Field Notes About Ageism

Ageism means stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. Recent studies in the US and in UK show that especially women are facing persistent age discrimination at the workplace as they get older.

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A wonderful line of spectacular women who I am proud to call my friends are turning 40 this year, and it feels impossible to imagine that our beautiful mischievous gang is approaching a point in life where we are no longer considered valuable, desirable or worth investing in.

Ageism is a real problem for women, and men, in the workplace but I am pleased to see a wind of change blowing the dust away and giving space to a more diverse and more skilled than ever workforce.

Empowering women over (and below!) a certain age, mothers, ethnic minorities is an absolute must in order to prep your business for the approaching new decade. Women have never been more capable than they are today and reducing them to a product with an expiry date is just an utter waste of fabulous resources.

 

Working on your personal image

My clients often ask for a fresher, younger and more dynamic look. They have come to the right address because I love to create strong signature looks that work for my client, instead of my client working for the look.

You can read more about my approach in my blog FAQ at I on Image. I am myself unapologetic about my age, and I want to inject that confidence in my clients instead of Botox.

I always advice to be open and honest about your age, just as you would be honest about your skills. Think about you the courses you have taken, seminars and conferences you have attended, things that interest you so much that you find yourself wanting to read more and more about the topic.

These are all great assets to have and you may have not have had them when you were 20. Certainly you didn’t know then all that you know today. Every year you are more wiser and more experienced.

You just need to stay curious and keep that spark in your eye going on. As a result of your experience and learning you are an improved version of yourself today. This is the image you want to show to the outer world regardless of your age.

 

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Working on your digital presence

Thinking about your digital presence, we have been blessed with a myriad of tools that put us right on the edge of the latest technology without actually being incredibly tech savvy. Use that in your advantage and take the best of all features that your relevant social media platforms offer.

Have a professional business head shot taken and add a couple of items in your wardrobe that are a logical part of your narrative. Read also my handy tips on how to enhance your appearance.

 

Working on your personal style

Regarding your personal style, allow yourself to live a little of your dreams. If you love a certain style or item, go for it. Life is too short to think if you can pull it off. If it makes you heart skip a beat, it’s probably the right item for you.

I give advice regarding the most common body shapes and very often I notice that women already know what suits them. They just unsure on how to incorporate it in their every day life.

Many also ask if they can wear certain items past a certain age. I loved the list of “20 things no woman should wear after 30“compiled by Twitter user Molly Manglewood that went viral for the right reasons. Don’t let the title fool you, it is a hilarious list (I agree that wearing a “meat tunic in feral dog country” is undoubtedly a very bad idea) and it’s message is loud and clear:

“Age-appropriate dressing is officially dead.”

We wear what we love to wear. Increased confidence is one of the best things about aging and it’s the key to your natural charisma. This is what people will initially find the most fascinating about you. Your age is really just a number, and the world is about to see what you are made of!

This article was originally published on 20th March 2016 on I on Image’s blog and updated on 22nd March 2018.

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

 

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.

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Photo credits RawPixel.com at Stocksnap.io

 

Make a great first impression

  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!

 

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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!

Image Consultant, Personal Stylist, Personal Shopper in AMSTERDAM

I am looking forward to working with you!

 

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

Your Personal Image Is Everything PART 3/3: Digital Presence

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 third part we look at the significance of your digital presence as a part of your personal image in an ever growing world of social media.

 

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Have you ever looked at someone’s social media profile and did not have a clue what their personal brand was all about? Or disliked them immediately? Or thought that they are not authentic?

You can roughly divide the most annoying social media profiles in two extremes: They are either a mishmash of awkwardly public glimpses to their private lives, serial shares and likes of articles from non-reputable sources and a myriad of questionable associations, or eerily silent or abandoned profiles without anything tangible to hold on to. Frustrating and confusing, isn’t it?

Nowadays your personal brand is only as strong as your digital presence and it’s a fact of life that cannot be overlooked.

 

We all Google people

Are you going to meet someone new? The first thing that pops into your mind while preparing, for an interview or a date, is to enter the person’s name in that search field and to hit the magnifying glass icon. In the recent years it has become socially acceptable and a every day custom to Google all new acquaintances.

According to a CareerBuilder study in February and March 2017 a whopping 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. It is at all-time high, for comparison last year the number was 60% and in 2006 only 11%.

Thanks to technology it’s now so easy to have friends, colleagues and business partners all over the world and it’s opening us doors that we never even knew were there. Your closest friends and family know you in real life and can overlook your online mishaps and still think you are the same fantastic person, but it’s good to remember that some people who will only know the digital you -and there are many of them.

That is why it’s important to pay attention to your digital presence, and to start building one if you don’t already have one. It seems that without a digital presence, you almost don’t exist.

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Your digital presence consists of

  • All your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, to mention a few
  • Your website (if applicable)
  • All the photos of you that you or anyone else have ever posted online
  • Anything you have written or that has been written about you on discussion forums, blogs or articles posted online

 

Time for a digital clean up

  • The best way to start is to google yourself and to look at all the findings with a critical eye, perhaps with a help from a friend who will tell it like it is, or a professional such as myself. Is your content aligned with your personal brand? And is your content relevant to your personal brand?
  • Consider separating your personal and professional profiles. How you want to define the boundaries between work and private is fully up to you but in general it’s rarely a good idea to connect with your business contacts on a personal level.
  • Take a critical look at your photos. Do they need to be public or should you limit their audience? A professional head shot gives always a good impression but nobody expects it on your personal profile. Photos of food, nature, animals and sports are always a safe choice. Family and alcohol may prove problematic so approach carefully. Avoid politics, religion, bullying and violence. Make sure your photos don’t violate the privacy of others.
  • Remove anything on your public profile that can be interpreted in the wrong way. This includes liking pages and being a member of public groups. Tasteless and inappropriate jokes, remarks and comments are best shared with a limited audience, or not at all as we all know how to take screenshots by now.

 

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Take control of the digital you

  • The good news is that you are able to feed your digital footprint with positive content on relevant platforms. Concentrate on cultivating a solid online presence that makes your personal brand shine and strengthens your executive presence.
  • Highlight your skills and achievements, including your personal ones (without being too personal, if you catch my drift). Running a marathon or doing volunteer work always give a positive first impression as does sharing professional content of events that you have attended such as conferences and workshops. Don’t be afraid to show your creative or compassionate side as it makes you more dimensional and therefore more attractive and unique.
  • Create a realistic online strategy that fits your goals and technical skills. Update content regularly and keep your pages manned. When the lights are on people assume that someone is home, same applies to social media.
  • Keep on feeding relevant and positive content on your pages and engage with others in a friendly manner. Remember to thank people and praise them for their achievements too. It’s important to remember that even on social media it’s not always about you.

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Nowadays first impressions are often made online so your digital presence is a vital part of your personal brand. Here at I on Image I help you to manage your digital presence on relevant online platforms, increase your visibility and help you to build a reputation that is fully aligned with your personal brand.

 

Image Consultant, Personal Stylist, Personal Shopper in AMSTERDAM

 

Sometimes just an hour is enough to have your digital presence revamped. Go ahead and ask for I on Image’s QUICK ONLINE SCAN (duration 1h, cost 60€) and get your profiles ready for new challenges. Book your appointment already today.

 

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

Your Personal Image Is Everything PART 2/3: Appearance

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 second part we look at your appearance as the most visible part of your personal image.

 

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Fashion designer, stylist and editor-in-chief Rachel Zoe said:

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

This resonated strongly with me as it captures perfectly the essence of the importance of your personal image.

People sum you up in seconds and sometimes they already have an opinion about you before you have even uttered a word. It doesn’t sound very fair, does it, but it’s important to remember that you have full control of your image.

I am not saying that you have to look like someone else, actually on the contrary, looking like yourself is always the best idea. Just look like the best possible version of yourself -and you’d be surprised how little it actually takes.

 

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Consider the following elements of your appearance

  1. Clothes. Clean, neat and pressed should be your key words here. Add items with more flair only when your basics are sorted. Learn to make small repairs yourself or get to know a good tailor in your area. Many high-street pieces will look better on you with small alterations.
  2. Hair. Get a haircut that flatters your features. A good hair stylist can take years off your look and make you look more contemporary in a flash. Balding can be done gracefully and it can actually increase your image of leadership.
  3. Makeup (if applicable). Use makeup to enhance your look but don’t go overboard. Get professional advice at beauty counters or follow vlogs and blogs online. What works for your favorite celebrity may not work for you. Save wild brush strokes for a night out.
  4. Perfume/Cologne (if applicable). Your scent should not arrive before you so use sparingly. Some offices have a no-scent policy that should be respected.
  5. Nails. You don’t need an expensive manicure to have good nails. Keep your nails shaped and clean. Short is always is fashion and a simple buffer and a hand cream can do miracles.
  6. Jewelry & watch (if applicable). These are the statement pieces that say the most about you. If you are going to invest, go for understated, classic and sophisticated pieces.
  7. Shoes. Keep them clean at all times. Keep a shoe sponge handy and polish your shoes regularly. Opt for styles that you feel comfortable in and that match your life style and job description.
  8. Bag (if applicable). This is another status item along your watch and your jewelry. Good quality leather is worth investing in. Polish regularly and keep it’s contents neat.
  9. Accessories (if applicable). You can compliment your look with these seemingly insignificant items that still tell loads about you. Choose classic items or go for conversation starters.
  10. 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.

 

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What’s in it for you?

We would like to think that appearances don’t matter, but they really do. People will expect you to look the part and the higher you climb the higher the expectations. Putting your best foot forward is not about being vain. It’s about investing in self-improvement -and allowing yourself to deserve it! Getting an image revamp can help you in many ways:

  • Huge boost to your confidence
  • Clearer self-image
  • Learn to appreciate your worth
  • Increase your executive presence for better job opportunities
  • Send the right message with your style

 

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Your style is your visual resume

Never underestimate the power of your personal image and start investing in it now. It doesn’t necessarily mean expensive as we well know that money doesn’t always bring you style nor authenticity. Start with the items you already own and plan your purchases carefully.

How to get started?

  1. Create a personal style that reflects your personal brand. Search inspiration from magazines, start an Instagram collection or make your own Pinterest style board.
  2. The real you needs to shine through in all it’s aspects. Imitations last only for so long so better be authentic. It will also help you enjoy your style more and to feel more confident.
  3. Take in consideration your unique body shape and the colours that suit you the best.
  4. Go through every single item in your wardrobe. Do you see certain styles and colours appear one after another?
  5. Ask for a second opinion. Invite a friend who has good style to go shopping with you or come and help you go through your wardrobe.
  6. Buy only items that will complement the items that you already have. The size of your wardrobe doesn’t guarantee it’s functionality.
  7. Utilize free personal shopping services at department stores, malls and shops. Bear in mind though that their job is still to sell you items from their store. With I on Image you can shop all brands from Primark to Prada.
  8. Forget about the trends and concentrate on building a life-long style that tells your story.

 

look the part

Your appearance is the part of you that you can’t possibly hide. Do you look the part? Here at I on Image I help you discover the power of your personal style that flatters your best features. Gain more confidence and want to be the best dressed person in the room.

Image Consultant, Personal Stylist, Personal Shopper in AMSTERDAM

I am looking forward to help you improve your image!

-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.

 

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Photo credits RawPixel.com at Stocksnap.io

 

Importance of good communication skills

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.

 

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How to learn to be a better communicator?

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
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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.

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Photo credits RawPixel.com at Stocksnap.io

 

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.

 

Image Consultant, Personal Stylist, Personal Shopper in AMSTERDAM

 

I am looking forward to help you improve your image!

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail