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Inappropriate workplace dress: should you just be more open?

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I was sitting at lunch yesterday when my dining partner said something I’ve heard several times: “I feel like young employees have no idea what is appropriate and what isn’t in terms of workplace dress.”

Usually, when this comes up, friends and acquaintances will then go on to recount their own personal experiences of fashion faux pas, ranging from barefoot interns to visible tramp stamps on new hires. And lastly, this is the part I found most interesting, they always follow it up with self-blame.

“Maybe I’m not being open enough, but I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

Maybe I’m just old fashioned and these things are acceptable now.”

It wasn’t just my polished and very professional lunch buddy the other day who has relayed these thoughts to me. I hear it all the time, usually from middle-aged or older women who hold very good positions within their companies. So what’s going on here?

Appropriate work dress in the 1940’s. If not much has changed in the last 75 years, then I guarantee things like tattoos, piercings, and athletic wear are not making an office debut anytime soon.

For one, it has nothing to do with you not being ‘open enough’ so stop blaming yourself.

Period.

Appropriate workplace attire hasn’t changed that much in the past several decades and it’s probably not going to change that much in the near future. Sure, trends and silhouettes change, but shoulder pads are not the same as neck tattoos. If you work in a corporate setting, the biggest sartorial change in the last 50 years is that it is more acceptable to not wear panty hose.

That’s pretty much it.

Even though miniskirts were big in the 60’s or tube tops ruled the 90’s, you still didn’t see these trends infiltrating the corporate workplace.

Likewise, tattoos, sneakers, and multiple piercings may be acceptable in society, but that doesn’t mean they belong in a board room. We need to learn to segregate and compartmentalize what is acceptable in the workplace and what is acceptable in public in general.

Should you scowl and shake your finger at every neck tattoo you see? No, that would be rude.

Should you say something if you see that same neck tattoo in your corporate office? Yes, because the reputation of the company, and not just the individual, is now on the line.

Which leads us to the next point- how to deal with inappropriate dress at work.

First of all, your workplace should have an up to date dress code. No matter how small your business is, having a policy in place when it comes to dress will help make confrontations smoother and more objective. Without a dress code, you will look like you are picking on people and critiquing them for their personal style.

With a policy, you simply need to state what the company has defined as appropriate and ask the employee to stay within those bounds. Another key part, is to make sure your dress code is up to date. It may have been utterly unfathomable that anyone would come to work in a halter top fifty years ago when your dress code was first written. If you don’t make changes to update your policy, then you run the risk of having interns who think it’s okay to trod around the office barefoot. There are plenty of sample dress codes you can find online and make you own. If you’re business is bigger, you can always call upon an Image Consulting professional to help you draft an effective dress code for your company.

Side note: If you’re reading this wondering how you can dress better for work…this is my best advice: start with basics that are work friendly. When your basics are appropriate for work, everything else will fall into place. Not sure what basics I’m talking about? See my top 20 basics every woman needs here. 

When you see inappropriate dress in the workplace, do something! If the person in question is not your direct report, contact their supervisor or human resources about your concerns. As I mentioned before, each employee not only represents themselves, but the company as a whole.

In the most basic sense, when you are hired on with a company, they are paying you to carry out their values and beliefs.

If you get hired as a barista at Starbucks, you are being paid to carry out their values of great coffee to the masses. If you are hired as the CEO of Google, you are being paid to advance the mission of Google at the top most level. It’s easy to forget that we are here for the employer rather than the employer being here for us. If our appearance doesn’t line up with the values we’re supposed to be representing, then something needs to change. If you don’t stand up against improper image in the workplace, the reputation of your organization might be at stake.



If reading this makes you upset, don’t get all huffy and start ranting about stifling creativity and identity. Instead, find a company whose culture matches your values. If you feel taking your nose ring out compromises who you are, then don’t apply for a job at a large business consulting firm. Find a more boutique consulting firm that values individuality. You’ll be a better employee, a better representative of the company, and won’t get any judgmental looks from co-workers.

If you are a business struggling with inappropriately dressed employees, a new employee trying to make a good impression, or a company that needs a new dress code, I can help! Whether you’re the employer or employee, I’d love to hear the problems you or your company is facing and help you work towards a solution. Just send an email to: empowerme@leslie-friedman.com to start the conversation.

To your success,

Leslie

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How to dress in your 50’s

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How to dress in your 50's

Careers have stabilized, nests are emptied, and the body is doing whatever it feels like (goodbye, eyesight). Welcome to your 50’s.

 

If you didn’t take time to yourself in your 40’s, then you might find yourself in a style rut, looking frumpy and out of date. Not to worry- it’s never too late to show yourself some love. Start with choosing wardrobe basics that look great on your body type. Set time aside to improve your health and your appearance (this could include anything from walking with friends to doing hair masks). You’ve spent most of your adult life taking care of someone or something else- now it’s time for you.

 

If you were nice to yourself in your 40’s (good for you!) then you are well set up to confront the many changes your lifestyle and body has in store for you during this decade.

 

Here are my top 3 tips for dressing in your 50’s:

 

  1. Decide how you’re going to age

There’s no denying it, a lot of changes in your appearance will start happening in your 50’s. Whether it’s graying hair, a widening middle (thanks, Menopause!), or extra lines on your face, you are really starting to look different than previous years. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though! It really all comes down to attitude. Do you want to fall down the proverbial hill or enjoy the view?

 

You’ve heard the phrase ‘aging gracefully’, right? Well, it’s totally up to you as to HOW you age. Are you going to age gracefully (whatever that means for you)? Are you going to fight the aging process? Are you going to let time do its thing why you sit back and watch things unfold? The good news is: there is no wrong answer. Whether you let your hair go gray or load up on botox, the choice is yours.

 

Crossing the threshold of 50 is a great reason to take a step back and review your life. Are you happy with the person you’ve been for the last 50 years? What kind of person do you want to be for the next 50? This last question will dictate, not only how you decide to age, but also what you wear going forth. Maybe it means taking some risks, maybe it means prioritizing comfort, or maybe it means staying true to what you’ve done all along.

 

Your appearance isn’t just fun and games (although it should be fun! see tip #2), it’s a form of communication. The 50’s are a great time to think about what you’re communicating through your appearance and what you plan on communicating as you get older.

 

what to wear after 50

 

  1. Have some fun

No matter what kind of person you want to be for the next 50 years, there is one thing that I encourage everyone to embrace on some level: FUN.

 

At this point, you’re comfortable in your skin, you know what you like, and you know where you want to go. If there’s any time to try something new, it’s now. Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, but didn’t have the confidence (like wearing white booties)? Or maybe, you’re just bored of the clothes you already have and want to spice it up a little, while still staying true to you. Even if you’re totally happy with your current wardrobe, try doing something or wearing something you normally wouldn’t. Switching up your fashion or your appearance has the same effect as going to a different restaurant for your weekly date night dinner with your spouse. It makes things feel fresh, new, and exciting all of a sudden.

 

With that said, remember that is doesn’t have to be anything huge. Try a different shade of eyeshadow or lipstick. Pick up a pair of shoes from Target that you normally wouldn’t wear. Style your hair differently. Put a scarf around your handbag instead of your neck. Go to Charming Charlie and get some funky jewelry just for the heck of it (even if you only wear it out on girls’ night).

 

Your life is really just starting to get fun, don’t let your wardrobe fall behind.

 

  1. Keep learning

One of the many things I love about fashion is how it translates differently from person to person and even the same person throughout different periods of their life. Have you ever looked back at pictures of younger you and thought, “what was I wearing? I thought I was so cool.” I know I have. But that’s part of the beauty of fashion. When I was in college wearing a homemade dress from upholstery material (true story) I was engaging with fashion in an entirely different way than I do now when I buy a polka dot suit from Banana Republic and wear it to meetings (also true).

 

Experience teaches us how to engage with fashion, but so do conventional learning methods. For example, you may have learned throughout the years what kind of jeans look best on you, but you may also read a blog post on dressing your body shape and realize what tops look best you. As your body and lifestyle change and you age, new unlimited learning opportunities open up. You don’t get dressed as a young adult and then decide that’s how you’re going to look forever, do you? No! Your appearance changes throughout your life and it reflects where you are and what you find important. As you go through tip #1 and decide who you want to be post-50, take time to expand your horizons and learn something new.

 

Here’s a nifty list of resources I recommend based on what you might want to learn!:

 

Fashion resources for women over 50

 

I want to…

  1. Overhaul my whole wardrobe and re-organize my closet
  2. Update my hairstyle
  3. Know how my appearance affects how others view me
  4. Get inspiration for age-appropriate outfits
  5. Find a new way to tie a scarf
  6. Know what trends are in for this Fall
  7. Know more about reading glasses (and where to find fun ones!)
  8. Learn how to look sexy without looking sleazy
  9. Know what looks good on my body shape
  10. Find workout clothes that work for my age

 

Ps. You can stay on the top as the hill as long as you want. Enjoy it! Smile

 

Cheers!

Leslie

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How to be an effective communicator

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how to be an effective communicator

Communicating with someone else doesn’t seem like a hard concept…until something goes wrong and a ‘misunderstanding’ happens.

 

“Did you get more milk?”

“Uh, no. Was I supposed to? I thought you were picking it up”

“No, I asked you to get it!”

 

Sound familiar?

 

I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves in a situation like the one above at least once, if not more.

 

When a misunderstanding happens, it’s easy to point the finger and blame the other person for not listening. However, we need to understand that WE could be partially to blame for the mix up. If we’re not communicating effectively, then it’s easy for things to go south quickly.

 

Intuitively, we know we need to be strong communicators to get what we want. Ironically though, we don’t usually do what we need to do to strengthen those skills.

 

This article is designed to help you start thinking about your own communication level and what you can do to be more effective.

 

If you have no idea where you’re starting from, then it’s going to be hard to know where you need to improve. That’s why we’re going to start laying the groundwork for discovering who you are and what your message is.

 

Sound good? Great! Let’s get started.

We’ll start really simple and then build our way up to the complex stuff.

 

COMMUNICATION- SIMPLY SPEAKING

For starters, communicating is simply interacting with others.

 

However, just because you are physically communicating with someone/something else doesn’t mean you’re doing a good job at it. I communicate with my dog on a daily basis, but when she fails to sit when I say ‘sit’, I’m obviously not doing it well. I also communicate with my husband on a daily basis, and when I’m too tired to really pay attention to what he’s saying, I’m also not doing it well.

 

Just because you’re speaking the same language and physically ‘hearing’ one another, doesn’t mean you’re communicating well. You’re just communicating.

 

In order for communication to happen (good or bad), there needs to be at least two parties. Although technically, I guess talking to yourself or self-reflection time could be considered communication- but we’re not going to go there today. For the sake of staying focused, we’re going to say communication happens when at least two parties are present.

 

The two parties are (obviously): YOU and THEM.

 

‘You’ are, well, you, and ‘them’ is whomever you’re trying to communicate with. Since you have the most power over yourself, we’ll start with you.

how to get what you want by communicating effectively

YOU

The great news is that you have pretty much full control over yourself. What you say. What messages you send. How you act. Most of us realize this, yet we never do anything to harness that power.

 

A lot of what I’m about to say may sound really obvious. That’s because it is. However, before you write me off, ask yourself if you are doing these simple things every time you communicate. The kicker here is that they are SIMPLE, but not always EASY. Keep that in mind.

 

Point 1)

In order to be an effective communicator, you need to know who you are and what you want. Simple, right?…but definitely not easy. Here’s why each matters:

  1. Know who you are. The reason you are communicating, depends on your needs. Are you talking to a group of people because you need social interaction or a job completed? There’s a big difference. The more self aware you are, the better you will be able to get what you want (because you’ll know what you need and how you are conveying yourself).
  2. Know what you want. The end goal of communication is to get something out of it. Right? You talk to the cashier because you want to buy something. You leave a note for a co-worker because you want them to know something. You talk to your spouse because you want a higher level of intimacy. If we didn’t need anything from anyone else, we probably wouldn’t see a need to communicate.

 

So, who are you and what do you want? Imagine you just walked into a tv show and have no idea who the characters are or what’s happening. You ask your friend to explain and they say, “Jerry is trying to break up with Shannon because she cheated on him”. Just from that, we know that Jerry is a guy in a relationship who wants to break up with his girlfriend. Now, imagine instead of a tv show, it’s your life. If you write a note or speak to someone, how could that be summarized? Here are some examples:

  • (Networking event) Leslie is a professional Image Consultant who wants to seek out new clients.
  • (Writing an Email) Leslie is the leader of a giveaway collaboration among several blogs and is writing to make sure all the bloggers understand the rules of the sweepstakes.
  • (Standing in line at CVS) Leslie is an entrepreneur who wants to be seen as friendly in the community, so she smiles and makes small talk with people in line.

Every time you communicate, you are saying something about yourself and what you want. If you have no idea who you are (or how you wish to be perceived) and/or what you want, then it’s very likely that you’ll fail communicating.

 

TL;DR version: Make sure you know how you want to be perceived and what you want out of every exchange you make.

motivational quote about communication
Point 2)

There are two main ways that we communicate: tangible and intangible.

  1. Tangible. This is our physical presence and our non-verbal communication. If I want to seem friendly to the people in the checkout line at CVS, I don’t really have to talk to them. I could smile and nod, show open body language, and/or show respect by waiting patiently and not constantly checking my phone or watch. All of these things would make me appear more friendly, without me having to say or write a single thing. Likewise, if I wanted to seek out new clients at a networking event, I could dress appropriately for the event while still looking stylish. People with judge your appearance before your words or actions, so it’s important to set the stage correctly with your non-verbal language!
  2. Intangible. This is what we most often think of when it comes to communication. Here are few sub-categories of intangible communication:
    1. Verbal- What are you saying? Does is clearly indicate what you want (or help you to get what you want)?
    2. Written- What’s the point of the email you just sent out? Does the note you wrote for your spouse/co-worker/child accomplish your end goal (getting what you want)?

We’ve all received that email or talked to that person and then thought, “what are they trying to say?” or “what do they want?” When time is precious, there’s nothing more annoying than reading a super long email to only reach the end and not be sure what they author was trying to say. Additionally, it’s important for your intangible forms of communication to be aligned with your tangible forms (this will happen naturally if you know who you are what you want). If you wear really promiscuous clothing to a networking event, yet want to gain to new clients for your law practice- you’re going to fail at communicating. Likewise, if you act really sweet to your son and then leave a harsh note about his grades, your bad communication will confuse him.

 

**A brief note about why consistency in tangible and intangible forms of communication is important: because it builds trust. Consistency builds trust while inconsistency breaks trust. If you want someone to trust you, you need to be consistent.**

 

TL;DR version: Understand how you communicate both in tangible and intangible forms and make sure the two are consistent!

 

Like I said before, this is really great because you have so much power!! You can wake up in the morning and decide who you are and how you want others to see you. You can decide exactly what you want from someone else and then change your approach to raise your chances of achieving your goal!

 

THEM

Here’s the side you can’t control…as much.

 

Why do I say as much? Because you do have some control over how the recipient of your communication reacts. It’s just not complete control (for the record- that would be weird and if you do have complete control you’re probably in a cult).

 

The way you present yourself and your message has a direct effect on whomever is on the receiving side.

 

Example: I have a great new idea for a company. I want to pitch this idea to someone I know has the capital to back it at the next networking meeting. Here are several ways I could do that:

 

  1. Put on a power suit,  come into the meeting confidently, and chat with the person of interest, and then pitch my idea (or make another personal meeting to pitch my idea) or
  2. Wear jeans and a t-shirt, come into the meeting, and avoid the person of interest until I have enough courage to go pitch my “maybe it’s a good idea, I don’t know, but what do you think” idea.

 

Here are the likely effects of each:

  1. The person may or may not fund your idea, BUT they will most likely respect you and would be open to doing business in the future.
  2. The person may or may not fund your idea, BUT they will most likely not take you seriously and not have much respect for you or your idea.

 

These were extreme examples, but it illustrates that we really do have more power than we think over other people. While ultimately, the end choice is theirs, we can influence their decision of us.

Effective communication infographic

IN THE END

Influential people (whether that’s a celebrity or the mover and shaker of your local town) all have something in common: they are great communicators. They know exactly who they are, what they want, and how they can use different channels of communication to get a desired outcome. You can think of it as a trifecta of effective communication, and (the best part) it works pretty much every where. Here is a range of examples. See if you can guess the person each is describing.

 

Who they are: What they want: Methods:
Celebrity entertainer Empower women to ‘slay’ Singing and songwriting
Technology entrepreneur Elite technology for the masses Creating solar cars and exploring space travel for everyday people
Mom-blogger of 3 kids To raise well-behaved children that positively influence the world Lots of daily love, encouragement, and family volunteering

 

If you guessed: Beyonce, Elon Musk, and….(if you weren’t sure about the last one, that’s okay because I made it up)- then you’d be correct. I wasn’t thinking about anyone in particular, but it could be almost any mom. The point is that you don’t have to do something on a huge grand scale to be an effective communicator. A mom who nurtures her kids to be good people is just as effective as a communicator as Beyonce is- as long as they are fulfilling their goals and getting what they want.

 

Remember the milk misunderstanding from the beginning of the article? It didn’t have anything to do with providing technology for the masses or empowering a certain sex. It was literally a matter of keeping the household running smoothly.

 

Everyone is different and leads different lives. Because of that, we will all be different people who want different things and employ different methods to achieve them.

 

So, here’s my question to you: Who are you, what do you want, and what methods are you using to reach your goals? Please share in the comments below!

 

Cheers!

Leslie

 

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Networking 101: How to be the most memorable person in a room

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There’s always that one person at a party, networking event, or social function that hits it off with everyone and makes a stellar first impression. It’s the same person that you talk about on the way home (“Did you meet Derek? What a cool guy.”) and, often times, the person you remember weeks later. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to become that person; with only a few easy tips and tricks, you too can start becoming the most memorable person in a room.

networking-101

Tip #1: Memorable doesn’t mean being in the limelight

Introverts breathe a sigh of relief. Being a ‘success’ at a social event doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be the center of attention. In fact, some of the most memorable people (in a good way) are far from being in the limelight. You’ll see why this is, in the following tips.

 

Tip #2: Have a clear idea about how you want to be perceived and what you want from the event

If twenty people all leave a networking session and say something about you to someone who wasn’t at the party, what would you want them to say? “She was so kind”, “She was really passionate”, “She is very dedicated to her work”…. Decide how you want to be perceived BEFOREHAND, and then make sure your actions and speech follow up your brand. You also need to set goals for what you want out of each event. I know it sounds stupid, but trust me, it works. Maybe it’s a social party with friends and your goal is to have a good time and make new friends. Maybe it’s a business networking event and your goal is to target three potential customers for your business. Whatever it is, making goals will ensure that your night isn’t a total waste of time (because when you make a goal, you often follow through to achieve it!)

 

Tip #3: Focus on others

It sounds counter-intuitive, but spending more time focusing on the other people at the event will make you more memorable. Check out the following tricks to make sure you are focusing your time and energy on others:

Trick #1: Have a loose knowledge of a wide breadth of subjects. This will allow you to talk to almost anyone about their favorite subjects (ps. You don’t have to be know-it-all about every topic. You just need to know enough to hold a conversation and make them feel like they are interesting and intelligent.)

Trick #2: Be a people connector. Standing in the corner talking to one person the whole night might make you memorable to that one person, but not to everyone else. Think of any networking or social event as a game of memory. Instead of flipping over cards to reveal matches, you want to identify people that have similar interests. This accomplishes two things: 1) it allows you to work the room without getting stuck with just one person all night, and 2) it makes you seem more caring when you seem to know small details about someone that others might have forgotten. (example: when you introduce Sally to Steve because they both have a weird love of Jenga.)

Trick #3: Remember names. It’s not always easy, but it works. Remember people’s names and use them as often as possible without sounding weird.

 

Tip #4: Master the follow-up

It doesn’t matter if you’re networking at a business event or working the room at a party, follow-up is key. I personally love sending a handwritten letter to the host thanking them for a wonderful time. An email, text message, or LinkedIn invite are also good ways to connect after the event. A successful follow-up (once again) focuses on the other person and makes them feel special. It also may include an ask. Here’s a great example of a brief, but effective follow-up:

Hi Sam, I really enjoyed meeting you last night at the xyz networking event. It was so fascinating to hear about your experience in business and how you started ABC consulting company. If you don’t mind, I’d love to get together for coffee sometime and hear more about the marketing strategies you’ve used when getting ABC off the ground. Best Regards, Taylor

The key is to sound interested, without sounding like a total suck up. If you’ve done your job well, then they will have enjoyed their time with you during the event and will gladly make room in their schedule for you in the future.

 

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: Everyone is selling something, especially at a networking event. Successful salespeople know to make relationships first, and then offer their product. The networking event and even some follow-up events (like the coffee mentioned above) should be primarily for relationship building and not for selling. Selling your product will come naturally when the other person trusts you enough to tell you their personal or their business problems (which you would provide a solution for). Ps. Generally (though not always) the bigger the price tag of the item you’re selling, the more time and energy you will need to put into the relationship.

 

Networking events, mixers, and parties all take up your precious time, so you might as well get something out of it! Making yourself memorable is not only easy (bonus: it gets easier the more you do it), but it makes your goals more achievable in the long run. When you’re memorable, people will start reaching out to you, rather than you spending tons of time and energy reaching out to them. Now, get out there and start standing out!

 

 
If you like what you just read, you’ll probably enjoy my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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Amazing ways to spot a liar by only observing these three body parts

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Image result for liar

 

Being lied to is bad. Not knowing you’re being lied to (and believing the fib) is even worse. Luckily, there are a couple easy ways to know someone is lying by simply reading the person’s body language. The trick is to focus on three parts of the body: eyes, hands, and feet.

 

Eyes

A professional liar, such as a pro poker player or con man, usually has a lot of control over their facial expressions, including their eyes. Pro liars won’t glance nervously around the room or only make eye contact in short spurts. Instead, these people usually overcompensate, resulting in prolonged eye contact with very few breaks. Fortunately, most of us don’t deal with professional liars on a day to day basis. We deal with people who are trying to flatter us, get us to buy products, and do favors for them. The eyes of these amateur liars often deny their innocent sounding sweet talk. If they are fabricating a story rather than giving a truthful account, they will most likely break eye contact by looking up and to the right. They will also avoid direct eye contact and will fleetingly scan the room during the conversation. Instead of listening to you, their eyes will be moving around while they think of their next excuse.

 

Hands

Despite our best intentions, hands often move on their own accord when it comes to small involuntary motions. Picking at nails, cuticles, or fidgeting the fingers in general shows nervousness and anxiety- a sign the person is about to or is in the process of lying. A liar will also use their hands to touch their nose, tug on their earlobes, pull their collar, or scratch their neck. These are all subconscious movements made while people are in the process of telling lies. A liar may also rub his eyes or the area under his eyes. Usually the longer the rub, the longer the lie.

 

Feet

Look at the direction the feet are pointing. If the liar has a chance to position themselves, they will most likely point their feet in the direction of the door– indicating their desire to leave the situation. Liars will also tend to fidget with their feet. A foot may be ticking back and forth during a fabricated story or rubbing against the other foot. If the person is standing, they may nervously shift their weight from one foot to another.

 

While a seasoned liar can control one or two of these body parts, it’s often quite difficult to control all three while spouting out a convincing dialogue. Different people tend to display their own personal combination of the above lying indicators. If you are worried someone like a coworker or family member is lying to you, then I recommend you learn what combination of signals that person uses subconsciously, by doing the following:

 

During a relaxed conversation ask the person to relay a set of facts or recount a true event that happened recently. This could be as mundane as asking them directions from point A to point B. Or you could say you were having a debate about the wall color and ask them to describe what color they think it is. Essentially, pick something that a person wouldn’t need to lie about. As they give you directions or describe the ecru walls, watch their body language and specifically their eyes, hands, and feet. Now ask them a more ridiculous question where they would have to make something up. Show them an ugly shirt and ask them what they think. Describe a bad decision and ask them what their opinion is. If you are a higher status than them, they will most likely always lie. If you are the same status or lower, ask a question like, “What would you say to [insert badly dressed superior’s name] if he/she asked you what you thought of their outfit?” Watch their body language again as they answer. Notice how it chances and what patterns emerge. Do their feet stay still but their hands always rub their eyes while they glance around the room? Once you identify the subconscious movements that person makes while lying, all you will have to do in the future is watch their hands and eyes for the tell tale signs. 

Note: It is particularly helpful to know a person’s body language when they aren’t lying because some people may be naturally more high strung and thus display fidgety mannerisms or have low self-confidence and make poor eye contact. Understanding what is normal for a person will help you better detect when that person is displaying abnormal lying body language.

 

If you like what you just read, you’ll probably enjoy my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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Summer Scarf Trends You Need to Try Now!

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Don’t let winter have all the fun. Scarves are just as useful and beautiful in the summer as they are in the winter months. Don’t believe me? These new summer scarf trends may change your mind!

  1. Long and Skinny. Thin, simple scarves are anything but understated! Not only do they have a lengthening effect on the body, but they seem to add that right amount of interest without using jewelry. Stick to solid colors or matching prints to make a big impression.

How it’s being worn –>

(Rebecca Minkoff, Helena Bordon, NYFW attendees)

Shop the look –> 

(click on picture for more details about each scarf)

 

2.  Neck Scarves. I love a good neck scarf…especially when I’m feeling too lazy to put on a necklace (which, I know, is quite the low point). Any square scarf can be used as a neck scarf. Simply fold the square in half to form a triangle and then tie the two furthest points of the triangle together behind your neck. If you have a really big square, you can cross over those two triangle points in the back (with the big point in front) and then bring them around to tie in front.

How it’s being worn –>

At Fashion Week

(Wes Gordon, Instagrammer @lookdepernille, NYFW blogger)

Shop the look –>

(click on picture for more details about each scarf)

 

3. Large and Loose. You don’t have go small and dainty. In fact, the bigger built you are, the bigger your accessories need to be. The key to wearing larger scarves in the summer months is to focus on lightweight fabrics that are light colored. Look for scarves made from silk, chiffon, and gauze cottons. I bring a huge scarf with me on every beach vacation and use it as a scarf, wrap, beach cover-up, and barrier against unreasonable airplane temperatures.

How it’s being worn –>

(left: Can you find the scarves? Each girl is wearing one! right: street style photo)

Shop the look –>

 

(click on picture for more details about each scarf)

Scarves are one of the easiest ways to brighten up an outfit without having to totally commit to a crazy color or trend. Take advantage of it and let scarves take you right in to summer!

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How to Choose the Best Outfit for Your Business Headshot

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So, maybe the last blog post hit you a little deep and you decided it’s time for a real, professional headshot. Doing some research and finding the right photographer is the easy part. It starts getting hard, and quite frankly- overwhelming, when we start thinking about everything else required like picking out an outfit, doing your hair, choosing makeup, etc.

I’m going to use the full body photo I just had taken last week (maybe you saw my live video, if not, watch it here and like my Facebook page so you don’t miss out on the next one!) to walk you through, step by step, how to choose an appropriate outfit for your business picture/headshot.

PictureBusinessPic

(Huge kuddos to Stephen at Giraffe Photography for the above picture)

As you can see in the above picture, I broke the decision process into four steps:

  1. Garment Type. The best place to start anything is at the beginning, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here. You need to start by deciding what type of garment you’d like to wear. Whatever you choose needs to be appropriate for your position and be able to resonate with your future clients. For example, a lawyer wearing a polished suit would be both appropriate and be seen in a positive manner from potential clients. On the other hand, if a laid back bar owner wore a suit, it may look out of place or trying to hard (as compared to a more casual look). I chose a dress because I cater to women and I want to be seen as feminine, professional, and fashionable. I also chose a dress because I knew that I wanted a full body picture that would show off an entire garment.

2.  Color. Once I decided to wear a dress, and before I even started thinking about what dress I wanted to wear, I picked a color. Color is the easiest way to instantly send a message to your viewer and it’s also the easiest way to make you look younger and more vibrant or old and worn out. This goes without saying, but choose a color that looks good on you. Red looks good on me and it is also a strong, memorable color.

3.  Fit. Now that I’ve decided on my garment type (dress) and color (red), I need to figure out what kind of dress I want. Once again, I wanted something feminine and sexy, but still business appropriate. I genetically have thin legs (thanks, mom!), so I always try to accentuate my waist, hips, and legs. I chose something that was most blousey on top to even out the fitted nature of the bottom of the dress (this keeps me from looking like a skank) and give me a more hourglass shape. Like most women, I am a pear shape with a bigger bottom half than top half (read: I have no boobs whatsoever). Just like choosing a color, the key is to find a fit that flatters. If you don’t have that perfect dress in your closet, don’t worry. Between friends, siblings, and rental companies, you can find exactly what you’re looking for at minimum cost (more on that later).

4.   Accessories. Leaving out accessories is like walking away from a painting before you’ve finished painting. I like to keep accessories to minimum so that don’t distract, but I also make sure that the ones that I do wear are impactful. I am particularly a huge fan of pearls. Pearls can brighten up the face and are traditional enough that people don’t get distracted by them. After all, you want the viewer to focus on your face rather than your jewelry. Be sure to also think of your hair, nails, and makeup as an accessory. How can you alter each of these items to enhance your natural look without making yourself look fake or contrived?

Let’s talk money. Some people can hire an Image Consultant like myself to tell them exactly what to wear, go shopping with them, and recommend hair salons for hair and makeup the day of. However, the majority of us don’t have a pretty penny budgeted in for professional headshots. You’ve probably already taken the leap to hire a professional photographer and you’re dealing with the sticker shock (compared to those subpar free photo sessions your company provides occasionally) and thinking, ‘I can’t afford to go out and buy all new clothes!!’ These next few tips are for you:

  •  Borrow. If you have a friend that has the perfect suit that you need for your picture, simply ask. Be sure the have the suit professionally dry cleaned afterwards as a thank you. You can also borrow shoes, accessories, etc.
  • Rent an outfit. I rented my dress and necklace from Rent the Runway in order to get an expensive designer look for much less. You could also get a subscription to any clothes service (le tote, etc) and use pieces from that.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable doing your own makeup or hair, get it done at the makeup counter at Sephora (be sure to buy something, though!) or book an appointment with a cosmetology school for a blowout and makeover. If you do your makeup yourself, be sure to ask the photographer (or do some online research) for tips. Makeup shows up differently in different lights.
  • Take into account what you know will show. If you are getting a traditional headshot (unlike my full body pic), you don’t really need to worry about the kind of bottoms or shoes you are wearing. Finding a perfect blouse may be exactly what you need and is much easier to pull together than an entire perfect outfit, so don’t get bogged down trying to assemble something that won’t even be seen.

I spent under $75 on the outfit you see above. The shoes I already owned, but those are basic black pumps that I could have easily borrowed from a friend. The dress ($55) and necklace ($10) came from Rent the Runway and since it was my first rental, I got an extra 20% off. I did a lot of online research to figure out what makeup would be the best and I did my own (pro tip: don’t use anything with SPF! It will reflect camera light and make you look greasy). I also did a lot of trial and error at home to make sure I knew how to create the hairstyle I wanted. All in all, the most expensive part was the clothing, but as the key component that makes this photo really stand out, I think it was worth it.

Good luck with your next photoshoot!!

If you liked what you read, you’ll probably enjoy my best-selling book: Dressing Your Personal Brand! Check out the first chapter below for free!

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4 Crucial Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Headshot

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Thanks to the internet, headshots are more important now than ever. Way back before the age of the web, you used to get one headshot (usually only if you were somebody) in a blue moon and this picture was then put on your business cards and company pamphlets. Not everyone got headshots taken, and there was simply not the outlet to display them like there is now. Those times are far gone, though! As I type this, I can see my face in three different spots– and that’s just on my internet browser that has one page pulled up!

It’s important to note that I’m not some crazy egotistical person that feels the need to see my face everywhere. Rather, as an Image Consultant and Public Speaker I am (literally) the face of my brand and my headshot serves as a logo. That same headshot is on my website, facebook page, twitter, and business cards because I want my clients to instantly associate me with my brand.

No matter what business you are in, your face (or most commonly, your headshot) serves as a logo for your personal brand. Take a minute and look at your profile picture for LinkedIn, Facebook, and your business/company. What messages are these pictures sending? Is it all the same message, or several different ones? Now, ask yourself the big question- How much more could you benefit by sending the right message?

Creating the perfect headshot is a whole book within itself, but today I’m going to touch on a few of the most common mistakes when it comes to headshots.

  1. You don’t use a professional photographer. Coca-Cola doesn’t have graphic design interns make all their logos and you shouldn’t settle for your friend’s IPhone picture from three years ago as your personal brand logo. Does your picture have to be in front of a grey marbled background oddly reminiscent of middle school pictures while you are stoically poised in the middle in a suit? No, of course not, but it does need to make sense with your message (see #4) and it needs to look like you put in some effort. A professional picture shows that you take yourself seriously and that others should too. And for the love of all that’s good, please no selfies. I think I die a little every time I see a ‘professional’ use a selfie as a headshot.
  2. You pick the wrong photographer. Not all photographers are created the same. You wouldn’t go to your veterinarian to get medicine for your sick human child, so why would you have someone who takes baby pictures take your headshot? Do your research. Your brand is on the line here and it pays to find someone who understands the message you want to send and can accurately capture it.
  3. Your picture isn’t current. I find that this sin is most often committed by middle aged women. It’s like they got a headshot done at work a million years ago and they are still using the same one. Maybe they like that they were ten pounds lighter then or just looked younger. Whatever the case, it’s misleading and creates instant distrust when a customer actually meets them face to face. Believe me, it’s far more attractive and trustworthy when you embrace the you, you are today and are able to deliver that confidence in an (accurate) headshot.
  4. Your headshot sends the wrong message. This is a big one and goes back to the whole creating distrust thing. The style of your headshot absolutely needs to be consistent with your message. I specialize in teaching my clients about personal branding and how to dress for the person they wish to be perceived as, therefore, I choose a classic black and white picture rather than a colorful, trendy and flamboyant image. You may look beautiful in that picture from your friends wedding, but that bodycon dress and solo cup aren’t doing your banking career any favors. The easy solution? Crop out anything that could be opposed to the look you’re going for. I recently saw a headshot of a public speaker who looked like he was in a death stare with the viewer. Even though his photo was clearly taken by a professional, his offsetting appearance didn’t make any sense next to his bio which claimed he was ‘fun loving, outgoing, and humorous’. Your headshot should display your true, authentic self and be reflective of your strengths and values.

Remember, every profile picture is a chance to show off your personal brand. Different headshots may make sense in different outlets (my Instagram headshot is much more relaxed than my more serious business card headshot) but they all need to convey the same message! So, stop wasting precious advertising space- figure out what you want to tell the world and start using headshots that relay your message loud and clear!

Questions about your headshot and what message it’s sending? Send me an email (empowerme@leslie-friedman.com), tweet (@friedmantalks), gram (@leslie_friedman), or message (Leslie Friedman) and I’d be happy to give you my opinion and some free advice.

Looking for more great career advice? You’ll love Chapter 3 of my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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How Your Weekend Clothes May Be Hurting Your Career

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It’s a Sunday afternoon and you are strolling through the grocery store focused on remembering which cereal your 8 year old wants (this week) when all of sudden you turn a corner and spot your boss. You immediately look for a place to hide. It’s not that you don’t want to talk about work (which you don’t) but rather that you don’t want to run into the person who pays you to be a professional, while wearing a ratty t-shirt and sweatpants. It’s a Sunday, and you aren’t at work, but you still don’t want to leave that image in their mind.

Sound familiar?

weekend clothing and your career

As awkward as this situation is, especially when you are recognized despite your avid attempts to hide behind the first product available (great. now your boss also thinks you are incredibly interested in the children’s game on the back of the Fruit Loops box), at least you recognize something very important- It matters what you wear outside work.

It’s not fair, but it is true: you are constantly being observed, and judged.

You don’t want your boss to see you because they (hopefully) have a professional image of you that you’d rather not have shattered. They know it’s the weekend, but that doesn’t keep them from thinking, ‘wow, Leslie sure looked rough the other day.’ Most of us want to look somewhat respectable in front of our employers, and we realize that not doing so could potentially hurt our careers. This especially true if you work in a professional services based field. (Think about it- would you want a lawyer from your firm walking around Walmart in an offensive t-shirt? Probably not.)

What we don’t often realize, though, is that sartorially slacking off could hurt our careers- even if the boss is no where in sight.

Nobody understands better than someone working in a client driven field that customers are everywhere. Whether you are a realtor, sales representative, or entrepreneur, future clients are everywhere that we are. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve been able to tell about my consulting services while hanging out at the dog park, in line at the grocery store, or even in the gym locker room. It is, after all, the logical thing to talk about after that first oh so typical ‘so, what do you do?’ question. As an image consultant I have to be very particular about how I look most of the time (it’s very difficult to make someone believe you are an image consulting professional while you are wearing gross paint covered workout clothes while taking the dog on a walk. Trust me, I’ve tried.) And, I would argue that if you are in a field that offers professional services, that you should too. All it takes is one pulled together outfit for the conversation to move from “oh, that’s an interesting job” to “oh, how fascinating. I could really use your services with my business”. Your appearance can produce strong psychological effects like that. Embrace it.

Side Note- This also works the other way around: if you’re the boss. Employees who see their supervisor looking rough or inappropriate (think mini dress at a bar) are likely to let those observations affect their opinions of you.

If you aren’t in a professional service job, don’t think I’m going to let you off the hook scotch free. Your appearance matters too. Instead of running into potential clients, everyday you are running into potential employees and employers. No job is safe (sorry) and there’s no guarantee that you will be gainfully employed in six months or searching for something bigger and better. Every time your appearance makes others think something of you that is not in line with your personal brand- you run the risk or hurting your career. The last thing you want is to realize that the person you were chatting it up with at the dog park is actually the perfect person to help you get your dream job a few months down the road (when all they can remember was ‘she didn’t strike me as being very pulled together’).

So, am I encouraging you to wear a suit every time you go to CVS? Of course not. That’s just stupid. What I am saying, however, is to figure out how you want to be perceived (ie: your personal brand) and then follow the 90/10 rule. 90% of the time, look the way you want to be perceived. 10% of the time, life happens. I would lie if I said I’ve never been in the grocery store at 2am in pajamas buying all the Pepto-Bismol I can get my hands on (while googling if it’s safe for the animals too).

Say you want to be perceived as a professional who is organized and good at time management. You can still dress casual while portraying these characteristics. Simply make sure your clothes are ironed before going into (and thus coming out) of your closet and that your garments are clean and fit well.
Here’s a good example of someone (who wants to be seen as a professional) dressing casually:

And here’s a bad example:

Okay, that’s probably a little extreme for a bad example, but you get the point. Avoid sloppy and aim for clothes that actually fit. My secret is to have a go-to outfit ready any time I need to leave the house in a hurry. This is generally a nice pair of jeans (I like J.Crew) and a pressed oxford button down paired with cute flats. If I don’t have an ironed shirt, I have several semi-fitted lightweight sweaters that also work well.

Looking like you care, no matter where you are headed will make a difference. I promise! The more consistent you keep your personal brand (including what you’re wearing!!) the stronger your brand (and as a result, your networks, your career, your sphere of influence) will become.

Happy Dressing,

Leslie

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Personal Branding Tips for High School Students

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Maybe I’m aging myself, but when I was applying for college the big hot topic for essays was always something related to diversity. How have you encountered diversity? How have you encouraged diversity? Etc, etc. While diversity is still important, it seems to have been replaced as a college essay forerunner by something else: personal branding.

I work with a decent amount of high school upperclassmen on a daily basis and the issue of personal branding seems to keep rearing its ugly head no matter what college or university is involved. Why the ugly head? Personal branding is a tricky subject. It’s really tricky if you are a teenager and don’t have a clue what you plan on doing tomorrow, let alone how you plan on marketing yourself for some indefinite span of time. So, how do you find, let alone try to describe, what your personal brand is when you are still in the process of figuring out who you are? Read on for 3 things to consider.

branding tips for high school students

  1. It’s not about what you do. Ever wonder why people have midlife crises? This is why. They often discover that they have worked a job for their entire life that has grown to define who they are. The job has become them and there suddenly their identity is their job description. When the job disappears, so does their identity and that’s when it gets bad. When I ask teens what their personal brand is, they often tell me their aspirations. While having aspirations is great, your personal brand is more about the core behind what drives those aspirations. For example, wanting to be a nurse is not part of your personal brand. However, a desire to help others, a passion for the healthcare system, and a strong work ethic are all characteristics that describe your personal brand. When you get older, your career will be a part of your personal brand, but it won’t be all of it. In fact, it won’t even be most of it. Why? Because ANYONE can do any certain job. No where on the job description for COO of Facebook does it say “Must be Sheryl Sandberg”. It’s what Ms. Sandberg brings to her job and gets out of it that defines her personal brand…not the title itself. So, if you don’t think that you’re capable of figuring out your personal brand because you don’t have a set career path, think again.
  2. Keep it general. Oprah Winfrey has a very strong personal brand. So do Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, and Jay Z. What else do all those people have in common? You got it, they’re all old. Okay, they are older than you (provided you are a college student or younger). The point is that they’ve had lots of time to develop strong personal brands. These people didn’t graduate middle school knowing exactly what would define them as adults. Chances are though, that they did understand what makes them different, even if in the most generic sense. Personal branding is all about what makes you, you. What are you good at? What keeps you up at night? What gets you excited? How do you function? These questions bring out answers that only you can answer (unlike questions such as, ‘what sport do you like to play?’) You don’t have to know what to do with all that information. You just need to have some basic self-awareness. You realize you are good at problem solving. You notice that you get excited and can’t sleep when thinking about creative things. You feel better when you’re in a group of people. Even if you don’t understand how these pieces fit together or what their value is, they are still the important base layer of your personal brand. No matter how old you get, these core traits will always be a part of who you are. The sooner you realize what they are, the easier it will be to build upon them.
  3. Think outside of your own shoes. One of the easiest ways to figure out your personal brand is to ask the people who know you best. These are the family members and friends that you are completely yourself around. What character traits do they view in you? Humor? Organization? Attention to detail? Often times other people are able to see more than you are.

 

Think of yourself at the beginning of a marketing stage. When Nabisco first thought up the concept of Oreos, they didn’t have all the fine details of the brand hammered out. They simply wanted to make a cookie that was yummy, chocolatey, and creme filled. They started with the absolute basics of the product. Likewise, you have to start with the absolute basics of what makes you uniquely you. Maybe it’s your positive attitude, your intelligence, or your competitive nature. Instead of trying to pull together a whole brand for an incomplete product (we are all in the process of discovering ourselves), work on understanding the fundamental attributes that make you, you.

Still confused? Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at empowerme@leslie-friedman.com.

Leslie

Want to learn more about personal branding? Check out my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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