Answers From Ask! The Image Guru Blog

I’m 51 and carry a leather briefcase (thanks, Parker!). Most people in my industry carry black carrying cases for their computers. Those carrying cases are made of heavy canvas material and can sometimes be carried over a shoulder. Here’s the question — Do I look old carrying the leather briefcase? Should I go with a younger, more contemporary look and buy a black carrying case?

Many folks ignore the details that define distinction when developing his or her professional image. And a briefcase is one of them. There are many variables to consider when selecting

Are rubber sole loafers appropriate to wear with a suit? I’m considering a pair of Ferragamo loafers but they have rubber soles.

A tuxedo is the most elegant men can create with clothing. Everything around the tux should communicate the same, elegant message; from watch to shoes. My nephew was going to

When is it appropriate to where a suit with no tie? At age 47, I find myself not wanting to wear a tie. Some of my colleagues give me a “hard time” when I show up in a nice suit, nice dress shirt, and NO tie. At the same time, they are in a shirt and tie – no jacket. I think my suite/no tie looks as good as their Shirt/Tie/No Jacket combo. Thoughts?

I agree, I believe that a nice suit, shirt and no tie, is as nice as a shirt/tie with no jacket. In fact, a jacket makes a look more formal

What do you recommend a person do to make sure they are doing the right things when giving a presentation?

Doing the “right things” is a big question when giving a presentation:-); however, there are some things you can do to help ensure that you present with confidence. It’s all

When you go out to dinner with co-workers and you have different status levels of employees, should the most senior person sit in a specific place or does this not matter?

Yes, you should definitely give this attention. If you are a guest, then you need to take the host’s lead. If you have a take control type personality, remember you

How do you address a formal email to a group?

Your email can give the look and feel of a “real” formal card by the words you choose to use; particularly how you open and close the letter. Your Salutation

When out with a client at a restaurant and trying to win an account versus nurturing an account, wouldn’t your behavior and actions differ? I would be more likely to have a different approach for each situation and have a difference in behavior. Please clarify the proper etiquette for these situations.

It’s not that your behavior would be different, but that you might modify your behavior according to the purpose of the meeting (meal). For example, if you are a driver

Have you seen a decrease, increase, or generally the same amount of business etiquette knowledge in the workforce over the years?

Great question! Yes I have seen a GREAT increase in the need of business etiquette and protocol of knowledge in the workplace. There are several reasons for this. One, the

Is it appropriate to use abbreviated words when texting or internal emails? For example, tx instead of thanks? What is appropriate and when?

I don’t recommend using any abbreviations in emails, internal or external. Even if your emails become more like a conversation, instant back and forth dialogue, (almost like instant messaging). Texting

When you are in the middle of a 1-on-1 conversation at a networking event and you need to use the restroom, what is the proper way to excuse yourself?

If you need to excuse yourself from a conversation, I think it is best to say you need to wash your hands and that you will be back in a

When interviewing for an internal job opening is it necessary to send a thank you note to the people who interviewed you? If so, is an email acceptable, or is a hand written note better?

Yes, you should. It depends on the situation, which type. If they are going to make a decision in the next hour or so, then send an email. If they

There appear to be many social situations where you could be acting civilized but still manage to make some sort of faux-pas according to the etiquette test. For example, if I am out to dinner and I politely excuse myself from the table, how many incorrect ways are there for me to position my silverware or my napkin because it appears that there is only one right way to do it. I would like to think that a business deal wouldn’t hinge on the placement of my silverware or napkin but then again that sort of environment is foreign to me.

You are correct. Misplacing your silverware or napkin will not make or break the deal. Knowing the  rules let’s everyone know what is expecting of them. Imagine a society without

If there is food brought in for a meeting that is in a conference room for breakfast or lunch, when is it appropriate to take leftovers? Often the participants seem to be finished with the food, and it is just sitting there, so can I take it?

You should always ask the host first. If you are the host, you should let others know when it is appropriate to take what is left over. Typically it would

How complex (or simple) the message on the e-mail should be in order to get quick response from recipient?

First I would definitely let them know you need a quick response. Don’t over do it. If you cry wolf you may never get responses when you REALLY need one.

When a man and woman enters into a revolving door together (again at the airport), should the male let the female go first through those revolving doors? The problem with that is that the female ends up pushing those revolving doors (at least gets the revolving doors started). But then again, if the male goes first and starts the pushing, he has gone ahead of the female which seems counterintuitive to the “ladies first” protocol.

In business it is no longer male to female, but professional to professional. This does not mean that you cannot open the door for ladies. I think that opening a

What is the proper response for requests for help from internal clients when you don’t have the time or resources to devote to the request?

Wow, that’s tough. It really depends on many variables. If you really do not have the time or the resources then you need to let them know in a professional

When out with a client at a restaurant and trying to win an account versus nurturing an account, wouldn’t your behavior and actions differ? I would be more likely to have a different approach for each situation and have a difference in behavior. Please clarify the proper etiquette for these situations.

You are right correct in that you would approach it differently. How you would approach it would depend heavily on your normal behavior patterns. For example, if you have a

Being fired over the phone?? It happens more than you think. Is it a good idea?

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz speaks at the Web 2.0 Summit in The Palace Hotel in San… ( LiPo Ching ) Yahoo! Abruptly fired chief executive Carol Bartzon, Tuesday, September 7, 2011,

At a large table how does one know which water glass and bread dish is his or hers?

There is so much confusion around this issue. Try this concept and see how it can help you! Always have your drinks on your right and your bread on your

Have you seen a decrease, increase, or generally the same amount of business etiquette knowledge in the workforce over the years?

With the XYZ generation, which I call the e-generation, yes, I have seen a big drop in business etiquette and protocol in the workplace. Largely because this generation has not