Archive for June, 2009


Working Out Your Etiquette – Gym Manners



We’ve heard tell of a gym that has a member so smelly a number of fellow gym-go-ers are seeking other venues for their workouts.  Common courtesy and good grooming are just as important, if not more so, in the workout environment. Here are a few considerations:



  1. Dress in clothing intended for working out and be sure that it is supportive, freshly laundered, and neat.
  2. On the “freshly laundered” note, be sure your gear doesn’t harbour lingering odours and that you aren’t concealing stinkiness with perfumes or aftershave which can be just as offensive.
  3. Bring your music but don’t play it so loudly as to be heard by the person on the machine next to you.
  4. Noise pollution can also be in the form of loud, extended gossipy conversation. Be conscious of being too chatty in the gym.
  5. Grunting also fits in this category. Loud grunting can be distracting at best and alarming at worst!
  6. Respect time limitations on machines, particularly during busy times. Most gyms have a suggested time frame posted and sometimes signup sheets.
  7. If you are waiting for a machine, avoid hovering. Personal space is particularly important in a gym and lurking only serves to make others uncomfortable.
  8. Free weights should be returned to their designated spot on the storage rack when you are finished.  Weight machines should be returned to a neutral setting.
  9. Only fill your water bottle at the fountain when others are not waiting. If there is a line forming then fill enough to tide you over then move to the end of the line and finish adding water.
  10. Always wipe down the machines with the towels and sprays provided. Using your own sweaty towel does not serve the purpose. All towels should be returned to a hamper, if provided, and not left behind on machines or the floor.
  11. Please stay home if you are feeling ill or contagious in any way! 

Trust the Bones


Time for back-to-basics reality check! It’s like learning the alphabet before writing a book: You can’t skip the fundamentals if you’re trying to build a closet full of great clothes.  Do you have those perfect black wool trousers to take you from a 5:00 pm work meeting into a night out with friends? What shape has your best white shirt been in lately? Is your leather tote still turning heads?  The bones of your wardrobe are those essential timeless pieces, the underpinnings of great style. As Leonardo da Vinci put it “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

The following ten staples transcend the three t’s: time, trends and travel.  They transition from day to night, from winter to summer, and with a little luck, they can still be worn 3 years from now.

  1. The classic white shirt
  2. The little black dress
  3. A cashmere cardigan or turtleneck
  4. A trench coat
  5. Denim
  6. A classic watch
  7. Ballet flats
  8. Black wool trousers
  9. A classic high-heel pump
  10. A great leather bag

 When shopping for these items think classic, basic, quality, reliable.


Grammar Tips



An important part of image is one’s attention to correct use of expressions and grammar. Here are some handy guidelines for English usage.


  1. Between you and me, not you and I. Between you and me, I think she is the smartest.
  2. Between two people or things but among many. He had to choose between this blue shirt and that red one. He had to choose among many stores.
  3. Regardless not irregardless.  Regardless of how much he studied, he always did well.
  4. Loose means not tight. Lose is to misplace.
  5.  Not could of, would of, should of but rather could have, would have, should have. He should have studied harder!
  6. Amount refers to quantity – what a huge amount of cake batter!  Number refers to several items that can be counted – What a huge number of cakes!
  7. Fewer refers to numbers of things while less refers to an amount.  There were fewer cakes than before because we used less batter.
  8. All intents and purposes. Not all intensive purposes.
  9. A lot never alot or allot.
  10. It’s a moot point not a mute point.

Pantyhose or No Pantyhose?

Summer is just a few days away and once again many women are trying to balance a professional look with hot weather comfort. This struggle is most frustrating when it comes to deciding whether to wear pantyhose or not – most women dread the idea! During Michelle Obama’s appearance on ABC’s The View last June, a pantyhose discussion sparked a debate among millions of female viewers; of all the topics discussed women everywhere were most engaged in deciding whether The First Lady was right in her decision not to wear pantyhose.

On the show, Obama told Barbara Walters that being so tall, she doesn’t like to wear them: “I stopped wearing pantyhose a long time ago because it was painful,” she said. “Put ‘em on, rip ‘em, it’s inconvenient.” Most women would tend to agree with Michelle Obama but it is interesting to review what studies have shown: In an office environment, those women who wear pantyhose with closed toe shoes are repeatedly seen as being more credible and more influential than the women who prefer bare legs. All guides to appropriate business dress call for hosiery worn with closed toe shoes but is this changing as per Michelle Obama’s example … So, pantyhose or no pantyhose? What do you say?


Tech Etiquette

We recently attended an interesting and inspiring event with a favourite networking group of ours, momcafe ( at which Sue Sinclair of Raspberry Kids ( ) and Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit of YoYo Mama ( spoke of their experiences as entrepreneurs relying on modern technology to communicate and conduct their successful business ventures. Both web-based mompreneurs have embraced social media and offered many helpful tips which can be reviewed here:

This enthusiastic commitment by so many people to modern technology has us thinking about the inevitable changes in the rules.  As email, cell phones, text messaging, podcasts, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn,  Flickr, Squidoo, Youtube, My Space and more are incorporated into our social and business lives we will see a dramatic evolution of media manners. As with any new behaviours, offensive and risky experiences will lead to new etiquette guidelines being created – irritating cell phone use leads to bans in restaurants for example.

The technology component of our Business Etiquette programming at The Image Builders continues to grow in popularity while a Google search for “technology etiquette” brings up over two and a half million references. As a modern participant in a newly tech-oriented culture be savvy and review your modern manners!


No More Guest Guessing!



Today we turn the tables and talk about how to be a great guest.

First, let’s agree on one thing: before the thought even remotely makes its way into your mind, please, please don’t drop in for the weekend without notice! Now that this is permanently out of the question, here is a scenario.

Perhaps a member of your family or a close friend invited you over for the weekend (or for the week if you’re lucky). You are excited, but also a bit anxious about the visit.  The etiquette is really no different from any visiting occasion, but here are a few things to consider before and during your stay.

The ‘adventure’ starts off with picking a gift for the host. The generosity of the gift might depend on the length of your visit – for an overnight stay, a bottle of good wine would be kind, while a longer stay requires an item that’s a little more substantial.  Here are some gift suggestions as a “gift for the house”:  a Summer Music CD set, board games or puzzles, wind chimes, a big bottle of bubbles is fun for lots of kids (and adults!) Bringing home baking to share and contribute to the weekend as a gift and sustenance too is another thoughtful gesture.

Your packing list should include your own toiletries. Although towels and bedding are usually provided, you can ask your host whether you need to bring your own.  If you are bringing your children, consider packing a supply of their favourite snacks and bottled juices.  It will help when hunger hits before the mealtime.  (Make sure the favourites  don’t ruin the dinner the host has prepared!) And leave your puppy at home unless your host extends him a personal invitation! 

And finally…welcome!  Once you’ve arrived, be positive and adaptable.  Good guests should always be prepared to entertain themselves or keep themselves occupied, enthusiastic and interested in their surroundings.  If your host plans activities, participate with enthusiasm. Volunteer to help with routine activities – shopping, preparing a meal, washing dishes, assisting the kids, etc.  Tidy up after yourself, make your bed and straighten up your room.  Keep the bathroom spotless – especially if you share it with someone else.  Undoubtedly, the host family care about you very much.  But they also need some private time together – make sure you allow them some ‘breathing room’.

The morning before you are leaving, ask your hostess what she would like you to do with your bed linen, then follow her instructions.  If you’re not sure what to do, remove the sheets, fold them, and place them at the foot of the bed.  Pull the blanket and spread it neatly so that the bed will look made. Some people ask us whether they should make the bed with fresh sheets.  This depends on the relationship you have with the host.  If you are family of close friends, go ahead and ask for fresh sheets to save your host the trouble.

 Saying “Thank You” after your visit is always a must.  It should be hand written, within a day or two from returning home.  If your host is a relative or a close friend who often visits you in return, a phone call the next day to say,  “ Really enjoyed our time together, it was lots of fun!” will be appreciated.

We hope you enjoyed your ‘stay’ for our chat this week and please come back on Tuesday for more fun topics!


Note:  Yesterday Susan came across this fun book –  Enjoy!

guesting book image


Cottage Courtesy

vintage beach sceneAs the summer temperatures increase so do the opportunities to visit leisurely with friends and family. Hosting cottage retreats can be wonderfully rewarding and fun but can also lead to friction and angst if not managed carefully. Here are a few tips to preserve your entertaining sanity and your relationships!

1. Provide clear written details in e-mail or in a fun themed invitation to your guests. Follow the traditional who/what/where/when/ why/how format to be sure you’ve included all the pertinent information. For destination events be sure to state policies on pets, sleeping arrangements, what guests should bring along to wear or to eat if meals are being shared, clear travel directions and any special features with the accommodation – outdoor plumbing is best not kept as a surprise! Keep the tone light to avoid seeming like boot camp but remember that the more information that is shared the less chance there is of misunderstandings brewing.

Have a clear pet policy!

Have a clear pet policy!

2. Allow guests to help out if they offer. Never turn a vacation into a work party for guests if it isn’t meant to be one and don’t disappear alone into the kitchen leaving guests to wonder where you are – no need to be a martyr and attempt to do all the chores yourself! Some of the best conversations often take place while washing up the dishes together.
3. Realise that different people and families approach the daily schedule differently; sleeping in might mean 7:30 am to some while it means 10:30 am to others. As a courteous host, have breakfast and coffee fixings easily available for early risers as well as suggested activities they might explore. Initiate a conversation about the next day’s plans the evening before so that everyone can gauge the best time to get a start.
4. Respect that while it is wonderful to spend lots of time together, it is also important to allow guests to enjoy time privately as well. Offer books and magazines to read, information on local attractions they might visit, and space in which they can nap or retreat alone.
5. Besides reading material, it is always considered a thoughtful gesture to provide a basket of items which can easily be forgotten at home. Travel sized toiletries are widely available and when collected together in a basket make a fun decoration for the guest room or bath. Your guests will appreciate the kindness especially if they find they’ve forgotten a toothbrush and they are saved from having to announce it to everyone in the cottage! Always be sure that towels and bed sheets are plenty and freshly laundered. If the cottage is rustic and linens are not provided be certain to advise guests well in advance.
The host that is well organized and has anticipated the guest’s needs in advance is the most relaxed; the most relaxed host creates the most pleasant environment for his or her guests. “Visit” us again on Friday when we turn the tables and talk about being a great guest.



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