communication skills Archives - Puris Consulting
Calm, Measured Demeanor- Is This You?

Written by Katy Goshtasbi

Posted on: June 10, 2013

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Oftentimes the biggest challenge we face with our personal brands is our inability to “keep it together” well in meetings and conversations with colleagues, clients, etc.  Because we are not able to see how we come across, we can’t measure our personal brand perception.   As a result, we either: 1) keep showing up and doing the same things that hurt our personal brands OR 2) shift our actions constantly, leading to a disorganized personal brand, lacking clarity and consistency– the hallmark of an effective personal brand. 

The best way to approach this challenge is to go into any meeting/situation with an awareness of how you want to come across and make an effort at trying to feel how others perceive you in your efforts.  When I say “feel”, I mean use your intuition.  Most of us have lost the ability (or never really cultivated it) to use our intuition as our guide- you know, that “gut” feeling you get.  To help you discern your brand, also gauge others’ perceptions by studying their facial and body gestures as well as their vocal tone in response to you.

In addition, remember that it is often more effective to ask a well-placed and thought-provoking question in a meeting rather than making random and frequent comments, just to be seen and heard.  We often find people don’t know what to do with themselves in meetings, so they keep talking.   Perhaps take a symbol of these concepts with you into the meeting and put it in front of you so you are constantly reminded of your goal.  Maybe it is a new mug or a paperclip or a pen or take off your watch and put it in front of you.

Always ask yourself:

– How do I want to come across and be perceived in this upcoming meeting/interaction?

– Am I coming across calm and measured?

– Am I talking more than listening?



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What NOT To Do During An Interview Or A Sales Pitch- tip #1

Written by Katy Goshtasbi

Posted on: February 25, 2013

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Here at Puris Image, we work with businesses and their employees on developing their personal brands and conveying that into a successful personal brand. However, it seems we are often working on interviewing skills for our clientele, too.  So whether you are interviewing for a job or a new client/business, the tips are all the same.

In fact, I’ve discovered a pattern that happens with people who are interviewing- whether they be attorneys, CEOs, entry-level people, etc.  The list is so long that I’ll address one issue each time.

So here’s the main thing NOT to do during an interview: DO NOT be or act desperate.

The tone of your entire interview is set by your mentality.   Too often people go into interviews (or meetings with prospects for new business) with a mentality of being desperate because they need the job or need the business.  This is a perfect way to set yourself up for failure. People can sense desperation and do not like it.

You must create a win-win situation.  So remember, you are not desperate.   The best way to not be desperate is to:

A) Think to yourself, Do I want to work here?  If it is a prospect, think to yourself whether  you really like them as a potential client.

B) Create JOY as the emotional underpinning for why they should hire you or engage your firm.  As with all things related to branding, if you I cannot see you as bringing joy to our office and our clientele, then I cannot hire you or give you the business. I can teach anyone most anything, but I cannot teach joyful attitude and integrity.

C) Show your flexibility and adaptability as an employee or vendor.  Make sure your responses and questions all come across from a place of being open to new concepts and people, but NOT overly ingratiating.  For example, “I’d be open to working different hours” and NOT “I can work any hours you need for any pay.”  OR if you are a business prospecting, “We are happy to create a service package that is customized to your business needs” and NOT “We’ll do whatever you want at any price”.

Look for the next tip at a later date.





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How Do You Perceive Yourself?

Written by Katy Goshtasbi

Posted on: July 16, 2012

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How Do You Perceive Yourself, Girl looking at her self in a small piece of glass looking back at the viewer.

So often you wonder what others think about you.  It’s a question that maybe makes you nervous.  It’s a question that makes the garment and make-up industry rich. We need to look good for others by wearing certain clothes and putting on make-up, in turn others have good impressions of us!

This question brings up the concept that “perception is reality”. What we mean is that someone else’s perception of you is their reality and thus, correct.  You don’t get to control how others perceive you!  You can’t expect them (or wish for them) to perceive you otherwise, at least not at first.

But the better inquiry is how you perceive yourself. This is the starting point for our personal brand analysis, because if you don’t know how you see yourself, then how can you alter your personal brand to serve your goals and dreams?

It seems the entertainment industry is on board with this simple, yet powerful premise, too. I heard an interesting statement on Anderson Cooper’s show. Actor Blair Underwood (remember him from LA Law?) was speaking of appearing on the show “Who Do You Think You Are?”. He said the entire premise for him is, “How you perceive yourself impacts how you present yourself.

Let’s unpack this statement. Your self perception plays 100% into how you present yourself and thus, how your personal brand is perceived by society. It really is all about self-care and self-love as the starting point.  If your self-perception was more loving and caring towards yourself, then you would show up and present yourself to the word in that same manner– everything from your physical demeanor (holding your head up high, shoulders back, dressing with intention and care) all the way to your gaze, stance, stride and, of course, your verbal communication.

So stop and ask yourself a few of the following questions in order to identify how you perceive yourself:

  • Would you hire yourself given the way you show up today – based on what you wear, what you say, the kind of service you give clients/customers?
  • Do you perceive yourself as: knowledgeable/an expert, friendly, helpful, caring, considerate, truly about your clients’ best interest, a “winner”, or someone on the sidelines of life/your profession?
  • What words do you use to describe you? Look to your “self-talk” for answers here.
  • How do you feel about yourself?  Your emotions are the gateway for how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you, as well.  Learning to identify and express your emotions will allow you to self-express more authentically and naturally.  In turn, the world will see you as you want to be seen because they will NO longer bill filling in the blanks for you.

Be honest with yourself when answering these questions – the truth may hurt. Discomfort allows you to grow. Let me know if you have any questions or need help with your answers.

Want more tips and support?

Attend the upcoming Serenity Summit:

Sign up for a Degree of Influence Brand Assessment with me here:


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Watch Your Body Language Over The Phone!

Written by Katy Goshtasbi

Posted on: August 8, 2011

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Your effective personal brand is in large part about how you communicate who you are to your target market and clientele.  Given that 78% of all communication is non-verbal AND given  that we spend so many hours on the phone selling and working, having effective body language and posture over the phone is just as critical as having effective body language during an in-person meeting.

When we are going out to see clients or prospects or to a networking event, we spend time and effort (hopefully!) on our visual appearance.  We take time to (hopefully!) give ourselves a pep talk and get ready to be “charming”.  However, people notice and pay attention to your phone voice and tone, too.   So why shouldn’t you spend time getting ready to make phone calls, too?

Your posture and how you feel about yourself as you make or take a phone call speak volumes to the other party on the call with you.  I’ve run many experiments to test this theory. We’ve had people answer the phone in a less-than pleasant mood, while slumped over in their chair wearing pajamas.  The party on the other end of the call often times remarked concern and asked, “Is everything ok? You sound not well.”  Is this how you want to be remembered on the phone?


  • Dress the part- while you don’t have to wear a suit to make a phone call, ask yourself if you’d be happy to be on a visual call while you are on the phone.  If the answer is “no”, then your phone voice and tone will resonate that same lack of self- confidence to the other party over the phone.
  • Smile as you talk.  Your smile will transfer non-visually into an effective personal brand for you over the phone.
  • Sit up straight in your chair as you talk on the phone.
  • Give your full attention to the party on the other line.  Shut down your email and do one thing at a time so you can do it well.
  • Uncross your legs so you are grounded and feel stable as you speak.
  • Listen and pause- don’t do all the talking.


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Communicating With Aggressive Customers

Written by Katy Goshtasbi

Posted on: June 19, 2011

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As a business owner or employee, we all have this problem sooner or later: a customer becomes aggressive, and even hostile, during a business interaction or negotiation.  What should we do?

First, I can tell you what NOT to do from my years of personal experience and observation of others in action.  Rarely does it work to interrupt the customer and offer up reasons as to why they are wrong.  I see this technique happen all the time with my clientele when I am working one on one with them.   My clients often tell me they feel the need to try to stop the customer and make them feel better by giving them the correct version of what happened.

The problem here is that by doing so you are: 1)angering the customer even more because you have interrupted their rant/rave 2) offering up what sounds like poor excuses to justify screwing up, leaving a very poor personal brand of yourself for the customer and 3) showing the customer that you are not able to “confront” them and have an intelligent conversation with them.

When you encounter an aggressive customer, I recommend you do the following:

1. Realize this situation is NOT personal to you- the customer isn’t aggressive with you.  They hardly know you. They are aggressive with the situation and you just happen to be the face of the situation upon whom they can vent. They don’t know you. They don’t know you are a kind person and on their side.

2.  Allow the customer to fully vent or finish their cycle of aggressiveness- Of course, this makes sense so long as they are not physically threatening you. But 9 times out of 10, people just want to be heard.  If you just allow them to be heard, you have given them 90% of what they need and want in that moment.

3. Acknowledge their reason for being aggressive- no matter how nuts you think the customer is being, remember that to them their aggressiveness is very real and right. They may go home and realize they were a jerk, but in that moment they feel hurt and thus, aggressive.  Realize this fact and say something to acknowledge them as humans. It could be as simple as saying, “I totally understand how you would feel this way”.  This statement doesn’t mean you agree with them, but that you get them.

4.  Look them in the eyes and don’t let your gaze drift- holding your own and being able to confront a situation means being able to be with a person in that very moment and looking them in the eyes. I’m not saying stare them down. In fact, that is exactly what NOT to do. But looking with compassion into another human’s eyes, immediately deflates any tense situation. Non-verbal communication is at least 78% of all communication. So by holding a steady gaze, you are saying volumes without saying a word. In fact, a firm and compassionate gaze sets you up for a completely effective and confident and strong personal brand.


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