Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to info@alessandra.com!

People are way more critical than you think - don't give them fuel for the fire!

Back in the early 70's, recently accredited with my MBA and happily engaged in my first college teaching position, a friend asked me what my long-term career goal was. When I answered that I would like to eventually become the president of a large university, my friend chuckled and replied, "Tony, there's no way!" I took offense at this and demanded to know why he would react that way. He said, "Don't misunderstand me, Tony. You're certainly intelligent and ambitious enough. But can you imagine yourself addressing the student body with your Brooklyn accent?" I realized that he was right. My accent was so heavy (lots of 'dees' and 'dose') that it would have had a negative impact on my credibility and my career. I resolved to change that aspect of myself and eventually became a professional speaker.

The old adage is true: "First impressions are lasting impressions." But if you're like most people, you probably can't see the first impressions you're making. In that case, here's some simple advice you can take from the story above: Take the risk of asking one or more of your close friends if you are guilty of any of the following image deficiencies below. If so, first thank your friends for their honesty, and then immediately do something to correct them! Try creating an impression you want to last.

Common first-impression killers & what to do about them:

A heavy accent - The Brooklyn accent is just one of many... Bostonians and Southerners beware!!! Some people read this as a sign of intellectual inferiority, others just won't understand what you're saying. Consult a speech coach if you must, but don't let this habit get in your way!
A limp handshake - For a man, a sign of weakness...for a woman, a sign that she lacks confidence! Don't squeeze the hand or hold it like a dead mouse, just give it a firm grip, a couple of pumps, and let go. Along with making consistent eye contact, this is one of the easiest first-impression blunders to correct!
Sloppy grooming (long hair, sideburns, three-day stubble, bad makeup job, un-tucked shirt or blouse, unpolished shoes) - Says to hiring manager: "Can't be left alone for a second with prospective clients" - also a sign of intellectual sloppiness!
Poor hygiene (foul body odor, dirty fingernails, chronic bad breath) - One of those things you want to ask your most trusted best friend about because (1) chances are, you can't notice it, and (2) some people won't want to hurt your feelings.
Weak vocabulary -Beside "like" "ah" and "um" try to avoid weak words ("awesome" "cool" and "super") that make you sound like you just graduated from Sweet Valley High.
Poor posture - People notice the way you enter a room, the way you carry yourself. Take a few deep breaths to collect yourself. Stand tall and hold your head up high. Walk with purpose and direction.
Ill-fitting clothing - Even if your body is in perfect shape, the clothes you wear can make you look ridiculous if they are too big and bulky, or one size too small and reveal too much (stomach, hairy shins). Nothing screams "success" like a well-tailored suit...do yourself a favor and make a serious investment in clothes that fit!

Here's to more personal insight,


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