Chasing Perfect

Us humans have a natural tendency to aim for perfection. We admire it’s sublime beauty in architecture, literature, music and very much in science like mathematics. But when it comes to natural sciences like biology of psychology, suddenly the exceptions becomes more interesting than perfection.

There is no charisma in the absoluteness of black and white but in lies in the various shades of the rainbow somewhere in between.

Chasing perfection in your appearance is a futile attempt because once you have reached it, you have already lost the game. There is nothing tangible in perfection and we can’t relate to it. We put it on a pedestal -and just look at it. It becomes an object of admiration. But there is no development and thus no future. Time freezes in perfection, and while it’s an amazing experience to look into Mona Lisa’s 500 year old eyes, for enjoyable life and a successful career there needs to be a journey with a past, present and future.

Perfection is possible in brief passing moments but the beauty of life comes in it’s imperfections and the hiccups on the road. There is no charisma in the absoluteness of black and white but in lies in the various shades of the rainbow somewhere in between. Same applies to you. You are the unique YOU and that is what makes you magnetic. Everyone has their own story and the ability to tell that story through their image. My job is to give it a visual form.

Photo credits Greg Raines on Stocksnap.io

Photo credits Greg Raines on Stocksnap.io


I must admit that I actually dislike the current body positivity movement because it draws the attention to the female body sacrificing their wonderful skills and radiating charisma. It also implies that there was something wrong about the body in the first place that we now need to suddenly love despite it’s imperfections. Actually the body itself is nothing but a shell and it was always perfect as it was. Your story is the one that lives long after you. When you allow yourself to admit your dreams, you are taking a major leap towards the person you want to be -and the way you look like will communicate this to others. You can find some handy tips from me on how to enhance your appearance.

Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.
-Rachel Zoe 

Style is indeed a great way to express yourself, but without a connection to the real you, it remains vague. So keep on looking for that connection. Just like you, your style should evolve and move on. It should never be 100% ready. It is not meant to be perfect.

Perfection is just… boring.
You are… everything.

 

This article was originally published on 16th April 2016 on I on Image’s blog and updated on 29th March 2018.

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

GUEST POST: The art of listening

This guest post from our newest guest blogger Niina Nuottamo helps us improve our communication skills by giving us valuable tips on how to become a better listener.

Woman sitting Jarosław Ceborski on Stocksnap.io

Photo credits: Jarosław Ceborski on Stocksnap.io

There is a human in front of you, looking for connection. The least you could do is put your device away, look them in the eye and give them your undivided attention. Maybe you already do this in your personal life (think of your friends, family and children). But it’s also very relevant and powerful in the business context, whether it’s a colleague who needs coaching or a potential client interested in your services.

Here are my 10 golden tips for more mindful listening:

  1. Be present: give your full attention to the person you are listening to
  2. Write notes: to record the message and helps you process what is being said
  3. Mirror back: “so what I’m hearing you say is that…” (gives them a chance to clarify further)
  4. Be open: to their words without your judgement or bias
  5. Give space: let them finish and only then offer your advice/suggestions (don’t interrupt!)
  6. Watch: for the nonverbal cues (body language, facial expressions)
  7. Avoid technology: laptops are not part of the conversation (unless you are using Skype etc to have the conversation)
  8. Feel: it’s not just about the words but about the emotions behind the words
  9. Read: is the person looking for advice/solution or just needs to download their thoughts?
  10. Needs: check whether your tips/advice/service is likely to meet their needs

Have I missed any important tips? Have you noticed any improvements in your inter-personal communication skills or business interactions after becoming a more attentive listener?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Niina Nuottamo Profile Photo

Photo credits Rudi Wells at www.rudiwells.com

Niina Nuottamo, CMMP, is a Netherlands based medical writer and learning experience designer. She has worked in the medical communications field for over 15 years. She gives training on writing skills and is currently focusing on creating impactful learning experiences.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse on 9th February 2018. You can read the original article here.

How to Make a Great First Impression

I find the whole science of first impressions so fascinating. When a person meets you for the first time their brain makes several snap decisions about you in just 7 seconds. Actually it takes only a tenth of a second to decide if the person is trustworthy but as long as 30 seconds to make judgements of a persons attractiveness and intelligence. However a myriad of other decisions are made within 7 seconds, such as judgements about your age, competence, education level, lifestyle, income, social class, to mention a few. Latest studies have shown that we can work our way out of a bad first impression but, as it is with so many other things, it takes a lot more energy and time than just to make it right the first time. I made this collection of tips that will help you take your personal brand on a next level that exudes confidence and professionalism.

Photo credits RawPixel.com at Stocksnap.io

  1. Get to know people in advance through social media. They will be doing the same so make sure that you too are making a good first impression throughout your social media. Read more about digital presence here.
  2. Smile. People who smile appear more likeable and trustworthy than their poker-faced counterparts. Don’t over-do it though. No grinning and no awkward or deranged smiles.
  3. Maintain good personal hygiene. I can’t stress enough the importance of this! There is simply no excuse to neglect your personal hygiene in any possible situation.
  4. Dress for the part. Read more about your appearance here.
  5. Offer a firm handshake. Make it last about 3-4 seconds because you want to engage with people without appearing creepy. At this point you have already made a first impression and people have not even heard you speak yet!
  6. Avoid using fillers such as um, ah and like. They show immaturity and hesitation.
  7. Make it all about the other person. Ask questions and let people tell about themselves.
  8. Polish your listening skills. Read more about brushing your communication skills here.
  9. Maintain normal eye contact throughout the conversation but under no circumstances stare at people. Loosing eye contact mid-conversation implies that the other person is making you bored or you have something more important in your mind.
  10. Avoid at all cost sizing up people from head to toe, peeking at cleavages, or letting your mind wander while looking at someone. It’s creepy, rude and it paves way for you to become the next #metoo headline.
  11. Allow people to have their personal space. In general people feel uncomfortable when someone in breathing down their neck or being too close. See also 10.
  12. Be mindful about your body language. Keep a good posture and resist the urge to cross your arms or legs. Keep your hands visible, unless you want people to think that you have something to hide.
  13. Be aware of your nervous tics such as drumming, scratching yourself, clicking your knuckles, playing with your hair etc. They make you appear awkward and uncomfortable, which may make other people feel uncomfortable too.
  14. Learn to control your facial expressions. Avoid squinting your eyes, wrinkling your nose and keep your mouth closed when you are not talking.
  15. Use confident, friendly and positive language. Have an upbeat attitude. Let your energy and zest for life be contagious!

Photo credits RawPixel.com at Stocksnap.io

 

Let me know how I can help you make a great first impression. I would love to hear from you!

  • Let’s have a talk! I am offering you a 15min complementary telephone call prior to our meeting to set expectations and get to know each other better. Book your appointment here!

I am looking forward to working with you!

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

Your Personal Image Is Everything PART 1/3: Communication

This 3-part image consulting blog series inspects your personal image from 3 different angles: Your communication, your appearance and your digital presence. In the first part we look at the importance of your communication skills that are a vital part of your personal image.

Good communication skills will get you further in life: They help you deliver your message and to sell your ideas. With clear communication you will always have a better chance of getting people on your side and to make those achievements that you have dreamed of.  Improving your communication skills will enable you to work more efficiently and to avoid unnecessary conflicts. This all will, as a side product, free you more time to do things that matter to you the most.

You are the message

Communications skills are often the thing that makes it or breaks it. It’s almost impossible to remove yourself from the very center of your communication so it’s safe to say that you are the message. Your verbal and non-verbal communication need to support each other and to be fully aligned with your personal brand. This way you are actively participating in removing obstacles away from your listeners and give them a better chance to understand you.

The core of your communication is your message that you deliver to the relevant audience who then receives the message and interprets it in their own unique way. The path to mutual understanding is often riddled with interruptions and risks of misinterpretations. You can only call communication successful once you have confirmed that the audience has indeed understood your message exactly the same way as you had intended.

You are the message

Where to begin?

It is true that some people are natural born communicators but the rest can be assured that these skills can be learned and even mastered with the right motivation and effort. There are numerous courses (live and online) available regarding this topic and here at I on Image I am also very keen to help you improve your communication skills. Here I have listed some useful ways to start your journey to become a better communicator:

  • Become a better listener
  • Show genuine interest in others. You will be surprised how much you will learn!
  • Observe non-verbal cues in others and yourself
  • Get to know yourself
  • Learn to know how people are perceiving you

how do you come across?

If you are the message then it’s paramount that you gain understanding on how people are perceiving you. Your choice of words is very important here but your words only get a meaning when they are put in the right context and said in the right way, using the right tone of voice and a body-language that supports the message and your personal brand. It’s important to learn to be aware of the aspects of your non-verbal communication that are:

  • Your facial expressions, especially eye-contact
  • Your posture
  • Your gestures
  • Your way of speaking
  • Your sense of humor
  • Your appearance
  • The intensity of your presence

With an image consultant you can approach these topics in a confidential, non-judgemental and encouraging environment. My approach is always gentle and has a strong emphasis on your strengths. I challenge you and give you a push to the right direction but I want to leave the real discoveries for yourself to unravel. After all, it’s one of the most rewarding parts of this learning process.

What’s in it for you?

Some clients come to see me after hearing the same words from many different sources and decide that now it’s their time. Despite some critics of yours being tough, especially yourself, it’s good to remember that you have full control of your own image and that you can make these changes happen for yourself. To help you make the shift in your life it’s good to think about the benefits you will gain when learning to be a better communicator. Here I have listed a few advantages of gaining good communication skills but your list may well look different that mine:

  • Gain trust of people
  • Make a meaningful connection with people
  • Gain the engagement of people

Communication skills are some of the most important skills that you need to succeed in life. Here at I on Image I help you gain a better understanding of your verbal and non-verbal communication. Learn to say what you want to say, in a way that nothing about you distracts your audience from receiving your valuable message. Book your appointment already today here.

I am looking forward to help you improve your image!

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

Why Your Image Matters

Your personal image is the perception that people have about you. It affects your success in every aspect of your life. When a person meets you for the first time their brain makes several snap decisions about you in just 7 seconds. Learn to make the most of them and take your personal brand on a next level that exudes confidence and professionalism.

First Impression

People are programmed to make a quick opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your gravitas and your style. No matter how much is then later learn about the person we tend to trust our first impressions above all. According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy these rapid decisions that people make within seconds from seeing you for the first time come down to two boiling questions:

1. Can I trust this person?

and

2. Can I respect this person?

She continues: “If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative. A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.”

Image is about trust and respect

Make sure people are judging you accurately and not being confused or distracted about your image. This includes, but is not limited to, simplifying things. Have less but be more powerful. People want and should see the real you but it doesn’t have to mean spilling all your secrets out there. You can control what you are giving away and what you are keeping to yourself. Center for Talent and Innovation (CTI) declared in their report about personal image: “How you look, how you speak, and how you act turn out to be critical to your success, our report concludes, at every step in your career journey.” So be mindful about your personal image. It may be all you really have.

Are people judging you accurately

Your personal image is one of the few aspects of your life that you have a full control of and I am delighted to help you to invest in yourself. I am passionate about business wear, first impressions (live and on social medial) and I want to help you to be at your very best in the current competitive business environment. Let me worry about the looks, it saves you your valuable time and helps you to focus on the very essential: your fantastic skills and amazing knowledge.

Need more convincing? I got you covered. Read my blog 3 Reasons to Hire Me here.

Take control of your image

When building a successful image it’s important to remember to remain as authentic as possible. Your personal image should be a conscious decision for your own profit but it should still look like you. Think of the following qualities of your image:

  • Inspiring: Create enthusiasm and make people feel empowered.
  • Memorable: Stand out from the crowd for the right reasons.
  • Approachable: Be open, communicate clearly and make people feel comfortable around you.
  • Genuine: Remember to be the unique charming you.
  • Engaging: Create lasting relationships and allow people to commit to you.

 

Your Image Should Be...

 

Let me know how I can help you enhance your image. I would love to hear from you!

  • Let’s have a talk! I am offering you a 15min complementary telephone call prior to our meeting to set expectations and get to know each other better. Book your appointment here!

 

Make The Most Of Your 7 Seconds

I am looking forward to help you enhance your image!

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail