Monday, August 10, 2020

A monthly letter/column as written for & published also by Women in Transportation Services

Dear Dennie,

I tend to make sure I dress “invisibly” when I’m presenting. I don’t want to distract the men, take focus from my message, or have anyone question my credibility. Should I counsel my mentoree to do the same?

The Invisible Presenter

Dear TIP,

There is definitely something to be said for not distracting from your message. But aren’t you also part of that message? That’s a great discussion to hold in a mentoring relationship.

Supporting your message may not be about erasing or being invisible. Supporting your message may be in people feeling they can ask you questions, have further discussions with you, ask you for more guidance. 

We sell our messages with:

  • ·       Tone and volume of voice
  • ·       Facial expression
  • ·       Gestures
  • ·       Word choice
  • ·       Attitude… and
  • ·       Our visual presence

As long as you’re not trying to be deliberately provocative (unless that supports the message), ask yourself if you’re cutting out a form of communication that could help you create the change or conversation desired. 

Now, ask me anything.... :-)


Monday, July 27, 2020

Your intro opens a door

Can you answer this question: Why would you call you?

Brand is your reputation and you have the ability to steer it towards what you want it to be. 

Find 6 words to use as the ingredients that show you - within the context you find yourself for an introduction. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Outsides matter too, sometimes

A monthly letter/column as written for & published also by Women in Transportation Services

Dear Dennie,

How do I know when I’m dressing as myself, showcasing my brand? What’s too far? What are the rules?

Outsides Matter Too

Dear OMT,

If you don't feel happy in what you're wearing - shoes that pinch, pants that pull, an itchy sweater or feeling like you're wearing a disguise - you won't have as good a day. Our image inside and out should be confident, comfortable and in control and reflect how we wish to be seen.

Aside from the fact that women are often urged to dress in a way so that men can contain their primal urges (reflecting badly on both genders), rules for dressing are often not that helpful. Rules don’t account for style or taste - beyond reflecting the concerns and sometimes biases of those who wrote the rules. Unless a rule is there for safety (e.g. “steel-toed boots must be worn on site”), I suggest these guidelines instead.

·                Don't wear clothing that you'd wear to the beach or for gardening, etc.
·                Don't be spilling out of either the top or bottom of your outfit (or middle)
·                Ragged holes usually are a no-no 
·                Start the day clean, unwrinkled and stain-free
Yes, that's all common sense but not everyone can find sense when they're tired or on a tight budget. 

There are 3 things to consider:
1 - Know what's appropriate for the situation.

However, do not limit your creativity or put yourself in a uniform if that's not your thing. Think of 'appropriate' as the polite manners of the workplace, like adding "please", "thank you" and "may I call you by your first name?".  
When I work with not-for-profit administrators, I point out that when relationships first form we need to put folks at ease. Since we first connect on the visual, mirroring body language and dressing to loose business guidelines is a quick and easy way to say "I get where you're coming from" off the top. The differences will emerge soon enough.

2 - Know your personal style and don't give it up, just adapt it.

Ask yourself - what image do I want to project?

If you're not sure what your style is, stick closer to the suggestions the event/workplace offers around #1. Play it safe. If you are aware of your style - use it. Graphic print wrap dresses or beautiful necklaces keep me sane.

Those who tell women to dress in conservative colours and cuts are trying to downplay gender. No one tells guys not to wear crazy socks, ill-tailored pants or cool two-tone wingtips. Feel good in what you wear, including heels if you can actually walk in them (have a friend follow you to check).

3 - Ask someone you trust if you are not sure.

Don't just go to folks who dress like you and look for validation. Pick someone who has a style you admire and ask for their opinion.

If someone is simply trying to dictate a view of a workplace that does not include diversity and personal brand (in thought and expression) then question it!

Now, ask me anything.... :-)