The lazy days of summer have come to an end and we find ourselves reluctantly facing the onset of winter. As the mornings grow colder and the sky turns to muted shades of grey and blue, the spring in our step has been replaced by a weary shuffle.

Through the A B C of Impression Management,
A ttitude, B usiness Etiquette, and C orporate Image,

we aim to bring you inspiration and encourage you to avoid falling into the trap of complacency as the year presses on.

This E-letter takes a look at ...
B ridging the Communication Gap
□ Facing the fax
□ Cellphone manners
□ Netiquette
C ultivating a First Impression that Lasts Forever

Looking for that exta special Mothers Day gift?

Are you looking for a treat to spoil a mum, wife or sister on this Mother’s day?

Consider pampering her with a personalised Image Consultation that will leave her looking and feeling as great as she deserves to be, all in the comfort of her own home.

This experience will boost her confidence and self-esteem, encouraging her to look her best, and in the process leave her feeling great!

Contact us for a tailor-made Personalised Consultation and make this year one that this mother is not likely to forget.

E-mail: prof-imp@mweb.co.za Tel: (011) 679-3036

 

B ridging the Communication Gap
    

Although our business environment is dominated by technology, it does not replace the need for personal interaction with others or free us from the responsibilities of good communication.

In fact we are under more pressure than ever to do more in less time. All without compromising the quality of our interactions with clients and co-workers.

70% of most business people’s time is taken up with communicating or interacting with others in some form.

How we send a fax, answer a phone, type an e-mail, can make the difference between making a positive impression or not.

In the business world, it’s not what we do but how we do it that determines our success.

"Good manners can open doors no position or money can"
- Dana May Casperson

 

Facing the Fax
    
  • Always ensure that a clear cover page containing all your contact details as well as your company details are included.
  • If your message is urgent, mark it urgent and call ahead to inform the receiver of the impending fax.
  • Ensure that each page has a large margin as fax machines are notorious for cutting off information that is too close to the edge of the paper.
  • When sending a fax, call to let the other person know when to expect it, and always check that it has gone through (if necessary phone to confirm that it has reached its destination).
  • Pencil and light inks do not show up clearly on faxes. Always use a darker pen and increase your font size to at least 12 points.
  • Do not leave faxes lying around at fax machines, specifically if these documents of a confidential nature.
  • Leave your fax machine on overnight (as international faxes may come through at any time in the night).
  • Do always check that there is sufficient paper in the fax machine before leaving the office.
  • Ensure that you are aware of how your fax machine operates so that you are able to fix any minor problems that might arise ( such as replacing the toner) without having to call in a technician.
    
Netiquette

More than 130 Million people currently use email, sending a whopping 2.1 billion messages per day.

Is e-mail just the best invention in the world or what?
But beware, although this technology has allowed us to communicate with ease and become more productive, it has also been misused.

Here are few tips on how to use e-mail effectively and professionally ...
  • Always provide a name and surname on your e-mail (in the "to" heading ).
    eg. do not just type, lianneH@mweb.co.za , rather type Lianne Hirst
  • Avoid using capitals and exclamation marks. The recipient of the e-mail may believe you are angry, impatient or shouting.
  • Avoid unnecessary humour and sarcasm. These are difficult to convey in an e-mail as there are no verbal or visual clues for the recipient to interpret this.
  • Don’t forward chain letters or large video clip files as this is a waste of your time as well as that of the person to whom you are sending the e-mail ( who may get very annoyed by this)
  • Before sending anything out on e-mail – do the foolproof test - would you be embarrassed if it was printed and put up on the company’s office board?
  • Avoid using netspeak, for example abbreviations such as BTW, FAQ and TTYL, although you might know what they mean, but your client may not.
  • Develop your own personal logo signature. It should include your name, your contact details and perhaps an appropriate quote or your company’s byline,
    eg. "Make your First Impression the Lasting One"
  • Don’t use long sentences as these are more difficult to read on-line than they are on printed paper.
  • Use the same grammar and spelling that you would use in any other business correspondence. E.g., make use of the words; Dear, and Kind Regards
  • Do not use emoticons such as :) ,unless you know the person very well, these are too informal for business.
  • Do not check your e-mails every 5 minutes as this is a time thief that can distract you from the work at hand.
  • Avoid replying by using a forward of a forward. This ends up becoming like a chain letter.
  • Always bear in mind that readers will respond more willingly if you remember the human element. Use words such as "please" and "thank you".
  • It is very poor etiquette to deliver bad news or discuss personal issues through e-mail (you never know who could end up reading it ...).
    
Cell Phone Manners

No matter what level you work at in a company you are bound to use a cell phone for a great deal of your business communication (for some people they appear as attachments to their hands and ears).

People judge your competence and courtesy by the way you communicate on the phone.

People cannot be impressed with the size of you office or the clothes you are wearing when they are talking to you over the phone. They have only a few things to go on: such as your attitude, the tone of your voice and your listening skills.

Good telephone manners are an essential skill in today’s workplace.

  • Greet the person you are calling politely, identify yourself immediately and announce your purpose for calling.
  • Ask if this is a convenient time to talk.
  • Be brief (especially when in public) everyone values their office time.
  • If you receive a call while in a crowded place move to an area that is quieter and more private, such as outside.
  • Place your call during normal business hours and not 5 minutes before closing.
  • Don’t chew gum, eat or download e-mails while talking on the phone - you will sound distracted and this will offend the other party.
  • If you can contact someone on a land-line, rather do so, as it is very disturbing if you are engaged in a crucial business call with an important client and you keep losing signal, having to talk over interference on the line or worse, your/ their battery goes flat!.
  • Do not contact someone on their cell unless specifically asked to do so.
  • Be prepared before you dial. If necessary, have a script handy to ensure you cover all details and have pen and paper handy to take notes.
  • End the call positively. For example, “Thank you so much for your time, Mr Smith. I look forward to meeting you.” Or “I enjoyed speaking to you, Ms. Naidoo.”
  • Sit up straight, breathe deeply and smile, this will be “carried” through the phone line.
  • Return calls within 24 hours.
  • Pay attention to the volume and sound of your ring tone. Some ring tones (e.g. The Barbie song or the Star Wars theme) can be highly irritating as well as very unprofessional.
  • It is rude to send sms messages when in the company of others.
  • A cheeky or funny voice mail message may amuse your friends but it will send out a negative message to others. It implies that you are not very competent nor should you be taken seriously.
  • Your voice mail must be short and professional, for example ...

This is the voice mail of Bongi Ndlovo, I am unable to take your call
right now. Please leave your name, number and a brief
message after the tone. I shall return your call shortly.
Thank you.

 
C ultivating a First Impression the Lasts Forever ...
    

It is a fact that within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone, either a positive or a negative impression is made.

It is impossible to create a neutral impression.

Furthermore, research has proved that 67% of first impressions are accurate

    

Δ Do you know what kind of impression you are creating
in the minds of others?

Δ Would you like to be able to exert a measure of influence
on the way others perceive you?

In this instant world of high expectations, making a powerful first impression is a crucial skill in establishing our presence.

Learn to brand yourself with the image that you desire to portray to the rest of the world.
Your business success will depend on how well you are able to do this.

Every interaction (how you greet someone, your eye-contact and even the clothes you wear) serves to create the first impression that builds your self-branding.

You may be thinking, “Sure, it’s easy for you to say I should always look and be my best...”, while you’re spending half your time trying to catch up on last week’s deadline and planning for next week’s business trip.

Well, we will let you in on a little secret:
The trick to creating a powerful and lasting impression is to start by making some of these small changes to your life and watch the feedback you receive ...

  • "Fake it 'till you make it." Always appear self-assured, even if you don’t feel it.
  • Stand up when meeting someone and you will give the impression of enthusiasm as well as a willingness to communicate.
  • Look calm and collected. Take a deep breath, make slower more deliberate movements.
  • Stand tall and sit up straight. This gives instant authority and confidence.
  • Never fidget. If you are in the habit of twirling your hair, chewing your nails or clicking your pen, make a conscious effort to fold your hands on your lap or place them on the table.
  • Never appear bored. Look interested no matter how mundane the company or the topic may be.
  • When in the company of others, always act as if you were the gracious guest at a party thrown in your honor. Shake hand with everyone, repeat their names and make eye contact with each person in turn.
  • Use body language to your advantage. Lean in towards people when speaking to them and subtly mirror their actions
  • Smile, it is a universal language.
  • Learn to accentuate your good qualities and downplay the negative ones, while retaining your unique personality.
  • Look the part. If you look good, you will feel fantastic and exude self-confidence!
    

"Life isn't about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself."
- George Bernard Shaw

 

As an employee of your company, you have the power to reinforce the quality and value of your products/ services by looking and acting the part, helping the company to achieve its full potential.

Take action today and contact us for a tailor-made programme that will help you to do exactly this.

This programme can be presented to an entire department within your company or on a 1-on-1 basis. Through this presentation you/ your staff will receive individual feedback and strategies to make your visual communication and self-branding a powerful and influential tool in today’s corporate environment.

For more information on how to exude "Power, Poise and Presence", contact Professional Impressions.

 

Next month we look at...

A Confidence Tune-Up

  • Confidence Wobblers
  • The Confidence Recipe
  • B etter Ways to Work a Room

  • Be your own PR Manager
  • Networking made easy
  • Professional Impressions would like to credit the following for information used in this newsletter:

    Power Etiquette – Dana May Casperson
    Business Etiquette and Professionalism – M.Kay duPont
    A Modern Girl's Guide to Etiquette – Sarah Ivens

    Copyright © 2004, Professional Impressions. All rights reserved.
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    Make Your First Impression the Lasting One
    Tel: 011 679 3036
    Cell: 082 8957924
    www.profimpressions.co.za
    © Copyright 2004