Do you struggle with how you are seen in the world of business?  Do you feel like you aren’t making the impact on people that you know you could?

It is possible to have other’s see the real you, all your skills, all the experience.

You can learn how to impact people so they want to talk to you, want to hire you, to see you as a leader and see you as the executive that you are!

Learn How To Make A Much More Powerful Impact-

  • In your networking meetings
  • In Your Career
  • In your Business

Take your career head on and leave the lasting impression you’ve always wanted people to see

Show Notes

Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert, keynote speaker and founder of Executive Impressions.  After seeing how much cultural intelligence and social skills helped her reach her career goals, Kara decided to help others learn and benefit from these skills through online and in-person training programs at Executive Impressions.
At Executive Impressions, Kara works with clients all around the world and from a variety of industries such as hospitality, finance, legal, education, mining and more. Her training programs focus on business etiquette, cross-cultural team development, leadership skills, body language, professional image, and netiquette.   You can reach out to her on social media here:
For Shrink for the Shy Guy listeners only Kara has a special discount to the first 15 people!

Click below to hear this episode!

Hey, welcome today’s episode of the show. Today we’re going to be looking at the impression that you make on others and this is important. And now I know that we can actually get obsessed with this and we can be afraid of it. We can imagine that it’s not a good impression. We can assume that people won’t like us. We can have all these fears and doubts about how are we showing up and how people are going to receive us. And that could be in a work setting, romantic setting, social situation, dinner at a friend, friend of a friend’s house, it doesn’t matter, it can follow us everywhere we go.

So what we want to do is we want to keep working on the inner game to where we just don’t care so much about what other people think of us. We stand in our own reality where in my reality I know I’m valuable. I know I have a lot to bring. I know it doesn’t matter if my hair is perfect or if I have hair at all or if I’m totally in shape or I’m a little overweight or whatever it is or my socks aren’t perfect. We don’t want to buy into these fears but because we’re not perfect, people won’t love us, we won’t get the business and career opportunities we want.

So we want to work on the inner game to where we become totally solid in ourselves and my reality is stronger than some potential stranger’s judgment of me. And having said all of that, we want to learn how to play the game better. We want to learn how to make good impressions on people and guess what, your inner game could be 100% solid but if you show up to a networking event and people there are wearing suits and you got sweatpants and a stained t-shirt on, you might be feeling totally okay with yourself but you’re probably not going to get the responses that you want. You probably not get going to get people to want to take you seriously or invest in your business or fundraise you or to be your client or whatever it is you’re going for in that setting.

And same goes for dating, you could be like, hey, this is me; I wear dirty grey sweatpants and a stained t-shirt and I got taco juice on it and I’m going to walk over and talk to that woman who’s wearing a nice dress and whose got the designer handbag and maybe you have such bolder confidence that you just wow her and she’s like, “Oh my God,” but probably not. If she is…puts a lot of attention on her appearance and really values that she’s probably want a guy that does the same thing. Now if you say, “Forget that, I don’t want to do all that,” then you know you can approach women that maybe don’t value their clothes or designer things as much.

But here’s the thing, it’s okay to play the game so what I think it’s extremely valuable is to learn how to make a powerful impression and that’s why in this episode and next week’s, we’re going to be interviewing , Kara Ronin who is an expert at helping people make what she calls executive impressions. And it’s fascinating there’s a place and all areas of your life but it’s especially in your work life. How to make an impression on people where they see you as magnetic as a leader as someone they want to hire, buy from, be with, emulate, follow.

This is powerful and she gets down to some nitty-gritties about your… what your appearance, how to pick your attire and clothes all the way up through your mindset, all the way into the specifics of how to start conversations. We dive a lot into networking events, another business situation. So this is an incredibly valuable interview for you if you want to excel in your career, grow your own business, become more of a leader in your field and have people follow you and listen to what you say and be managed by you or hire you for different things or get more clients in that way too, so extremely valuable.

And without further ado, we’re going to jump into that interview with Kara now. My guest expert today is Kara Ronin and she’s an international business etiquette expert. Also a keynote speaker and the founder of Executive Impressions and she personally spent 10 years living an international life working in all kinds of different cultures; Japan, the USA, Europe and she has worked in business for much of her life and with some big firms and international companies. And she saw just how much cultural intelligence and social skills helped her excel in her career and she’s been able to take that and turn around and teach hundreds and maybe even thousands of people now through online training courses, video programs as well as workshops and coaching on exactly how they can make an executive impression. So thank you so much for joining us today. Kara.

Kara:  Hello Aziz, thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Aziz:  So I’m sure the first question that people ask you that I want to ask you that people listening are going to ask is, “Oh what’s an executive impression?” Because I don’t even know exactly what that is but I want to make it.

Kara:  Yes, absolutely. Everybody wants to make that. Some people are [Inaudible 00:05:27.15] as executive persons or leadership persons or executive impression. It’s basically when you walk into a room and people notice you. It’s when you walk into a room and people stop and look at you and they want to know who you are, they want to come up and talk with you, they want to find out more about what you do and how maybe you can work with them since it’s in a business setting. So that is what executive impression. Impressions are really makes you stand out and just kind of mesmerized people in the crowd.

Dr. Aziz:  Wow, there’s a lot good things there. Standing out, getting noticed in a good way in a way that draws people to you and ultimately would want people to interact with you, work with you do business with you.

Kara:  Absolutely, I mean in business we’re going to…we’re not going to want to do business to somebody we don’t like. We don’t like the looks of who doesn’t really look appealing to us, so when you have executive, an executive impression you really going to draw those people to you just like a magnet.

Dr. Aziz:  Yes, let’s get into how to do that? So you teach this in business settings, you have a course about business etiquette, you… I know you cover a lot of important areas like networking and that sort of things so let’s drill down to one of those practical areas. Say, I’m going to a networking event and I have a business and I want to build my connections or maybe a conference or some place, where I’m going to meet other people… what can I do to have that executive impressions? What are some executive impression? What is something I can do? I want to mix impression and presence together, your presence. But what are some basic things that I can do to start bringing more of that into the way I interact with people?

Kara:  Okay, well, the first thing you really need to look at is your outfit what you wear and the reason I say this is because your outfit is the first thing that other people are going to notice about you. Just imagine while you’re walking down the street and you see somebody walking in the opposite direction towards you; you’re going to size them up. You’re going to look at them, you’re going to try and find out a little bit more information about them mostly to see whether you’re the one who has to move to the side of the sidewalk or are they going to move for you but you really want to identify who they are and the first thing you’re going to notice to do this is your… is that person’s outfit, what they’re wearing?

So are they wearing a suit? Are they wearing clothes that are more casual? Are they wearing a hood, the jumper with a hood or something like that, so these are the things that you’re going to look at… and the same is true when you go into networking events as people enter the networking event room you’re going to be looking at what they wear? Are they wearing something that is very traditional in business, so the navy blue suit with the red tie and if you’re a woman then maybe stockings and a black business suit. That is a very traditional business look or is it going to be somebody who’s wearing a bit more color. Perhaps they work in a creative industry in marketing or advertising and they have a little bit more color in their outfit and patterns.

So you’re going to first look at their outfit and try to define who they are in the business world? And that is going to help you work out what topics you want to talk to them about. How you want to introduce yourself. It’s going to give you a bit of an idea on the personality of that person as well whether they are chatty, whether they are little bit more reserve, whether they are very serious and you can use all of these cues, all of these areas to create your own outfit so that you can give the impression or the executive impression that you want.

So if you are approaching a networking event you have your own business and you want to sign an important client and you know that client is very traditional, very conservative and a little bit reserved as well, you are not going to walk into that networking event wearing lots of colors, wearing a black jacket and wearing lots of patterns. You’re going to want to match your style with the style of that client you want to connect with. So that is the first thing for networking event that you really need to focus on, your outfits.

Dr. Aziz:  That’s so interesting. As you said that it makes total sense. I mean, you, we are looking at people’s outfits all the time and if someone is wearing something that’s totally different than what we think they would be wearing, there’s something a little bit unsettling or uncertain about it.

Kara:  It is, yes.

Dr. Aziz:  Why are they…what’s happening? It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll ride them off but it does create something in our minds. And as you were talking I was reflecting about what do I wear? And it’s funny because I do a lot of recording, audio, video, writing and phone sessions with people so I wear sweatpants and a t-shirt. That’s what I wear and then if I’m going to record a video… but then it’s funny though because when I record a video I’ll put a button up suit shirt on so it’s the impression that I want to create. I don’t want to be the guy who’s wearing his sweatpants in the video.

Kara:  Exactly, your new suit videos there.

Dr. Aziz:  So it’s fascinating that we do want to create. So obviously there’s a lot to this so someone who is hearing us and maybe they haven’t really put much thought into the outfit they wear, what impression they want to make, how would you suggest maybe a simple way of starting to go about picking, what would work best?

Kara:  Right so everybody listening is probably in a completely different situation so the advice that I’m going to give you, well, might be different for everybody who’s listening. But the first thing I would advise you to do is work out what industry you work in. There are three broad categories of industries; there’s a traditional industry which includes people who work in law, in banking, investment banking, management, insurance, a very traditional type of jobs. And then the second type is a creative industry.

So those are people who work in marketing, advertising, public relations, media entertainment, so a lot more creative with their outfit. And the third type is the casual industries so this could include starters, podcasters, just like you mentioned, small businesses, tech companies, places where people would commonly wear jeans to work. So the advice that I’m going to give you is first choose the industry in which you work because when you do that you will have more of an idea of what type of outfit is going to suit, that your clients are going to expect, that your colleagues are going to expect or that your boss is going to expect as well.

If you are in a traditional industry then I would suggest you wear the traditional suit so get yourself a suit and a tie and the proper dress shoes to go with it. If you work in a creative industry then you can still wear the suit because a certain level of formality is still expected especially when you go to meet with clients, but instead of the traditional navy blue or dark suit, you can wear perhaps the light gray and then you can add in a shirt that is maybe a green or a blue or a light pink and a tie that is a purple ties or something with a little bit more color to your outfit as well. And then the casual industry is the last one. If you’re going to dress for the casual industry then you can wear jeans. I wouldn’t advice to wear sweatpants to client meetings.

Dr. Aziz:       What?

Kara: But you can wear jeans, that’s totally fine and pair it with a nice dress shirt; white looks really great or if you want to wear colored shirt then that’s totally fine as well. But always, always make sure that your jeans are irons, they’re clean, they’re not ripped, they’re not dirty or anything like that because the biggest mistake…the biggest dress mistake that you can make is dirty, ripped or unkempt attire, that’s what they term it, as unkempt attire. So avoid all of that if you want to give an executive impression to your clients and your colleagues.

Dr. Aziz:  Yes the unkempt attire equals the slubby impression which is less desirable than the executive impression.

Kara:  Exactly.

Dr. Aziz:  As we’re talking I was thinking about the last event that I that I ran and I got myself some nice button up shirts, so I was looking like real pro but then my jeans were old. They’re like three years old so they’re kind of like worn around the knees and my wife took one look at it and was like, “No, no you can’t do that.” I said, “What do you mean, I can’t do that?” So for those of you who struggle like I do in this area then getting some…I’d imagine you would suggest getting some advice feedback or consultation for those people who are not maybe that skilled in getting the outfits that would serve them best, is that right

Kara:  Yes absolutely. There are…there’s a lot of people who can give advice out there, oh your wife is one of them, your husband or your wife, your spouse. Getting a second opinion from somebody close to you is really important. If you want to move it up another level that I am very happy to talk to clients on Skype or by phone as well to give you some more tips and help you out to work out what outfit and what wardrobe is best for you and for your job.


Dr. Aziz:  Good. Okay so I’m sure… I love the way you broke down those industries by the way. I’d never really thought of it in that way but it makes total sense and it’s true, you know my friend is a … and my brother…there are two people I know and love, their lawyers and they wear suits to work, that’s what they do. And then I got a friend who is… he runs his own business and he wears jeans and t-shirt to work so it does make a lot of sense what you’re saying. So okay I’m going to my networking event, I’m kind of representing the industry that I’m in and also dressing to interact with the kinds of clients that I want to connect with. Now, what’s my next step on making an executive impression?

Kara:  Okay the next step is to look at your body language. Because as you walk into the room, people will first notice what you’re wearing and then they will be noticing how you act and how you move into the room. This is your body language or nonverbal communication, your facial expressions as well. So what I suggest to do is… a lot of people walking to networking events looking around the room, not really looking…not really knowing who to talk to. Looking a little bit uncertain or hesitant… that is not the look that you want to portray when you walk into a networking event room particularly if it’s a business event…if you’re wanting to impress clients and if you want to really project confidence to everybody else in the room. So you need to change your body language and you need to move it from the body language that projects hesitancy and uncertainty to body language that projects confidence and authority even or a little bit of power. You don’t have to be arrogant or anything like that… that’s not what I’m talking about but just projects the confidence that you are a great intelligent, competent, business person.

Dr. Aziz:  Absolutely. So we’re not…so when I walk in, what’s the alternative, I know exactly what you’re talking about, you’re kind of scanning the room like trying to figure out who should I…who’s going to invite me to talk to them? What should I be doing here? And so what could we do instead, how do we enter more powerfully with more authority?

Kara:   The first thing that you need to focus on is your posture and I know this might sound silly. You might think, “Oh my mama always told me that, my grandma always told me to walk with good posture,” but it is so true. Often times, my clients, you cannot project confidence if you are slouching. It’s just impossible. There’s no way you’re going to believe in that person will have confidence in that person. So you need to first look at your posture so that means keep your shoulders back keep your head high because when you revealed your neck… your neck is actually the most vulnerable part of your body and when you reveal your neck to other people, it’s like you’re saying, “I’m not afraid” and that is a fantastic impression, an executive impression to give. Now you don’t want to keep your head up too high because then that can make you look a little arrogant, like you’re looking down at people. Looking down… your nose at people and that’s not a good look either. People might not want to talk to you because you don’t look so approachable. But by keeping your head high just a little bit more it will make a huge difference to the confidence that you project and to the executive impression that you give other people.

Dr. Aziz:  Absolutely. Those are fundamental things that we may have heard from our mom or whatever but there’s a reason for that because they do convey way more powerful of a message long before you open your mouth. And you can try to sound powerful or say the right words but if your body language is not align with that then it’s going to be a lot harder to make those connections so these are extremely important pieces of advice you’re sharing.

Kara:  Absolutely yes. You’re body language always has to be in sync. I like to use the term in sync with your verbal communication so if you are saying one thing to somebody, if you’re saying, “I really believe in my product you should contact me next week and let’s see if we can talk,” with confidence, you’re saying that with confidence but you’re slouching. You’re not looking a person in the eye, that person is going to put more reliance on your body language than on what you are actually saying to them. So they always need to be in sync and align as you said.

Dr. Aziz:  Absolutely and the most frustrating part I found around that is if you’re doing that and you’re saying the right things but you’re just slightly off in how you show up, people aren’t going to say to you, “Wow, your body language is really not in sync with what you’re saying. Now I’m going to move away from you.” No, you just get… they just sort of move away or they’re not as engaged or they go on to someone else and they don’t want to buy from you, work with you or partner with you and it can be very frustrating to not know why and what you’re sharing is really valuable because this is the first thing to check. It’s what am I wearing? How am I showing up? Because these are…the beauty of these are, these are very basic things that anyone can handle and address with some attention on it.

Kara:  Oh absolutely. You just need to know what to do, what to look at and how to change it?

Dr. Aziz: That brings us to the end of the interview for today but there is more and some really good stuff in the next interview so stay tuned for that. But before we leave for today, we’re going to leave you with an action step.

Action Step

Your action step for today is to look at that piece that we talk about in the interview about your attire and how you show up. I know I personally used to have a lot of blocks around this and I felt like I had so much judgment about buying nicer clothes or clothes that fit me better, I don’t even know why? Not even that it was expensive, you could find those stuff for cheaper too but it was like, “Who do you think you are trying to look all good?” And that is bullshit; you want to break through that.

You want to let yourself look really good so use the kind of system she shares about looking at what industry you’re in and who you’re talking to what kind of impression you want to make and just kind of do a check over your wardrobe and see what you can do to enhance. And if you’re like me as I’m actually recording this, I’m wearing board shorts and a t-shirt and no shoes and you can pull that off… awesome.

But if you’re going to business networking events or you are an insurance salesman, hey, you’re probably got to change that up and you might already be doing that but just see if there’s a way to find the stuff that really fits for you and one other thing which is key which we can touch in the interview which is worth saying, it’s not just about of having the clothes, it’s a matter of rocking them. Because you can wear… like you put me in a suit and I am less confident and less impactful than if I’m wearing just like nice jeans and a button-up shirt because when I teach my events that’s what I put on, that’s like as formal as I go.

Now I can wear the suit and I do it in some situations, almost never now because I don’t really need to but I’m like fiddling with the belt, and my shoes are uncomfortable and it doesn’t exactly… I don’t wear it all the time, you can tell I don’t wear it all the time, so to get more confidence for you is to pick that outfit or those outfit that you want to wear to have that effect and then rock it, practice wearing them, own it and know that you’re awesome as you do it. So stay tuned for next week, we get into the rest of the interviews super valuable stuff about starting conversations specifically what to say and all that good stuff, until we speak then, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome. Talk to you soon.


Music Credit

All music is licensed or royalty free.

DeepSound – Rain Clouds
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Ask The Shrink:
Boccherini Minuet
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Action Step:
Justin Crosby – Skrillit
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Lokfield – Terra’s Theme Dubstep
(Creative Commons License)

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