Your image is about more than your physical appearance. It is about how you handle yourself in normal situations and, more importantly, how you handle yourself in difficult situations.

Let’s say you are sitting at a restaurant waiting for your friend/client who, at this point, is 15 minutes late. You continue to wait another 30 minutes and finally give up and go about your day.

Steaming Sally calls her friend/client and at the first opportunity asks, “Why did you stand me up!” Defensive Diane replies, “I don’t know what you are talking about, you stood me up yesterday!” Steaming Sally then starts to defend her position that their meeting was for today, to which Defensive Diane digs in her heels and staunchly defends her position that it was yesterday and tells Steaming Sally, “You need to get a handle on your calendar!” And on it goes . . .

Secure Sally, on the other hand, calls her friend from the restaurant after she is 15 minutes late (why wait another 30 minutes) and says, “There must have been a miscommunication. I’m sitting at the restaurant because I thought we were meeting for lunch today.” Deliberate Diane says, “Wow, my calendar said the meeting was yesterday and I was wondering why we never connected!”

Notice the difference in the initial assumption? Steaming Sally assumes that Defensive Diane has erred and goes on the attack. “You” statements, those that point the finger at someone else, are a good way to start a fight and ultimately ruin a relationship–personal or professional.

Secure Sally on the other hand knows there is a problem, but she doesn’t assume that it is Deliberate Diane’s fault. There are no “you” accusations in her statements. A “miscommunication” does not assign blame to any one person. It is shared between both people. Deliberate Diane does not accuse Secure Sally of anything, either. She merely states a fact–that her calendar indicated that the meeting was the previous day.

It may very well have been Diane’s fault or it could have been Sally’s poor organizational skills. It may have been their secretaries who mixed it up! Who know? But more importantly, who cares? “You” statements keep you mired in the problem. Keeping blame out of the picture allows both people to “save face” and reschedule the meeting. (And each may have learned the importance of confirming a meeting the day before the allotted time.)

Which brings us to another saying: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, CTIC