, is that the French use of the word etiquette translates as ‘label’.  Surely nothing ‘labels’ us so effectively in the eyes and minds of our friends, acquaintances and business associates as the way we conduct ourselves – the manners and courtesy we display in our daily lives.

There is no doubt that non-verbal communication plays a very significant role in inter-personal relationships and, as communication experts, we are constantly dealing with the visual aspects including both appearance and body language.  In the last couple of years, however, clients have increasingly asked us to tackle other aspects of behaviour in the workplace, focussing on the many and varied topics that fall within the term ‘business etiquette’.

Popular television shows, both fact and fiction, show just how profoundly powerful this aspect of an individual’s professional conduct can be.  You might remember David Brent of ‘The Office’ committing just about every business etiquette crime there is, or you may have squirmed with discomfort as one of the ‘Dragon’s Den’ supplicants reached the top of the stairs and launched into their ‘pitch’ without a handshake or introduction.  You’ll remember the relief you felt when, at last, one of them actually walked up to the ‘Dragons’, shook hands, made eye contact and introduced themselves in a friendly and assertive way.  The  BBC show is still popular now, so watch how all the non-verbal signals persuade or dissuade the ‘Dragons’ to part with their thousands – or not, as the case may be.  Equally, ‘The Apprentice’ was a fascinating insight into how people conduct themselves and how it affects their success, or lack of it, in the workplace.

Business Etiquette is a vast subject covering everything from dining to e-mails; meetings to greetings; gestures to chewing gum and, to some extent, it’s what we should know anyway.  But in an increasingly casual 21st century Britain, we don’t.  A whole generation is entering the workforce (and moving up through it) with gaps in their knowledge of what constitutes acceptable or appropriate behaviour.  Whilst today’s emphasis on free expression and creativity in an individual’s early years is doubtless a positive thing, this doesn’t have to mean losing sight of the value of respect in human relationships.

The basic rule of etiquette is to show consideration for the other party.  Whether it’s thinking about what’s appropriate to wear to a meeting – the etiquette of appearance – so that you show respect to whoever you’re meeting; conducting yourself properly and positively in a meeting or at a corporate hospitality event; or following simple rules for business e-mails and letters, etiquette is fundamentally about showing respect for others.  If you stop and think how the other person is likely to receive your communication or respond to your behaviour, you will go a long way towards preventing misunderstandings and not giving offence.  You will also go a long way towards building rapport and strong personal relationships.  It’s these personal relationships, within the workplace environment, that are so vital to an individual’s and an organisation’s success.

Most managers are agreed that manners, common courtesy and an understanding of how to ‘do the right thing’ in any situation are all attributes that differentiate great from good when it comes to staff.  As ‘soft skills’ are widely recognised to be more vital to an individual’s personal employability than technical skills these days, companies are increasingly asking First Impressions to include Business Etiquette within a range of topics relating to professional profile development.  If an individual is going to be able to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the workplace as they work their way up the career ladder, it’s even more important that they understand that how they operate – their ‘professional profile’ – plays a key role in building credibility and is a vital part of their career toolkit.

What are the customs and taboos in your workplace?  Are you confident that your etiquette is always spot-on?  Do you sometimes wince when a colleague commits a faux pas at a business lunch or corporate hospitality event?  Business etiquette affects us all.  If your people are your biggest asset, are you confident that their business etiquette will help not hinder your organisation’s success?

Test your Business Etiquette know-how with our quick quiz:

Q1        Where do you put your napkin if you need to leave the dining table during a meal?

Q2        Where do you put your napkin when you leave the table at the end of the meal?

Q3        What are the five most common blunders that office workers admit to when greeting clients and colleagues?

Q4        Should you introduce a colleague to a client or a client to a colleague?

Q5        Is it appropriate to use your laptop, mobile or palm pilot at the table at a business lunch?

Q6        Can you toast yourself?  Is it acceptable to raise your glass and drink when you are the one being toasted?

Quiz Answers:

A1        On the back of your chair

A2        On the table

A3        The continental kiss; the bone crusher handshake; offering a handshake when the other person offers a cheek; misjudging a kiss and almost giving a smacker on the lips!; giving an overenthusiastic bear hug

A4        Always introduce a colleague to a client, regardless of the colleague’s age or rank – i.e. deference should be shown to the client.

A5        No – and nor should you spread papers out over the table at a business lunch.  It may be a business lunch but the basic rules of dining etiquette still apply.

A6        No – you can raise your glass to acknowledge a toast to you but you should not drink when you are the one being toasted.

 

Business Etiquette Top Tips

  • Practice what you preach

 

It’s easy to know what to do but much harder to do it.  Aim to avoid just paying lip service to business etiquette and ensure you do actually behave as you would like others to.  Remember that you’re a role model for other colleagues as well.

  • Listen, watch and learn

 

Think about times when you have experienced rudeness – you’ve been ignored at a corporate event; someone has kept you hanging on the phone for ages or you haven’t been introduced properly to someone.  Learn from your own mistakes and from others and think what you – or they – could have done differently that would have improved the experience.

  • Show respect

 

Respect others’ time – avoid interrupting your colleagues’ meetings, discussions and phone calls if at all possible but if it is unavoidable always apologise and make your point quickly so others can get back to their work.

  • Treat everyone with the same courtesy

Don’t differentiate people by their job role or position within the company but treat everyone with the same courtesy and politeness.  Treating everyone with the same courtesy will earn you respect and improve your credibility within an organisation.

  • Show appreciation

Be keen to pass on praise and compliments to your team and colleagues and everyone who made a contribution to a project or event.

  • Be honest

You will earn respect for delivering work on time and giving realistic deadlines.   You will get a reputation for unreliability for over-promising impossible schedules.

  • Avoid unintentional rudeness

 

Ignoring phone calls or neglecting to reply to correspondence or emails is just as bad as face-to-face rudeness.  Abruptness or an off-hand manner can cause offence in business environment and, even if you’re really busy, aim to deal with others politely and with courtesy.

  • Build good working relationships

 

The ability to get on with different types of people is an essential business skill.  Being able to develop good working relationships with your business associates and fellow team members will help you stand out in your organisation.

  • Working Internationally

Learn as much as possible about how business is conducted abroad.  Try and learn some elements of the language and basis courtesies if possible and familiarise yourself with the customs of the country you are visiting.

  • Differentiate yourself

Remember that good professional business etiquette helps build leadership skills, shows commitment to your company and helps differentiate you in a competitive environment.

First Impressions run a series of open Business Etiquette courses, for anyone who would like to learn more about this vital subject.  Courses are held at the First Impressions Training Centre in Warwick.  For more information, telephone 01926 623038 or e-mail enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com.

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions

 Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Membership Director of FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching. 

First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map.

Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038

Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com

Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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Body Language, First Impressions, Leadership, Lyn Bromley

What ARE you saying?

Image courtesy of smarnad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s no secret that people fascinate me!  Right from being very young I have always been interested in how people communicate.  The largest part of our communication, 93% to be precise, is nothing to do with the words we use.  It’s all about how we say them and the body language that goes with it.

Most of us are aware of this fact, but generally in our workshops people are surprised that the percentage is so high.  I’m always astonished that people think folding your arms is being defensive – remember it’s ‘body language’, not just one word or phrase.  Looking for other clues in the person’s demeanour will give you better information.  For example, if someone has their arms crossed, but are smiling at the same time, it is likely that they are just comfortable with their arms folded and are not being defensive at all.  Whereas if someone has their arms crossed and are frowning, it is more likely that they are being defensive after all!

It’s important to note though, that the saying ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’, as so many people attending our workshops do rate someone with folded arms and a smile as being defensive.  If you want to be sure that people are not taking away a negative impression of your body language, it’s safer to keep an open stance with un-crossed arms.

The other key behaviours that portray positive body language are smiling, eye contact, good posture, open stance and a good handshake – this is one of my personal soap box rant moments, so I’ll post about that in detail another day!!

Wishing you a fabulous Saturday and I invite you to observe people’s body langauge around you today to see what you spot!  I’m in Starbucks at the moment having a coffee and writing my blog while my daughter is at dance class and Hubby is being the dutiful son and doing some DIY for his Mum.  Looking at the people around me there is lots of great body language going on; lots of active listening, intense gazing, flirting, scowling, arms crossed, bored looking – oops nearly got caught out watching – you have to be careful of that too!

Have fun observing,

Lyn

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions

 Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Membership Director of FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching. 

First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map.

Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038

Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com

Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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