Monthly Archives: September 2012

Image NLP: Power Up to Get Ahead

Perceptions of Professional Dress: A comparison of recruiters’ and students’ perceptions of interview dress.

  1. Attract, don’t distract.  Look businesslike, yet stylish, not boring like a corporate filing cabinet.  Wear a fashionable suit or dressy tailored separates that appear as a well-coordinated outfit.  A tailored jacket, one that fits you well, is the essential power garment to any separates outfit, even a casual one.
  2. Warrior-ize your wardrobe.  Win the time war, organize your closet so that your business clothing is separated from your social apparel.  At all times, have at least three complete outfits (business casual or traditional business) pressed and ready to wear – outfits that empower you, making you feel like a million.
  3. Wear Winning Armor.  Long sleeves are essential to a take-me-serious look.  We’ve already discussed the power of a tailored jacket.  It’s your armor.  But if dealing with a more casual situation, wear long sleeves.  Bare arms target you for sharks or cause you to be discounted.  Sleeveless garments worn in the workplace mark a woman as a socialite, not a serious businesswoman.  Short-sleeve shirts worn for business relegate a man to the second string.
  4. Get a Leg Up.  Wearing socks or hosiery is non-negotiable.  Naked feet (and/or bare legs) do not command respect in a business environment.  Save that look for your social time.
  5. Put Your Best Foot Forward.  Shoes tell your secrets; they are the strongest indicators of your socioeconomic status.  For business wear, shoe styles must be closed-toe and closed-heel and they must be in mint condition.  Nicked heels, scruffy toes, or unpolished footwear scream failure.
  6. Look Successful.  A successful image attracts greater success.  And success leaves clues in your physical image.  Buy the best quality garments and accessories that you can afford.  Have goals to get ahead and work them by dressing for the job you want, not the one you have.
  7. Have perfect timing.  Wear a metal watch; it adds enduring strength and power to any business image – male and female.
  8. Exude Confidence.  Stand tall, with your shoulders back.  To be perceived as confident, women must wear tastefully applied makeup.  In our society, well-applied makeup conveys high self-esteem and confidence.  It says that you pay attention to details.  Women who consistently wear tastefully applied makeup earn 20 to 30% higher incomes.  For both men and women, be sure to finish your face with a smile.
  9. Get A-head.  A stylish haircut is essential to a professional image.  A great hair cut saves you time; it’s far easier to style.  Hair is a readable barometer.  Avoid becoming freeze dried in the past with an out-dated style.

10.Breathe powerfully.  Accumulated stress shows in your body via your breathing.  The more stressed you are, the more you tend to breathe shallowly.  Take several time outs each day to do power breathing exercises.  Let your mind go, and breathe in and out – from your lower abdomen – for three full minutes at a time.  Then watch your energy be revitalized.  Your skin and eyes will look refreshed.  And your posture will return to a power position.

It pays.  Take control.  Go that extra image mile.  De-stress and power up your nonverbal communication today.  Maintain your image consistently and watch your ability to command respect and your income potential soar.

How to Dress for Your Interview

We’ve all heard the expression, “You have only one chance to make a good first impression.” How true that is! One of the main purposes of an interview is to present yourself to a potential employer in a manner that reflects a highly polished and professional image. It is important to keep in mind that the interview is not the time to be making a personal statement with the way you dress. Your goal should be to show that you respect the interviewer’s values, tastes, and expectations relative to dress and personal manner. Although professional dress and appropriate style may vary slightly depending on job type, work environment and geographical region, there are several key points to keep in mind:

For Men

  • A conservative business suit is almost always the rule. A well-tailored or fitted suit coat and trousers will go a long way in helping you present yourself professionally and confidently. For example, coat sleeve and trouser length should be such that the fit is neither too short nor too long. Appropriate size is critical not only for comfort, but also for presenting a “clean” fit. There is no room for sloppiness. Although new graduates are often working with a tight personal budget, shopping for a new suit at a discount-clothing outlet is generally not suggested. The additional expense invested in a quality suit will pay tremendous dividends in making a positive first impression and serve to enhance your confidence.
  • Acceptable colors continue to be darker shades and hues including grays, blues (navy), and black. Pattern designs such as pin stripes and plaids are acceptable as long as they are subtle. Note: In warmer climates there is generally more leniency toward lighter shades of blues, grays, and even tan. Likewise, lightweight fabrics are more practical in the south while wool or wool blends are commonplace in northern climates. A general rule of thumb is to stay away from the browns and greens…these colors are more acceptable at a football game on a cold, gray, October afternoon, or on the golf course on a bright, sunny morning!
  • A plain white or off-white shirt is always a winner. In most cases, either a loose or button-down collar (oxford cloth) is fine. Occasionally pastel shades (blue, pink, yellow, etc.) are acceptable, as is a pin-stripe design as long as the look is conservative and not flashy.
  • Neckties…again the word is conservative. Patterns should be uniform and subtle, whether stripes or small dots. Paisley designs are generally acceptable. Deep reds, maroon, blues, navy, grays and black are colors that blend well with dark suits, once again keeping in mind that slight variations may occur due to region and climate. Width should generally be about the same as your coat lapels. Extremely wide lapels and ties were more acceptable when cruising in a brand new ’49 Dodge convertible with one of the big bands blaring on the radio!
  • Dressing in your best attire for the interview also means having your shoes shined, if not new. Wearing a new suit and tie with an old, dirty pair of shoes that need resoled would be like washing and waxing your car without scrubbing the tires and hubcaps. Laced shoes are the general rule; loafers are a little too casual, and hush puppies should be reserved for Friday night barbecues. The color of your socks should complement or match the rest of your outfit. Argyle and see-through socks are not considered appropriate. Likewise, a leather belt that matches the color of your shoes and has a small buckle is a good choice.

For Women

  • Dressing in a conservative business suit is the best way to present a professional image. As has been stated, the suit should fit well and make you feel good about yourself. Ask clothing salespersons for assistance in determining what is currently acceptable for skirt length; generally, length should not be too long nor too short.
  • Studies in social psychology have shown that women have an advantage over men when it comes to selecting colors for professional dress. Although the grays and blues are standard, women tend to be able to get away with wearing more of a variety of colors. Oftentimes, bright colors including reds, maroon, various shades of blue and even green are acceptable. Women are also usually able to wear various fabrics without appearing unprofessional.
  • Your blouse should complement the suit in a conservative fashion. It should not be too revealing, high around the neck, nor have too many ruffles or frills. White or off-white colors such as cream usually match well with many suit colors. See-through blouses are discouraged for the professional interview.
  • Stockings are a must and should be flesh-toned or a color very close to it. Avoid color or patterns that would be distracting.
  • Shoes should be sensibly selected in a way that is not intended to make a statement. High heels and open toes are choices better left for activities other than the professional interview, such as attending a Saturday evening performance of the Boston Pops Symphony.

For Men and Women

  • Hair should be of a conservative style and not look like you have spent hours caring for it. The currently popular disheveled hairstyles may not be the best way to make points with a professional interviewer. Men who wear beards and mustaches should take extra time to make sure facial hair is neatly trimmed and not too long. Women can usually wear their hair in more styles as long as it is not too wild and brash. Fingernails should be trimmed and hands clean. Women should not go overboard with bright, flashy nail polish colors, and lipstick and eye makeup should be used moderately.
  • Jewelry should be kept to a minimum and conservative in appearance. Gold medallions and sparkling chains are better left for downtown clubs, wedding receptions, and masquerade parties. Women should not wear giant hoop earrings or ones that are extremely flashy. Likewise, don’t wear too many rings…one or two are plenty.
  • Cologne and perfume are fine for both men and women as long as it is not overbearing. You don’t want to knock someone over by using a half bottle of aftershave or perfume.

In summary, you need to think seriously about the image that you want to portray; most importantly one that suggests you want to fit in and not stand out in a manner that might represent extreme individualism. Moderation in dress is most always the key for the professional interview. You want to appear confident, conservative, reliable, and polished. The way you dress can greatly enhance your portrayal of these qualities. Your clothing should appear as a natural extension of you, tailored to help you present a positive image and “shine” in the interview. Your considerations and efforts will pay tremendous dividends. After the interview you can get back into those comfortable jeans, T-shirts, and athletic shoes.



Use your appearance as a professional tool in
an interview… and the workplace!

A significant part of a hiring decision is based on nonverbal elements in an interview–handshake, eye contact, body language, posture, listening skills, clothing, grooming and accessories. Don’t overlook the power of a good first impression. People make amazing assumptions about your professional credibility and potential performance based upon your appearance during a first meeting. It’s very difficult to overcome a poor first impression, regardless of your knowledge or expertise.

To be successful, research and practice for the interview and carefully plan the professional image you want to project. If you come to an interview dressed professionally, you will feel a sense of confidence and others will sense your self-assurance. Many employers interpret your appearance in terms of what you know about the world around you and what attention you give to detail.

Never spend your seed

Never spend your seed

Wise old farmers have long had a saying: Don’t eat your seed corn. In simple terms, it means that every seed that comes through your hands has the potential to either be eaten or planted for next year’s harvest. You need to make sure that your farm always has enough seed corn to replant the fields on your land so you enjoy another harvest next year. If you eat your seed corn, you won’t have anything to put in the ground and you lose the farm. Your family starves. You are broke.

The “don’t eat your seed corn” truism is often applied to finance in the old saw, “never spend your principal”. Both concepts underscore a fundamental truth: When you expend something, you are not only giving up the item itself, but all that the item could have produced in the future. In the case of money, that means when you spend $1.00, you are not giving up $1.00 You are giving up all of the dividends, interest, and rents that dollar could have produced from now until your death. For example, to an 18 year old high school graduate who lived until he or she was 80, and earned the same rate of return the stock market has earned, on average, for the past couple of centuries, $1.00 is really more than $368.  By spending the dollar today, the newly minted adult is spending $1.00 plus $367.00 in future dollars.

3 Steps to Apply the Don’t Eat Your Seed Corn Rule to Your Own Investment Portfolio

There are three easy ways you can use the farmer’s rule to improve your own finances and investment portfolio.

Identify the Specific Assets and Dollar Amounts That Are Reserved As Seed Corn

In my family, we call this our “permanent capital” reserve. Think of it as an endowment at a university or charitable foundation. This is money that should never be spent, under any circumstances, even if it means you have to sell your car, your house, your artwork, and get a second job. If you need to live off your investments, you are only allowed to spend the dividend income or other profits thrown off by the seed corn. The seed corn itself is sacred. Spending even a penny of it would be sacrilege.

Calculate How Much You Are Going to Add To Your Seed Corn Each Year to Combat Inflation and Taxes

The value of money falls over time in most societies because elected officials print more currency with each passing year. To combat this inflation, you often need to grow your portfolio value so that you are generating more dollars, euros, yen, pound sterling, or whichever other currency you require in order to purchase the same quantity of milk, cheese, bread, eggs, heat, clothing, gasoline, and entertainment you could in prior years. To guard against inflation, focus on purchasing power. It is all about purchasing power.

Determine the End Game Plan for Your Seed Corn

Do you want to spend all of your money before you die, eating the seed corn you have accumulated in the final five or ten years of life? Do you want to leave all of your seed corn to charity or family members?  What, in other words, is the end game? You cannot live forever so you need to be very specific regarding your plans for what you have acquired during your lifetime. Ultimately, it’s your money.  You can’t take it with you so you need to dispose of it, or use it, in a way that reflects your own desires and convictions. For me, that vehicle is the Kennon & Green Foundation. For you it might be something like charitable remainders trust.

A Final Tip to Protecting Your Seed Corn

One way you can avoid the temptation to dip into your seed corn is to use what I call a central collection and disbursement account. Doing so results in the dividends, interest, profits, rents, licensing income, or other gains you see being deposited into a bank account dedicated to disbursements, not the brokerage accounts or retirement trusts that hold your investments. The end result is that you only deposit money into the structures that hold your stocks, bonds, real estate, or mutual funds, never taking money out of them. It erects a barrier between you and your principal. This approach isn’t foolproof, if you are committed to doing something unwise, you are probably going to find a way to do it, you can slow the process down a bit, giving you time to think.

Always remember this rule: Don’t sacrifice what you want for what you want right now. Keep that inscribed on your heart and protecting your seed corn should be much easier.

Money And Selfishness Equals Greed

Again another article with another example where balance is so important. Wealth has a price to pay, as does poverty. Sometimes health and other factors are used to gain the wealth only to cost our wealth later on to regain the health.

Extremes are not healthy but are necessary in order to know and recognize the opposite, so let us have healthy doses of passion/desire/selfishness/kindness/aggressiveness/empathy etc. to accomplish our goals and have a rich rewarding life.

Research Shows Wealth and Selfishness Align

Does Money Make Us Self-Centered?

A recent article in New York Magazine shed light on the correlation between wealth and social skills. LearnVest covered some of the research a few months ago, focusing on the relationship between wealth and empathy.

We dissected some of the findings of University of California at Berkeley researcher Paul Pilff and his team, who found that the wealthier you are, the less adept you might be at reading emotions.

But that’s not all. More studies show that wealth, brain behavior and social class have a lot more to do with one another than degrees of empathy.

Pilff’s research showed that those with high socioeconomic status tend to have a high interpersonal disregard. But this doesn’t show simply that the rich are mean and the poor are nice.

According to the research, the more money a person has, the more he behaves as if the world revolves around him. And the more self-centered a person is, the higher he ascends into society. On the other end of the spectrum, a person with a lower income considers the feelings of others more and prefers to blend in with his peers than stand out.

Psychologist Hazel Markus dissected the different mindsets of social classes and found that the affluent value characteristics such as individuality, uniqueness and personal achievement, while the less affluent value homogeneity, group affiliation and harmonious relationships.

Her research went so far as to relate a person’s music taste with his socioeconomic status. Those with college educations are shown to like indie music because it values individuality, while those with a high-school education prefer country music for its group mentality. So what does that mean for those of us who prefer Top 40?

Music tastes aside, money means business. And according to Kathleen Vohs, a professor at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, money-primed people operate in “functionality mode.” Functionality mode brings success in the business world, but isolation and disinterest in the social world.

Having money might make us driven and self-centered, but it’s these same traits that contribute to making us successful and wealthy.

So, which came first: the money or the mindset? Something to think about…

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