Simple adjustments to be more successful in 2017

With New Year resolutions and goals that you have made this year which might include being more successful than last year; this can be measured by different metrics defined by you, however, according to Harvey Coleman: Empowering yourself, the organizational game revealed, Career success is based on three key factors;

 - Performance

-  Image

-  Exposure


I’m going to pitch my tent on how paying attention to IMAGE can make you more successful this year. IMAGE includes dressing, talking and carrying yourself to align with where you want to go or your goals for the year.

It has been said that when you dress well, you feel well and you work well. It does something to your overall well-being. Chances are if you don’t look the part of a leader, you’re not likely to be given the role.

While it is true that appearance is a personal matter, it is perceived that looking well ennobles self-confidence. Not only is your confidence effected by your clothes, but people make snap judgments about your abilities based on what you’re wearing.

You have to be the package if you are going to get to where you want to go. You can’t say you are ready for a promotion and come to work wearing loopy belts or shoes that don’t cut it; neither can you be ready for a promotion but you are dressed like you are going to the store, it just shows that you don’t care. Of course if you are the CEO you can set your standard for your industry but if you are want to rise up the ranks, then you have to dress the rank you desire

Groom nicely – you always want to give the impression that you are ready for the next level. Avoid tacky nails, bad breadth body odors etc. Grooming shows that you care about and you respect yourself.

Dress for the position you are aiming for this year. Observe those who currently occupy the positions you aspire and use it as a template, and make it yours. Be authentic but make sure it is suitable for the role you are aspiring to. The ultimate goal is to get your mind, your behavior and all of your being to act like the position you desire and attract it.

Don’t wait until you get that letter from head office before you get started. Start now.

Cheers to a more successful you!

Enjoying Social Occasions at the office with ease: Holiday Party Etiquette

The Holiday season is in full swing and there are invitations for all sorts of holiday occasions. While these events are a great time to relax and have fun with friends and colleagues, they also come with stress of appropriate behavior; knowing well that your character and professionalism are also judged at social events. Here are a few tips to keep your office party experience fun and professional.

1. Arrive on time: Except you have an emergency, it is always important you make an effort to go to your company’s office party and to do so on time. It is always great to be early and this gives you time to connect with your colleagues present and possible your executives who arrive on time.

2. Dress appropriately: The office party is not the place to debut your low-plunging LBD (Little Black Dress). Chances are if it is not appropriate for work, it’s probably not appropriate for the holiday party either. Avoid plunging lines, very tight outfits, shorts, and anything that discredits you as a professional. It’s better to leave a more conservative impression than an impression that may color a coworker's view of you professionally.

3. Engage and Enjoy: it's important to interact with your co-workers at the party. It does not mean you have to be in the center of the dance floor or become the life of the party. You also shouldn’t be sitting in the corner looking at your watch the entire time. How well you engage with colleagues and fit in with the company culture says well about you in the workplace.

4. Watch that bar: It’s easy to let yourself loose with free booze going around in the party. You want to be careful of consuming too much alcohol. You don’t want to get drunk at your office party and to have to hide yourself and feel embarrassed on Monday morning because of bad drunken behavior

5. About a plus one: If you're allowed to bring a guest, definitely do so whether you are bringing a significant other or a close friend. However, do be careful when choosing a guest -- bringing your "party animal" friend may not be a good idea for your office holiday party.

6. Watch your conversation: in a social gathering, it’s easy to get caught up in office gossip. Stay clear of gossip during the party. It is never a good idea to bash anyone whether its your colleagues, your boss or your employers. At a party, it is easy for word to get around. Avoid vulgar discussions, racial jokes and sexual comments.

Enjoy, have fun, and don’t forget to thank the planners of the event.

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Getting the most out of Networking: Networking Etiquette

The word Networking has some people cringing. They think it is futile; some others maximize any opportunity to meet and grow their relationships. Some other people go to networking events and stay with a friend in the corner till the event is over. Some people don’t like the idea of meeting new people. What is the best way to get the best out of a networking event?

1.       Set reasonable goals. When attending an event where you intend to network and meet people, set goals ahead of what you intend to achieve by attending the event. Do you want to check out a new organization? do you want to have a good engagement with at least 3 people?  Are there specific persons or people you want to meet? This helps you keep focus and eliminate most distractions when you are at the event.

2.       You have two ears and one mouth for a reason: A networking event is not a time to go on talking about yourself and what you do nonstop. Make it a point of duty to listen graciously and make meaningful contributions to what the person is saying. Keep people engaged with you and you will get your chance to talk about yourself and what you do. Listening allows you know the other person better and know how you can be of service to them. You will miss out on this information if you go on speaking about you!

3.       Pay attention to your message: Keep in mind that you will be meeting new people who will make decisions about relating with you; 55% of that decision is based on your appearance. Your clothes and appearance have a huge role in conveying a message about you of warmth, trust and competence. Pay attention to dress codes when given and if not given, dress formally. it is easier to err on the formal side than to be informal.  Keep a smile on your face, Give firm handshake and perfect your speech,so when you introduce yourself you can in a few seconds tell what you do to keep them interested to learn more on this click here:

4.     About that Conversation hog! It is not uncommon to meet someone who corners you and keeps on talking with no end in view. They keep you to themselves and when you have intentions to meet other people, it becomes distracting from your goal. The truth is conversation hogs don’t know they are one. So, it’s best to be gracious to them, tell them how nice it was to meet and chat with them but you have intentions of meeting other people in the event.

5.       Business card etiquette: Don’t go around distributing your business card like a brochure, use your business cards wisely. Give out your business card when you have built a rapport and you have the other party interested in furthering the relationship.

6.       Keep in touch: This is the conversion process that determines your success in developing and maintaining successful relationships. Keep in mind that successful relationships does not just happen, but it is nurtured and built over time. Follow up by email, personal note or a brief call letting them know it was a pleasure to meet them and also send anything that might be relevant to their industry any article, information you think might be useful.

Remember that success in networking is relationship based. The ability to develop and maintain business relationships goes a long way in determining your success.

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Floral Arrangement Etiquette to remember this Thanksgiving

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Do you have your table set for thanksgiving but wondering what else it could use to make your table elegant?  A flower arrangement is a perfect way to elevate your dinner. Here are some tips and suggestions to follow:

1. Bouquet size is entirely up to you! Just keep in mind the size of your table and number of guests invited—you don't want to hinder conversation by forcing guests to talk around a large arrangement.

2. Tall arrangements can even obstruct your guests' view of one another! Try keeping it low enough so there can be eye contact.

3. Aromatic flowers are great for the home, but not so great during meal time. Avoid flowers with a strong fragrance like gardenias, hyacinths, and lilac.

4. If you choose lilies or other high pollen flowers, be sure to pluck their stamens to avoid dropping pollen onto food or tablecloths.

5. Think outside of a traditional vase. Items like mason jars and small containers can make for a perfect vessel.

Special Thanks to Julissa Garcia for her contribution to this post.

Happy Thanksgiving! Please feel free to share this post and be merry!



Holiday Etiquette: 3 ways to set your table this season.

The holiday season is a time to be merry with family and friends characterized with lots of food, fun and laughter. Anyone could decide to entertain and host friends and family.  Learning to set your table makes dining fun and enjoyable. This simple info-graphic created by proflowers on three ways to set our dinner table this season is a guide to helping you create the table you would like.

No matter the level of fancy you will like your table to be set, there are some general rules that apply to setting to your table and you won’t go wrong following these guidelines:

1.       Your knives and spoons are always on the same side: your right side;

2.       Your forks are on your left;

3.       Arrange your utensils in the order you will be using them for example, if you will be serving salad first, the salad fork should be on the extreme left of your plate;

4.       Glasses should be arranged in order of their use and placed directly above the utensil on the right;

5.       All knife blades should be facing towards the plate and forks should be placed with their prongs facing upwards .

Differences between informal and formal dining:

  • The informal table settings has minimal tableware while the formal table setting has lots of table ware;
  • The silverware is usually placed at the same time at the informal table setting while in a formal setting they are removed and added as needed;
  • The informal ware can be used for up to 3 course meals while the formal table setting can be used for up to 8 course meals;
  • Rules for informal dining are less than formal dining.

Follow our next post to decorate your table for the season so you can be merry as you want.

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It is that time of the year! 6 etiquette tips for a stress-free holiday season

The Holiday season is around the corner, with festivities and holiday traditions ranging from thanksgiving, office parties, gift exchanges, religious festivities; the holiday offers time for friends and loved ones to connect.  Even though it is a season to be merry, many people get stressed at this time of the year. Here are some tips to avoid stress levels from going up,

  • You are more important: It is easy to lose yourself in this season with the shopping, hosting, 'attending', etc. Make out time for you so you can refresh and determine not to be overwhelmed
  • Say No: With throngs of invitations flowing into your mailbox inviting you for dinners and parties, volunteer activities etc... It is OK to say No when you really can’t make it and don’t feel bad about it. Make this season count and choose what will mean more to you
  • Avoid financial stress: Make a list this season for everyone you want to shop for before leaving for the store. This will help keep you in check with your budget. Put thought into all gifts you intend to purchase not cost.

  •  Plan Plan Plan: If you intend to host this season, do not feel the need to over work yourself, decide in advance your guest lists and send them out in advance. Delegate responsibility of catering if you really can’t because of your work schedule or any other reason. The point of the gathering is to enjoy those you are spending time with. 
  • About that 'tradition': Some people dread the holiday as they have to keep up with the tradition that comes with the holiday. If keeping your traditions causes you stress, then it is ok to change, modify it. Figure out a better way of doing things and don't be so stuck and stressed with trying to keep a tradition. This may be hard for some people but it will keep your stress level down.
  • Travel: If traveling this season, keep in mind that the season comes with unfriendly skies: so in the event that there is a delay or things don’t go your way, you will be calm and won’t be in the number of travelers exhibiting bad etiquette.  

Please follow us, as we will be posting several tips to make this season a merry one. Let’s keep a thankful attitude this season.

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You are the Message: Power dressing for Success

What you wear represents you. Do you want to be taken seriously? Do you want your message to be heard? Pay attention to your dressing! Good dressing influences how you will be heard and perceived.  Dressing up shows that you care about yourself, your job and the company you represent. Well ironed clothes, good grooming will do more good to your career than the absence of it.

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It’s important to dress appropriately for the industry you work for. If you are in a traditional workplace, dressing conservatively will do you well, if in the creative industry, colors will work for you, if you are in less formal industry, business casual is generally appropriate

The traditional Workplace


In traditional workspaces, opt for conservative colors. Your suits must have the right fabric, fit, and comfort. If you buy suits off the rack be sure to alter it to get your best fit.  In warm seasons, you can wear cotton or gabardine suits. For cold seasons, wool is always a good choice. For cool seasons, wool is the best choice. Summer and warmer months, gabardines, linen, and cottons work best.

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Shirts and blouses

Your business attire includes blouses or shirts. Wearing comfortable shirts and blouses gives you comfort underneath your suit or blazer. Cotton shirt, silk blouses are generally favorable with suits.

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Skirts should not be too short or too tight. Business skirts hems are usually at least to the knees.

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Keep your shoes clean, attractive, and shined. Low-heeled pumps or flats are suitable for office wear. Pick shoes that you can comfortably walk or stand on.

Business casual

Business casual does not mean unprofessional. Business casual is professional and casual in a less formal work environment.

Appropriate business casual attire generally includes slacks or khakis, dress shirt or blouse, open-collar or polo shirt, optional tie or seasonal sport coat, a dress or skirt at knee-length,  a tailored blazer, knit shirt or sweater, and loafers or dress shoes.

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Don’ts of Business dressing

  1. Showing your undergarment i.e, no bra straps, underwear lines or bra color,
  2. Wearing too many accessories – they are distracting,
  3. Wearing very strong perfume – they can be offensive,
  4. Wearing ripped clothes or jeans.

When you look good you feel good and it gives you the confidence you need to be successful in the workplace.

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Six ideas to cultivating executive presence.

Some people walk into a room and they are noticed immediately: mostly because of the kind of presence they carry. They have the IT factor, we can identify people who have IT; something about them that carries a presence that attracts positive attention.

In the business world, it is termed executive presence. Its the ability to send messages that you are confident, competent and credible. People who develop these skills become executives, influencers, charismatic leaders. Creating this type of presence does not just happen, it is practiced and learned over time. These ideas can help you cultivate your presence in whatever industry you find yourself and help you boost your personal brand.

1.       Pay attention to your body language and posture: It’s important to note that you cannot have a bad posture and body language and command the authority or influence that you seek. Body language, good posture and deportment are great influencers to having a great executive presence. Carry yourself properly when walking, don’t look down when walking, avoid negative posture styles such as slouching, slumping etc.

2.       Connect effectively: Show empathy, use eye contact to engage and connect with your audience. This communicates trust.

3.       Dress for the way you want to be addressed: Do you want your message to be taken seriously and with authority? Pay attention to your dressing and dress appropriately. Good grooming and smart dressing is important here. Avoid dresses too tight as a lady and sloppy dressing for men should be avoided.

4.       Pay attention to how you speak: How you say what you want to say goes a long way to show how much you know about what you are talking about and how credible you are. It’s important to enunciate your words, speak clearly and concisely; eliminate junk words such as err, uhm from your speech as this reduces your credibility.

5.       Know your stuff: There is a confidence that comes when you know what you are talking about and can engage confidently on that subject. When you add the tips above to this tip you will sound more confident, and send messages that you are an authority and are credible.

6.       Be true to you and improve where you need to: It’s important to let YOU shine through. People can spot a fake any time. Be authentic to who you are and your abilities. Practice consistently. The ability to connect effectively, exude calmness under stress, and communicate properly even when upset sets you apart. Simply by being aware you can start taking note of what you need to improve about you

Have you benefited from exuding executive presence? I'll like to hear from you.

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Seven Steps to Email Excellence

As your first impression is important so is your correspondence over emails. In Business, emails makes up majority of daily communications. Used rightly, it can boost your perceived level of professionalism or it can harm your career. Recent cases of embarrassments to job loss has shown that care needs to be taken when using email as a means of communication in the workplace.


1. Start with a salutation. When sending a mail to a client, always start formally until a relationship is established. Continue to use salutations until the relationship is well established. Your email should be a reflection of the relationship you have with the recipient. However if you have a client that you refer to by first name, do not start using titles such as Mr. or Mrs. in your email.

2. Never write anything in a mail that would embarrass you. Emails are not as private as some people think. Never send or share an inappropriate email. Always keep in mind that emails can be saved, forwarded or shared without your knowledge. A good thing to remember when sending out emails is ‘can I post this on a bulletin board’? ‘is this email something that I would not be proud of if it comes out in the open’?

3. Take care when sending an emotional mail. When you are upset, frustrated or offended, try not to send the mail immediately. As tempting as it may seem; you could send an email you might regret later. Thus, wait and reply later. When you do, with a clear head you can re-read and decide whether the email is worth sending or you can decide how to rephrase your words should you still want to send it.

4. Your email is not your speech template: Long emails are unnecessary and most times aren’t direct. Overly long emails are boring and unprofessional. Try to keep your emails short and straight to the point. If your mail can't be written in a few sentence, pick up the phone and convey that information; instead of an email that loses the attention of your recipient or better still you can request a meeting.

5. Take care when sending attachments. Forgetting to send the attachment we indicated to send happens quite frequently or worse still, sending the wrong attachment. This is very unprofessional and should be avoided by double-checking that you have attached the file you indicated to send and if you did, that it is the right file.

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6. Take care when using the reply all button. Be careful using the ‘reply all’ button. It is annoying receiving emails that have nothing to do with you. If you intend to keep a number of people in the loop, then it is OK to use the 'reply all' button

7. Spell check, proof read always. It might seem that it is obvious to spell check or proof read your email, but it is unfortunate that emails with typos and grammar errors are still being sent. It is unprofessional and the only cure is to proof read your mail before sending every time. Many times these kinds of email are sent when there is a back and forth correspondence without proof-reading. It contributes to making people think of you as sloppy.  

Emails are 100% text, it can be easy to forget about the impression and tone you are leaving behind. Always read through your message before sending.

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The conflict of the 21st century gentleman

In times past, well-bred men were trained to pay attention to how they dressed, groomed, and conducted themselves courteously. These men were as comfortable in formal situations as they were on the battlefield. For these men, being a gentleman did not make them less of a man, but more of one. What we see these days on the contrary, men are hailed for being slobs, cocky, Vulgar in speech and so on. with the changes in our society it has become so unexpected to see a true gentleman. Men are in conflict with how to behave; previously they were told to be a man, men don’t show weakness. Now they are told that it’s alright to be vulnerable, it is alright to show feelings. What then is the true standard of a gentleman? Could they be ruggedly manly and yet gentlemen? Or are these ideas two separate concepts?

Misconceptions of the gentleman

Being gentlemanly is weak. Strange how some people think that gentlemen are wimps!

Being gentlemanly is stuffy or awkward. Being gentlemanly should come off as entirely natural with practice.

Being gentlemanly does not seek attention for themselves. 

Being gentlemanly is being judgmental. You can't go around correcting behavior because you practice good etiquette and conduct.

Courtesy is as much a gentleman as courage
— Theodore Roosevelt

Who is the Gentleman?

The gentleman is the courteous honorable man. Being gentlemanly goes beyond opening the chair for a lady, protecting the lady and all of that. It is about treating yourself and people with respect; making people comfortable in your presence. If politeness is but a mask, as many philosophers would say, it is a mask which will win love and admiration from friends, spouses, colleagues and everyone you come in contact with.

You can be respectful and courteous while being the head of an organization, home, team or whatever institution you find yourself.

A gentleman makes enjoyable company, a welcome party guest, a referable contact or a trusted employee. A gentleman is characterized by self-respect and self-control: qualities that apply to all areas of life.

Being gentlemanly gives you confidence. Knowing what to do and how to behave in every situation makes for a confident man

Being gentlemanly makes a positive impression on others. A gentleman makes enjoyable company everywhere

Being gentlemanly makes you develop better relationships and minimize awkward situations

Being gentlemanly make other people feel comfortable

Being gentlemanly is ultimately about showing respect for others- the golden rule to treat others as you would like to be treated still applies.

Anyone can learn how to be gentlemanly no matter the age. The pursuit of being a gentleman is a lifelong journey, but it is one that is absolutely worth the effort.

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