Archive | December 2011

Enhance your Networking Skills in 2012

Networking is a 24/7 opportunity to enhance your career goals and job prospects.  Often we are stumped or awkward on how to get the conversation going. A person can size you up in 3 to 4 seconds.  However, in the next 10 minutes after a first meeting you have the opportunity to make or break those formed expectations, beginning with your greeting.

Here are some tips to make your first impression a lasting one when networking:

  • When you are introduced, if you are seated, stand up.  This communicates that you are indeed happy to meet the person.
  • Once you have stood up, step forward and smile.  Even if it’s been your worst day, try to look pleasant and extend your hand and say hello.
  • When you are in public and someone sees you and says hello, a smile and a nod is all that’s needed when passing by.
  • When being introduced to someone who does not have full use of his or her right arm, extend your right hand anyway and they will extend their left.
  • When seeing an old friend, extend your hand rather than giving a hug in business.
  • If you tend to be nervous when meeting people, resulting in clammy hands, don’t fret.  Carry a handkerchief with you and wipe them off before meeting      someone.
  • Practice making a good handshake – it communicates  everything about you.  A lifeless handshake equates to a lifeless, insecure person.  Forget crippling handshakes, the  “politician’s pump” or “the glove.”  Give a handshake that is positive and firm and held for about 3 to  4 seconds.  Give direct eye contact      and smile as well.
  • To initiate conversation you might ask a few questions to learn more about the person but avoid the “twenty questions.”
  • Another way to get past the hellos and how-do-you-do’s is to ask questions related to attitudes, likes and dislikes like food, the music or the place that the event is being held, or about interest in the arts and literature.  Avoid complaining about the event,  though.
  • Another way to stimulate rapport is to give a sincere complement.  A simple thank you is all that is necessary as a response.   Don’t tell how much it cost and where you got it.
  • Asking for help is another way of establishing rapport.  People are more than happy to help someone who asks for advice.  For example, “Where should someone go for a great meal and entertainment?”
  • Another way to approach someone is to start a  conversation about your hobbies.  If one of your hobbies is traveling, you might ask whether the other person has traveled and talk about his experiences.  Don’t monopolize on your hobbies, ask them about their hobbies.  This brings out the best in people and establishes a sound, lasting rapport.
  • Humor is another approach.  For example, “Gosh, if this party gets any more popular, we’ll have to start lining up like sardines.”  Avoid off-color jokes and other touchy subject.  It’s safer to joke about the weather than about religion, race, politics or the battle of the sexes.  If you’re not a great joke      teller you might want to avoid this approach.

TIP: To Insure Performance!

Tipping is a natural and almost mandatory in theUSwhile voluntary in other parts of the world.  What does the word TIP mean:  To Insure Performance.  If we keep this in mind we may be able to sort out the world of tipping at restaurants, coat checks, baggage handlers and so forth.  Now the usual tip at moderate priced restaurants is 15 percent while at fancy, expensive ones 20 percent.  The difference is due to more servers catering your eating experience.  However, I heard recently that the tip should be 20 percent at moderate restaurants as well.  Well, if you have the money and have received outstanding service by all means do so.  Otherwise 15 percent is just fine.  Just remember that many restaurant employers deduct an amount on employees’ paychecks to be made up by tips.  If you receive poor service tip less than 15 percent; if it’s average, tip 15 percent.  If the food is lousy that is not the server’s fault, rather speak to the restaurant manager or owner regarding this or send a letter.  A final blow to lousy food is never to patronize the place again.

            Overseas restaurant and hotel employees are catching on to the American way of life and in many sophisticated cities expect a tip.  Sometimes the tip is included in the bill so make sure to ask if unsure.  Otherwise, here are some guidelines that you can use to steer you in the right direction in the jungle of tipping.

  • When dining at a restaurant that features a buffet, the tip for the person that brings your beverages is 10 percent since you are basically serving yourself.
  • If you are having a party of 8 or more a 15 percent gratuity will be added to the check automatically.  If unsure, ask the restaurant manager ahead of time.  Most menus will indicate this at the bottom of the page.
  • If you want to be remembered when you return to a particular fine restaurant, or if you are a regular, tip the maitre d’ $5 – $10 when you leave.
  • If the bill is brought on a tray, the tip should be left on the tray.  In third world      nations, personally give the tip to your server.
  • If you use a credit card to pay, you have the option of tipping 15 percent on the total bill including tax or 15 percent of total excluding tax.  Or if you prefer, leave a cash tip on the tray rather than putting it on your card.
  • At hotels, the bellman that handles your bags is tipped 50 cents to $1 per bag.  This is the same for baggage handlers at airports.
  • When ordering room service check to see if the tip is included.  Most times it is.
  • Hotel maids are also tipped if they have provided good service during a stay of 4 or more days.  Tip the maid $5 -$10 per week person and put it in an envelop for them in the room when you leave.
  • At coat checks the tip is approximately 75 cents to a $1 per coat.
  • For golf caddies, tip them 15 percent for 18 holes and 20 percent for nine.
  • Taxi drivers are tipped approximately 15 percent.
  • If traveling abroad often a 10 percent tip is more than substantial. In third world countries tips are not common so still tip since salaries are incredibly low. You will make a lasting impression that will guarantee great service every time you return.
  • If you are with someone that under tips, give the waiter a little extra discreetly when you leave.
  • You need not tip the valet for pressing or cleaning since the service charge is added to your hotel bill.

Outfit of the day!

Here’s an easy solution to what to wear to all those holiday parties you will be going to.  Try a fitted shirt in a bold jewel color over black pants, perhaps black skinny jeans or Chico’s Travelers pants (shown here).  Dress it up with bold jewelry in gold and/or silver.  You will definitely sparkle brightly and turn heads with this easy and comfortable ensemble!  Happy Holidays!