Category Archives: Men

Meet the In-Laws: How to Enhance Your Success

Happy Easter!

Let’s face it – meeting the in-laws for the first time can be a daunting experience. Whether you are hoping to be welcomed into the family, or your role is to welcome someone into the family, the first gathering can feel like going for a job interview. The knowledge that you will be judged, evaluated, and compared to or potentially competed with by everyone that came before you can leave even the most confident person feeling nervous about that first meeting.Even though I think most would agree that a couple’s happiness should be the most important consideration in a relationship, those of us who have gone through the process of meeting the in-laws or future in-laws would also agree that, as a couple, knowing you have won the family’s acceptance and respect can be essential for the future success of any relationship. Uncertainty of how the in-laws will respond over time, and possibly impact your relationship with your partner or family member can leave anyone feeling insecure.

Having been through this three times – first with parents-in-law; second with a parent of mine entering into a relationship; and most recently with adult children, his and mine; I can say I have seen all sides. I can also honestly say that experience has not made me an expert on winning over family members. However, eliminating additional barriers can increase your odds for success. When meeting your new or future family – prepare ahead of time, be on your best behaviour and dress appropriately.

The success of the gathering weighs heavily on the partner or spouse bringing the families together. If that’s you, take the lead. Help reduce unnerving surprises by providing a heads-up about what to expect. Prepare both sides by disclosing likes, dislikes and personality quirks before the gathering.

• Even though you may be a new family member or want to feel that way, making yourself at home in the home of your host can be perceived as offensive unless invited to do so. Some hosts want their guests to act at home right away and others find guests’ feet on the coffee table, helping ones-self to the fridge, or casually lighting up a cigarette in the house, among other things, enraging. Learn your host’s expectations ahead of time. Then follow their lead.

• If you are one of the in-laws, never bring up the past relationships of your affiliated family member. i.e. “Oh, by the way I saw _____, last week. She said to say, hello. She is such a nice girl.” Fondly bringing up old relationships can bring up new wounds in new relationships. Don’t say or do anything that might hurt or embarrass your new or future family member.

• Don’t leave your child or parent’s date sitting in the living room alone, while you and other family members are in the kitchen. Include your guest by treating everyone equally and with respect. Don’t let your guest feel like an outsider.

• Brush up on your dining skills. Some families dine formally and others are very casual. However, knowing how to navigate the table and what not to do will help you feel more confident and leave a good impression in any situation.

• Find out ahead of time what is considered appropriate dress. Some families dress up for family gatherings and others don’t. Either way leave faded jeans and t-shirts at home. Slacks and a collared shirt, blouse or a lightweight sweater would likely be a better option for casual dress. It will show respect to the host and it will show that you care.

The road to family acknowledgment, acceptance and support can be a long and bumpy one to travel. However, knowing ahead of time what will be appreciated and what will be considered appalling may help ease the tension and make the journey a little smoother.

©Kimberly Law, AICI CIP 2014

 

How to Use a Finger Bowl by Kimberly Law, AICI CIP, Certified Etiquette Expert

Although disposable finger towels are practical and often used in informal environments to cleanse the hands after eating messy food, in a formal environment you may be presented with a finger bowl as part of a dessert service or alone, even if your hands appear clean.

In a traditional European dining environment the custom is for the fingerbowl is used after the dessert is eaten. If it has been presented to you as part of the dessert service, with both hands move the finger bowl and the doily together with both hands and place them in front of you after you have finished your dessert and your dessert plate has been removed. Dip the fingers of one hand into the water, and then dry them before dipping the fingers of the other hand into the water. After you are finished, place your napkin in loose folds to the left of your place setting.

For more on this topic buy eBook ‘Formal Dining for Informal People’

You may also be interested in:

Cutlery Etiquette How to Make a Great Impression

Dining Canadian Style

Dining Traditions vs. Casual Lifestyle

How to Be the Perfect Dinner Party Guest!

6 Top Dining Don’ts

Kimberly sig pic

What is a Dessert Service? By Kimberly Law, AICI CIP, Certified Etiquette Expert

In Canada dessert is generally served and brought in from the kitchen, or served at the table by the host. However at a very formal meal, served traditionally you may be presented with a dessert service.

A dessert service consists of a dessert plate. On the plate, there will be a finger bowl placed on a doily in the centre of the plate, with a dessert fork to the left and a dessert spoon placed to the right of the finger bowl.

The guest sets the fork on the table to the left of the plate and the spoon to the right of the plate. Then picks up the doily and the fingerbowl, and places them on the table at the upper left of the dessert plate.  The server then places the dessert on the plate.

When dessert has been served onto your plate, the spoon is held in the right hand. The fork is held in the left hand. Cut the dessert using the spoon. The dessert is pushed onto the spoon with the fork and eaten with the spoon. This is the traditional way in England and many other European Countries. However, in some European regions, the spoon is used for cutting and pushing the dessert onto the fork. The dessert is then eaten from the fork. Because there are many customs for the use of these dining utensils, it is best to familiarize yourself with regional customs before you arrive.

When in doubt, always follow the lead of your host.

For more on this topic buy the eBook ‘Formal Dining for Informal People

You may also be interested in:

Dining Traditions vs. Casual Lifestyle

How to Be the Perfect Dinner Party Guest!

6 Top Dining Don’ts

Kimberly sig pic

Perfume, Eau de Toilette, Cologne What’s the Difference?

Many of my clients ask me what the difference is between the many forms of fragrance we see in the stores today.

Fragrance terminology can be confusing. The main difference is the amount of essential oils in the product. The more essential oils – the less fragrance you will need to apply; the longer the scent will linger on your skin; and the more expensive the product generally is. The following charts clarify fragrance terminology.

Women

Form Concentration Reapply Quality
Perfume Most concentrated Apply pulse-points 4 – 5 hours 20 – 25% essential oils
Eau de Perfume Concentrated       Apply pulse-points 3 – 4 hours Up to 15% essential oils
Eau de Toilette Medium concentration Apply throat or pulse-points 2 – 3 hours Up to 12% essential oils
Cologne Weaker concentration Apply throat or pulse-points 1 – 2 hours Up to 8% essential oils
Splash or Soft Cologne Weak  concentration Apply throat or pulse-points Often Less than 5% essential oils
Body lotion / cream Weak concentration Apply on body As needed Varies
Shower gel Weak concentration  Use like soap When bathing Varies

Men

Form Use Reapply
Eau de Toilette Most concentrated              Apply throat and pulse-points 3 – 4 hours
Cologne Concentrated                                  Apply throat or pulse-points 2 – 3 hours
Aftershave Acts as astringent and antiseptic after shaving After shaving as needed
Aftershave Balm Protects and sooths sensitive & dry skin after shaving After shaving as needed
Shower gel Weak concentration                       Use like soap When bathing

When applying Perfumes, Eau de Toilettes and Colognes use them sparingly and remember… a little goes a long way.

Find out more about fragrance and other grooming how-to`s in my eBook Personal Care from Feet to Hair.

You may also like…

How to Get the Most from Your Fragrance

Accessory Fad or Accessory Fashion

Match the Scale of You to the Scale of Your Attire

Kimberly sig pic

How to Get the Most from Your Fragrance by Kimberly Law, President, Association of Image Consultants International (AICI)

This past summer I had the opportunity to vacation in Italy. Upon our arrival, one of the first things my friend said to me was, “smell the flowers.” I remember, at that moment breathing in the wonderful scent of Jasmine. Those of you who have been to southern Italy know what I am talking about.

It has been suggested that the sense of smell is the most powerful of all five human senses. It affects every aspect of our lives. Fragrance has been used throughout history as a way to influence the mind and the body. Although the use of fragrance is considered more acceptable in some countries and regions than others, over time it has become an important ingredient in our grooming products and many other consumer products that we use every day.

However, is it too much of a good thing? Wearing perfume, fragranced body lotion, fragranced hair styling products and fragranced deodorant, all at the same time, compete with each other and can be overwhelming to others. In in an effort to combat allergies and the overwhelming effect of too much fragrance, many public places in Canada, US and other countries of the world are becoming ‘Scent Free’.

When you wear fragrance, one way to be considerate of others is to appreciate that a little goes a long way. One way to tell if you have applied too much is by how much you notice it on yourself over time. Because you become immune to its odour, if you can smell it on yourself 30 minutes after application, you’ve applied too much. For more sparing application, try the following:

  • Apply on pulse points only
  • Spray fragrance into the air, then walk through it
  • Use body splashes or lotions that are less concentrated
  • Apply less – more often

Using less fragrance will save you money by making the bottle last longer. Another way to get the most out of your expensive eau de toilette is by exchanging some of your fragranced grooming products for fragrance-free grooming products.

You may also like…

Accessories Add Personality

Permanent Make up to Do or Not to Do

Kimberly sig pic

When Email Isn’t Enough by Kimberly Law, AICI CIP

For centuries, handwritten letters delivered by messengers or post were the only form of written correspondence. Over time typewriters became the norm, but the delivery system remained the same. Now with the explosion of email we are able to correspond at lightning speed. Even though it is fast and easy, there are times when electronics just won’t do.

Thank You

If you are given a gift, are the recipient of a favour, have received excellent service or have been interviewed for a job, send a thank you as soon as possible. Even though email is a fast and easy way to say thank you, a hand written thank you note, letter, or card shows you have taken the time to put it in writing and will come across more sincere.

Sympathy

Sympathy is not the right time for email. If you are close to someone whose family member has died, send a handwritten sympathy letter or card as soon as you hear the news. If you learn about the death of someone who is connected to you in some way, the card or letter is sent to the person you know the best.

Apology

When you have hurt someone’s feelings, pick up the phone or apologise face-to-face. For an extra nice gesture follow up with a handwritten note.

Email definitely has its place. It is fast; it is easy; but in some situations a call or handwritten note is more effective. Before going to your computer, take the time to consider the purpose and consider the person you are corresponding to.

You may also like…

Email Signatures Add Credibility

Texting and Blackberry Etiquette

Use Invitation Etiquette to Stage Your Next Gathering for Success

Kimberly sig pic

Email Signatures Add Credibility, by Kimberly Law, AICI CIP

As a business owner, everyday I receive unsolicited emails from companies promoting their products and services. Each of these business solicitors tell me their product can make my business more successful. They provide information about how they have researched my image & etiquette consulting business ‘Personal Impact Image Management International’. And why they feel I need their help.

Although I personally don’t like to receive unsolicited email, occasionally something will arrive in my outlook inbox that looks interesting and could potentially be of value to my business.

I read through the email with great interest and then arrive at the signature line. All too often they look like this:

emailThis email signature lacks credibility. Other then the person’s name, it does not tell me anything about the person or the company they work for.

  • It does not provide a company name,
  • It does not provide the company location,
  • It does not provide a contact telephone number,
  • This person is marketing website SEO –  however there is no indication they even have a website; and
  • The email address in the email signature is a gmail account which would lead the consumer to believe this is a personal email address rather than a business email address.

The signature below provides credibility to the company. There are no secrets.

email2A good email signature should include the following information:

  • Your name,
  • Your position (if applicable),
  • Company’s name,
  • Contact telephone number,
  • Company address (if applicable),
  • Company website; and
  • Contact email address.

Providing full information provides the potential client the opportunity to research your company before contacting you. This also provides reassurance to your potential client that you, your company and the product or service you are offering are credible.

Your personal image consultant,

Kimberly sig pic

Gift Giving at Work by Kimberly Law, Certified Image Consultant

During the Christmas season although it may be customary to give gifts to friends and family it can be a little confusing at work. Especially when you don’t know the etiquette for gift giving and there is no written company policy.

Here are three tips to make office gift giving less awkward:images

  1. If you are new to the job, check the company policy for gift giving. Some company’s allow it and others don’t.  If office policy permits or promotes gift giving to co-workers or you are expected to play the role of secret Santa at your holiday party, stick to the limits and guidelines that have been suggested.
  2. If you have developed a friendship with a co-worker and want to give a gift that is beyond the expected, it should be given outside the work environment.
  3. Gifts for the boss are not generally expected and may be considered brown-nosing when undertaken alone. If you wish to buy your boss a gift, ask staff members to chip in for a group gift instead.

Happy Holidays!

Kimberly sig pic

All the Best for your Winter Celebration Kimberly Law, AICI CIP

With Diwali now past and American Thanksgiving coming up this week, November is kick off month for many cultural and religious winter celebrations. Depending on your imagesupbringing or culture, you may enjoy the festivities of Diwali, American Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or another of the many celebrations during this November or December.

As we become more and more global it is important that we open our eyes and our hearts to the traditions of other cultures. We need to remember that even though all cultures are not all the same, we all deserve the same level of respect, acknowledgement and appreciation.

As you gather together with family and friends this Festive Season, I wish you and yours all the best for your celebration.

Happy Celebrating!!

Kimberly sig pic

Airplane Boarding Etiquette

Over the past few years I have travelled by airplane for both business and pleasure and must say I have seen some of the best and worst behavior amongst the passengers. Before boarding or off-boarding your next flight use the following tips to show your consideration.

  • Boarding and off-boarding the airplane is no different than lining up for anything else. Wait your turn.
  • If you don’t have priority boarding, respect those who do. Wait for your seat row to be called for boarding and don’t push in front of others.
  • The same thing goes when leaving the airplane, Leave the plane in order of seating front to back. Allow those in front of you to exit first. Don’t shove and push your way to the front.
  • If you know it will take you longer to off-board due to carry-on luggage, small children or health issues. Wait in your seat to let others who are in a hurry leave the airplane first.

By waiting your turn and considering others, getting on and off the airplane will be more efficient and less frustrating for everyone. For more on travel etiquette see – How to Make Airplane Odors More Bearable