THE THIRD PIECE
Do you know how to boost your credibility with a third piece?
Clothing communicates! People assume over a dozen things about you when they first see you, including how competent you are. It is not fair, but it is real. Your appearance is your largest non-verbal communicator; it is the first and strongest clue broadcasting your credibility.
First impressions don’t give others much to go on as they try to understand who you are. Clothing is an instant messaging system that immediately sets people’s expectations for your performance. It is simple: what people see is what they expect.
Do you know how to instantly boost your credibility by adding a third piece to your outfit?
The third piece is your power piece. Adding a jacket, sweater, or vest to your outfit instantly boosts your credibility and perceived authority. Try it for yourself! Stand in front of a full-length mirror wearing a shirt and pants—and then put on a blazer. You will see the difference a third piece makes!
Any third piece will elevate your image and make you look more pulled together. How do you choose between adding a sweater, jacket, or blazer to complete your look? It depends on your goals.
Firmer, structured garments convey more power than softer, less structured garments. For example, a tailored blazer made of firm fabric that has straight lines conveys a higher level of authority than a sweater made of soft fabric and rounded shapes.
Clothing is a strategic tool. Where are you going? Who are your meeting? What is your objective? When you want to project credibility and authority, don’t forget your third piece!
Do you know what NOT to say when complimented?
Think about the last time you received a compliment. “You look great!” “Awesome job on that project.” How did you respond? Did you handle the compliment well? Here is a hint: there is only one correct response to a sincere compliment.
Learn what NOT to say when complimented (and the only correct response to praise) in this month’s “Do You Know?”
Do you know that your clothes have superpowers?
How did Clark Kent transform from a mild-mannered reporter into a world-saving superhero? He changed his clothes! Clark Kent became Superman by putting on his cape, which changed how he interacted with the world. Like Superman, your clothes have superpowers too!
We know that our clothes influence how others see us, but did you know that clothing also influences how you see yourself and how you think? Learn about how your clothes impact your performance in this month’s “Do You Know?”
Do you know how to respond to a graduation announcement?
Graduation is an exciting right-of-passage. Graduates and their families gather to honor years of study and hard work. These important celebrations mark the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new season. It is an honor to be included! Do you know what to do when you receive a graduation announcement? Do you attend the graduation? Do you send a gift? Learn how to respond to a graduation announcement in this month’s “Do You Know?”
Do you know the Art of Acknowledgment?
Have you ever walked into a room and felt invisible because no one looked your way? We are all guilty of ignoring the people around us because we are absorbed in our technology or mental to-do lists. Acknowledging others is one of the easiest and most powerful ways we can connect and build relationships. Learn the three steps to the Art of Acknowledgment in this month’s “Do You Know?”
Do you know how NOT to apply fragrance?
Have you ever smelled someone before you saw them? Whether the smell is pleasurable or not, we never want people to smell us before we have the chance to say hello. We want to captivate people with our ideas, not our fragrance! Scent is extremely powerful! To help you successfully manage this influential tool we are sharing our Top Two Tips on Fragrance.
Do you know how to respond to “Thank You”?
Saying “please” and “thank you” is drilled into us as kids. How many times have you heard someone ask a child, “what are the magic words?” Likely thousands! But do you know what to say after someone tells you “thank you”?
Do you know how to address emails to unknown recipients?
Names matter, including in email salutations. How you address someone in an email is your electronic first impression, which sets the tone for your interaction. Learn how to address an email when you don’t know the recipient’s name in this month’s tip!
Do you know where to put your mask while dining?
Etiquette changes as society changes, and mask etiquette is something that should now be in your social skills toolbox (who would have ever guessed!). Let’s talk about dining. If you are able to grab a meal at your favorite restaurant, don’t forget your mask! Once you are seated and the food is served, where should you place your mask while eating?
Do you know how much to tip for curbside service?
Tipping is a part of American culture. It is one of the ways that we show gratitude to those who serve us and is a critical part of restaurant employees’ incomes. A standard tip when dining in a full-service restaurant is 20%, which is often split between your server, bartender, and other restaurant employees. What about curbside service? Learn how much to tip for curbside service in this month’s “Do You Know?”
Do you know how much to spend on gifts?
Gift giving can be tricky. Figuring out how much to spend on gifts is a major stressor that can suck the joy right out of giving. While some experts post detailed guides showing exactly how much to spend on certain people, we think that guidance really misses the mark. Instead, we suggest that you ask these two questions to make gift buying easy!
Do you know these 4 image hacks to keep you looking sharp?
We have all been living in our “comfy clothes” while we spend more time at home. When it is time to go back to work or attend an event, will you remember where your real pants are and how to get sharply dressed again? Here are 4 hacks to keep you looking your best when you need to wear real pants!
Do you know where to stand on an elevator?
Elevators are awkward places. These small, enclosed spaces where strangers often stand only inches apart can make the most confident person feel a bit uncomfortable. Elevator etiquette is especially important now. Most buildings have posted new elevator guidelines including a limit on the number of passengers and mask requirements. You should follow posted guidelines and these 5 elevator etiquette tips to make your next elevator ride less awkward for everyone!
Do you know how to handle a stressful COVID-19 encounter?
Public encounters can be especially challenging right now. A routine trip to the grocery store can go sideways in a matter of moments, which is exactly what happened to me on my last trip to Costco. I share my experience along with a few ideas on how to make your next outing go more smoothly in this tip! How we treat people matters, especially now. This, too, shall pass. When it does, what relationships will be waiting for you on the other side of this pandemic?
Do you know how to smile with your eyes?
How do you create connection from behind a mask? Social distancing and masked faces can make us feel isolated and awkward. These feelings can prompt us to avoid eye contact, making us feel even more isolated and more awkward. This vicious cycle can be easily broken with a powerful tool: a genuine smile from our eyes. Learn how to smile with your eyes in this tip!
Do you know how to NOT shake hands?
COVID-19 radically changed how we interact with one another, and people will likely be opting out of personal touch for a while. While handshakes are on hold, how will you create connection when greeting people? How do you communicate a genuine happiness to see someone without touch? How do you graciously turn down a handshake or kindly respond when someone pulls back from your extended hand? Learn how to NOT shake hands—and what to do instead—in this tip!
Do you remember basic phone etiquette?
Making a phone call sounds simple, doesn’t it? But for those of us who haven’t used the call feature recently, it is easy to forget how to make a proper call. A phone call is not just about conveying information; it is a valuable opportunity to connect with another person. Make the most of these moments by brushing up on your basic phone etiquette. Sharpen your phone skills with these 5 etiquette tips!
Do you know how to stay connected in a time of social distancing?
After weeks of social distancing, even the most introverted among us misses engaging with other people. Everything—or so it seems—is cancelled. But do you know what isn’t cancelled? Our biologically hardwired need to connect with other people. Staying connected is essential business. Learn 5 practical ways to keep being social in this tip!
Do you know how to present a business card?
Knowing how to smoothly exchange business cards is an easy way to boost your professional image and increase your confidence at networking events. Do you know how do you flawlessly handle the exchange? Learn how to present a business card in this tip!
Do you know how to eat soup? (hint: it’s eaten differently than cereal!)
Have you ever chosen not to order a delicious bowl of soup because you weren’t quite sure how to eat it or were worried that you would wear more than you ate? You aren’t alone! Soup can challenge even the most skilled diner. Thankfully, there is a handy rhyme that makes eating soup simple and keeps you drip-free! Learn how to eat soup (and how the process is different than cereal) in this tip!
Do you know who should return a dropped call?
The dreaded dropped call. You are in the middle of a story or are sharing important information and eventually realize that no one is listening. “Hello? Are you there?” Silence. You wonder how long you have been talking to yourself while you quickly call the other person back and are directed to voicemail. You hang up and receive a missed call notification. Ugh! Welcome to the most annoying game of phone tag. Save time and frustration by following the simple rule in this tip!
Do you know which water glass is yours?
Have you ever sat down to a beautiful table and not known which water glass was yours? No one wants to experience that awkward moment when they accidentally drink their table mate’s water! Learn our foolproof trick to identify your drink in this tip!
Do you send a thank you note for a host gift? (and what is a host gift?)
We often take our invitations to social events for granted but being included on someone’s guest list is an honor. Hosting events is a lot of work (especially when no one RSVPs!). A host gift is a gracious way to thank your host for including you in their celebration. Do you know when to give a host gift? What to bring? And whether to send a thank you note when you receive a host gift? Learn how to handle host gifts in this tip!
Do you know who should initiate a handshake?
We have all encountered that awkward moment when we meet someone and wonder if we should shake hands and—if so—who should extend their hand first? A handshake is the only appropriate form of touch in business and is an influential way to convey feelings of competence, warmth, strength, and connection. In the West, initiating a handshake signals confidence and leadership. It conveys that you are direct and in control. But who should shake hands first? Learn who shakes first in this tip!
Do you know where to place your name tag?
According to Dale Carnegie, “A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Our names matter. Unfortunately, learning and remembering a person’s name does not come easily to most people. A name tag lets people see your name in print, which increases the likelihood that they remember it. Did you know that there is a proper place to wear your name tag? Learn where to place your name tag (and why!) in this tip!
Do you know who should NOT drink during a toast?
A well-delivered toast can transform a simple meal into a memorable celebration and be the highlight of a wedding or special event. The modern toaster stands, delivers a brief, positive, heartfelt, and perhaps witty collection of words intended to honor the person being toasted. Everyone is asked to raise a glass in the recipient’s honor…and then what happens? Learn who should NOT drink during a toast—and what they should do instead— in this tip!
Did you know that it pays to be kind?
We have all heard the saying, “you’ll never regret being kind,” but do you believe it? Just one look at our social media feeds often begs the question, does being civil really pay off? We have the answer and it may surprise you. Learn the power of civility and take our Civility Awareness Quiz in this tip!
Do you know how to choose clothing that flatters your body?
Have you ever found yourself not being able to pinpoint why a certain top or pair of pants doesn’t look quite right? You love the color and style, but every time you put it on you don’t feel great. The right outfit has the power to fuel your confidence. Some people embrace all their curves and feel fabulous in everything, which is wonderful! Others feel more confident when their less loved features are not highlighted. If the latter is you, here is one tip to help you choose an outfit that flatters your body in a way you love!
Did you know that “Miss” and “Mrs.” should not be used in business?
Addressing men in business is clear: John Smith is formally addressed as Mr. Smith. But how should you address women in business? Women were traditionally addressed based on marital status. However, as society changed, so did etiquette! Learn how to address women in business today in this tip!
Do you know the Rule of Ten?
Your clothing is your instant messaging system; it is the first thing people notice and it communicates volumes before you have a chance to speak. How do you know if your outfit is boring, distracting, or brilliant? The Rule of Ten is the answer! Learn the Rule of Ten in this tip!
Do you know how to write a belated thank you note?
Did you forget to say thank you for a holiday gift? Thank you notes should ideally be sent within 48 hours, but it is never too late to say thank you! Expressing gratitude is a powerful opportunity to be remembered well. Learn how to write a belated thank you note in this tip!
Did you know that kids should not go first?
Many of us enjoy buffets with family around the holidays, and we often let kids go through the line first. Making hungry kids wait is not the most enjoyable task, but did you know that kids who can balance a plate and serve themselves should NOT go first through a buffet line? Learn who should go first in this tip!
Did you know that you do not always have to tip when asked?
The clerk at your favorite bakery, food truck, or coffee shop swipes your credit card and spins an electronic screen around that asks whether you want to tip. Do you select 15%, 20%, or 25% for being handed a pre-made sandwich? Or do you select “no tip” under the awkward gaze of the clerk? Learn how to respond to electronic tip requests in this tip!
Did you know that there is a way to handle food requirements at an event?
If you have a dietary issue, the standard etiquette was to let your host know at the point of R.S.V.P. After all, no one wants to call 911 due to an unknown, life-threatening reaction to nuts. However, as food awareness in the U.S. has expanded this rule has changed. Learn how to navigate your dietary needs when dining with others in this tip!
Did you know that personal space extends from 1.5 to 4 feet away?
If you have had someone intrude on your personal space, you know how hard it is to think about anything other than regaining your comfort zone. In fact, the maintenance of personal space appears to be a very basic survival mechanism. Learn why we respond so strongly to space invaders and how to effectively navigate personal space in this tip!
Did you know that both men and women should rise when others join the table?
Under traditional social etiquette rules, a man was expected to rise for a woman when she approached or left a table. Learn how this rule has changed and what you should do in this tip!
Did you know that airplane middle seats enjoy special rights?
What seat do you prefer when flying? Studies show that just over half of us opt for the window seat while the rest of us choose the aisle. Everyone’s last choice? The dreaded middle seat. No one enjoys being trapped in a tight space for hours between two strangers. The good news? Find out in this tip!
Did you know that there is a polite way to spit out food?
Everyone has faced that moment when you take a bite of food only to discover it contains something that you do not want to swallow. Once you have taken a bite, what do you do with pesky bones, pits, and meat gristle? Learn how to handle unwanted food in this tip.
Did you know that you should tip hotel housekeeping every day?
Travelers overwhelmingly forget to tip hotel housekeeping. In fact, 32% of hotel guests never tip these hardworking individuals who go about the overlooked work of cleaning our messes, scrubbing our toilets, making our beds, and tossing out our trash. Learn how much and how often to tip hotel housekeeping in this post.
Did you know that you do not have to answer every question you are asked?
“How much did that cost?” “Are you still single?” “How old are you?” “When do you plan to have children?” “Who did you vote for?” Handle cringeworthy questions like these with grace by following these three tips…
Did you know that there is a proper place to take a phone call?
Although phone booths have nearly disappeared from the landscape, the need to step away from others to take or place a call has not. Where should you take a phone call?…