Category Archives: Networking

Use Your Manners at the Canada Day Barbeque

Canada Day and the USA 4th of July is the perfect occasion to get outside and gather with family, friends and business colleagues at a picnic in the park or a summer barbeque.

However no matter how good the food tastes, bad manners can leave a bad taste in the mouth of your host and those of the other guests. Yes, how you behave can leave a lasting impression. One that may not only be the deciding factor on whether the barbeque becomes an annual event… or not, but also one that may determine your position on the next barbeque guest list.

Last year I wrote a post called ‘What Not to Do at The Company Picnic’.  By using the good manners in this post at every outdoor event, you can ensure you will act your best and be more likely to rise to the top of the guest list for the next picnic, barbecue or summer celebration.

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

 

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

What Not to Do at the Company Picnic

A while back I wrote an article called ‘What Not to Wear to the Company Picnic’. I received lots of great feedback on the article. However it is not just how you look at the company picnic that is important. How you behave at the company picnic counts just as much. Since picnic and barbeque season has finally arrived, here are a few tips:

  • RSVP in a timely fashion and in the specified timeframe – Just because it is a casual gathering it doesn’t mean ‘just show up’.
  • Confirm who is invited – Family and friend aren’t always on the guest list.
  • Don’t barge in – Wait your turn in the food line-up
  • Serving utensils are there for a reason – Use the serving utensils not your fingers
  • No double dipping – veggies and dip; chips and dip; Veggies & dip-dip?? NEVER
  • Leave some for the rest – take one burger not two. Go back for seconds only after everyone has been served.
  • Play the game but play fair – this is no place for competitiveness
  • Clean up after yourself – Don’t leave litter for others to clean up after you.
  • Help the host – Hosting a picnic is a lot of work. Make it more enjoyable for your host by offering to help.

These are just a few tips to make your summer corporate activities more enjoyable for all. Click here for Additional Etiquette Tips on – How to be the Perfect Guest.

Handshakes

As society becomes more and more global, the role of the handshake also becomes more and more confusing. Even though most cultures would agree that a handshake is the most universal greeting in a business setting, each individual culture has it’s local customs and it’s own interpretation of the ultimate handshake. Because of this it is important to take the time learn about the  one thing that is agreed upon internationally,  that the handshake is appropriate in any business setting upon and before leaving.

Dining Traditions vs. Casual Lifestyle

Although dining etiquette and many dining traditions may not seem crucial while eating in front of the TV, our table conduct is still considered important during social, business and formal occasions. Whether we like it or not, how we conduct ourselves at the dining table can and will likely influence others’ perception of us, impacting our business and social relationships. It is considered a sign of respect and can build or break down rapport… So why take chances? For more on dining get your copy of Formal Dining for Informal People.

How to Be the Perfect Dinner Party Guest!

As an image and etiquette consultant, I am often asked to do corporate and group workshops, on the topics of dining etiquette and table manners.

A long time ago etiquette and table manners were established as a way of keeping the peace and domesticating our behaviour.  Over time, these rituals were handed down from generation to generation eventually becoming tradition.

However, as the guest, the most important way to conduct yourself at the dining table is not always the way it is described in the etiquette books. And in most cases, manners and politeness will always override the rules. When in doubt, ‘show respect to your host’ and ‘follow their lead’.  With this in mind, you will be the perfect dinner party guest.

Bright Colours Get Things Done

It’s been proven that colours affect us on a physiological level. Some colours are calming, some colours are dependable and some colours are authoritative. Bright colours bring up the energy level and increase brain activity. Of all the bright colours, red has the greatest impact which makes it a very powerful colour. Bright colours are great for getting and keeping attention.  These colours also work well as accent colours for blouses and scarves. A brightly coloured scarf will draw focus to the face and keep the attention of the listener. Although men’s business wear doesn’t usually include bright coloured garments other than shirts and ties, they can work well as accent colours. Ties are a great example of this. A brightly colour tie will draw focus to the face and keep the attention of the listener. Extremely bright colours, such as florescent colours, do not belong in the work place.

How to Look Like a Team Player with Colour

Medium muted colours and neutrals are more approachable than dark colours yet still appear serious. People will assume you are a dependable team player while still conveying credibility. Warm colours such as earth tones come across as friendly and approachable. These colours work well for networking. Cooler neutrals such as grey and muted blue come across as more serious and trustworthy than warmer colours. These are effective when worn with a monochromatic shirt and tie or a lighter shirt. Combine with a richer coloured tie or one in the same tone. For more on this topic see ‘Upwardly Mobile Clothing for Upwardly Mobile Men’

Your Personal Image Should Emphasize Your Corporate Brand

Many of my corporate clients ask why it matters what they wear to work. Here is one good reason: 

Most companies spend a lot of money developing and maintaining the company image, and as a representative of your company it’s up to you to reinforce this image by presenting yourself in a way that is consistent with the company brand. Let’s face it, when we meet someone for the first time, we instantly form an impression about that person and if their image matches what they’re trying to communicate, we’re more likely to trust them. Once the trust is established, it’s easier to build rapport and strong business relationships with that person and their company.