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A bag is a girlís most useful accessory. We take one with us every place we go from the beach, to the movies. We also rely on it to pull an outfit together and to contain everything but the kitchen sink. Find out all you need to know to acquire the best bag habits
Is it about winning friends at work or is it more
about playing the “office politics game”?
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‘Women Inc’
A complete resource for the working woman. Articles range from Leadership, Mentoring and Coaching, Professionalism, Balancing work and play and much more.
As a Professional Impressions client you receive a 5% discount. To purchase a subscription go to www.womeninc.co.za and insert the following reference code when you fill in the online subscription form: Prof–IMP 001.
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This is a moment to reaffirm your commitment
to becoming everything you were created to be –
body, mind and soul.
Are you winning friends at work?
Socially if we don’t get on or agree with someone it is easy – you avoid them like the plague. In the workplace you don’t have this luxury. You may find you are required to work with someone you may never chose as a friend outside of work
Dealing with hostility, “bad vibes” at work is energy sapping, raises stress levels and reduces productivity. Emotions are very challenging to keep out of the workplace. Understanding your own emotions and those of your colleagues will help you determine both your and their motivations and behaviors. This will allow you to communicate better and diffuse tensions
Dale Carnegie’s time honored principles to winning friends seem simple but they work. Try them:
  • Become genuinely interested in people
  • A smile costs you nothing
  • A person’s name, to them is the most important sound in any language
  • Be a good listener, encourage others to talk about themselves
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  • Make other people feel important – but do it sincerely
Gossiping
In the workplace gossip is an everyday ritual. Gossip usually involves inaccurate information and supposition. If possible don’t listen to it, indulge in it and certainly never spread it. Always remember – if that person is gossiping about someone else – what are they saying behind your back?
  • If you are the subject of false gossip or rumor, try and uncover the source
  • Speak privately with that person in a concerned rather than angry manner
  • Endeavour to convey the true facts about the situation
  • False gossip can be detrimental to your career – ask the person spreading the gossip to set the record straight
  • Stay clear from providing too much information about your personal relationships, sexuality, political inclinations
  • Even listening to gossip makes you an active participant, even if you spread it no further. Rather say “I don’t like assuming things about others without the full facts” or “stop right there I am not interested in that person’s business”
  • Always discuss matters of concern openly and honestly. If you have an issue with a person, rather approach them directly than speaking to someone else about it
  • Treat everyone with the dignity that you expect for yourself
  • Avoid finger pointing and blame placing. Remember words like “I feel” or “I think” are less damaging than “They do” “He is”
So is it never right to get involved in other people’s business? It is hard to stand back when health, safety or happiness look to be at stake. If you do choose to interfere remember the following:
  • Have a clear idea of what outcome you hope to achieve
  • Be aware of the risks and consequences of you actions
  • You may not be thanked for your intervention. A nasty row and the potential for damaging your relationship may be a high a price to pay
  • Think carefully, act tactfully and back off if necessary
Office Politics
“Trying to avoid office politics is like trying to avoid the weather”
Louis Frankel
The business of politics is simply the business of relationships and understanding the give and take in all business interactions
You may find the maneuverings of office politics distasteful, but the reality is they oil the wheels of business and keep them moving. You may have to put your reservations aside and indulge in a little “politicking” yourself to enhance your career
Office politics can vary from something small and inconsequential to career jeopardizing stakes. Telling a little white lie to your boss when he proudly displays his latest cartoon tie, costs you nothing. You might be asked by a colleague to support a controversial business strategy which he believes in passionately
  • Approach office politics like any other negotiation. Take time to find what the other person needs, what you have to offer – then ensure a win – win situation
  • You need to build and cultivate relationships all the time. When the time comes when you need a favor it is too late wishing you’d spent more time developing them
  • You do want to be perceived as a team player, but never go against your own personal value system just to please or help others
  • Don’t overuse and abuse favors granted to you
  • Office politics is about “Quid Pro Quo” – something given in exchange for something else. Don’t just give in if pressurized to help someone, think about what you want in return, even if it is in the future
  • Giving in on smaller, less important issues can let you win bigger ones in the long run
  • Don’t avoid a political problem – face it head on, work through the issue. This makes you look like a problem solver. Ignore the issue and you merely look like part of the problem. Besides people will merely go around you
These and other thorny issues are handled in our Power Etiquette workshop.
For more information please contact us
Tel: 011 467 5126    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–imp@mweb.co.za
Cat out of the Bag?
Bagging a good one ...
  • When choosing a bag first identify your needs, being clear about its function will ensure that you don’t make a bad purchase
  • Choose a bag according to your lifestyle, body shape and personality
  • Always “try on a bag” –look in a full length mirror, from all angles
  • Your bag should be in proportion to your size. Tiny bags look ridiculous on large , statuesque girls, as do huge tote bags on petite girls
  • Work with a shape opposite to your own body shape – a structured bag looks great on a shorter, rounder figure. Tall, thin girls look better with rounder shapes
  • Take care with the strap length. Where you end your bag will accentuate that feature, ending a bag on your hip will emphasize them. Safest bet is to nestle your bag into your waist. A good idea if you are big busted – do not clutch bag under arm next to breast you end up looking like you have three breasts
  • Bag size needs to be practical and comfortable. If you carry “all but the kitchen sink” a shoulder bag may give you a neck ache, consider a hand held briefcase type bag or a bag with a wide, comfortable strap
  • Must haves:
    1. A classic style leather bag for work
    2. A strong fun canvas bag (shopper) for weekend shopping or the beach
    3. A little beaded or embellished evening bag
  • Bag styles may need to be changed from summer to winter. A big sturdy bag looks great with chunky knits and boots but looks ludicrous with a floaty, dainty summer outfit
  • Evening bags are smaller than your day bag and can be more frivolous in colour, fabric and decoration
The Ideal Work Bag
  • Choose your work bag in a dark, neutral colour for practicality and professionalism. Brown is often a more versatile colour than black for a hand bag. Clean, crisp lines and a plain style without too many embellishments is ideal
  • A work bag needs to be functional as well as stylish. Look for one that is easy to organize, with well thought out pockets for keys, cell phone, organizers etc . Rummaging around in its depths for a business card is frustrating as well as lacking in professionalism
  • Quality is in the details. Check the zips and closures. Seams should be straight and stitching even. Leather is the best bet for a work bag as it is more durable than fabric
Bag Language
  • Remember Samantha from “Sex in the City” glowing that she was next on the 3 year list in obtaining the famous “Birkin” bag from Hermes? This bag ranges from R50 000 – R 100 000 – and you still need to wait for it? Talk about “Brand Power”
  • Other aspirational names include Ferragmo, Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton
  • The names of different styles of bags often relate to their function or shape. Tote and shopper styles are large and roomy with wider straps. Envelope or purse shapes are smaller and rectangular – great for an evening bag
  • The “Kelly” bag was designed by Hermes for Prince Rainier to give to Grace Kelly
Latest Trends
  • Latest fashion colours include pastels and brights like pinks, corals, turquoise and emerald green
  • Detailing includes woven as well as cut out details. There is as a strong military feel with buckles, studs and straps
  • Fabrics include straw and cork, leather looks include “moc croc” and “fake snake”
  • Soft leather – napa is more popular than harder exotic leather
  • Prints are in, with florals and stripes being a big hit
  • Metallic colours from blue and pink to bronze and silver are also very popular, adding shimmer and shine
  • If you can’t afford to buy a bag in the latest hot colour –accessorize your bag to update it – tie a scarf to the strap, pin on a decorative brooch, attach a fabric flower
  • If you do buy a trendy, fashion bag don’t spend a lot of money on it as they will date quickly
Bag habits
  • Empty your bag regularly – its amazing what accumulates in its depths
  • Women generally carry far too many unnecessary things in their bags, damaging the structure of the bag and contributing to neck strain, as well as making you look like a pack horse
  • Miniaturize what you carry in your bag. Travel sized makeup and beauty products even brushes. Use a pocket organizer rather then a filofax
  • Place your work bag in a desk drawer rather than where it can be kicked and ridden over by your chair wheels
  • Do give your bag a wipe with a soft cloth when necessary to keep it looking in pristine condition, No matter how fond you are of your favorite bag there is a time to let it gently go off to bag heaven and invest in a new one
For the men
  • When buying a man’s wallet make sure it is not too bulky – so no coin compartment. Most men like to put their wallets in their pockets – which causes unsightly bulges
  • Go for a long lasting neutral colour leather eg ostrich – the more you use it the better it looks
  • A good quality man’s wallet ranges from R 700 up
Unsure if you are correctly accessorised for the workplace?
Contact Professional Impressions for more information on our
Corporate/Personalised Image Consultations
Tel: 011 467 5126    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–imp@mweb.co.za
Professional Impressions would like to credit the following for information and images used in this article:
Roberta CaonLorenzi Classic Elegance
ElleAugust 2005
How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleDale Carnegie
Emily Post’s EtiquettePeggy Post
A Modern Girl’s Guide To EtiquetteSarah Ivens
Play Like A man Win Like A WomenGail Evans
Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner OfficeLois Frankel
What you Wear Can Change Your LifeTrinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine
365 Style and Fashion Tips for WomenDumont Monte
Instyle Secrets of StyleEditors of InStyle
CosmopolitanJune 2005
ImagineAugust 2005
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