REDEFINING CLASS: THE HEPBURN STYLE



Audrey Hepburn represents an enigmatic icon, and yet, very modern.
She is known for creating a style, or a look, that women envied and replicated. She had a unique sex appeal, as her beauty was in her attitude, her character, her soul, her very being.

Her style, class and light broke the stereotype of 1950s femininity. Her slender body was the polar opposite of the bombshell hourglass figures of the divas of the time; her poise, voice and manner seemed to place her securely within an aristocratic class which was simultaneously old European and modern American.

The combination of her perceived authenticity, acceptably different femininity and self-possession, spoke to a generation of young women who would go on to negotiate the changes brought by feminism. Billy Wilder, the director of Sabrina, said about her: " Audrey was known for something which has disappeared, and that is elegance, grace and manners."

She managed to be both feminine and boyish, “natural” yet poised, across cultures and generations, retaining a timeless allure that still communicates the intangible quality of Charisma.

REINVENTING STRENGHTS AND WEAKNESSES :)



Do you work on elevating your strengths or reducing your weaknesses? 

Strength building is the most effective way of improving your performance. We usually waste lots of time in correcting our weaknesses while we should invest more time in elevating our strengths: it comes easier as we already possess them. 

If you want to be a relational leader, you should concentrate on strength-building as this is where you are most likely to succeed. 
If your strengths are strong enough, they will overshadow your weaknesses. 

So, take your time to define who you are by filling in this Presence Trait chart with your most distinctive traits, thus defying your strengths. Analyze how much you possess each single trait ( from 1-low to 5-high ), then how important this trait is to you. 
Then define possible strategies to elevate it to a higher stage.

That's how you start building and reinforcing your Personal Branding.



DO YOU WALK THE TALK?




Are you actually walking your talk? We reveal a lot about ourself when we talk. If we also refer to the relationship model, it all goes back to the essence: active listening. Or, going a step further, attentiveness. Attentiveness is certainly about listening, but with a broader sense: it means listening and observing people having the awareness of the surroundings. The relational leader will always know when the environment is changing before anyone else, having developed a sensitivity to the world around him - and listening will give information that you can act on to improve the effectiveness of your communication. Active observation is another important asset of attentiveness.  You must be able to observe yourself in all environments, seeing what you are doing and saying - and how people are responding to it. Self observation will add to your authenticity if you pay attention to what you see, as you will be able to align your actions to your words and contents. By making it a part of your personal behavior, you will observe your shared values and you will be better able to define them. Attentiveness is therefore vital to your well-being and your personal growth. Taking elements from listening and observing and realigning the actions to your findings makes all the difference in your relations and your results.

CHAPTER 6: CULTURE & KISSING



Cheek kissing is a form of social convention, mainly in European countries. It is a gesture to perform a greeting,to congratulate, to show respect or friendship and it can be considered more or less appropriate depending on local cultures. Threfore, learning the style and expression of kissing in different countries may be useful when dealing with various cultures. 

Not only is it worthwhile to know where you might have to turn a cheek ( mailnly on the right, but in Italy you start on the left ) but it’s helpful to know just how many kisses to expect. In France alone, the count varies dramatically by region: Parisians consider two kisses the norm like in the majority of European Countries, while three is standard in Provence like in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Egypt and Russia. Apart from numbers and sides, some other countries prefer the no-kissing style: in China or India if you were to kiss someone in public you would certainly cause a lot of distress. 

Gender dynamics are also an important consideration. In Europe and Latin America, kiss greetings between two women, and between a man and a woman, are widely accepted. A kiss between two men, though more rare, does occur in places like Argentina, France and Southern Italy. In the Arab world you’ll find that men kissing men as a greeting is very normal. Try that in the UK or US...and you might create an awkward moment. 

As it is pretty complicated, the suggestion would be to follow along, not to hold back but to do exactly what the other person is doing, returning the same greeting or accepting the greeting graciously.

CHAPTER 5: CULTURE & EYE CONTACT



Making good eye contact is a fundamental social skill. Numerous studies have shown that people who make higher-levels of eye contact with others are perceived as being more attractive, competent, sincere and confident. The issue is that communication signals can be interpreted differently, depending on circumstances and cultures.

In many western societies, a person who does not mantain good eye contact is regarded as being suspicious. Americans unconsciously associate people who avoid eye contact as being  unfriendly, insicure, inattentive and impersonal. Englishmen are taught to pay attention to the speaker, blinking eyes to let the person know they are listening. In contrast, Japanese children are taught to direct their gaze at the Adam’s apple and, as adults, they lower their eyes when speaking to a superior as a gesture of respect.

Latin American cultures as well as some African ones have longer looking time, but prolonged eye contact from an individual of lower status is considered disrespectful. In the US it is considered rude to stare, regardless of who is looking at whom.

A widening of the eyes can also be tricky. Consider the case of an American and a Chinese manager discussing the terms of a contract. Regardless of the language, the US negotiator may interpret the Chinese person’s widened eyes as an expression of astonishment instead of a danger signal, as the true meaning is that of polite anger.