Sunday 26 July 2015

7 Tips for Business Travel Etiquette

Weary business travelers have an unsaid camaraderie about them when they see each other at the end of the day waiting impatiently for a delayed flight, picking up souvenirs for the family to avoid the guilt of being away. Some have the ‘feeling important’ look, being the special chosen ones from their company to travel for a meeting. Some like to look busy, barking away orders on the phone. Others quietly retire into a corner with their laptops either keeping up with their emails or their reading. It is fun to watch and observe.

As you may have guessed, I’ve been travelling on work for many years now. Here are some tips I’d like to share based on my observations:

  1. Pack well – Pack only what you need but do pack an extra set of clothes. You could allot some space if you like to shop for local stuff like traditional arts and crafts or even souvenirs. Try and pack clothes that will not get crumpled. You could carry a travelling iron. It’s also okay to use the hotel laundry to have your clothes ironed. I carry separators that I put in space saver bags between clothes so they don’t move too much or crumple. 
  2. Dress professionally - It is important to look your best for meetings. Dress professionally and carry a combination of clothes you can mix and match if you are staying over a few days. You could carry an evening shirt or blouse if you think you may need to go out for dinner.
  3. Maps and addresses - You have set your appointments but make sure you have the updated office addresses and phone numbers in place before going to meetings. Map distances between meetings and the approximate time it will take. Keep in mind your phone just may not find good network signal in that city or may run out of battery. Carrying a backup battery or power bank may come in handy
  4. Rental car – make sure your car arrangements have been decided before you land and the driver knows the locations you need to visit. I’ve asked for a change of driver if I’m not happy with the one I get for whatever reasons. Do tip the driver when he drops you back. 
  5. Hotel etiquette - If we are nice to hotel staff, they are nice to us. This is even more important if you are a frequent guest at the hotel. So what if the company’s footing the bill. We need to behave well and follow the right etiquette. Tip the staff well. Do take time to give feedback when the hotel asks for it so they keep in mind your needs when you visit next.
  6. Safety precautions – we need to take adequate safety precautions when we travel to a new place. Don’t stay out late by yourself without having checked if it is safe to do so. Go out with people or friends you know. Ladies need to be extra cautious and on alert when travelling to a new city. I’ve refused to stay at hotels I’m not comfortable in. I’ve asked for a change of car drivers if I’m not comfortable. 
  7. Eat light & keep hydrated – One doesn’t have time to eat when one has a packed day running from one meeting to another but it’s important to eat well, eat light and stay hydrated to avoid feeling tired. Carry a snack or a fruit when you leave the hotel in the morning to take care of hunger pangs.

Why don’t you share your tips as well?

Tuesday 21 July 2015

10 Tips on Office Etiquette

Don’t we all have that one colleague, who talks too loudly on personal calls? Or the one who sneezes all over without an ‘excuse me’? Office Etiquette is very important in the work environment today. What people think of you is dependent on a lot of factors other than your performance. It is always a good idea to put your best foot forward, whether at your office desk or at the lunch table. 

Here’s a list of things to keep in mind around your office:

  1. Stay at home when sick:  Why would you want to infect the rest of the office? Its okay to take a day off if you are sick. If you do end up going to office with a cold or a cough, do be careful to use tissues while coughing or sneezing. You can excuse yourself from shaking hands with others. 
  2. Eat lunch in the cafeteria: Most offices have a designated area for lunch and coffee breaks. Avoid eating food at your desk. Your room as well the rest of the office area will start smelling of food you’ve consumed (read  ). At the lunch table, clean up after yourself. 
  3. Keep phone volumes low: I’ve seen people at offices do conference calls with the door open or use speakerphones in open offices thereby disturbing colleagues. If you are working in an open area, you could try and be soft or step into a meeting room while making or receiving calls whether official or personal.
  4. Keep mobile ringtones in check: Ideally keep your ring tone on low volume or on vibration so you don’t disturb your colleagues. Bollywood songs, whistling or other such ringtones are highly avoidable in the corporate environment.
  5. Don’t gossip: A highly avoidable habit is gossiping about colleagues and indulging in politics.  Everyone stands to lose this game.
  6. Don’t take things from people’s desks without asking: The stapler may be company property but it is still not advisable to take it off someone’s desk without permission. Always ask to borrow things and be mindful to return the item as well.
  7. Hold back on the perfume: While it is great that you want to smell pleasant at work, do consider that your favorite perfume may not agree with someone else’s sensibilities. Wear light perfumes at work.
  8. Ask before changing the AC settings: Everyone has a different preference for the temperature in the room. In case you need to change the AC settings ask your colleagues. You may be surprised to know that everyone thought the room was too cold but decided not to say anything.
  9. Follow the Dress Code: Diligently follow the dress code of the organisation. Even casual Fridays call for conservative dressing.  Don’t wear colors that are too loud or clothes that are revealing.  
  10. Keep your desk clean and organised: A cluttered desk does not indicate you are working very hard. While personalizing your workplace is a good idea, going overboard with pictures is not advisable. One picture of your loved ones and an inspirational message should be good.

Do share your list of dos and don'ts of office etiquette.

Sunday 12 July 2015

6 Tips to Conducting Effective Office Meetings

I’ve been part of several waste-of-time Monday morning (compulsory) meetings as a junior rookie and wondered why we spent so much time not doing any work.  With almost one work day wasted in office meetings, we were essentially left with 4 work days to do actual client work. 

Office meetings are important for obvious reasons if you look at things from the boss’ perspective. However, they tend to largely drag on or be a waste of everyone’s time especially if it doesn’t directly involve them.

Here are some tips to make office meetings more effective:
  1. Invite only relevant people to join the meeting – everyone need not be asked to join the meeting just to be nice to them or make them feel important. A meeting is not a PR exercise.
  2. Encourage everyone to be prepared – circulate the agenda in advance and ask people to think and be prepared before they get into the meeting so each person comes with their views. If you need to conduct smaller one-on-one meetings before the big one, do it.
  3. Stick to the agenda and goals. Don’t digress - a business meeting with a defined agenda and goals is not the place to air views about other matters and get side tracked. In case there are pending issues to be discussed, set another meeting time.
  4. Someone leads the meeting – If you have called for a meeting, you should be concluding it.  You could moderate it or select another colleague to do it.
  5. Respect time – Sometimes meetings run so over time that everyone loses energy and interest thereby diluting its purpose. Not to mention a serious waste of precious executive time and productivity. Set a realistic time and stick with it. 
  6. Conclusion & Follow up – summarize the meeting, set goals and responsibilities with timelines. Follow up with the concerned parties to ensure tasks have been completed as discussed in the meeting. This is absolutely crucial to achieving progress.
There is of course meeting etiquette that one can take care of to increase effectiveness – the key being leaving gadgets out to rest. If one has the ability to listen and allow other points of view, that works well too.

Viraj Kulkarni, Founder & CEO, Pivot Management Consultants, shares some tips from his experience, “Many of us speak very fast. Be in no hurry, speak slowly to be heard clearly. Slowly, not softly, else you would be asked to repeat. Special attention should be paid to dressing for video conferencing (VC). I’ve seen many people fidget with chair knobs or play with cell phones while on a VC! This should be avoided. Remember to smile. Serious business can be done with a pleasant smile too".

Please share your tips for effective office meetings.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Want to know how to accessorize your work outfit?

Always wondered how to choose the right accessories for your work outfit? Read our tips on how to do it just right in today's Afternoon Despatch & Courier.

Check out our accessories board for ideas

Have questions or want to share your personal experience? Feel free to comment below.
Looking for a Personal Consultation, tailor made to suit your body shape, career goals & personality? Click on 'Connect' in the navigation bar above and get in touch.

Thursday 2 July 2015

5 Office Party Do’s and Don’ts

I bet the first thing that came to your mind when you read the title is obvious – the recent case where a young lawyer got drunk hanging out with colleagues after work and was responsible for the deaths of two people.

We all know what should and should not be done, yet we don’t mind crossing boundaries once in a while. However, that once in a while may be too heavy a price to pay for your reputation.

Most of us socialize outside of the office with the people we work with. Whether it’s a celebration for the completion of a major project or a dinner invite to your boss’s home, or a party with your distributors and dealers, you want to be relaxed and at the same time put your best foot forward. You should be able to have fun at such events and return to office with your head held high.

Follow these 5 rules to be remembered as the life of the party for all the right reasons:
  1. Do follow the instructions on the invite: Firstly make sure you RSVP after you receive an invite. Read and adhere to the instructions mentioned – party theme and dress code. The invite will also tell you if you are expected to attend with your spouse or partner. If required do inform the name of your guest.
  2. Do arrange for transportation after the party: It is the prudent thing to think about your transportation back home after the party. Get colleagues who may live in your area to car pool that day and hire a driver for the drive back. If that’s not an option taking a taxi is the best solution.
  3. Do use the opportunity to network: Use the opportunity to network, make new friends and create a better rapport with colleagues across departments. Discuss hobbies and other interests for deeper connections with people. Network with people who you may not be directly working with but may play a role in furthering your career.   
  4. Do not get inebriated: Needless to say, it’s highly inappropriate to be over drinking at an office party. Know your limits and stick to them.
  5. Do not talk shop or complain about your workplace and colleagues: It’s very easy to get into the trap of gossiping and cribbing about one’s workplace and colleagues at office meet-ups. Keep away from joining such office groups. Your original seemingly harmless remark may get blown out of proportion and retold all over office. Work related discussions should be kept brief. If the invite is extended to spouses they may find the work conversation uninteresting. Small talk is what is required and expected at office parties.  
Do thank the organizers for their efforts. Making a good impression at office parties will help you build a good reputation. 

Thursday 25 June 2015

7 Tips For Successful Business Entertaining

Business entertaining is a fine art. Many a deal have been struck not at an office meeting but in a more relaxed environment like lunch or dinner or on the golf greens. Sharing time with people, over a meal, away from the office environment can help build a more personal relationship and cement your working relationships. 

Hosting a business lunch or dinner should be a pleasant experience. With a little bit of planning, you can ensure that the meal is a success. Here are some tips you can follow to ensure that your business lunch is remembered for all the right reasons.

  1. Send formal invites. Sending out invites well in time will ensure that your guests are available to attend. An invite sent a week or ten days in advance is preferable. Ensure that you remind the guests a day prior to the event. The invite should give directions to the venue as well as the dress code.
  2. It is all about the guest. Keep the preferences of the guests in mind when selecting the restaurant. Ask beforehand if any of the guests have any specific restrictions or allergies and preferences like vegetarian or vegan food to avoid any issues later.
  3. Visit the venue beforehand. It is a good idea to visit the restaurant beforehand to make sure that they can cater to your needs. You may want to choose a table and reserve it – one that affords privacy. Guests should feel comfortable about talking business without being overheard. You may want to issue any specific instructions in advance. 
  4. Seating arrangements. The position of honor is always to the right of the host. The second highest-ranking guest sits to your left. The third honored guest sits to the right of your first honored guest. Gender does not play a role in determining a seat of honor while rank does.
  5. It is not about the food. This is the most important thing to keep in mind. Food that requires too much attention to be eaten or becomes messy while eating should be avoided.  Nobody wants to have to dig into a huge plate full of food and have to stop talking. Order small non messy dishes which will not interfere with the conversation.
  6. It’s not about the drink either. The worst thing to do is to become inebriated during a business meet. Stay very sober so you can focus on the discussion and not lose control.
  7. While entertaining international visitors, study their social norms. Even inadvertently violating cultural taboos can cause great offence. Hence it is best to keep in mind the cultural variations with respect to greetings and eating time. For example while hugging is an acceptable form of greeting for anyone from Latin America, bowing is the best greeting for your guests from Japan. Americans and Europeans have early evening dinner time.
Says Vineet Thakar, Vice President at an MNC, "Business lunches are more about furthering the relationship. I have observed that many executives keep their cell phones on the table and take their calls at the table itself. It is important that you keep the phone on silent and accept only the calls that are important after you excuse yourself.  Responding to every call, texting or messaging conveys a message to the others at the table that they are less important than the person on the phone."

Do share your experiences and views.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Suhasini's tips on Office Lunch Etiquette in Afternoon Newspaper

Afternoon lunches in office are about getting together with colleagues and sharing some food and light talk. Right? However, what you may think to be harmless banter or chat, could affect your relationship with colleagues and how you are perceived could affect work in general. Remember it's still office, and office colleagues, hence office etiquette should be followed

Read tips from Suhasini on things to mind, and do's and dont's during those office lunches, in Mumbai's Afternoon Despatch & Courier. 

Got questions? Have some thoughts or experiences you would like to share? Please comment below.

Happy reading and have a great lunch.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

All about Women speaks to Suhasini India’s foremost website for women catering to the contemporary and opinionated woman, spoke to Suhasini regarding Image Consulting and how it helps.

Read it here

Feel free to comment and ask questions if any. You may also click on the connect tab above and connect with Suhasini.

Enjoy reading. 

Tuesday 28 April 2015

5 Tips For Reading Facial Expressions

We say a lot even when we don’t say a thing. Body language is a clear give-away of what we’re feeling or thinking. Awareness will help us improve our body language and read others too! 

‘Lie To Me’ was a fascinating series featuring a deception detection expert who spotted criminals purely on facial expressions. It was based on the work of Dr Paul Ekman, the co-discoverer of micro-expressions.

Our facial expressions reflect what we feel on the inside and are therefore important to understand. Communication in offices today is done around a conference room table where body language like hand gestures, posture, crossing legs and facial expressions are noted.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind to understand facial expressions:

  1. Should be consistent with our words: giving mixed cues of verbal and non-verbal communication is confusing. Always be consistent in what is being said and how it is said. For example, you may be unwell and in pain and you go in for a first meeting with someone. Your facial expressions may be inconsistent with your language and may be wrongly interpreted by the other person.

  2. Eye contact: Eyes are called ‘the window to the soul’ and are said to ‘speak a thousand words’. Maintaining eye contact when speaking indicates interest. While intense staring is interpreted as aggression, shifty eyes that can’t hold a gaze are interpreted as the person being insincere. For example, if a junior looks away when timelines are being chalked out, the manager may not feel confident that he will deliver. 

    It is wise, however, to know the cultural impact of eye contact. Extended eye contact is not appropriate in certain cultures.

  3. Eye movement: Blinking is a very minor movement but an important observation in a conversation. Blinking rate tends to increase when a person is stressed or uncomfortable. It also increases when the mind wanders.

    When someone is excited by an idea their pupils will be significantly more dilated. Similarly, looking down at the floor is a natural response when someone is not being truthful. Awareness about these cues gives may give you an edge in a conversation or negotiation.

  4. Micro Expressions: Micro expressions are brief involuntary facial expressions that are difficult to fake and reveal the true inner feelings of a person. There are seven universal micro expressions: disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise and contempt. They often occur as fast as 1/15 to 1/25 of a second.
    For example – you may be speaking with an industry associate who may reiterate that he doesn't see you as competition but his facial expression says otherwise. You may detect that slight one sided slant that appears to be a smile but is actually contempt.

  5. Lips: Pursed lips could indicate distaste or disapproval. Lip biting may mean stress. Covering mouth is indicative of hiding an emotional response. Slight changes in the mouth are subtle indicators of how a person is feeling – slightly up means happy, slightly down could mean sad or disapproval. A sincere smile will go a long way in establishing rapport with the other person. 

An awareness of facial expressions will help us develop more empathy and emotional intelligence as it helps us recognize feelings in others and therefore helps us respond better to others. 

When I take Image management sessions for my clients, non verbal communication is an important area that people come back and say has helped them in their daily lives.

Thursday 9 April 2015

7 Tips To A Good Handshake

A senior manager once told me that the key to creating a rapport, that first connection, with his clients is his smile and handshake. That’s the moment he’s got half the sale because he has set the tone of the meeting and made his clients feel at ease.

26% of hiring managers say that a weak handshake is a major turnoff for a job seeker.

It is not without reason that first impressions are called last impressions. A good handshake tells your story. It shows the person you are greeting, your personality as well as your attitude.

Messages a handshake can convey
•       The Bone crusher or Vice handshake – bone breaking squeeze. Aggressive, overbearing.
•       The Dead fish or Limp handshake – weak and clammy hands. Disinterested, introvert,            shaky, not confident.
•       The Claw – using only fingers in a claw-like grasp.  Inauthentic, shallow.
•       The Water Pump – exaggerated up and down movement. Extreme, Insincere.
•       The Firm Handshake – palm to palm, 2-3 pumps, delivered with a smile. Warm,                        sincere, confident, leadership qualities.  

Here's a humorous video to illustrate the above a bit more.

A handshake is the first and last thing we do at a meeting so getting it right is important. 
Here are 7 tips - 
  1. Start conversation or an introduction
  2. Stand up while shaking hands to show respect
  3. Walk around anything (a table) that may be between you and the person you are shaking hands with
  4. Establish eye contact to let the person know they are important. Also helps avoid the   ‘missed hand’ situation.
  5. Smile – is actually the handshake before the handshake
  6. Shake hands – a full palm to palm, firm-grip handshake with a hand pump 2/3 times  (shake from the elbow) is perfect
  7. Dry hands – if you tend to have sweaty hands, keep a tissue in your pocket and use it     before you know you are going to be shaking hands (not in front of the person). Vice versa – if you have shaken hands with a sweaty palmed person, do not wipe your hands immediately and embarrass them. Do it discreetly or later.
•       At work, there is no gender bias – you shake hands firmly with men and women. Be the         first to put out your hand.
•       Socially – you can wait for the lady to extend her hand first
•       When you are traveling to different countries keep in mind traditions around greeting              people including handshakes. 

Observe and practice handshakes with your friends and colleagues and get honest feedback. Share your interesting experiences with us and feel free to ask questions. 

Wednesday 25 March 2015

How to Wear Patterns

Yesterday, while going to the office I noticed a gentleman wearing striped trousers and a checkered shirt and it got me thinking about wearing patterns. Indian clothes and patterns are very vibrant and many a time we see people wearing several colors, textures and patterns combined together. This is nice but if we keep in mind some pointers when it comes to patterns, we’d be better off. 

Patterns create illusions about the size, shape and weight of the body. Patterns attract attention. For example thin vertical stripes can make you look taller and thinner whereas thick vertical stripes and horizontal stripes can make you look wider. Small scale closely space patterns will be better than large scale widely spaced patterns that make you look bigger.

Patterns can be classified as classic or traditional and trendy. Classic patterns are ever green and include pin stripes, chalk stripes, pin dots, polka dots, coin dots, paisley, floral, tweed, herringbone, gingham checks, houndstooth, plaids, argyle. Trendy patterns are the ones in fashion for a while. These patterns tend to fade out quickly.  

How to wear patterns?

Scale – The most important point to remember while pairing patterns is the scale. Combine big and small patterns to create a balance. Generally, wear patterns that are mid or small scale. Large scale patterns attract attention. So wear small patterns in areas you want to draw attention away from. 

Add solids/neutrals to your outfit – Break the visual space by adding solids or neutrals to your outfits. You do this with bags, shoes, accessories or another article of clothing. 

Choose a color palette – Using colors from the same family or one main color when mixing patterns can be visually stimulating. Prints in similar backgrounds also look good. Try a monochrome colour palette. Prints in a black and white color palette are great for a classic look.

If you are a big fan of patterns, it’s advisable to stick to small scale geometric patterns at work, if not solid colors. One can experiment with other patterns, perhaps on Fridays at work and for casual wear. Choose patterns that will camouflage your body variations and enhance your body shape. 

My pinterest board  has more options.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

How to make monochromatic work for you

Monochromatic literally means having or consisting of one color or hue. 

In fashion it means dressing from head to toe in one color. However, it’s not as boring as it sounds. Wearing a monochromatic outfit makes a bold statement and can really make us look chic. The best part is we tend to look slimmer and taller in monochromatic outfits. We are familiar with the date night ritual of all black.

How to pull off a great monochromatic look?

  • Different shades of the same color works well. Try shades of brown and rust or light and dark blues.

  • Play with textures and create an interesting effect.  Interesting texture combinations can be created using - Silk (which has a natural sheen), Wool (the dull, more subtle texture), Lace, Leather (whether used for a jacket, skirt or as trimming for clothes). A beige silk blouse or shirt paired with a leather jacket in the same color will look attractive.

We can make this work in the office too. Formal dressing works well in this scheme and the textures make an interesting statement. Use the duller fabric from the part of the body you want to draw attention away. The eyes get naturally drawn to the brighter fabric and this can be effectively used.

  • The key to pulling together a great monochromatic look is in the accessories. No outfit is complete without the right shoes and accessories. Accessories should ideally be of the same color but you can get away with a touch of another color. For example if you dress in a blue outfit, a silver necklace would be perfect.

Of course, we are comfortable trying neutrals but do try combinations beyond neutrals like reds, pinks, oranges, rust. 

Look into your wardrobe and pull out tops, bottoms and accessories of the same color and experiment with a new look.

See my pinterest board for more monochromatic outfits

Thursday 5 March 2015

Wear Colors Of Spring - Holi Hai!

When trees sprout brilliant green leaves and the koels start cooing, we know spring is here. And it’s also time for the festival of colors – Holi. We Indians enjoy wearing bright colors most of the time and are perhaps most experimental with our color selection. However, some basics need to be kept in mind when wearing colors. One can wear almost any color but it’s the combination of colors that makes the difference. Its not only what you wear but how and where you wear it.

So why do we need to pay attention to colors? Colors draw attention to a particular part of body, they create illusions and they communicate moods and messages. For example Navy Blue communicates authority, stability and is classic, dignified. Orange communicates activity, adventure, creativity and is joyful, lively. Generally the lighter color attracts the eye, so if you want attention away from a particular area, wear a dark color there.
 It is recommended that 80% of our wardrobes comprise of neutral colors and 20% accent colors.

What are Neutral colors?
·       Muted or less bright a color is neutral
·       Adds versatility to your wardrobe by helping mix-n-match
·       Can easily combine with other colors that are brighter or darker
·       Neutrals go with a wide range of occasions and moods
·       Examples - Colors in tints and shades of cream, beige, brown, olive green, blue, grey,               black and white, etc. These colors build the basis of your wardrobe.

What are Accent colours?

·       Colours that add pop to your outfit are accent colours
·       Brighter than the wardrobe neutral combined with it. They are strong, intense,                         flamboyant.
·       Can combine with very few other clothes
·       These depend on personal preference and even the current fashion trends
·       Examples – fuchsia, shocking pink, lime green, canary yellow, tangerine, etc

How do you use/combine neutral and accent colors?
·       You can add accent colors to your neutral outfit by using bright colors as scarves, ties,             necklaces, dupattas and other accessories.
·       At the workplace accent colors should be used in very small proportion to neutral                     because you don’t want to distract co-workers. You need to be taken seriously.
·       On social occasions – one can use slightly larger amounts of accent colors

Someone who uses neutral and accent colors really well is Mr. Navjot Singh Siddhu.  We also admired Kate Blanchett's Oscar gown in black with the aquamarine accent piece.

Wearing colors also depends on other factors like personal hair and skin color etc.

Try creating different color combinations using different amounts of accent and neutral colors depending on the occasion and make your outfits chic and colorful. It is the festival of colors after all!

For interesting options on using accent colors in outfits check my pinterest board

Monday 9 February 2015

Jackets: the new Indian obsession

I know for sure one thing you have discussed in the last few days - Narendra Modi’s jacket with his name used in the weave. The country has developed a renewed interest in jackets. Wearing suits and jackets used to be special occasion wear for our Dads worn for weddings or formal parties. Over the years the jacket has evolved, become more affordable, flexible and fashionable. It is has become part of a style statement worn by both men and women for formal, semi formal and also casual occasions.

A jacket adds color, style, formality, pizzazz to your outfit and makes you look sharper.

Whatever the kind of jacket - sports jacket, blazer, suit jacket or even a vest – the fit is what make or breaks the look. Large oversized jackets with big lapels are for grandfather’s closet. How does one know how to select a good jacket? 
Here are some pointers to give you that edge when you choose a jacket for yourself -

Fit: A well fitted jacket will be soft and draping at the hips and shoulders but brought in a bit at the waist and chest. You want the jacket to be stationary while you move. The fabric should not crease, tug or billow with movement.

Vents: The movement of the jacket is dependent on the venting - the presence and number of slits running upward from the base of the jacket. The double vented jacket is the one that offers the best and comfort fit that helps with movement.

Length: The bottom of a formal jacket should cover the bottom curve of the buttocks. This is largely for men. For women, it will depend on their body shape.

Sleeves: Ideally half inch of shirt cuff visible under the jacket sleeve.

Lapels: Lapels are the folded pieces of cloth that cover the chest. For a timeless jacket the lapels should be 3 inches to 3 ½ inches wide. Narrow lapels are more contemporary. Wider lapels are old school.

Getting the fit of the jacket right will enhance your body shape and overall image instantaneously. One can pair a jacket with crisp shirts or kurtas and well fitted dark jeans or trousers.

A wardrobe must have is a blazer which is a navy blue jacket that is cut more casually, has patch pockets and usually gold or silver buttons. For a more casual look, pair a blazer with jeans or chinos in a lighter colour. A suit jacket is to be worn with the suit only and is usually made of finer fabric.

Go ahead and add vests and jackets to your wardrobe. The colour, texture, pattern, fabric can be chosen according to the occasion (informal to formal), place and weather. Light cotton and Linen jackets are great for summers while blends work well for all seasons.

Check out interesting jacket looks on my pinterest boards and . If you have any questions around blazers or jackets do write in.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Introducing women at the workplace and socially

Do you believe in New Year resolutions? I do. One of my resolutions is to write more often and share my thoughts, ideas and experiences. And so I got down to doing just that a couple of days ago.

I was in a meeting earlier this week and when the introductions were being made, I sensed that there seemed to be an awkward moment of indecision (and fumbling) by a gentleman about how to introduce a lady to the seniors attending the meeting. Have you experienced anything similar sometime? We are all confused at some point on how to introduce a lady in the workplace. Should the lady be introduced first or the seniors or colleagues? What is appropriate? What about at a social gathering?

Let me share a few simple pointers to make things easier for all of us. Here goes...

The formal way to make all introductions is - 

Speak to the person you wish to honor first
What this means:
  • Your boss or senior to be addressed first then a junior person in the company.
  • Younger to older
  • Clients are always to be addressed first. Then your boss or someone from your company.
  • A woman will not be perceived as a competent professional if she acts or wants to be treated according to chivalry. A man who treats a female client or colleague in a chivalrous manner will be perceived as condescending.
  • Socially it is appropriate to introduce a man to a woman. So a woman will be addressed first. 
  • Within a work environment, consider only seniority and position of the person while making introductions.
Do add a point of common interest for both parties involved.  In a formal business meeting that would mean a brief background/role of the junior member being introduced to the senior. Socially too this ensures recall and the start of a conversation.

So go ahead and make those introductions with ease socially as well as at the workplace. My module on Business Etiquette covers this and more.

Have more questions or want to share some experiences? Feel free to comment below and I will respond.