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

Silent Messages: YOUR INTELLECTUAL IMAGE

One major aspect of your personal image comes from how well you've developed what's inside your skull. I'm not talking about a high IQ or your skill at Trivial Pursuit. I'm referring to your mental fitness.

Can your mind lift abstract concepts from The Wall Street Journal or from the professional journal in your field? Can you grasp the intricacies of a problem explained by an expert from another field? Can you hang in there when getting an issue settled is going to mean clearing seven committees and the CEO?

Try to get in the habit of not assigning labels to people. At work, for instance, don't dismiss the opinions of a mere "clerk" while perhaps over-valuing those of a "consultant." It takes intellectual strength to appreciate people's unique, human side and not judge them generically. But do so and you'll win their respect - and maybe learn something, too.

Seek Depth and Breadth of Knowledge

Depth of knowledge refers to how well you understand your own area of expertise. The more you know about it, the more power and influence you'll have. Charismatic people often make good first impressions not because they're smarter than others but because they prepare better.

But if depth of knowledge alone were enough to make a good impression, chemists would bond with other chemists, cops with other cops, and taxidermists with other taxidermists. But, what about the rest of the world? Breadth of knowledge enables you to engage in meaningful social talk, the social lubricant that looms large in all human exchanges. Thus, by being informed on a wide range of topics, you'll be able to project a favorable image more easily with more people.

How do you increase breadth of knowledge? You're literally surrounded by opportunities! If there's one thing we don't lack in our culture, it's access to information. You can read books and magazines. Explore the Internet. Take classes. Go to plays and movies. Attend workshops. Listen to audio programs. You name it!

Here's to more personal insight,


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Strengthen your intellectual image!

- Take some classes in a subject you've always wondered about, say, art history, acting, or geology -- but never studied.

- Commit to teaching yourself a new and difficult skill: celestial navigation perhaps, or gourmet cooking, or origami, or winemaking.

- Join a foreign-affairs group or an investment club or a reading circle where new issues and speakers abound.

Or, here's a real test of mental discipline: listen to a daytime TV talk show without making judgments about the intelligence of the participants!

Want more tips on improving the image you project to others? Read my eReport on Sending Out Your Best Silent Message.

This 19-page program identifies the key elements of a first impression, and offers some skill-building tips on how to maximize yours. Topics covered include:

* A quick quiz to assess your strengths and identify areas opportunity for improvement
* The five different aspects of who you are -- your 'Image Rainbow' -- and how they impact your image
* How to jumpstart your way to a better image

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