The State of the Office
I walked into a lawyers office last week......and walked right out. The lawyer came recommended but being in the first impression business I made an executive decision not to give them any. Why - because of the state of the office. The reception looked like hurricanes Katrina, Charlie and Hugo had passed through. Piles of dusty files, stools balancing on magazines, walls that looked like a squash court, beaten up furniture...you get the picture. Whether you are in a gleaming new building on Upper Hill or in Shankardass House in downtown Nairobi - all companies should make some effort in presenting an appealing visual image of the office especially the reception area. Make sure that this area portrays a professional environment i.e. is not cluttered with papers or files. Scuffed walls, battered tables, worn out seats do not give a good impression and visitors are likely to think sloppy look, sloppy work.
The Business of the Card
Recently I attended a networking breakfast where they were over 100 people. As you can imagine there was great buzz in the room as people did the rounds striking up conversation, trying to get business or referrals etc. Some people did the unthinkable and showed up without business cards. That is like going lion hunting without a gun – just how are you going to kill the beast? I stash my business cards everywhere – in my car, wallet, folder, etc. I never want to be caught without one. Ideally though, you want to present them in a nice business card case. Some people, I was able to have a conversation with, strike up some sort of relationship which ended in an exchange of business cards. Others literally walked round the room handing out business cards left, right and centre saying only 'hello my name is....here is my card.' You are not in business to keep your printer in business (with apologies to the people in the printing business reading this). A business card should be used to cement a relationship – it should be used to give people the information that they want to get back to you to continue a conversation you have started with them. Networking functions are not meant for you to shower the room with your business card thinking the law of averages will work and you’ll get at least some business if as many people as possible get your card. I jot down information on the back of all the cards I received – where I met the person and the date. For those I developed a relationship with, I add additional info like what we talked about and when to get in touch with them again if need be.
See my blog ?http://publicimageafrica.blogspot.com/ for more tips
I trained the staff of the international courier company TNT Express Worldwide on business etiquette, image and communications skills.
I also traveled to Kisumu and Kitale to train the staff of National Museums of Kenya on the same.
I was invited to Kampala to be one of the keynote speakers at the Forever Living Products Uganda annual meeting. I spoke on personal branding.
Spoke to sales staff at CfC Stanbic on dress and image
Family Health International (FHI) brought me in to speak on personal branding at their annual team building and wellness day.
I also spoke at:
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
The Lohana Ladies Circle
Diamond Trust Bank
I taped a segment on the Patricia Show on etiquette to be aired in August
My article "The Making of a Speech" appears in the June issue of KIM's MANAGEMENT Magazine
Learn more about how soft skills can help you in business at www.publicimageafrica.com