The Art of Handshaking

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Over two and a half thousand years ago, the handshake began as a gesture of peace. Today,
there’s no gesture quite as powerful as the handshake in creating rapport, showing respect and
demonstrating professional etiquette in Western cultures.

Nor is there a gesture more contentious. Handshaking spreads germs (yes, even more than kissing!)
and everybody seems to have a different opinion on how to do it correctly. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld
once summed up the problem perfectly saying, “There are absolutely no guidelines for handshakes…
too strong, too weak, sometimes they give you the three-quarter handshake – just the fingers. Early
release, late release, too many pumps, coming in too high, too sweaty, from too far away…” Oh, we
know his pain, don’t we?

Matters become even further complicated when you factor in gender. We’ve all been in a situation
where, in a group of men and women, the men automatically shake hands and the women instead
look sheepish, or give half-hearted handshakes. As a woman, your brain whirrs with questions like,
should I initiate a handshake with a man? Does a firm handshake with another woman come off as
aggressive? Oh, god, are my palms sweaty? Did that guy wash his hands?

The answer? Yes, no, maybe and probably not.

To be taken seriously professionally, women must absolutely engage in handshaking. These days,
women are exposed to more networking situations, and a greater emphasis has been made to target
the issues of gender diversity in senior positions, career opportunities and general visibility. So the
handshake works to even the playing field that little bit more by eliminating some disparity between
the genders. Women shouldn’t be afraid to be the first to offer their hand to a man or a woman, as
it instantly opens the communication lines and projects self-assurance and the desire to build instant
rapport with another person. If you are not naturally confident then it is a great way to help you
project that you are and also break the ice. For those who worry about germs, it’s best to just carry
hand sanitiser lotion.

A good handshake isn’t as easy as it sounds. How often have you experienced the “Wet Fish” (a limp,
cold, unemotional and sometimes wet handshake that conveys apathy), the “Cruncher” (an overly
strong grip that can be construed as aggressive) or the “The Palm Pincher” (only a few fingers and
thumb grasp the palm for the shake, sending a negative message).

In a well-executed handshake, hands are gripped firmly, eye contact is made, smiles are exchanged
and the hands make two firm shakes. It is customary to face the other person straight on and stand
about three quarters of a metre apart. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, then of course it’s
important to make a solid introduction of yourself during the handshake.

To project a confident image through your handshake, it’s important to put effort into grooming,
making sure hands are clean and moisturised and nails are manicured.

Being well-versed in the art of communication and following proper etiquette has the power to
give you an invaluable “one percenter” – that special something that sets you apart and catches the
attention of all the right people. Who’d have thought that a simple gesture of peace could be so

The Dine for Life Evolution

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

An idea is a seed, something to be nurtured and cultivated so that it may grow and blossom. But sometimes, something exciting can happen – something you didn’t expect. Your idea can transform, develop wings of its own and take flight!

Indeed this was exactly what happened to Dine for Life. What started out as a simple concept – to enjoy the company of good friends while dining for a good cause, has developed into one of the most anticipated annual events in the WA food and wine industry.

Dine for Life has created a platform for restaurants to be selected as part of the ‘exclusive ten’, where diners enjoy their meal in the name of charity. Being a part of the ‘exclusive ten’ allows each restaurant’s Chef to be personally profiled, giving them the opportunity to tell their story and to enhance their personal brand and reputation by showcasing their skills and talents to the WA community.  Even food and beverage producers are jumping onboard – eager to sponsor an event that gives back to the community and their industry. The hype that surrounds Dine for Life rewards its sponsors with brand exposure and awareness across the state.

Boho Bar’s Head Chef Dominic Grundy

The event has also been successful in bringing together the community and industry participants, creating opportunities for networking and business development.

BoHo Bar’s head chef Dominic Grundy shares with us his experience,

“The Dine for Life charity dinner gave the opportunity to create dishes that embodied personal enthusiasm and individual flair, whilst showcasing local fresh produce.  By working closely with suppliers in the Margaret River region, it felt as though this was not a dinner presented simply by one person, but as if the whole community came together to produce an enthralling evening.  The relationships built during the preparation for the evening will be cherished for a long time to come.”

It has been such an exciting journey with Dine for Life and I am certain that with your support, Dine for Life will continue to grow and evolve to raise greater awareness to underfunded charities and provide a strong platform that supports local restaurants and the careers of those in the WA food and wine industry. EGAMI is looking forward to sharing our ideas and donating our services to Dine for Life for the next event – stay tuned!

Natasha Di Ciano


Dan Masters, Natasha Di Ciano and Neil Perry at Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth

The Story Behind the Time Piece

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Gentlemen, did you know that the watch you are wearing right now, was originally designed for women? Wristlets as they were called, were regarded with such contempt, that men would sooner wear a skirt than a wristwatch!

It was in fact the pocket watch – that can now be seen fashionably accessorized around the necks of young girls – that was actually the social protocol for a gentleman’s time keeping.

It wasn’t until the 19th century during the Anglo-Boer War (South Africa 1899 -1902) that soldiers discovered the wristwatch’s prized utility. Fitting the pocket-watch into leather straps on their wrists (rather than letting them rattle and ultimately reveal their location to the enemy), British soldiers were able to launch attacks against Boer forces with tactical precision and gain victory.

Although in today’s age, with the advent of mobile phones, ipads and itouches all featuring time displays, less emphasis is placed on the wristwatch’s time function and more on its symbolism, we can all come to respect the evolution of the wristwatch through the years. Far, from being just an accessory, the wristwatch has its own story – it is a status symbol; a symbol of victory and success.

Where lies the future of the wristwatch? Only time will tell…

Strategising Your Success

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Have you ever heard of the term Personal Branding? It’s not something we have made up, it’s a positioning strategy frequently used by leaders and politicians across the globe, to enhance their personal impact and boost their careers. Our Prime Minister is no exception.

As, a role model for aspiring female leaders, a representative of the Labour Party, the Prime Minister of Australia and an ambassador for all its people, Julia Gillard undoubtedly has a huge responsibility on her shoulders. Central to her performing each of these roles, is the cultivation of a strong personal brand and image that projects a confident, capable and statesman-like figure.

One of the most visible personal branding strategies employed by Gillard is the accentuation of her most identifiable characteristic, her hair colour. By intensifying her hair to a deeper and richer hue of red, the colour’s strengthened connotations of energy and confidence are transferred to Gillard’s persona, lifting her appearance and giving her a more striking and energetic presence.

Julia-Gillard_0 copy JG

According to former finance minister, Lindsay Tanner, ‘Gillard has dyed her hair red for years to help build her personal brand. It makes her more noticeable.’ The move also represents Gillard’s embracement of her unique colouring and the development of her assets into a personal trademark that makes her more memorable.

So if you want to advance your career, consider the use of personal branding strategies and how they can help you enhance your visibility, communicate all your skills and capabilities and really project you, at your finest.

Body Art

Friday, February 4th, 2011

They can be seen on the backs and arms of the rich and famous.  They can be seen on criminals, sailors, bikeys and the teenager down the street. They can be seen on the catwalks of exclusive luxury brands, Chanel, Rodarte and Jean Paul Gautier. They may even be on you! But who will you show them to?

What are they? They are tattoos!

Sported by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox and David Beckham and seen strutting down the runway of famous fashion houses, tattoos have heavily hit the mainstream. With tattoos at such a high popularity, even companies have taken advantage of the craze by using people as walking billboards to strengthen and promote their brand.

Chanel1 scott-campbell-louis-vuitton-tattoo

But, while the fashion houses have opted for temporary tattoos, many people are lining up at the local tattoo parlor to permanently engrave a personal statement onto their skin.

So what does this all mean for the conservative corporate environment. What do you do when your highest quality job candidate has tattoos running all the way up his or her arm? With Gen Y entering the job market and the soon to follow, Gen Z, the chances of coming across a tattoo bearing candidate is abundant. Can employers really afford to ban tattoos and turn away young talent? The answer is no. Interestingly though, tattooing was prohibited in New York City as recently as 1997.

Indeed many workplaces have recognised this tattoo trend and have started to incorporate clear sections within their dress code policies to address this and to protect their corporate image.

As an employer, it is important to recognise and celebrate the diversity of your people and employees, but to also maintain a credible, professional corporate image for the company to clients and to the general public. For the organisation to communicate a consistent message across, employers need to ensure that their employees understand the image and perception that the company wants to project and that this image is reflected in the way that their team presents themselves.

The modern interpretation of tattoos is that they are a means of creative expression and individuality. Some individuals even have tattoos of lost loved ones or of family and hence broaching the topic of a tattoo ban can be a highly sensitive matter. In some cultures, tattoos bear religious significance and are believed to ward off bad luck and evil spirits, hence serving as an amulet of protection. With the myriad of different reasons an individual may have for getting their tattoos, employers should establish clear policies and dress codes to avoid misunderstanding and legal repercussions, as well as to be more open minded and sensitive when dealing with employees on the topic of tattoos.

Buddhist tattoo-2

On the other hand, tattoos have been associated with negative connotations for decades. While tattoos may seem cool, it’s understandable that your boss may not take too well to you flashing the skull and cross-bones on your arm to all the company clients in the next business meeting. So if you would like to get a tattoo, think carefully about what you are getting done and consider the size and placement of your tattoo and the implications it could have on your current and future career. It goes without saying that if you intend to work in a highly conservative corporate environment, you are more than likely going to be required to cover the tattoo if it’s in a visible area of your body. For those who are unaware of the boundaries, don’t have any work done above the collar line and nothing past the wrist.

And perhaps consider that having a tattoo is not like buying a necklace or a shirt. Sure you can always buy a new tattoo but you can’t just take it off and change it like you can a necklace or shirt. It is permanent. And whatever you wear from that point onwards may have to be chosen to align with your tattoo, depending on how large the tattoo is and what it conveys. So to those considering getting a tattoo simply because you think it looks ‘cool’, think long and hard and then think again. If do you get a tattoo, consider something that has meaning and significance to you and consider whether it aligns with your future goals and career.

Colour Perception

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

A common misconception people often have towards colour is that it is, just colour. But colour is not something to be taken lightly. It has the ability to affect your mood, influence your perception and even empower you.

In fact, I could even drive you out of your own house with nothing but a single colour. Do you think that’s too bold a claim? Well think about this. Picture the interior of your house. Now imagine, I went and painted it all in bright red.

What’s that? You say red is your favourite colour? Well, now take it even a step further and imagine if all the furniture, as well as all the other items in your house were also the same shade of red. How long do you think you’ll really be able to stay in the house? Let alone live in it… I know I wouldn’t last more than five minutes. That much red is far too loud and overwhelming.


Evidently, colour can be a truly powerful tool, so understanding colour and learning how to wear it, can really work to your advantage.

So what exactly is colour?

It all began during the 1700’s, when Sir Isaac Newton’s experiment of entrapping light in a prism, retracted seven main colours through the visible spectrum of white light. This discovery in the nature of light and colour initiated the first relationship between light and colour.  As you can see, there is a whole science behind light and colour.


In fact, the underlying meaning of colour is based around science and psychology. Which is why, as image and personal brand consultants, we delve deeper into the realm of colour to discover the myriad of meanings associated with colour and how this affects our state of mind.

Think about the colours you wear and how much your mood that day influences this choice.  Are you feeling bright and energetic and want to make a bold statement with a lively yellow? Or do you want to exude elegance and sophistication, and feel more powerful in a classic black?

See how these everyday choices reflect you as a person; from your emotions to influencing how others perceive you. It really is incredible how something so universal and simple allows us to be so creative and expressive.

In fact, you could even say that colours are our ‘optical emotions’.

Human-beings are amazing creatures.  We sense and interpret colours through our eyes, body and mind. Colours sensed through the eyes stimulate different regions that are sensitive to specific colours. For example the area sensitive to green light is located directly in the centre of the retina, which allows light to fall into the centre of the eye. This makes the colour green, the most relaxing colour for the eyes and, in turn, the mind.


So next time you are deciding on your outfit, visualise how people interpret colour through their senses and what your colour choice says about you.

Be aware however, that the previously discussed interpretations of colour only apply to Western culture. Next time, we will investigate how the symbolism and meaning of colour varies across different cultures.

Oprah, a Classic Icon of the 21st Century

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

“Though I am grateful for the blessings of wealth, it hasn’t changed who I am. My feet are still on the ground. I’m just wearing better shoes.” Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is coming to Australia! No doubt we are all excited about this famous icon paying our continent a special visit.

As a figure, she is as iconic as the Sydney Opera House or a red soled Louboutin heel. Forbes 3rd most powerful woman is about to touch down in the country, and it’s causing a stir. I mean who doesn’t love Oprah? She has the most vivacious personality, is so down to earth and is well-known for her incredible generosity.

But it hasn’t all been easy for Oprah. Throughout the years, Oprah has endured a constant battle with her image. We’ve watched her transition through the decades with many a makeover and make under.  She was often overly conscious of her body type, and selected styles to conceal her body. Oprah’s clothing  choice was reflective of where she was physically.

But now, in the last five years, Oprah’s self perception towards her image has changed. She has progressed as an individual and has established her own unique style; a clean silhouette with classic colours, ranging from neutrals to deep, rich hues that convey elegance and sophistication. Oprah has become more confident in herself as a person, both mentally and physically and this clearly reflects in her new approach to image and styling.  We at EGAMI can see that she has embraced and embodied a spirit and style that is all her own.

Take a look below at a timeline of Oprah through the ages, from present to past.

[flagallery gid=8 name=”Oprah”]

Helping Young People to Achieve their Career Goals

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

If you have a dream, then you should chase after it.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Well take a step into the shoes of a young woman who has low self-confidence and is struggling to step out of her shell.  There is no denying she’s a smart woman, after all she’s excelling academically at university and has the potential to accomplish great things in life.  But having potential can only get you so far if you’re shy and unsure of yourself.  So it’s not surprising that the thought of attending an interview, which even a self-assured person can find nerve-racking, is petrifying.  Not only that, but this lack of confidence can prevent someone from achieving their future goals.

Unfortunately, she’s not alone.  This somewhat daunting and over-whelming feeling is a reality for many young people who are just starting their careers.  Imagine the surprise of entering the big world of corporate and professional organisations after just having graduated university.  Or having the potential and skill, but not being able to portray yourself visually in the way you want to be perceived.

We all have career goals and aspirations at some point in our lives but making them happen is another completely different story.  And that’s why projecting a confident image is such an important and powerful tool.  We also all have positive qualities, but what many people don’t realise is that confidence defines who you are and helps you in pursuing your career.

EGAMI recognises the importance of nurturing talent and working with young people to build their confidence, establish an influential image, help cultivate their leadership ability and develop life skills.  For this reason, we are thrilled to be involved in helping young people achieve their career goals through our image programs and workshops as well as supporting the WA Miss Universe event.

From a holistic perspective, our approach enables young people to develop their own unique brand and create a memorable presence that goes beyond first impressions.  For the WA Miss Universe participants, what’s really important is that this is a life skill they will be able to take with them beyond the competition and greatly assist them in their future endeavours.

Why EGAMI is involved with Dine for Life

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Enjoying an exquisite meal at one of Perth’s finest restaurants or sipping cocktails with friends at a fabulous bar is usually an event saved for the weekend.  But why? Wouldn’t it be fun to experience Perth’s midweek dining culture?  Or perhaps enjoy a drink somewhere with a great atmosphere on a Tuesday night?  This passion for socialising, as well as a desire to make a difference in the community was the beginning of a new and exciting idea. 

That idea was Dine for Life – which is all about creating an opportunity for the people of Perth to share great food and great company for a great cause.  At EGAMI, we are so proud to be a key part of this exciting and unique initiative in charity fundraising.  We are committed and passionate about making a difference in the community to those who really need it.

From my perspective, as the Director and one of the founder’s of Dine for Life, it’s all about promoting midweek dining and supporting local business while fundraising for an important cause.  Perth has such a wonderful food and wine culture, so why not go to a high end restaurant mid week and enjoy fine dining food for a good cause?

Dine for Life also reminds us to think holistically in business.  Simply focusing on profits and revenue takes too much from life, so having a sense of community is imperative in keeping a business grounded. It is important to take time to reflect on your achievements and how you can empower others – for that is real success.



Women at the Top

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Gail Kelly, Chief Executive of Westpac, is a woman who encompasses the essences of power and success.  Recently ranked eighth in Forbes’ illustrious list of the world’s most powerful women, Kelly’s recognition highlights the importance of image and perception in a professional environment.  Her reputation as a born leader is evident in her accomplishments; however it is Kelly’s commanding presence that has ultimately established her successful career. 

Gail KellyKelly’s overall image reflects her position as a leader. The use of primary colours in her wardrobe, such as a dominating red, sets apart from the uniformity of grey. Simply wearing red will dramatically enhance positive attributes such as confidence, strength and energy, in comparison to grey which is a psychological neutral and evokes a limited response.               

Kelly’s image is complemented by her body language and powerful gestures, as you can see in the image contained within this recent article.  This not only allows for effective communication but conveys confidence and leadership.

By self-packaging her positive attributes, Kelly demonstrates a strong holistic image of confidence and success. As you can see, investing in your professional image and personal brand and influencing how you want to be perceived are powerful steps in creating your own success.  Congratulations Gail, what a great achievement for an Australian Executive!

Return of 1950’s Style

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Spring is in the air and has inspired a return of 1950’s fashion.  This was an era that witnessed the emergence of prominent fashion houses such as Christian Dior, Coco Chanel and Hubert Givenchy.  Men and women were fabulously dressed in a style that was glamorous, feminine and tailored.

At EGAMI, we are constantly observing how your image can reflect certain trends.  Optimism, as reflected in the 50’s, has inspired us to convey this influential time into our social mood.  For this season we are seeing that feminine styles, such as shapely full skirts and small waistlines, are making a return on the runways.  Hats are in vogue for men again, which during that era were worn not sometime – but all the time!

50's style elements

Keeping your Image Current

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Men, keep your image current this season by incorporate a different trend into your style.  Perhaps introduce a nautical element by opting for a navy suit over black.  When it comes to selecting a shirt, choose dark blue stripes or a simple blue shirt to add more emphasis to your image.


How to project credibility and power

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

It’s all in the fit! If it fits the body its saying “I look powerful because everything I wear FITS my frame perfectly and is flawlessly tailored”.


Congratulations Renae and Lia!

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Since November 2009 EGAMI has been working exclusively with the WA Miss Universe contestants on the key elements of personal image, presentation and preparing for their final answers. Congratulations to the Miss Universe WA Finalists who came in second and third at the National Competition: Renae Wauhop, from Perth, who was the runner-up and Lia Tapper, from Perth, coming in third.  That’s an amazing effort!

Inspirational Style for Men

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Invest in a great watch; it will be your lowest cost per wear item.  A watch can represent everything about being a man, your research, your masculinity and a snap shot of where you are at a point in time. Select a Swiss watch that is classic and holds its value such as the IWC, Ulysses Nardin or Panerai.

The watch2

Power of Observation for Women

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Be inspired by the confidence and unique style of the women around us. Pay attention to the image they portray and take from it what you need to refine your own personal style to help you achieve what you desire. Look to the bold, bright and high contrast outfits of Michelle Obama for elegance and assertiveness, to the jeans and tailored white shirts of Elle Macpherson to project a quietly confident and self assured woman or the unique and Spanish chic of Penelope Cruz to create an intriguing image of a creative and successful woman.  But it doesn’t need to be a celebrity, what about your best friend or work colleague?  Who do you identify with?


When Dressing to Impress

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Elegance = Style. It is stunning, respected and desirable.


Wardrobe Communication

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Are you the quiet type who finds it harder to naturally promote yourself at interviews or at work? Or perhaps an overly confident extrovert who is often challenged and misunderstood?  Did you know that there are ways you can control what you communicate in the workplace through your image?  The majority of this communication is through psychology.

Clothes and colour enhance the strength of your verbal message and can say a great deal about your personality and character as well as your position of influence. Consider fabric, colour and style. For instance, red can be worn by those who want to convey assertiveness, while black can be interpreted to mean sophistication and power. In terms of fabrics, silk conveys elegance while white cotton shirts say I’m easy going, approachable and relaxed.

What are you wearing today?


How Fashion Reflects Social Mood

Monday, November 16th, 2009

We here at EGAMI are fascinated by the deeper psychology of image and are constantly observing how our collective mood is reflected in fashion and trends. Much like selecting a coloured shirt that represents how we feel that morning, we can also look to financial markets to determine the appropriateness of the height of our skirt or even the width of our tie.  No wonder why everyone is wearing so much black!

Fashion is a key indicator of social mood and one term that you may have heard recently is ‘recessionary fashion’. You only need to watch the latest runways of Paris and you’ll see examples from Ralph Lauren and Hermès with ‘collections inspired from Dust Bowl Okies to tennis courts, aka the ‘Great Gatsby’ revival’.  An interesting article by Robert R Prechter gives insight into how the current spring fashion trends are indicative of ‘recessionary’ times, thus being  tied to financial markets. Click here to read the full article.

We’re not sure if  tattered overalls or Grandpa’s shoes will be making an appearance in the EGAMI offices anytime soon, however we will make a concerted effort to not wear black every day!  What colour are you wearing right now?

However, recession or no recession, style is forever.


EGAMI supports Cancer Council’s Girls Night In

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

EGAMI were proud supporters of ‘Girls Night In’ – a campaign in its fifth year specifically designed to raise funds for women’s cancers, including breast and gynaecological cancers. EGAMI contributed by conducting personalised colour consults for each of the winners from a competition run by 92.9 at the Parmelia Hilton.  Phew – very tough to do a 90 minute consult in 10 minutes, and 12 at that!

The focus of this evening was to inspire ladies to stay in for one night, enjoy a pampering session of facials, massage and other personalised treatments and donate what they otherwise would have spent on a night out to the Cancer Council.  All funds raised by ‘Girls Night In’ went immediately towards research, education, prevention and support programs for women.

“Big thanks once again for participating at the Girls Night In party, your consultations added a special touch and it was well received by all the girls”… Sascha Arnold, Cancer Council WA.

Girls can register, or obtain additional information on the website