Saturday, June 25, 2011

History of the Little Black Dress.. LBD

History of the Little Black Dress:  No matter what a woman's age, shape or dress size and no matter what the occasion the little black dress is a fashion lifesaver.                     


No matter what a woman's age, shape or dress size and no matter what the occasion the little black dress is a fashion lifesaver.
In 1926 Coco Chanel brought us the first little black dress. Black dresses had of course existed before this time but only really as a sign of mourning. In the '20s Coco Chanel was a cutting-edge and modern designer. With hemlines rising, hair getting shorter, shoulders going bare and arms appearing in public for the first time, the time was right for the appearance of a new silhouette, and the little black dress was the perfect way to create it. So the "LBD" as a flattering fashion essential was born and is still in every woman's wardrobe over 80 years later.

Coco Chanel The little Black Dress..

One of Coco Chanel's main design strengths was her faultless creation of strong, simple shapes in clean, neutral colours. The little black dress was therefore very much in her signature style. With a clean and sexy silhouette Coco created a sleeveless tailored sheath dress cut just above the knee. Still one of the most popular styles of little black dress.
The Beauty of the Little Black Dress
Anyone with a little black dress will not need telling why they are so wonderful but a reminder is always good when you feel like you have nothing to wear. The benefits are so numerous they are probably best presented in a list. Little black dresses are brilliant because...

They come in a variety of shapes and designs. Long, short, pencil skirt, flared skirt, long sleeved, halter neck, boob tube, spaghetti straps, the list is endless.
• Black is very, very slimming. It is flattering whether you are a perfect size 6, a perfect size 20 or a perfect huge and pregnant.
• Whatever the occasion it never looks out of place (as long as the sleeves and length are appropriate)
• You can go from work to a funeral to a cocktail party without changing (what an emotional roller-coaster of a day that would be).
• You can dress it down with thick black tights, flat shoes, a cardigan or a blazer.
• You can dress it up with a flash of colour in your make-up, with extravagant jewellery, beautiful shoes or a super belt.

You can wear the same dress for a week and look different every day with the wonder of accessories.
• You can have ten completely different black dresses in your wardrobe without feeling guilty.
• You can look great in a little black dress whether it cost $20 or $2,000.
• You know it will never go out of fashion so it is a long term investment (as long as you don't buy one with a puffball skirt).
• It can be elegant, chic, sexy, formal, relaxed, reserved, you can stand out or blend into the background.
Before Coco Chanel revolutionised the black dress it's most famous wearer had been Queen Victoria who had worn black dresses in mourning for 40 years. After Coco's little black dress became popular, however, it is no wonder the hall of little black dress fame increased. There have now been many famous versions.
• Audrey Hepburn's Givency dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's...
• Audrey Hepburn's flared dress in Sabrina....

So Ladies step out in your LBD- Little Black Dress.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Business etiquette is far more than knowing which knife and fork one will use.

Business etiquette is made up of significantly more important things than knowing which fork to use at lunch with a client. Unfortunately,in the perception of others,the devil is in the details. People may feel that if you can’t be trusted not to embarrass yourself in business and social situations,you may lack the self-control necessary to be good at what you do. Etiquette is about presenting yourself with the kind of polish that shows you can be taken seriously. Etiquette is also about being comfortable around people (and making them comfortable around you!)
People are a key factor in your own and your business’ success. Many potentially worthwhile and profitable alliances have been lost because of an unintentional breach of manners.

Success at Susie Wilson Image Group

The Solution

Most behaviour that is perceived as disrespectful,discourteous or abrasive is unintentional,and could have been avoided by practicing good manners or etiquette. We’ve always found that most negative experiences with someone were unintentional and easily repaired by keeping an open mind and maintaining open,honest communication. Basic knowledge and practice of etiquette is a valuable advantage,because in a lot of situations,a second chance may not be possible or practical.
There are many written and unwritten rules and guidelines for etiquette,and it certainly behooves a business person to learn them. The caveat is that there is no possible way to know all of them!
These guidelines have some difficult-to-navigate nuances,depending on the company,the local culture,and the requirements of the situation. Possibilities to commit a faux pas are limitless,and chances are,sooner or later,you’ll make a mistake. But you can minimise them,recover quickly,and avoid causing a bad impression by being generally considerate and attentive to the concerns of others,and by adhering to the basic rules of etiquette. When in doubt,stick to the basics.

The Basics

The most important thing to remember is to be courteous and thoughtful to the people around you,regardless of the situation. Consider other people’s feelings,stick to your convictions as diplomatically as possible. Address conflict as situation-related,rather than person-related. Apologise when you step on toes. You can’t go too far wrong if you stick with the basics you learned in Kindergarten. (Not that those basics are easy to remember when you’re in a hard-nosed business meeting! )
This sounds simplistic,but the qualities we admire most when we see them in people in leadership positions,those are the very traits we work so hard to engender in our children. If you always behave so that you would not mind your spouse,kids,or grandparents watching you,you’re probably doing fine. Avoid raising your voice (surprisingly,it can be much more effective at getting attention when lower it!) using harsh or derogatory language toward anyone (present or absent),or interrupting. You may not get as much “airtime”in meetings at first,but what you do say will be much more effective because it carries the weight of credibility and respectability.
The following are guidelines and tips that we’ve found helpful for dealing with people in general,in work environments,and in social situations.

It’s About People

Talk and visit with people. Don’t differentiate by position or standing within the company. Secretaries and janitorial staff actually have tremendous power to help or hinder your career. Next time you need a document prepared or a conference room arranged for a presentation,watch how many people are involved with that process (you’ll probably be surprised!) and make it a point to meet them and show your appreciation.
Make it a point to arrive ten or fifteen minutes early and visit with people that work near you. When you’re visiting another site,linger over a cup of coffee and introduce yourself to people nearby. If you arrive early for a meeting,introduce yourself to the other participants. At social occasions,use the circumstances of the event itself as an icebreaker. After introducing yourself,ask how they know the host or how they like the crab dip. Talk a little about yourself- your hobbies,kids,or pets;just enough to get people to open up about theirs and get to know you as a person.
Keep notes on people. There are several “contact management”software applications that are designed for salespeople,but in business,nearly everyone is a salesperson in some capacity or another. They help you create a “people database”with names,addresses,phone numbers,birthdays,spouse and children’s’ names;whatever depth of information is appropriate for your situation.
It’s a good idea to remember what you can about people;and to be thoughtful. Send cards or letters for birthdays or congratulations of promotions or other events,send flowers for engagements,weddings or in condolence for the death of a loved one or family member. People will remember your kindness,probably much longer than you will!

Peers and Subordinates

Impressing the boss isn’t enough.
A 1997 study by Manchester Partners International,says even in this tight job market,40% of new management hires fail in their first jobs. The key reason for their failure is their inability to build good relationships with peers and subordinates.
Social rank or class is a cornerstone of social interaction in many cultures. The corporate climate in the United States is no exception. People tend to feel uneasy until they’ve seen an “organisational chart”or figured out who reports to whom. They feel that it is more important to show respect and practice etiquette around superiors than around peers or subordinates.
The current social and economic climate is one of rapid advancement through technology,which make it very possible (and even likely) for a pesky salesman to become an important client,or an administrative assistant to become a manager.
Mergers and acquisitions add to this “class mixing,”causing a former competitor to become a coworker overnight.
This can make things awkward if you treat people differently depending on their “corporate standing.”If you show respect and courtesy to everyone,regardless of position or company,you avoid discomfort or damaging your chances in any unexpected turn of events.
Having a consistent demeanor improves your credibility. Even the people at the top will begin to suspect your motives if you treat VIPs with impeccable courtesy and snap at counter clerks.


The only thing you owe your boss above and beyond what you owe peers and subordinates is more information. Unobtrusively be sure he or she knows what you’re doing,is alerted as early as possible to issues that may arise,and is aware of outcomes and milestones.
Never surprise your boss.
It goes without saying that you should speak well of him or her within and outside the company,and give him or her the benefit of the doubt. (Which you would do for anyone,of course!)

International Business

The information in this article is presented from a Western point of view. It is important to note that etiquette in other cultures requires a bit of adaptation and flexibility. If you’re travelling on business to a foreign destination,or have visitors here,it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about the culture they are coming from and make appropriate allowances.
Items to consider:
  • Language (make an effort to learn theirs if possible,but don’t pretend to be fluent unless you have many years of study under your belt!)
  • Time zones
  • Working schedules
  • Holidays
  • Food customs (table manners,use of implements,etc.)
Generally speaking,as long as you are trying to be considerate and express an interest in learning,you should be fine. If in doubt,err on the conservative,formal side.

The Workplace

The remainder of this article is divided into two sections- The Workplace and Social Situations. The division is really for convenience only,since with less formal workplaces and more “business”seeming to take place in social situations now than ever before,the lines get blurred.


If a subject is important enough to call a meeting,be considerate of the participants’time and ensure that it is well prepared.
Communicate beforehand-
  • The objective
  • The expected duration ( Be sure to observe the ending time scrupulously,unless everyone agrees to continue.)
  • Items expected to be discussed
Often overlooked- be sure to THANK meeting members for their time and participation,and demonstrate (in the minutes or written record,at least) how their contributions helped meet the objective of the meeting. Participants are frequently left wondering if they’ve been heard or if their attendance and contributions were noticed. Distribute minutes or some written record (no matter how simple the meeting) to all attendees and absentees,with concise but complete descriptions of decisions made and including action items.
Never assign an action item to a person who is not present to negotiate it,unless you absolutely have to. Note in the minutes that the person hasn’t been notified,and will be contacted for a final disposition of the item.

The Phone

Always return calls. Even if you don’t yet have an answer to the caller’s question,call and explain what you’re doing to get the requested information,or direct them to the appropriate place to get it.
If you’re going to be out,have someone pick up your calls or at a minimum,have your answering system tell the caller when you’ll be back in the office and when they can expect a call back.
When you initiate a call and get a receptionist or secretary,identify yourself and tell them the basic nature of your call. That way,you’ll be sure you’re getting the right person or department and the person you’re trying to reach will be able to pull up the appropriate information and help you more efficiently.
When you’re on the receiving end of a phone call,identify yourself and your department. Answer the phone with some enthusiasm or at least warmth,even if you ARE being interrupted,the person on the other end doesn’t know that!
Make sure your voice mail system is working properly and doesn’t tell the caller that the mailbox is full,transfer them to nowhere,or ring indefinitely. Address technical and system problems- a rude machine or system is as unacceptable as a rude person.
You don’t have to reply to obvious solicitations. If someone is calling to sell you something,you can indicate that you are not interested and hang up without losing too much time on it. However,you do need to be careful. You may be receiving a call from an insurance or long distance company that wants to hire you as a consultant! Be sure you know the nature of the call before you (politely,of course) excuse yourself.
Personalise the conversation. Many people act in electronic media (including phone,phone mail,and e-mail) the way they act in their cars. They feel since they’re not face-to-face with a person,it is perfectly acceptable to be abrupt,crass,or rude. We need to ensure that we make best use of the advantages of these media without falling headfirst into the disadvantages.


Make the subject line specific. Think of the many messages you’re received with the generic subject line,“Hi”or “Just for you.”
Don’t forward messages with three pages of mail-to information before they get to the content. In the message you forward,delete the extraneous information such as all the “Memo to,”subject,addresses,and date lines.
When replying to a question,copy only the question into your e-mail,then provide your response. You needn’t hit reply automatically,but don’t send a bare message that only reads,“Yes.”It’s too blunt and confuses the reader.
Address and sign your e-mails. Although this is included in the To and From sections,remember that you’re communicating with a person,not a computer.
DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. IT’S TOO INTENSE,and you appear too lazy to type properly. This is still a written medium. Follow standard writing guidelines as a professional courtesy.


Avoid interruptions (of singular or group work sessions,meetings,phone calls,or even discussions) if at all possible. Most management folks feel free to interrupt informal working sessions of subordinates,but need to realize that they may be interrupting a brainstorming session that will produce the company’s next big success.
Always apologize if you must interrupt a conversation,meeting,or someone’s concentration on a task. Quickly state the nature of what you need,and show consideration for the fact that you are interrupting valuable work or progress.

Guests,Consultants and New Employees

If you have a new employee,guest,or consultant working at your company for a day,week,or longer,be sure that that person has the resources and information that he or she needs to do the job. This isn’t just courtesy,it’s good business,since time spent flailing around looking for things is embarrassing to the consultant and expensive for your company..
Give a consultant or guest the same type of workspace as an employee at your company in a similar role. A consultant who is there to do programming should have,if at all possible,the same size cube,type of computer equipment,etc. as an employee programmer would have in your company. This prevents your employees from feeling looked down-upon,and the consultant from feeling singled out or treated as second-rate.
A guest from a regulatory agency will tend to want to know what’s “really”going on in the company. By treating him or her like everyone else,(instead of isolating them in a plush office in a far wing,for example) will raise less suspicion and enable them to get the information they need more efficiently.
Appoint an employee to be a ‘buddy’ to a guest or consultant to ensure that they are introduced around,“shown the ropes,”and have someone to help resolve little logistical problems that may arise and cause non-productivity or embarrassment.


Always pass along credit and compliments to EVERYONE who made a contribution to the effort. Speak well of your coworkers and always point out their accomplishments to any interested party. Appearing to have taken the credit in a superiors’ or customers’ eyes is the surest way to sabotage a relationship with a coworker.


It can be insulting to your coworkers or clients to show a lack of concern about your appearance.
Being wrinkled,unshaven,smelly or unkempt communicates (intentionally or not) that you don’t care enough about the situation,the people or the company to present yourself respectably.
Women’s clothing is a bit more complicated,but again,err on the side of conservative and dressy.
Always practice impeccable grooming (even in a jeans environment!)

Social Settings

Many impressions formed during a party,dinner or golf game can make or break a key business arrangement,whether or not business is discussed directly. Always carry business cards. Arrive at a party at the stated time or up to 30 minutes later. (Not earlier than the stated time,under any circumstances.)


Before an event,use your address book or your “people database”to refresh your memory about the people you are likely to meet.
If you forget someone’s name,you can sometimes “cover”by introducing a person you do know first. “Do you know my Joe Smith,one of our account reps?”which will usually get the unknown person to introduce him or herself.
If this doesn’t work,an admission that you’ve had a mental block is preferable to obvious flailing around.

Table Manners

These apply to the Americas and most of Europe. If you’re elsewhere,do some research beforehand.
The fork goes on the left. The spoon and knife go on the right. Food items go on the left,so your bread plate is on your left. Drinks,including coffee cups,should be on the right. When sitting at a banquet table,you may begin eating when two people to your left and right are served. If you haven’t been served,but most of your table has,encourage others to start. Reach only for items in front of you,ask that other items be passed by a neighbour. Offer to the left;pass to the right,although once things start being passed,go with the flow.
This is a lot to consider,and there’s a lot more out there. Volumes of information have been written on what is right and correct in business etiquette. It’s enough to make veterans and newcomers too insecure to deal with people.
Since you’re human,(we’re assuming!) there will be times when you step on toes,forget an important name,pop off with a harsh comment,or (heaven forbid!) use the wrong fork. We all do. Think about the “outtakes”scenes at the end of some movies where we see how many times it took to get things perfect,even when everyone was performing to a script! This is real life,there are no scripts,and we’re all making it up as we go along.
The important thing to remember is that if you strive to make the people around you feel comfortable and valued,you have succeeded whether you’re perfectly in compliance with these or any rules you’ve read.
Sincerely with a smile

Get hired and negotiate a higher salary..

Get hired and Negotiate a higher salary

For most of us out there looking for a job when we have just been let go or when we are looking to make a switch, is a game of Trial and Error. Send the pious résumé to as many firms as one possibly can and then wait for a response. This works but drawing out a job hunting strategy works even better as it reduces stress and anxiety.

Career Sector at Susie Wilson Image Group

How to ask for a higher salary?

Over the course of your working life, you’ll receive a few raises.
However, your annual raises will be pitiful, at just slightly over the inflation rate. Your major salary increases will only occur when you receive that rare promotion.
That’s why it’s so important to ask for a higher salary when you first begin working.
Few candidates actually ask for a higher salary, and I suppose shyness, and fear of appearing greedy, are the major reasons for this. However, you should definitely try to negotiate as high a salary as you can, when you first join your job. This is your most significant chance to try to earn more, and here are some tips for asking for higher starting pay:
  • Do your homework: Before asking for any sort of salary, know what you’re worth, in terms of your education, experience and work potential. What are people similar to you (in terms of career and accomplishments) earning? And what are your hiring company’s pay scales like? Research the company to find out how much it’s possible for them to pay. One of my friends wanted to work for a salary which was only offered to senior executives (entry level was the executive post), so he boldly claimed to be interested only in the senior exec position.
  • Delay a detailed salary discussion: Until your employers know more about you, they won’t be able to judge just how much you’re worth. Focus on getting hired first, and then on how much you’ll get. If you mention your desired salary in too much detail too early, that’s when you’ll come off as being either desperate or greedy. If you’re asked early on about how much you’d like, say something along the lines of “according to the salary scale”, “according to the industry rate” or “as much as you decide i’m worth”. Mention that salary is not the only thing that’s important: you’re also interested in how much you can contribute, how challenging the work will be, how fast you’ll be able to rise within the ranks, etc.
  • Take your time to accept a salary offer: Never accept something at a moment’s notice. No matter how tempting it is to say “yes”, always thank the recruiter, restate how much you’d love to work in that company, and ask for time to consider the offer. Later on, think about the offer calmly. Consider your other offers, what the industry typically pays, how much and how often the increments will be, how fast you’re likely to get promoted, and what other benefits this job will provide.
  • Ask for more: As long as you’re polite and respectful, no one will think that you’re greedy if you ask for a higher salary. In many cases, hiring officers have the discretion to offer upto 20% more, to get the right candidate. And often, the first salary offered is intentionally low, in order to keep the flexibility of possible increases.
  • Go step by step: When asking for more, first ask for a higher base pay. Since other forms of payment are usually linked to the base salary, this is the one you really want to increase. If this isn’t possible, ask for increases in other benefits, such as transport allowances, etc. You can try to ask for a signing bonus, and stock options or other incentives. Finally, you can ask for tuition reimbursement, more holidays and sick leaves, etc.
  • Always be honest: Never state something like “I won’t work for less than 30K”, unless you really, really mean it.
  • Know when to stop: Most hiring officers are flexible to some degree, and will offer you some concessions. However, in some companies, their first offer is really the only one that they’re allowed to make. And sometimes, you’ll see that concessions aren’t coming any more. That’s when you’ll know, it’s time to stop.
Good luck, and happy negotiating!

Etiquette: How much do you know about office gift giving Etiq...

Etiquette: How much do you know about office gift giving Etiq...: "How Much Do You Know About Office Gift Giving Etiquette? Susie Wilson Image Group Gift giving etiquette in the office "

Entertaining Etiquette - How to Use Silver Service

Silver Service is a way in which you serve food to guests/customers. The term itself comes out of England and you may have heard it by its other name 'English Service'. Thought to be of high etiquette standards, silver service is most often found in sophisticated restaurants as opposed to your local breakfast cafe. However, whether you are looking for new ways to serve your food in a restaurant or if you are hosting a more formal event in the home - silver service can really set the right atmosphere.
All that being said, silver service doesn't just have to be used at formal events or more exclusive restaurants - it is a good habit to learn for any time that you are serving food to guests or customers.

How to set the table and lay out the cutlery is one of the key elements of silver service, followed by the actual serving of the food.
As well as being good etiquette, silver service also makes an event (especially when you are catering for a large group) far more simple and organised as you keep to a certain set of rules. Using silver service could take a little time to learn and get used to - but at the end of the day it will rescue you from a multitude of entertaining disasters!
The first rule which you will need to learn is how the food is served and how empty plates are later cleared from the table. Try to remember that the food is served to the left hand side of the guest and cleared from the right. Imagine that you are holding a plate of carrots to serve on to the guests plate.

Hold that plate in your left hand and use your right hand to serve from their left side. "Serve to the left, clear from the right". If you run that through your head a couple of times it will soon sink in!
Furthermore, when serving you must never make contact with the customer (such as an elbow in the face!) - it is very rude to lean over a customer and if you absolutely must then first make it known by excusing yourself beforehand.
The next lesson in silver service is the use of cutlery when serving. For most, this will be the hardest part to do - but as with everything, practice does make perfect! It is perfectly acceptable to use either a spoon and a fork together or two forks - whichever you find the easiest. With one hand you will be grasping the piece of food between your chosen cutlery and placing it neatly on to their plate.

 As with chopsticks, there is a certain position to hold your fingers so that the spoon and fork open and close with ease - you might want to watch some videos or diagrams to see how it is done.
Once you have these essential skills you can begin to set the table for your first attempt at silver service. It is always important that all glasses and dinnerware are thoroughly clean before proceeding.
One rule of setting out the cutlery is to have the first course at the outer side and the final course will be closest to the plate. Wine and water glasses are always above and to the right hand side of the dinner plate - it is usually a set of three glasses in a triangle shape. The water glass will be at the front and the two wine glasses set behind.
Final touches could include a fabric napkin folded into the glass or on the plate - there are many fancy ways of folding, so you might want to look into those methods further.
It might sound like a big effort to make - but it will be worth it and your guests will feel extra special, appreciative of your efforts and perhaps even jealous of your skills!

Smiles, Susie

How to use Silver Service..

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mobile Phone Etiquette

The ways in which this indispensable little gadget can cause offence are legion.
Remember, above all, that you are not joined at the hip to this useful device. It is important to be aware at all times of good mobile phone etiquette.
Mobile Etiquette
Susie Wilson Image Group

  • Think about what your ringtone says about you: head-banging rocker, fashion-conscious teenager, gamer, sci-fi nerd, smooth seducer, tv addict, 'invisible' (default)... Can you live with it?
  • If you're embarrassed by your ringtone in certain situations (trains, office, when you're visiting your mother) it's almost certainly the wrong choice. Try again.
  • Monitor the volume of your ringtone; if it blares out and heads turn it's too loud.
  • Remember there's always vibrate. It may surprise your companions when you lurch - seemingly unprompted - to answer an invisible, silent phone, but at least they'll be spared the ringtone.
  • Ensure that your mobile phone conversation is not disturbing other people. Intimate conversations are never appropriate in front of others - try and respect your own, and other people's, privacy.
  • Don't use foul language, have full-blooded rows, or talk about money, sex or bodily functions in front of witnesses.
  • Don't use your phone in 'quiet zones' on trains. Even if you're not in a designated zone, be aware that your voice will distract a peaceful carriage of newspaper-reading commuters. If the line is bad and conversations inaudible, explain that there's a problem and hang up.
  • Your mobile phone is not a megaphone, so don't shout...
  • If you lose reception, live with it. Refrain from shouting into a dead device, and ring the other person back as soon as you regain it, even if it's only to say goodbye.
  • People in the flesh deserve more attention than a gadget, so wherever possible turn off your phone in social situations.
  • Don't put your phone on the dining table, or glance at it longingly mid-conversation.
  • Don't carry on mobile phone calls while transacting other business - in banks, shops, on buses and so on. It is insulting not to give people who are serving you your full attention.
  • Don't make calls to people from inappropriate venues; a call from a bathroom is deeply off-putting.
  • Switch off your phone, or turn it on to vibrate, when you are going into meetings, theatres, cinemas and so on.
  • Bluetooth headsets are fine in the car (in fact they're safe and legal).
  • If you are awaiting an important call when meeting someone socially, explain at the outset that you will have to take the call, and apologise in advance. Otherwise, excuse yourself and withdraw somewhere private to make or receive calls. Do not have a mobile phone conversation in front of your friends. It is the height of bad manners..
Susie Wilson

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Being English...

The image of the English gentleman is famous across the world and, truth be told, there still exists a special kind of refined etiquette in English culture. Not that everyone holds open doors, averts his eyes while a lady dresses and lay down his coat over a muddy puddle – but there’s a strong, unspoken sense of how things ought to be done.

The English never quite recovered from the Victorian age when it was considered in poor taste to show emotion. The concept of the ‘stiff British upper lip’ probably evolved in this time and since then it’s been a core value to endure adversity stoically.

So when your loved one dies under the wheels of a train, one must not tear out one’s hair, nag one’s head against a wall and scream blue murder. Instead one should frown slightly and exclaim:

‘Dash it, that was rather a blow.’

In a desperate bid to avoid emotion, the English have developed an entire language around the evasion of embarrassing situations:

‘I don’t suppose you could possibly..’

‘I’m terribly sorry…’

‘Would it be too much trouble to…’

And so on. The point, it would seem, is to avoid any tricky scene or confrontation. Aftter all, ‘ one mustn’t make a scene’.

The English sense of shame is perhaps second only to that of the Japanese. Embarrassment causes almost physical pain to the English, a phenomenon which explains the success of Mr Bean – Rowan Atkinson engineered all the social nightmares of the English psyche and brought them out into the open.

The English, over all, give themselves quite a hard time and berate themselves miserably when they fail to live up to their own high expectations. Their sense of ethics is about as refined as the rules of cricket – and neither is all that explicable to foreigners.

Even when it comes to talking about the weather the English will hide behind a litany of clichés that are sure not to evoke any disagreement:

‘Looks like rain again.’

‘It never rains but it pours.’

In the latter we can see the essential English pessimism and masochistic longing for ill fortune. With a shrug and a satisfied grimace that things are indeed getting worse, the English will say things like:

“Typical. I might have known.’

“Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’

‘Still mustn’t grumble…’

And in this last comment we see that the English also censor their right to complain which, if you watch an episode of Eastenders, is the English raison d’etre.

Tea Etiquette

No one is quite sure when afternoon tea was introduced into England, but the ceremony became widespread by the 1840s. Credit is given to Anna, seventh Duchess of Bedford, who, because of the long hours between lunch and the evening meal, suffered from after noon "sinking spells," She remedied them with a tray of tea, bread and butter, and cake. Unable to give up her delightful new habit, she began sharing it with friends, Tea soon progressed from a simple "drink with jam and bread" into a full blown social event among the English aristocracy.

History, however, places afternoon tea in France more than a century earlier. Madame de Sevigne (1626-1696) referred to "five o'clock tea" in a letter to a friend and mentioned her surprise that some people take milk in their tea.

An afternoon tea is a delightful and inexpensive way to entertain a small or large group. Success and enjoyment require three elements: an honest feeling of friendliness; the offering of hospitality; and the tradition of honouring the guest.

Invitations may be extended and accepted by telephone, face-to-face, or by mailing them at least a week in advance. Depending on the geographic location, perhaps two weeks or longer in advance is not unreasonable. Invitations may be informal or engraved, handwritten in calligraphy, or by a calligraphy computer program.

Invite a close friend or two also as "pourers" and set up a schedule of when each will be "on duty" dispensing tea. No one should pour for more than fifteen or twenty minutes. It is an honor to be asked to pour tea. The pourer is considered the guardian of the teapot, 'which implies sterling social graces and profound trust.

Tea Time
Traditional teatime is four o'clock; however any time between two and five o'clock is appropriate for certain areas.

Guest of Honour
When you extend the invitation, let your guests know whom you are honouring. Dialogue: "Mary, I am hosting a tea In honour of Judy Jones, and I would be pleased if you could attend." When there is a guest of honour, it is your duty as host to stand with that person near the entrance of the room and introduce each arriving guest to the guest of honour. When the tea is over, guide your guest of honour back to the room entrance to say good-bye to your guests. NOTE: Etiquette used to dictate that no one depart a function until the guest of honour had left the primacies. The exception was when the guest of honour was also a house guest. In today's social gatherings, you will find this rule practically nonexistent.
The protocol of the guest of honour departing first, however, is still practiced at diplomatic and official functions. At the White House, the guest of honor departs, then others are free to leave. This protocol is practiced universally at events where world leaders are in attendance.


If it is not a large formal tea, a silver tray and tea service are not necessary. A china tea set, consisting of a teapot, a creamer for the milk, a sugar bowl, a pitcher of hot water (for those who prefer weak tea), and a plate for lemon slices arranged on a wooden or tin tray are fine. The tea tray and china tea set are placed at one end of the table. On the right, set out the necessary number of cups and saucers and teaspoons to accommodate your guests. Plates, flatware, and tea napkins are placed on the left. Platters of refreshments can include tea sandwiches m fancy shapes, various kinds of cucumber sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and biscuits.

Flatware is defined as flat table utensils  knives, forks, spoons, plates, platters, and so forth. Flatware is necessary at teas in the following situations

When serving cake that is very soft and sticky or filled with cream, forks must be laid on the tea table.

If jam or cream is to be eaten on scones or bread, there must be knives or butter spreaders.

If there are dishes with jam and cream where everyone takes a portion, each dish should have its own serving spoon. One should never use one's own utensils to dip into the jam or cream dish.

When seated at a table in a private home or in a tearoom, there should be at each place set ting a knife or butter spreader on the right side of the plate and a fork on the left side. A teaspoon may be placed on the saucer holding the cup or to the right of the knife.

The teacups you use today for your tea have handles, but this was not always the style. Chinese tea bowls influenced the first European teacups. These dainty little bowls did not have handles or saucers.

At first, the English made teacups without handles in the traditional Chinese style. Not until the mid-1750s was a handle added to the cup to prevent ladies from burning their fingers. This improvement was copied from a posset cup, which was also used for hot beverages.
(A posset is a hot drink made of milk with wine, ale, or spirits.)

The saucer was once a small dish for sauce, which is how it comes by its name. Later it moved to its present position under the cup, which is now regarded as incomplete without it. In late Victorian and Edwardian days, tea drinkers poured their tea into their saucers to cool before sipping, and it was perfectly acceptable. This is what writers of the period mean by "a dish of tea." Today, this would be considered improper, and one would appear cloddish about tea drinking.

How to Hold Cups and Saucers

Place the saucer holding the cup in the palm of your left hand and move it forward to rest on the four fingers, which are slightly spread apart. Steady the saucer with your thumb resting on the rim.
A left-handed person simply reverses the procedure.

A handled cup is held with the index finger through the handle, the thumb just above it to support the grip, and the second finger below the handle for added security. The next two fingers naturally follow the curve of the other fingers. It is an affectation to raise the little finger, even slightly.

The crooked, extended pinkie dates back to the eleventh-century Crusades and the courtly etiquette of knighthood. Since ancient Rome, a cultured person ate with three fingers, a commoner with five. Thus, the birth of the raised pinkie as a sign of elitism. This three-fingers etiquette rule is still correct when picking up food with the fingers and handling various pieces of flatware. Etiquette books, however, do not offer instructions on extending a crooked pinkie. This affectation is, no doubt, descended from a misinterpretation of the three-fingers versus five-fingers dictates of dining etiquette in the eleventh century.

Faux Pas
Cradling the cup in one's fingers when it has a handle.
Swirling the liquid around in the cup as if it were wine in a glass.

The Gaiwan
The gaiwan (Chinese covered cup) is held, when not drinking from it, very much like a teacup and saucer are held. Place the saucer hold ing the cup in the palm of your right hand and move it forward to rest on the four fingers, which are slightly spread apart. Steady the cup with your thumb resting on the rim. A left-handed person simply reverses the procedure.

To drink from the gaiwan, use the thumb and index finger of your left hand to hold the lid by its knob, and let the other three fingers follow the curve of the gaiwan, Tilt the lid slightly away from your lips so that it serves as a filter holding back the leaves as you drink the liquid. The cup is never removed from the saucer.

Faux Pas

Striking the lid against the cup.
It is considered poor form in most cultures to make unnecessary noises with the accoutrements one uses while eating or drinking.

A scene in the award-winning film The Last Emperor, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, empha sizes this point with great style. Several Chinese empresses have gathered in a room at the palace and are drinking tea from gaiwans.

Stirring a Cup of Tea
Stirring a cup of tea is done gently and noiselessly by moving the teaspoon in a small arch back and forth in the center of the cup. Do not allow the teaspoon to touch the sides or rim of the cup. Remove the spoon and place it on the saucer behind the cup, with the handle of the spoon pointing in the same direction as the handle of the cup. Visualise the face of a clock on the saucer and properly place the handle of the cup and the han dle of the spoon at four on the clock.

Faux Pas
Leaving a spoon upright in the cup.
Placing the spoon on the saucer in front of the cup.
Making unnecessary noise by touching the sides of the cup with the spoon while stirring.
Letting the spoon drop, after stirring the tea, with a clank onto the saucer.

Tea Spills in one's Saucer
In high end establishments or someone's home, tea spills may be remedied by requesting a clean saucer. In a very casual setting, it is accept able to fold a paper napkin and slip it under the cup to soak up the liquid. Remove the unsightly soggy napkin from the saucer and place it on another dish if one is available.

You can prevent saucer spills by filling the teacup only three-quarters full.

The word napkin derives from the old French naperon, meaning "little tablecloth."

The first napkins were the size of today's bath towels. This size was practical because one ate the multi-course meal entirely with the fingers. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used them to cleanse the hands during a meal, which could last many hours. At many such meals, it was proper to provide a fresh napkin with each course to keep diners from offending each other, since it was believed they would get sick watching each other wipe their mouths on filthy napkins.

Today, in all dining situations, the napkin is properly picked up and unfolded on the lap, not above the table level. A large dinner napkin is folded in half with the fold facing the body, while a luncheon or tea napkin may be opened completely. In upscale restaurants, the wait staff are trained to place the napkin on your lap, often with too much of a flourish to suit me. Pause for a moment to make sure you and the wait staff do not reach for the napkin simultaneously.

If you need to leave the table temporarily, place your napkin on your chair, not on the table. Push your chair back under the table if the setting is appropriate.

In silver service restaurants, the wait staff will refold the napkin and place it on the table to the left side of your plate or on the arm of your chair, a practice I thoroughly abhor, even though they are trained to handle the napkin is little as possible. Return the napkin to your lap when

The host or hostess picks up his or her napkin to signal the close of the tea. He or she makes certain all of the guests have finished before making this move.

At the end of the tea, the napkin is not refolded but picked up by the center and placed loosely to the left of the plate.

Faux Pas

Placing a used napkin back on the table before the meal is over.

Tea Infuser/Filter, Tea Strainer, Mote Spoon, and Caddy Spoon

Tea infusers / filters are used to contain the leaves and permit easy removal of the used tea leaves. Some teapots are fitted with infusion baskets, also called filters. Be sure to give the leaves inside room to expand in the water when using the stainless-steel wire-mesh infusers, called "tea balls." It is advisable to employ two tea balls in making a six-cup pot. Avoid cute infusion devices made of pot metal. These often impart an unpleas ant metallic taint and are, besides, inefficient.

Tea filters work best because they allow a lot of water to circulate without releasing the leaves into the brew.

Tea strainers are designed to be held above or to rest on top of the cup to catch leaves  that escape from the teapot when the tea is poured. I still use one, even though I don't need to since the leaves are contained in my tea filter. It's the ritual of holding that little silver object over the cup, and the pouring of tea into it, that forces me to slow down and enjoy the whole process.

A mote spoon or mote skimmer is usually made of silver with holes in the bowl. It is used to transfer tea leaves from the caddy to the teapot and also to skim off any stray leaves, or "motes," that may have escaped into the cup. The sharp point on the end is used to unblock the teapot spout if it gets clogged with tea leaves.
Caddy spoons have short handles so they will fit in the tea caddy. They are used to convey the tea from the tea caddy to the teapot.

Pouring Tea Properly
Tea pouring involves the most stylised and personal element of the afternoon tea ceremony simply because of the intimate interaction between pourer and guest.

Tea is always served by the host/hostess or a friend, never by servants. Tea is never poured out, then passed several cups at a time, the way coffee may be, because it cools very quickly. Instead, it is always taken by the guest directly from the hands of the pourer.

Holding the teacup and saucer in his/her left hand, the pourer begins by asking each guest the following, "Do you prefer strong or weak tea?"

Strong Tea Requests
Pour the cup three-fourths full to prevent the tea spilling into the saucer. Then ask, "With milk, sugar, or lemon?" Add the requested ingredients and place a spoon on the saucer if it is not already there. (See "Milk, Sugar, and Lemon" section, which follows.)

Weak Tea Requests

Pour the cup about one-half full, leaving space for the addition of hot water. Add the hot water and then ask, "With milk, sugar, or lemon?" Add the requested ingredients and place a spoon on the saucer if it is not already there. (See "Milk, Sugar, and Lemon" section, which follows.)

Sugar and Lemon Requests

Add the sugar first, otherwise the citric acid of the lemon prevents it from dissolving.

When the Guest Responds Plain

No addition of milk, sugar, or lemon IS required. It is not necessary to place a spoon on the saucer.

The Tea Strainer

The person pouring the tea, if necessary, holds a tea strainer in one hand while lifting the teapot and pouring with the other hand.

Milk, Sugar and Lemon

The habit of putting milk in tea reportedly started in France. Madame de Sevigne described how Madame de la Sabliere launched the fashion: "Madame de la Sabliere took her tea with milk, as she told me the other day, because it was to her taste."

It is a given that milk complements full- bodied India and Ceylon teas and that cream masks the taste of any tea. This settled, let's launch right into a hotly debated issue.

Milk is poured after the tea. You may have heard or read that milk precedes the tea into the cup; but please, please, dear tea lovers, don't be guilty of this faux pas (another reason for banishment to the Tea Drinkers' Hall of Shame).

Don't put the milk in before the tea because then you cannot judge the strength of the tea by its color. Also, you need not hear some snobbish, chilly remark such as, "Oh, she's the milk-in-first type of person."

Where did this old milk-first tale come from? Samuel Twining has theorised that milk first prevented early china from cracking in reac­tion to boiling water. That theory appears rather shaky today since boiling water is not poured directly into the cup. Boiling water is poured over tea leaves in a teapot. The leaves steep at least three minutes, producing a liquid of a temperature much reduced from the boiling stage.


Sugar cubes are preferable, not only for the ritual of using elegant sugar tongs, but for their neatness. There's nothing messier than spilled sugar granules. Allow the cube(s) to rest briefly (to dissolve) and then stir gently and noiselessly.


Lemon is agreeable with most black teas. Lovers of fragrant Earl Grey and smoky Lapsang Souchong, however, say they are best enjoyed unadulterated.

Lemon is offered thinly sliced (never in wedges!) and placed on a dish near the milk and sugar. A lemon fork (with splayed tines) or a similar serving utensil is provided. The tea pourer or the tea drinker can then put a slice directly into the poured cup of tea.

Should you desire another cup of tea, the pourer will remove the slice of lemon from your cup and pour your tea. The tea pourer or you may add a fresh lemon slice. You may also be offered a fresh cup, depending on availability.

Lemon Faux Pas

Putting the lemon slice in the cup before pouring the tea. Tea is always poured in the cup first.
Placing a lemon slice on the edge of the saucer in anticipation of adding it to the cup later.
Transferring the lemon slice from the cup of tea to the saucer. You will end up with your cup resting in a puddle of tea.
Removing the cloves from the lemon slice before placing in the teacup. The cloves are placed in the lemon slices to add flavor.
Using the spoon to press the lemon slice after you place it in the cup. Untouched, the oil from the peel and the juice from the fruit will provide the desired essence.

Tea Pouring Faux Pas

Filling the cup with tea almost to the rim.

Eating Scones with Tea
Use a knife to cut the scone into two halves. Put jam on each side (there is no need to add butter first), then spread clotted cream on top carefully. Eat the top and bottom halves separately (do not try to make them into a sandwich). Some people prefer to add the jam on top of the cream, although this can be more difficult.

Afternoon Tea at Susie Wilson Image and Etiquette Training.

Table Setting

Table Setting
Depending upon the occassion, you may want to use a "formal" table setting or an "informal" table setting. For most of us, the need to set a truly formal table is almost non-existant. With this in mind, we start with a description of an informal table setting - appropriate for most occassions. For those truly special events that call for more formality, we have compiled an exhaustive set of table setting rules. Even if you are not going to host the president of a foreign country at your next dinner party, it can be fun to read the rules and see what might be.

As a general rule, feel free to use some creativity and have fun when selecting your dinnerware, but don't go overboard. If combining dinnerware pieces from different sets, use items with a the same colors or patterns or one item that is common to all groups to link them together. Use the materials you like, just bear in mind that plastic wine glasses may not be an appropriate accompianment with your best china.

If your china set is missing a butter plate or some other item, replace it with a glass version (in this case a glass butter plate).

Try to plan the table setting to match your menu. When bread and butter are served, add a butter plate to the table. Use seperate salad plates if serving your main course with gravy. It is fine to serve a salad on the same plate as a steak without sauce, but you should avoid serving salad on the same plate as an item with gravy that will run into and ruin the salad.

The Informal Table Setting

An informal table setting does not mean a haphazard table setting. You still need to pay attention to the details of spacing and neatness.

The following is a standard table settin for a three-course meal. Note the basic "outside-in" rule. The piece of flatware that will be used last is placed directly next to the whatever plate you are using.

Two Forks

Both forks are placed on the left of the plate. The fork furthest from the plate is for salad. The fork next to the plate is for the dinner. (Please Note: At more formal meals where the salad is served afer the main course, the order of placement is reversed.)

Dinner Plate

The dinner plate is placed on the table when the main course is served and is not on the table when the guests sit down.

Salad Plate

The salad plate is placed left of the forks.

One Dinner Knife

On the right side, and directly next to, the plate. If the main course requires a steak knife, it may be substituted for the dinner knife.

Two Spoons

On the right side of the knife. The dessert spoon is directly to the right of the knife. The soup spoon is on the far right.

One Butter Plate with Butter Knife

A small bread plate is placed above the forks, above and to the left of the service plate.

One Water Goblet

A water glass will be found just above your knives.

One Wine Glass

At least one wine glass should sit to the right and possibly above the water glass.


Place the napkin in the place setting's center, or left of the last fork.

Coffee Cups

Place a cup and saucer to the right of the place setting. The coffee spoon goes to the left of right of the saucer.

Dessert Spoon and Fork

A dessert fork and/or spoon may be placed horizontally above the dinner plate.  These utensils may also be provided when dessert is served.


Butter should be waiting on butter plates, the glasses filled with water, and the wine ready to be served all before the guests are seated at the table.

The salad may be served with the entree.

When the first course is at the table when guests arrive, the main course is served after the plates for the first course are removed.

The Formal Table Setting

Service Plate

Place the service plate in the center of the place setting.

Butter Plate

A small bread plate is placed above the forks, above and to the left of the service plate.

Wine Glasses

If two wine glasses are presented, the glass with the longer stem and cylindrical globe is the white wine glass.  White wine glasses should only be held by the stem.  Red wine glasses have a wider globe and may be cupped in the palm of your hand if you choose.

At formal dinners, a champagne flute may be located between the water glass and the wine glasses.  A small sherry glass may also be present to the right of the wine glasses.  This may signal that sherry will be served with the soup course.

Salad Fork

directly on the plate's left

Meat Fork

left of the salad fork

Fish Fork

on the meat fork's left

Salad Knife

directly to the right of the plate

Meat Knife

right of the salad knife

Fish Knife

on the meat knife's right

Butter Knife

on the butter plate, diagonally

Soup Spoon and/or Fruit Spoon

right of the knives

Oyster Fork

outside the spoons

Dessert Spoons and Forks

A dessert fork and/or spoon may be placed horizontally above the dinner plate.  These utensils may also be provided when dessert is served.


Place knives with blades facing the plate.

Do not place over three pieces of flatware on either side of the plate at one time (except forks if an oyster fork is used).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top Presentation/Public Speaking Tips that will help you through

Children in school are giving presentations.  High school students are doing them with PowerPoint.  In every company, organisation, social gathering, and team meeting, there are more opportunities and expectations to speak in front of a group.  Some fear presentations.  Others just need help in how to give a presentation that engages the audience and achieves its goal.
It’s not that hard, but there are many steps.  Write a clear key message. Develop the outline.  Generate the content of your presentation, create your visuals, carefully consider your conclusion, rehearse your opening, then edit and practice.

1. Develop a clear key message
I listen to many client presentations.  I evaluate the content and delivery and make suggestions for improvement. One of my most frequent comments is this:  What are you really trying to say?  I’m not sure I’m getting it.  The volume of data and information often fogs the real message.
An average person’s attention span is typically 7 minutes before the mind wanders off. Listening and processing what we hear requires a lot of cognitive energy.  Listening is hard — even harder if it’s later in the day, if other priorities are clouding your brain, if you’re hungry, have a backache, or need to use the washroom.  Obstacles like a noisy room or not being able to clearly see the presenter can whittle those potential 7 minutes of attention down to 3.5 minutes.
Ask yourself, if someone surveyed the people who were in your presentation with the question, what was the speaker’s main message? Would you get an 80% consensus?  If 80% of your audience can’t repeat it, then your key message wasn’t clear enough. So with that in mind, develop a clear and succinct message. Repeat it more than once.
Help your audience hear your key message.  You can preface your remarks by saying something like:
  I want you to take away an important key message and this is it…

2. Make your opening remarks memorable

You want your opening remarks to hook the audience and engage them immediately.  You can do this in many ways:  highlight their need to hear what you have to say; share a surprising statistic/number/dollar figure; deliver a short anecdote; tell a human interest story.  These are just a few ideas for making your opening dynamic.
I often advise my clients to develop their opening remarks at the end of writing the presentation.  These first moments are so important and they’re easier to write after everything else is finished.
Practice your opening remarks many times, out loud and standing up.  You should be entirely fluent without reading or looking at notes.  If your opening goes well, the rest of the presentation will follow in the same way.

3. Engage the audience
If your audience isn’t engaged, who are you talking to?  They may look like they’re listening, but their minds could be on the golf course.  Keep focusing on how to engage them.  Make your delivery impactful, your slides simple and clean, and your stories amusing or dramatic. Your eye contact and voice should reach out and bring them in.
Here are a few strategies that will help: get them to ask or answer questions; praise them; reference current events; show strong visuals; talk about the competition; move; use a louder voice; and use humour carefully.  Always be politically correct or you may disengage the audience.

4. Persuade them with forethought & strategy

If your goal is to persuade your listeners into accepting an idea, buying a product or service, or changing their mind, focus on how to persuade them rather than the benefits of what you’re selling.
Here are some strategies that help persuade people: think about them first and how you’ll address their needs; appeal to emotion; begin your presentation with their most pressing issues; sell solutions to their problems; describe what might happen if they don’t buy into your idea; be excited.

5. Deliver with impact

How do we demonstrate as well as inspire confidence in our audience?  We do it through strong body language.  We all know that body language speaks louder than words.  So to answer the question:  how do I deliver a strong presentation?  The answer must include a focus on body language.  Think about developing your best interpersonal skills.
Body language, also called non-verbal communication, is comprised of five main elements: Voice, gesture, posture, eye contact, and distance.  After that comes grooming, dress, and hygiene.  All of these elements are critically important to the success of the presentation. As in any interpersonal skills training, our goal is to communicate effectively with our verbal and non verbal messages.
Think about using: a louder than average voice; speech that has lots of inflection; natural hand gestures and facial animation; posture that is grounded and purposeful whether standing still or moving; and meaningful eye contact.  Ask your friends for honest feedback.  Drive your body language to inspire confidence in your audience.

6. Conclude with conviction

Plan your concluding remarks.  Don’t wing it.  Make your conclusion distinct from the body of your presentation by announcing, In conclusion… This alerts the listener to refocus.  Likely you will repeat your key message at this time.  If they didn’t get it before, they will catch it now.
Consider what you want the audience to do after your presentation.  Ask them directly.  Outline the next steps and attach a timeline.  This lends some urgency to a persuasive presentation.
End with conviction.

 Avoid phrases that sound hesitant or tentative, such as:
I hope I… Unfortunately we’re out of time… Possibly… Maybe you learned something today…
Instead use strong, concluding phrases, such as:
Just imagine when… I know we can achieve… I’m confident that… Let’s focus on…

The answer to how to give a winning presentation is a long and complex one.  The strategies I’ve shared will help you achieve success when standing in front of an audience.  You’ll feel the incredible rush that comes when they are listening, nodding, and smiling.  That’s one of the perks that come with a mastery of presentation skills.

Smiles, Susie

 Susie Wilson Entrepreneur and deportment educator
Image specialist. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Etiquette: how do you confidently market yourself as an indep...

Etiquette: how do you confidently market yourself as an indep...: "So how do you confidently market yourself as an independent professional in a way that builds your credibility and your prospect list? Follo..."

how do you confidently market yourself as an independent professional in a way that builds your credibility and your prospect list?

So how do you confidently market yourself as an independent professional in a way that builds your credibility and your prospect list? Follow these tips to market yourself like an expert, even if you are just getting started.

1. Create a written plan for building your network and stick to it. Proper planning prevents poor performance – set your self up for a win by taking the time to make a conscious plan for how you will present your self to people in your new role.

2. Be proactive. If all you do is dream about the connections you”could” be making, you’ll miss the opportunities to actually make them. Thee faster you get out there and start letting people know about what you have to offer, the sooner you’ll begin to increase your revenue.

3. Exude confidence. You’ve probably heard the saying – “fake it till you make it.” When you’re confident, people tend to trust your professionalism more than someone who seems timid and unsure of himself. Present yourself with poise, professionalism, and ease. Always speak with confidence about your capabilities and how you can meet the needs of your client base.

4. Try different networking groups. Until you get the results you are looking for – test out different groups. Even if your part-time business is in the same field as your day job, your previous networking circles may not be a good fit.

5. Make networking events a priority. If an opportunity to attend a networking event fits your schedule take it. Even if it requires a financial investment*. Why?  It’s one of the best ways to find clients and make contacts that may hire you at a later date or recommend you to their colleagues.

* You may have to pay a fee to attend conventions or events, but they are often well worth the price. You’re paying to chat with a roomful of your target prospects. Even one new customer may enable you to earn back the cost and then some.

6. Be prepared. Always have a large stack of business cards and have your elevator pitch prepared about your new business venture. Sometimes, you’ll only get a few minutes to chat with potential clients. So leave a lasting impression by displaying professionalism and confidence.

7. Dress the part. First impressions are everything and that means looking the part. Find out the proper dress code for the networking events you attend. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, but you’ll feel silly sitting in a room full of people in cardigans and khakis while you’re decked out in a business suit and heels.

Here’s a tip: Search online photo sharing sites like Flickr for pictures posted by people that have attended the event you are interested in. This way, you’ll see firsthand what the regular attendees deem to be appropriate attire.

The success of your business is directly related to how well you are able to build a network who knows about you and knows what you can do. Networking will become an ongoing activity that should be strategically planned in order to find the right connections. The more confident  you are in  presenting yourself as  a business owner or independent professional, the easier it will be for you position yourself as an expert, make a name for yourself in the local community, and develop a healthy pool of prospective clients.