September 2, 2009
As Consumers, Our Expectations Are Extremely High
Do you offer the quality of service you gauge others by? Do you demand the same high standards of yourself — that you expect from other business professionals — when you′re working with clients?
As an image and etiquette consultant, I am very conscious of how I present myself — my reputation depends on it. Although my client base is English, my first language is French. I mention this because a great deal of my work involves making presentations to large groups of people and I have a conspicuous French accent. Some people have suggested it enhances my image; others are less enthusiastic….
One of my personal standards is to speak as clearly as I can, particularly when addressing an audience. Several years ago, I decided to improve my pronunciation and contacted the University of Toronto; they recommended Gloria Pierre.
The instant I heard her voice on the phone, I knew I wanted to train with Gloria. I loved the way she sounded. And although I have tried my best to improve my pronunciation, my accent will never disappear. C′est la vie!
Today I received Gloria′s newsletter; she made an interesting observation about the importance of maintaining personal standards. Gloria referred to Prime Minister Harper′s recent visit to Nunavut as "weak impression management." I agree.
The significance of this trip to Canada′s far north was completely over shadowed by a typo. In their press release, the Prime Minister′s Office misspelled Nunavut′s capital, Iqaluit, and in the process, was unwittingly offensive. Not because of the carelessness, sufficient reason to take offence, but by adding an extra letter to Iqaluit, they used a seriously inappropriate word. The official apology stated that this was "a human error that might teach Canadians an important lesson about spelling mistakes." Oh really? I think Gloria got it right when she wrote that the real lesson it teaches is the importance of adhering to high standards.
Learn more about Gloria Pierre: www.clearlyspeaking.ca
Read "What Service Customers Really Want" in September′s Harvard Business Review
How do you rate your personal standards? Do you consistently maintain the same expectations for yourself as you do of others?
Let us know your thoughts.
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