What Do Your Clothes Say About You?

COVID CRAZED

What Do Your Clothes Say About You?

Do you know how to handle a stressful COVID-19 encounter?

Public encounters can be especially challenging right now. A routine trip to the grocery store can go sideways in a matter of moments, which is exactly what happened to me on my last trip to Costco.

I was standing in line, patiently waiting for my turn to check out when I noticed that the woman in front of me was extremely anxious. She jumped every time someone moved towards her. After several dirty glances my way, she yelled for me to move back. I kindly pointed to the sticker on the ground beneath me and noted that I was standing on my designated circle. She walked around my cart to ensure that I was telling the truth (coming within 6 feet of me) before returning to her place in line.

At first, I wanted to laugh at how crazy we all have become as our brains have shut down from the stress of the pandemic. And then I wanted to cry because I cannot imagine the level of fear that she must be experiencing. You will inevitably cross an unknown boundary with others during this season. How will you respond and be remembered during these trying times?

Here are a few ideas on how to make your next outing go more smoothly:

  1. Go mentally prepared. Everyone is dealing with COVID-19 differently. Emotions are running high and the logical reasoning center in our brain doesn’t work well when we are emotionally charged. Before you go out, make sure that you are calm and able to think and respond—not just react.
  2. Play by the rules. Know what is expected where you are going: practice social distancing, wear a mask, and use good hygiene.
  3. Be kind. Remember your manners. Saying hello, please, thank you, excuse me, and you’re welcome can make all the difference when said with a smile. Remember to also smile with your eyes.
  4. Let it go. Don’t shame others; you do not know their story, will not change their behavior, and will only escalate the situation. You are there to shop not enforce policy. Go about your business, keep your distance, and do your best.
  5. Respectfully protect yourself. If you are concerned about non-compliant behavior, calmly inform someone who works at the store or remove yourself from the situation. If you find yourself stuck in a situation that you believe is impacting your health, try using inclusive language. For example, “Could we try to put a little bit of space between us while we wait in line?” Do not forget to smile!

How we treat people matters, especially now. This, too, shall pass. When it does, what relationships will be waiting for you on the other side of this pandemic?

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Read more “Did You Know?” topics below.

The Duchenne Smile

Do you know how to smile with your eyes?

How do you create connection from behind a mask? Social distancing and masked faces can make us feel isolated and awkward. These feelings can prompt us to avoid eye contact, making us feel even more isolated and more awkward. This vicious cycle can be easily broken with a powerful tool: a genuine smile from our eyes. Learn how to smile with your eyes in this tip!

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The Handshake Alternative

Do you know how to NOT shake hands?

COVID-19 radically changed how we interact with one another, and people will likely be opting out of personal touch for a while. While handshakes are on hold, how will you create connection when greeting people? How do you communicate a genuine happiness to see someone without touch? How do you graciously turn down a handshake or kindly respond when someone pulls back from your extended hand? Learn how to NOT shake hands—and what to do instead—in this tip!

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Phone Skills

Do you remember basic phone etiquette?

Making a phone call sounds simple, doesn’t it? But for those of us who haven’t used the call feature recently, it is easy to forget how to make a proper call. A phone call is not just about conveying information; it is a valuable opportunity to connect with another person. Make the most of these moments by brushing up on your basic phone etiquette. Sharpen your phone skills with these 5 etiquette tips!

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Distant Socializing

Do you know how to stay connected in a time of social distancing?

After weeks of social distancing, even the most introverted among us misses engaging with other people. Everything—or so it seems—is cancelled. But do you know what isn’t cancelled? Our biologically hardwired need to connect with other people. Staying connected is essential business. Learn 5 practical ways to keep being social in this tip!

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Giving Business Cards

Do you know how to present a business card?

Knowing how to smoothly exchange business cards is an easy way to boost your professional image and increase your confidence at networking events. Do you know how do you flawlessly handle the exchange? Learn how to present a business card in this tip!

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Soup Etiquette

Do you know how to eat soup? (hint: it’s eaten differently than cereal!)

Have you ever chosen not to order a delicious bowl of soup because you weren’t quite sure how to eat it or were worried that you would wear more than you ate? You aren’t alone! Soup can challenge even the most skilled diner. Thankfully, there is a handy rhyme that makes eating soup simple and keeps you drip-free! Learn how to eat soup (and how the process is different than cereal) in this tip!

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Dropped Calls

Do you know who should return a dropped call?

The dreaded dropped call. You are in the middle of a story or are sharing important information and eventually realize that no one is listening. “Hello? Are you there?” Silence. You wonder how long you have been talking to yourself while you quickly call the other person back and are directed to voicemail. You hang up and receive a missed call notification. Ugh! Welcome to the most annoying game of phone tag. Save time and frustration by following the simple rule in this tip!

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Water Glass: Left or Right?

Do you know which water glass is yours?

Have you ever sat down to a beautiful table and not known which water glass was yours? No one wants to experience that awkward moment when they accidentally drink their table mate’s water! Learn our foolproof trick to identify your drink in this tip!

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Host Gifts

Do you send a thank you note for a host gift? (and what is a host gift?)

We often take our invitations to social events for granted but being included on someone’s guest list is an honor. Hosting events is a lot of work (especially when no one RSVPs!). A host gift is a gracious way to thank your host for including you in their celebration. Do you know when to give a host gift? What to bring? And whether to send a thank you note when you receive a host gift? Learn how to handle host gifts in this tip!

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HANDSHAKES: WHO GOES FIRST?

Do you know who should initiate a handshake?

We have all encountered that awkward moment when we meet someone and wonder if we should shake hands and—if so—who should extend their hand first? A handshake is the only appropriate form of touch in business and is an influential way to convey feelings of competence, warmth, strength, and connection. In the West, initiating a handshake signals confidence and leadership. It conveys that you are direct and in control. But who should shake hands first? Learn who shakes first in this tip!

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Wearing Name Tags

Do you know where to place your name tag?

According to Dale Carnegie, “A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Our names matter. Unfortunately, learning and remembering a person’s name does not come easily to most people. A name tag lets people see your name in print, which increases the likelihood that they remember it. Did you know that there is a proper place to wear your name tag? Learn where to place your name tag (and why!) in this tip!

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Power Piece

Did you know that a third piece can boost your authority?

Outstanding presentations require thoughtful preparation including reliable content, compelling language, and powerful nonverbal skills. If you want to project authority, there is one other element you don’t want to overlook: a power piece. What is a power piece and how do you wear it? Learn more in this tip!

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Toasting Misstep

Do you know who should NOT drink during a toast?

A well-delivered toast can transform a simple meal into a memorable celebration and be the highlight of a wedding or special event. The modern toaster stands, delivers a brief, positive, heartfelt, and perhaps witty collection of words intended to honor the person being toasted. Everyone is asked to raise a glass in the recipient’s honor…and then what happens? Learn who should NOT drink during a toast—and what they should do instead— in this tip!

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Are You Civil?

Did you know that it pays to be kind?

We have all heard the saying, “you’ll never regret being kind,” but do you believe it? Just one look at our social media feeds often begs the question, does being civil really pay off? We have the answer and it may surprise you. Learn the power of civility and take our Civility Awareness Quiz in this tip!

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FLATTERING FIT

Do you know how to choose clothing that flatters your body?

Have you ever found yourself not being able to pinpoint why a certain top or pair of pants doesn’t look quite right? You love the color and style, but every time you put it on you don’t feel great. The right outfit has the power to fuel your confidence. Some people embrace all their curves and feel fabulous in everything, which is wonderful! Others feel more confident when their less loved features are not highlighted. If the latter is you, here is one tip to help you choose an outfit that flatters your body in a way you love!

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Miss, Mrs., or Ms.?

Did you know that “Miss” and “Mrs.” should not be used in business?

Addressing men in business is clear: John Smith is formally addressed as Mr. Smith. But how should you address women in business? Women were traditionally addressed based on marital status. However, as society changed, so did etiquette! Learn how to address women in business today in this tip!

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Is Your Outfit Boring, Distracting, or Brilliant?

Do you know the Rule of Ten?

Your clothing is your instant messaging system; it is the first thing people notice and it communicates volumes before you have a chance to speak. How do you know if your outfit is boring, distracting, or brilliant? The Rule of Ten is the answer! Learn the Rule of Ten in this tip!

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Better Late Than Never

Do you know how to write a belated thank you note?

Did you forget to say thank you for a holiday gift? Thank you notes should ideally be sent within 48 hours, but it is never too late to say thank you! Expressing gratitude is a powerful opportunity to be remembered well. Learn how to write a belated thank you note in this tip!

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Buffet Lines

Did you know that kids should not go first?

Many of us enjoy buffets with family around the holidays, and we often let kids go through the line first. Making hungry kids wait is not the most enjoyable task, but did you know that kids who can balance a plate and serve themselves should NOT go first through a buffet line? Learn who should go first in this tip!

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Electronic Guilt Tipping

Did you know that you do not always have to tip when asked?

The clerk at your favorite bakery, food truck, or coffee shop swipes your credit card and spins an electronic screen around that asks whether you want to tip. Do you select 15%, 20%, or 25% for being handed a pre-made sandwich? Or do you select “no tip” under the awkward gaze of the clerk? Learn how to respond to electronic tip requests in this tip!

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Food Preferences

Did you know that there is a way to handle food requirements at an event?

If you have a dietary issue, the standard etiquette was to let your host know at the point of R.S.V.P. After all, no one wants to call 911 due to an unknown, life-threatening reaction to nuts. However, as food awareness in the U.S. has expanded this rule has changed. Learn how to navigate your dietary needs when dining with others in this tip!

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Are You a Space Invader?

Did you know that personal space extends from 1.5 to 4 feet away?

If you have had someone intrude on your personal space, you know how hard it is to think about anything other than regaining your comfort zone. In fact, the maintenance of personal space appears to be a very basic survival mechanism. Learn why we respond so strongly to space invaders and how to effectively navigate personal space in this tip!

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Sit or Stand?

Did you know that both men and women should rise when others join the table?

Under traditional social etiquette rules, a man was expected to rise for a woman when she approached or left a table. Learn how this rule has changed and what you should do in this tip!

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Airplane Middle Seat Rights

Did you know that airplane middle seats enjoy special rights?

What seat do you prefer when flying? Studies show that just over half of us opt for the window seat while the rest of us choose the aisle. Everyone’s last choice? The dreaded middle seat. No one enjoys being trapped in a tight space for hours between two strangers. The good news? Find out in this tip!

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Spitting Out Food

Did you know that there is a polite way to spit out food?

Everyone has faced that moment when you take a bite of food only to discover it contains something that you do not want to swallow. Once you have taken a bite, what do you do with pesky bones, pits, and meat gristle? Learn how to handle unwanted food in this tip.

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Tipping Housekeeping

Did you know that you should tip hotel housekeeping every day?

Travelers overwhelmingly forget to tip hotel housekeeping. In fact, 32% of hotel guests never tip these hardworking individuals who go about the overlooked work of cleaning our messes, scrubbing our toilets, making our beds, and tossing out our trash. Learn how much and how often to tip hotel housekeeping in this post.

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Dealing With Nosy People

Did you know that you do not have to answer every question you are asked?

“How much did that cost?” “Are you still single?” “How old are you?” “When do you plan to have children?” “Who did you vote for?” Handle cringeworthy questions like these with grace by following these three tips…

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Where To Take A Call

Did you know that there is a proper place to take a phone call?

Although phone booths have nearly disappeared from the landscape, the need to step away from others to take or place a call has not. Where should you take a phone call?…

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Who Pays on a First Date

Did you know that the rules for who should pay on a first date have changed?

Old dating etiquette required men to pick up the check on a first date because they were traditionally doing the inviting. Etiquette changes as society evolves…

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Gratitude Transforms Your Career

Did you know that saying thank you can transform your career?

A survey of 2,007 people for the John Templeton Foundation revealed that 81% of respondents would work harder for a more grateful boss, and 93% agree that a grateful boss is more likely to succeed…

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You Should Always RSVP

Did you know that everyone should RSVP, but only about 30% of people do?

RSVP comes from the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît,” which means “please respond.” If you receive an invitation with RSVP on it…

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Screen Time is Changing Our Brains

Did you know that we touch our phones 2,617 times a day?

According to a study by the research firm dscout, a typical cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times and spends 145 minutes on their phone every day.

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Times To Avoid Shaking Hands

Did you know that there are times to avoid shaking hands?

A handshake is the only socially acceptable form of touch in western business, and it conveys a lot about you, including your confidence and professionalism…

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Wearing White After Labor Day

Did you know that you can wear white after Labor Day?

For over a century, Americans dutifully followed the no-white-after-Labor-Day rule. The origin of this rule is unclear. Some say that rich people used to only wear white…

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Thank You Note Timing

Did you know that there is a proper time within which you should send a thank you note?

Thank you notes should be sent within 48 hours. Emails are nice, but nothing replaces a handwritten thank you note…

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