We live in an instant society where “time is money” and no one has “time to spare”. In our frantic daily efforts to squeeze the most out of life, we often forget to actually live.
Professional Impressions invites you to stop and take a breather while reading about the
ABC of Impression Management
Attitude, Business Etiquette and Corporate Image

This month we look at:
Are you trying to be a Superhero?

  • What is the Superhero Syndrome?
  • Superpower Survival Strategies
  • Top 10 Timesaving Tips

Business Entertaining

  • Mind over Platter – Do's and Don'ts of Cocktail Buffet Functions

Are you trying to be a Superhero?

Do you find that you are constantly trying to juggle the demands of your career, home life and your relationships, not to mention the things you would like to do for yourself?

Time spent on yourself makes you feel selfish and guilty?

Are there just not enough hours in the day to accomplish all you have to do?

Do you find yourself constantly thinking that you wish you could run away from it all and go live on an island?

If your answer to these questions is yes, then you are suffering from
The Superhero Syndrome

It is impossible to enjoy a balanced and fulfilled existence while giving each area of your life a 100% of your attention simultaneously, everyday.

The Root of the Superhero Syndrome is a Swearword:

You start to measure your self worth according to your productivity.
You feel the need to be in control all of the time.
The more in control you want to be, the more out of control you feel.
In fact, if you have the urge to be perfect, we suggest that you go and lie down until the feeling has subsided ...
“Power is the ability not to have to please”
– Elizabeth Janeway
Superpower Survival Strategies
Here are some tips to combat the cause and effect of this Syndrome.
Nurture Yourself
When life becomes too much, taking precious time out to nurture yourself, is the best investment you can make to re–fuel your energy.
Schedule a 1hr appointment with yourself each day and write it in your diary. Write down exactly what you plan to do in that time, such as “play golf”, “get a manicure” or even “sleep in late”.
Having a regular head or body massage, is an excellent outlet for built up adrenaline as well as mental and muscular tension caused by stress.
Visualization exercise:
Find a secluded place and relax. Now close your eyes and imagine each problem you are facing as a colourful balloon. Next, using an imaginary bow and arrow, shoot each balloon down from the sky.
Keep a Nurturing Journal. Start by asking yourself the following:
  • What can I do to make my life more stimulating?
  • What can I do to make my work life less stressful?
  • What can I do to increase my happiness?

  • Jot down ideas and answers to these questions as they come to you.
    Make a note of any inspirational quotes and stories that you come across and refer to them often.

    Top 10 Time Saving Tips
    Are you always running around, searching for car keys and your cell phone? Do you get frustrated with having to waste precious time waiting to pick up kids or standing in queues?
    “How well you manage your
    time shows how much you value it”
    Here are a few ways to use your time more productively ...
    • Keep a “Busy Basket” near the front door
      When you get home put your keys, diary and important items, that you need for work the next day, in this basket. This will ensure you never misplace keys or forget important documents at home.

    • Master the Internet
      Make use of facilities such as Internet banking and shopping to
      avoid wasting time looking for parking and standing in queues.
      Woolworths: www.woolworths.co.za
      Pick n Pay: www.pnp.co.za
      Queue 4 u: (011) 834–4444

    • Buy clothes wisely
      Cut down on ironing and hand–washing time by investing in garments made from machine washable, drip–dry fabrics.

    • E–mail or sms whenever possible
      You can get to the point without being put on hold and you will avoid being distracted by idle conversation.

    • Have a home answering service
      Have you ever rushed to answer the telephone, only to find it is one of those “sales calls” or someone with whom you really don’t have time to talk to? This can be avoided byallowing an answering machine to screen calls at your home.

    • Invest in a cordless telephone
      You can then make and receive calls while washing the dishes, cooking the dinner or just about any other everyday task.

    • Keep a hardcover notebook with you at all times
      You’ll never have to search for loose scraps of paper or lost “post–it” stickers(that have found their way onto other documents) with important information and telephone numbers on them again.

    • Place a calendar in a central area of the home
      e.g. On the kitchen fridge, and insist that everyone in the family writes down their engagements on it.This will help to co–ordinate schedules and save countless hours looking for family members.

    • The “Dirty Word” ... Delegate
      Realize that there is simply not enough time and energy to do everything well yourself.Say to yourself, “I'm wasting valuable time doing this. Let me rather get Susan to do it.”

    • Learn to say no to others and yes to you

    “Achievers do less to do more”
    – Bill Cole
    Woman's Day is just around the corner and Professional Impressionshas fantastic, inspirational workshops that are ideal for motivational breakfasts, lunches and team building events.
    The Superwoman Syndrome is for the woman who is trying to deal with her multi–faceted roles, whilst maintaining her sanity!
    This inspirational and entertaining presentation will provide strategies for coping with today's harsh realities.
    “Excellent! Just what every woman needs to hear to uplift themselves and move forward and feel GREAT!”
    Jeev Naidoo
    Secretary – Unilever
    “This was the best training given to uplift one’s spirit as a woman”
    Marcia Prins
    A Work in Progress will encourage you to take a step back and re–evaluate your life. This presentation (both for men & women) will enable you to see yourself and others in a new way.
    “You are so good, I have run out of words to compliment you. Thank you for bringing me back to reality.”
    Rueben Dibakwane
    Business Entertaining

    It is important to remember that business entertaining is about business first and that it should not be treated as merely a “lekker party”.
    Two of the most common forms of business entertaining are the Cocktail and Buffet functions.
    These functions are about making successful contacts in order to get the contracts and so it is crucial to treat each occasion as if it were an important business meeting.
    For some odd reason, ordinarily sensible people seem to think the food at a buffet will suddenly disappear before they get some or that the other guests will take all of the food, leaving them to starve.
    The cocktail function should be both enjoyable and rewarding, it is not an excuse to gossip and drink until the legs give way.
    These irrational approaches results in some major blunders that will reflect negatively on your image back in the office.
    Here are some guidelines for you to face just such a social occasion with grace, style and confidence.
    Social Steps to Success
    • Do your homework on the guests attending the cocktail party. This will make 'small talk' much easier. eg. If he they are avid soccer fans, know the latest soccer news.
    • This is still business. Do not begin calling the manager or the client by his or first name if you have always previously addressed them by their surnames.
    • Always introduce yourself to unfamiliar guests. Maintain eye contact during introductions and conversations.
    • Don't hide in the corner or at the bar. if you don't know anyone, ask the organiser/PR to introduce you to someone in a similar industry/ field as yours.
    • Make it your aim to meet a different person every 10 minutes.
    • Keep drinks and food in your left hand. This will leave your right hand free for meeting and greeting.
    • Remember it's about the contacts not the contracts. Ask people for their business card and follow up with prospects after the event. The idea is to meet people, not to sell to them there and then.
    • Ensure your business cards are kept close at hand, in a business card holder, and be selective when handing them out.
    Mind over Platter
    • Do not head straight to the bar or buffet table, mingle first. Food and drink should not be the main goals. (If you are starving, eat a small meal beforehand.)
    • If place cards are on the tables, do not shift them around to suit yourself.
    • See whether the buffet has one or two lines. If two lines are moving, you will find serving utensils on both sides of the table.
    • Never push in the line, gender and status privileges do not apply in the buffet line. Take your place and wait patiently.
    • Don't sample the food while you are waiting in the line.
    • Dish each course separately. Don't mix the starter and main course on one plate.
    • If you notice that one item is in short supply, then go easy on it, or offer the person behind you the last portion.
    • Use the serving utensil provided for a particular dish and replace it, in the same place, when you are finished.
    • Don't overload your plate.
    • Plenty of clean plates should be available, which means you should not have to reuse a plate. If you are going back for seconds, don't hesitate to ask a server to replace a plate or silverware or retrieve what you need at the buffet table.
    • If you are invited to join another table while at the buffet line, either accept graciously or find a way to decline just as politely. e.g. “I'm sorry, but I promised Mr Radebe that I'd eat with him, however, I will join you for coffee later.”

    Top Table Tip

    To avoid helping yourself to someone else's cutlery, bread roll or wine, remember the following:
    Hold your hands in front of you and make a circle with each thumb and index finger. Hold the other fingers straight up.
    Your right hand will form a “d” and your left will form a “b”. See? Drinks on the right; bread on the left.

    • Crudités or raw vegetables are picked up with your fingers, then dipped (only once) into the accompanying sauce. Never dip into the sauce once you have already taken a bite, unless you have placed some sauce on your plate.
    • When eating olives, discard pits in your napkin or on the side of your plate.
    • Small sandwiches can be picked up and eaten with your fingers.
    • Do not blow on hot coffee or soup. Rather just give hot food or beverages time to cool down.
    • Even though people at your table will be sitting down to eat at different times, try to keep pace with others.
    • If you're eating while standing up, avoid overloading your plate. This will make eating the meal easier and you will be able to circulate better.
    • Do not use your knife or fork to point out something or to make a gesture.
    • When using a toothpick, excuse yourself and attend to the offending piece of debris in the bathroom.
    • Do not touch up your make–up or brush your hair at the table.
    • Drink in moderation – keep to a limit of 2 drinks.
    • Do not chew on the ice cubes.
    • Never drink beer from the bottle or can, rather pour it into a glass first.Before leaving always thank your host for the meal and the occasion. Within couple of days, after attending a cocktail reception or any other function, a thank–you note should be sent to the host.

    What you don’t know can destroy your career

    Wherever you may be and whomever you meet during your business interactions, remember that correct business etiquette goes a long way in forging good client relations and communication.
    POWER ETIQUETTE is a brilliant and informative workshop that deals with etiquette in the corporate world.
    Some topics covered in this comprehensive workshop are:
    • Business etiquette – your “ticket” to acceptance and respect in the business world
    • Meal manners – practical, role playing a buffet function, the correct way to hold glasses, utensils, plates, etc. Secrets of making effective small talk
    • Netiquette – e–mail writing, plugged in politeness
    • Office do’s and don’ts
    • The first greeting – getting acquainted, impressive introductions
    • When you speak – telephone, cellular phone manners
    • Entrances and exits – who leads, who follows (doors, lifts, elevators)
    • Meeting know how – planning, attending and sensible seating arrangements

    Next month we look at:
    Abundant life – Live each day as if it were your last

    Business Casual – A Sign of Changing Times?

  • Deciphering the Dress Code Policy
  • Workplace Warts
  • Professional Impressions
    would like to credit the following for information used in this newsletter:
    Learn to Power Think – Caterina Rando
    Manage Your Time – Tim Handle
    Balancing work and life – Robert Holden and Ben Renshaw
    Cocktail Etiquette – Protocol Training Services
    Business Etiquette for the 21st Century – Lynne Brennan
    Pictures used in this newsletter:
    Photograph by Bebra Roets – O Magazine
    Harpers & Queen – June 2003
    Diner – Edgars Club February 2004
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