DId you know that the average person speaks between 125 – 150 words per minute? Well studies indicate that this is true! Just think of a court reporter who gets paid the big bucks to type a minimum of 100+ words per minute. it is because we actually speak that quickly. Even more surprisingly than how many words we speak is how much of what we say is actually communitcated to our audience… in a way in which we intended for it to be received. If your body language is not well composed, words can truly get lost in translation.
Studies also indicate that 93% of the way we communitcae is through the use of body language. The other 7% of the way we communicate is with words. Our bodies communicate most in the eyes, but also with our hands, arms, fingers, eyebrows, stance, back posture, head movement, and lips. Believe it or not each movement represents one word.
Of course your spouse, co-worker, significant other, parents, off-spring, supervisor, manager, or customer may have heard you, but there IS a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a physical function. Listening is a mental function. Listening involves attentiveness, engagement, processing, evaluation, and determination. At this moment you probably hear noise from cars riding by your home or office, rain dripping outside of your window, your internal voice reading this article, and your child talking directly to you asking for more chocolate milk. All of these things you can hear at the same time. This is partially why the message that is received from the few words that were HEARD may further be misconstrued due to your tone (the way you say it), your pitch (the quality in which you say it), and your volume (how loudly or how softly you said it).
Learning the art of composing oneself and delivering a message that is cohesive in both expression/action and words are important! For information our class, “Body Language in the Workplace”, please contact me by email or phone at 410-820-8700 to schedule an event at your location.
Ummu Bradley Thomas
Knowing and developing your personal brand can prove to be quite beneficial. It will help in determining your perceived value to others both financially (when asking for the right salary, pricing, or contract negotiations), socially (when wanting to join the right organizations or clubs), and professionally (when deciding to position yourself to receive promotions etc.).
Image is not the only thing, but it is the one thing we are faced with throughout the day. How often do you catch a glimpse of yourself in store windows, through your computer screen, while passing a mirror, in a reflection on the sidewalk, through a television screen or while standing in front of someone with sunglasses? Not only is your image displayed to the 10 – 1000 people you pass daily, it is revealed to you throughout the day whether or not you intentionally look for it.
Just ask yourself the following:
1. If your image brand were a product, would you be an upscale, a mid-level, an economy, or a sales give-away?
2. If your level of professional service were compared to a hotel, would it be the Budget Inn, Marriot, Grand Hyatt, or Four Seasons?
3. If your enthusiasm level and zest for life were compared to an experience would it be a funeral, a spa, a carnival, or a roller coaster ride?
4. If your language and speech targeted your location, which zip code would you be found?
Now consider what your audience assumes. Your audience are the people you interact with or meet throughout the day:
1. What do they perceive as your highest level of education?
2. When customers/clients meet you, what do they assume your job title is with your company? Is it correct? A higher or lower title?
3. Are they surprised when they find out that you are in charge?
4. Are they always asking if you can get a second opinion on your advice? Do they request to speak with the higher-up often when dealing with you “just to make certain….”?
5. Do you mingle more than others at networking events, but wonder why you are never asked for or are offered a card?
6. Are you asked often to lower your pricing or do others feel lucky to have you at your cost value?
If your responses are not ideal for you, consider branding yourself. Jackie O was known for her poise, style and elegance. Halle Barry is known for her short/chic hair. Cindy Crawford for her beauty mark. Beyoncé for her curves. Oprah for being so business savvy. Elizabeth Taylor for her jewels (and marriages). Nancy Regan for wearing red. Tina Turner for her legs. What are you known for? What are your best asset features? What is your favorite style of fragrance? What is your signature walk? Your signature color? Your favorite tea?
A) Mixing two tubes of lipstick to find your perfect shade.
B) Blending two fragrances to find your perfect scent.
C) Finding the perfect stone or type of jewelry (real or fake) that enhances you. wear it often…. Wear it well until you are known for it.
D) Improve your penmanship…
E) Find another word other than ‘Sincerely’ to end emails or letters.
F) Find a signature style for your hair – one that frames your face.
G) Become known for a style of clothing that suits you best (have it taken in to fit you just so).
H) Work on your voice. Make your sound so memorable that your audience is left lingering on your every word.
I) Enter a room and pause. When others take notice… flash your new signature smile (this can be achieved with practice).
J) Find a special stationary. Send a thank you note by mail in place of email.
K) Learn some words from another language. Use it when you say hello and good bye to others.
L) Be classy. Skip the foam-made cup and bring your very own special cup and saucer from home or your coffee while at work.
M) Have a favorite actress? Rent some of her old movies and practice her expressions, poise, posture, and mannerisms that you think are classy!
N) Don’t just scribble your name. Sign it with purpose and glamour!
The important thing is to tailor all of your fine points to you in order to develop your own special brand that is UNIQUELY YOU!
Ummu Bradley Thomas
Good Morning All,
No is one of the first words we learn as a child, but fail to use in business. The ability to say the “N” word NO has become taboo on the job. In fact, the discomfort in the use of the NO word has resulted in many failed projects even when they are worked on or supported during many long days, evenings, and weekends. Why is it that so many are trapped into saying “YES” or “NO Problem” instead of saying any of the following:
1) Absolutely, it will be my pleasure to work on it, once I finish doing projects 1, 2, and 3.
2) I’d love to assist, but how soon do you need it? I have several other irons on the fire that require immediate attention.
3) How much of my involvement will the project require? I have to work on a report that’s due on Tuesday, and a presentation that’s due tomorrow by COB. I can oversee the task if Sharon handles the specifics.
4) Can I back log A, B, C, and/or D, in order to do this project for you by the end of the day?
5) Do you mind if I check with my other team members before accepting this additional task? I just want to make certain that they will not be short handed for the ABC project.
6) What additional resources will be assigned to this project? We are short on paper, pens, computer space, and funding. Do you have any suggestions on how we can accomplish this with limited resources?
7) Can Team members Sue and Jackie assist me in completing this project? It sounds like we may need several bodies on this one.
8) I can put ___________ on hold if you want me to.
9) During Wednesday’s meeting, you requested that I start on _____________. Should I still keep that task under my radar?
10) I’d like to continue with doing _______________, however, if you are unable to find another team member, I will certainly roll up my sleeves and assist.
Why is it that we believe that saying “Yes” to opportunity means saying yes to any task realistic or otherwise with no questions asked or answered? Why is it that some feel that they must manage their schedules as if they had the ability of an octopus to reach out and touch 8 projects at once?
Learn to say “NO” but give reason why the answer is no or not right now. In most cases, an unfocused or forgetful boss that is bogged down in tasks and scheduling may have forgotten that he or she has in fact assigned you 5 other tasks due within the next week. In fact, he or she may not consider the previously assigned workload, so it is a good idea to offer a very tactful reminder of your current agenda. This will not only make you appear to be conscientious and on top of things, but very professional, if done right. This will also help you to avoid the following negative performance evaluation comments:
1) “Takes on more than necessary or too many projects at once.”
2) “Needs improvement with multi-tasking.”
3) “Poor time management.”
4) “Needs to communicate workload better.”
5) “Lack of confidence in her/his ability to get things done.”
6) “Does not plan for contingencies.”
7) “Does not handle time crunches well.”
8) “Unable to estimate the time to get things done.”
9) “Is easily distracted by projects more interesting.”
10) “Has difficulty prioritizing and delegating.”
11) “Struggles with staying focused on what’s most important.”
Do yourself a favor and tap into your inner child and learn to say “NO”, but in a professional manner. You may find that it is well worth the practice.
Ummu Bradley Thomas
Have you seen a young adult desperate for a summer job? I have seen plenty in the last several weeks. Yesterday I was in a store and a young lady dressed in cut off shorts, a tank top, and flip flops barely waited for me to stop speaking to the attendant before she blurted out “Are ya’ll hire-ren?” This is so typical of the young adult guerrilla-approach to job searching. If you know of a young adult in search of employment, consider telling them the following:
1) Come prepared with a resume. It does not matter the type of job. Having a resume will put them above the others that are hoping to simply collect a ream of job applications.
2) Wear appropriate clothing. Flapping around with flip flops will only make them appear as if they will be a nuisance and not an added value.
3) Properly remove gum before entering the store to speak.
4) Conceal tattoos.
5) Leave the friends outside, in the car, or at home.
6) Wait for the customers to be serviced before asking for job openings.
7) If there is not a “HIRING” sign out front, it is not likely any jobs are available. However, it still may be a perfect time for them to introduce themselves in a professional manner and ask for his or her resume to be kept on file.
8) Ask them to avoid asking for the amount of pay at the same time they are requesting an application or at all.
9) Tell them to say “thank you for your time” whether or not a job is available. Most young adults just walk away pouting when no job is available.
10) Don’t ride a bike into the store.
11) Don’t walk into the establishment talking on the cell phone.
12) Use good manners and speak properly.
Most importantly, summer jobs should be applied for in the Spring. Last minute running around is not a good strategy. All of the more serious candidates shop around for employment before school lets out and summer begins.
Ummu Bradley Thomas
Good Morning All,
Most people reflect on making a great first impression (in person), others reflect on making a great first impression (over the phone), but fail to give it as much attention. However, the least amount of effort is placed on making a great first impression (writing). Just consider…
Have you ever received a fundraiser note from a nonprofit or an organization requesting funds from you and your name was spelled incorrectly? Is your immediate reaction to toss it into the trash? I find it interesting how much time, effort, and money organizations spend on developing its pitch, choosing the quality of invitation paper, stamps, and manpower, but very little effort on inputting the names correctly and quality controlling the mail merge prior to sending it out to potential donors.
New Committee Leader Introductory Emails:
Have you ever donated countless hours of your time to a committee because you respected its Chair and the cause only to “suddenly become too busy to participate” on the committee after receiving a not so “people person” introductory email from the incoming Chair whose tone was overly demanding and out of touch with the cause? The email was probably worded as if it came from a CEO addressing paid employees and not a Committee Chair addressing volunteers.
Cover Email/Note to a Potential Employer:
Have you ever dismissed a potential employee because he or she had typos in his or her cover note or email? I have read numerous employment seeking emails that sounded too desperate, too wordy, and too unprofessional. Just as a note: any correspondence to potential (or current) employers should leave out jokes, LOLs, smiley and unhappy faces.
Sales Pitch Notes:
The most interesting of all are sales pitch notes that demand that you need services or products NOW and PAY NOW just because the salesperson is selling them. The best notes are informational and not ones that are too condescending and too “sales” like.
If you have not yet met the person on the other end of your letter or email… make it a great first impression! Your written or typed words speak volumes about who you are as a person and a professional. Consider your tone, personality, professionalism, and points that you want to get across when reaching out to someone for the first time. It is just as crucial as when you meet them in person for the first time.
Ummu Bradley Thomas
In business, you must possess savoir faire to not only survive, but to thrive in success! With this in mind, can you answer the following:
1) If you met another in business from a different country, would you know whether to shake hands, bow, kiss once or kiss twice?
2) In the United States workforce:
a) If your start time is at 9:00 am, does it mean that you arrive exactly at 9:00 am or should you have already made your trip to the powder room, had coffee, and logged into your computer at exactly 9:00 am to begin your day?
b) If your leave time is at 5:00 pm, does it mean that you should already be logged out, coat on, and made your trip to the commode and on your way out the door at exactly 5:00 pm?
3) In some cultures punctuality is not a high priority in business, however, as a foreigner, are you expected to be on time?
4) In the United States, you are expected to arrive promptly for dinner parties. However, in some other cultures, if you are invited to a party, never be on time. In fact, for dinner parties it is appropriate to arrive up to one hour late if you are arriving with several guests and up to 30 minutes if arriving alone. Do you know where and when this rule applies?
5) In the United States (for business meetings), is 5, 10, or 15 minutes early considered on time? Is 1 minute after the scheduled time considered too late? Is 30 minutes earlier than the agreed time considered too desperate?
6) If you invite another to dinner, who pays? Once you have been invited, are you then obligated to return the invitation?
7) In the Arab world, the left hand is considered unclean. Always use the right hand in preference to the left. Eat only with your right hand. Does this same hold true in other parts of the world? If so, which parts of the world prefer eating with their left hand?
8) In the United States, it is customary to arrive with a demo and in some cases a contract on the first visit. However, in other countries arriving with either or both a demo or contract and without gift on the first visit can almost definitely be frowned upon
9) In the Unities States, looking somewhat frumpy or adorning yourself in unisex garb will not eliminate you in business in some parts of the country, but it will more than likely place a ceiling on your success. Women dress elegantly and men’s suits are well cut. To do business in Italy, you may consider investing not only on your business agenda and technical research, but also in your personal image to be successful. What other countries does this same rule (strictly) apply?
Even people who have never toured another country or never plan to tour another country may eventually come across someone of another culture in business, so increasing your savoir faire IQ can be crucial.
Ummu Bradley Thomas
Good Morning, As an image consultant, I have advised doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, pageant contestants, executives, politicians, First Ladies (of churches), soon to be college and high school graduates and scores of woman and men on how to project a powerful image. With each client, my goal is to bring out the dynamic qualities that they have hidden somewhere on the inside and to bring them out to the external image that is presented to the world around them.
To do this, I often have to assist in re-wiring the client’s self-imposed misconceptions/inaccuracies of their personal assets and exaggerations of liabilities with regards to their self-esteem, self-worth, and overall self-image. For how one feels on the inside is truly reflected on how one appears visibly on the outside and it is indicated in more than through simple expression of emotion such as one wearing a smile or not.
Internal feelings are reflected externally from everything from weight, disposition, split ends and thinning hair, picked/scratched skin, to poor posture, and a not so confident walk. It truly makes the difference in whether a person enters a room unnoticed or becomes under constant surveillance from on-lookers in admiration (indicating a positive image) or disgust (indicating an extreme, crude, or outlandish image).
When you meet someone for the first time, you have an average of 30 seconds to make a confident, warm and personable first impression. This is because studies show that the average person has roughly a 30 second attention span. If you lose that new acquaintance to a sloppy introduction, you may risk losing them as an associate, customer, partner, friend, or employer all together.
Knowing how to properly introduce oneself and others is frighteningly a forgotten art. Knowing the correct way greatly enhances your positioning and influence in business, your social life, and the community.
If you don’t get into the habit of introducing people, you may stumble on your trip up the corporate ladder. Introductions bring people together to exchange business information and enhance their networks. The person with a high level of confidence finds the art of introductions a skill worth mastering.
Who should be introduced to whom? The rules of introductions are as follows The Etiquette Advantage (2005):
- Introduce a younger person to an older person.
- Introduce a person of lower rank to status to a person of higher rank or status.
- Introduce a man to a woman.
- Introduce a peer in your own company to a peer in another company.
- Introduce a person you know less to a person you know more.
- Introduce a fellow executive to a client or customer.
- Introduce a nonofficial person to an official person.
- When introducing a person at a banquet or official function, you introduce that person by his full name.
Always rise while being introduced. During the introduction, include a point or two that they may find of common interest. Avoid controversial topics, mention something that will carry the conversation, but avoid maximizing the conversation.
If you are introduced by your first name only, complete the introduction by saying, ‘”Pleased to meet you, I’m Ummu Bradley Thomas.” Look directly at the person you are speaking to. Smile, introduce yourself and shake hands. If the person does not respond with their name, just say “and you are?” or “to whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?” Avoid the usage of “Hi, Hey, or How are ya?”
The key is to always think and act like a brand manager for yourself, your company and your country. You are known by the places you frequent and the company you keep. A smile and the positive disposition eliminates awkward moments that can possibly make you appear unpolished.
Ummu Bradley Thomas
In society, it is the Law of Give before you can Receive. In philosophy, it is the Law of Cause and Effect. In banking terms, it is the Law of Deposit before you Withdraw. In biblical terms, it is the Law of Sowing and Reaping “Whatsoever you sow, that also shall you reap.” The laws are called by many names, however, the rules are very much the same.
For example, in the workforce…whatever you do/put in (hard work, careful thought and consideration, training others (with pleasure), taking responsibility, or burning the midnight oil) you will eventually reap/benefit (promotions, positive relationships, over-time pay, raises, and excellent references) from doing. This means that you must work with the genuine intent of helping others first long before you set your sights on what’s in it for you to gain!
Unfortunately, many work as if they are only a “one man” or “one woman” show with the intent of doing for themselves or “getting theirs”, yet they often question why they have not progressed further in their careers. Things that you can do to sow on the job are as follows:
1) Mentor a junior co-worker.
2) Share responsibilities
3) Offer (genuine) critique.
4) Train an incoming member of your team.
5) Get things done now by overcoming procrastination!
6) Revitalize co-worker relationships.
7) Make your rounds lunching with many instead of the usual select few.
8) Work with energy — it will spread to others.
9) Make better choices — as it will affect others.
10) Achieve your ambitions by assisting another with their ambition
11) Develop the habit of going the extra mile.
12) Roll up your sleeves to assist in tasks that are outside of your job description.
13) Offer a smile, handshake, or word of encouragement and it will soon reciprocate.
14) Pay attention and listen to others on a project.
Most importantly, look to do these things without anticipating, instant gratification, praise, or an immediate return. Remember the best investments take time. Sowing into your workforce community will certainly reap benefits in the end. Just work without the intent of receiving, but with the idea of sowing. Have you ever recognized that the most successful people on the job are also the most respected and oftentimes most helpful? I bet if you look around you will see just that!
Ummu Bradley Thomas
Personal life can in fact seep over to your professional life. How many ball players, actors, politicians, clergy members, and everyday workers have you seen who have acted irresponsibly on their free time and have been forced to resign, lose endorsements, or be issued a leave of absence? Behavior does truly matter both on and off the court or in and out of the office. Please consider…
1. Is it okay to make off-handed comments on Facebook? After all..it’s your personal page.
2. You are a surgeon who is drunk at the bar and one of your patients observe you. Do you think it matters to him or her whether you are still the best choice for his or her surgery? After all, you are drinking on your free time and your lab jacket is still in the office.
3. You are a director that walks around in the company fitness center’s changing room in undergarments. You are on your lunch break, so you think it doesn’t matter, but should you pay more attention to change behind a curtain more so than the average employee?
4. You are rude to the young waitress or waiter (often). You suddenly meet him or her at your company’s picnic with your boss. Think it would matter?
5. You are a school principal who frequently cuts grass without a shirt on or a belt on your jeans. After all… it’s hot outside and you are home cutting your grass. Your students observe your dragon tattoo on your back and go home and chat about it. Do you think it matters?