Sunday, May 8, 2016

Business Advice: Travel Tips

Business Travel Etiquette

With leisure travel, you are representing only yourself.  However, with business travel, you are representing your company. The impressions you impart may determine your future business relationship with those you are visiting.


Your attire choices will play a major part in how you are viewed.  However, if time allows, dress in comfortable clothes to reduce stress and help you keep focused on your objectives.  These should still appear conservative, like slacks, neat shirt/blouse, and a jacket/blazer. 
  • Avoid clothing that wrinkles or clings.
  • Track the weather and dress accordingly.
  • Dress slightly more formal than your counterparts do.
  • Pack an extra outfit just in case—unexpected meeting, unplanned trip extension and mishaps. 

Transportation & Technology
  • Expect delays: pack makeup, backup battery charger, antibacterial gel/sheets, noise canceling headphones, pen and paper, business cards and breath mints.
  • Apply for TSA Precheck.
  • Before getting in line, ready your train or plane tickets.
  • Respect all attendants and other travelers.
  • If conducting meetings while in transit, maintain confidentiality and display respect to fellow travelers by speaking quietly. 

Download a Travel/Organization App
  • Evernote helps keep track of boarding pass; reservations; receipts and expenses.
  • Find out where the gates, restaurants and time of arrivals/departures with Gate Guru.
  • Concur tracks and organizes, saves and submits travel expenses. 
If Driving
  • Gaze can assist with unknowns, like heavy traffic or road closures.
  • Even if using a GPS enabled device/app, map out your trip. 
Stay Connected
  • JiWire helps find hot WiFi spots just about anywhere. 

Apps Mentioned
  • Kayak
  • Evernote
  • Gate Guru
  • Gaze
  • Concur
  • JiWire 

Display your respect for your business partners by ensuring you are on time!

You have arrived!  What’s Next?

When meeting with business partners, turn off your cellphone.  Take handwritten notes or ask if using your computer to take notes will be distracting.

Be Prepared
  • Organize all ideas and facts before your meeting.
  • Honestly address concerns or questions that arise during negotiations. 
Tipping The Hotel Maid

Tip $2 to $5 each day depending on the level of service and type of hotel (upscale hotel versus budget hotel).   Use bills enclosed in an envelope address to “Housekeeping” and leave it on the dresser.

Including a short note is a nice gesture.  Perhaps: “I appreciate how much work you have put into my room.”  Alternatively, a simple “Thank you” is fine as well.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Career Advice: Career Fair Etiquette

How to Get Your Next Job 

Career Fair Etiquette Rules

It seems that Career Fair Season is upon us again.  Actually, depending on your particular career choice, recruiters may be looking for you any time during the year.  As an etiquette consultant who routinely prepares job candidates, I’m often interviewed by local news media about this topic--which was the case recently.  (Video)  I always stress the importance of following a few simple rules.  Consequently, if looking for a job or internship at the next career fair, please read on. 

Take it seriously and do your homework!

This just may be a formal interview for a real job or internship so take the job/career fair seriously.  Know what companies will be there.  Find out what the companies are working on and what they are doing so you can ask pertinent questions.  If you want a certain type of job, know what that job entails. 

Dress the part!

Employers want employees that fit into their particular corporate culture.  Therefore, dress the part and look as if you already fit in. 

Turn off the cell phone!

Recruiters have shared with me that many times job candidates lose out merely because of their cell phones.  Job candidates often forget to turn them off and some will even answer their phones.  At that point, the recruiter is no longer interested.  Don’t make that mistake!

Get a babysitter

I know it can be tough, especially for single parents.  Nevertheless, it is best to arrive alone.  Taking non-essential people to the job fair sends a negative message.  It could imply that you may not be able to get to work regularly.  Yes, it may not be fair.  However, it is all about perceptions.

Body language and people skills matter

Employers are looking for employees with excellent people skills.  So, use your best body language, posture and manners.  Be assertive, but be very polite. 

Asking questions is a good thing

When it appears that your time with the recruiter – your mini-interview -- is wrapping up, ask pertinent questions demonstrating how much you know about the company and/or the position.   Use what you learned when you researched the company.  You just may dazzle them.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Career Advice: Internships

How to Get the Job You Want

 Internships Can Lead You to Your Dream Job

Let’s face it, even with the best education, the job market is a tough place to be.  It is incredibly tight and expectations of the newly hired are high. So, what is someone with little work experience to do?  As an etiquette consultant who trains job seekers, I always suggest internships for those who are still in high school and college.  Nevertheless, all can benefit from what a good internship can provide. 

Besides looking great on a resume, what are the advantages and benefits of an internship

As your coworkers and supervisors evaluate you and your work habits, you are best able to evaluate how it would be to work in that business and for that particular company full time.   The internship also provides an opportunity to develop a work ethic and polish your people skills.

Dealing with the scary people and learning new skills. 

More than likely, you will be learning new skills, as the work required may be a new experience for you.  The business may also have unique methods that you can add to your skill set.  As you work on building this new skill set, you are developing the work ethic employers seek.   

Additionally, most workplaces have at least one person who doesn’t play well with others.  Learning how to work alongside people like this isn’t easy.  However, when you do, you have developed life-long people skills that others notice.   Both of these situations are a plus for those who want to find a long-term dream job and keep it.   

How can I find internships? 

Those still in school will have an easier time finding an internship that suits their goals.  Your career counselor or guidance center may have postings or may be able to help you directly.  Teachers may be helpful as well.   

For both those in and out of school, career/job fairs offer a great opportunity to find jobs and internships.  Ensure your cover letter and resume is custom tailored for each company of interest at the fair and dress appropriately—slightly less formal than for a formal interview.   

Besides the career fair, websites such as LinkedIn are a great resource for job and internship seekers.  For example, I typed “internships” in LinkedIn’s search bar and received pages of opportunities.  One was for a Mutual Fund Accounting Intern position. 

What should I do if I can’t find an internship? 

If you are still in school and can’t find an internship for the summer, it’s best to get a summer job.  You will benefit from some of the opportunities of an internship and it will look great on your resume.  For job seekers no longer in school, keep your spirits high and try to stay positive.  Sharpen your people skills by continuously interacting with others.  Peruse the Internet studying frequently asked interview questions—many sites also provide sample answers as well.   Then, practice, practice and then practice again, so you will be ever ready for that interview.    

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Career Advice: Preparing for the Interview

First Person: Three Important Steps In Preparing for the Interview

Following the Right Steps to Get the Job You Want

For over twenty years as an etiquette professional, I’ve trained countless job seekers.  Not much has changed in those decades, except our expanded use of technology.   Today, we can apply for a job using Social networking sites, such as LinkedIn.  We commonly use an email program to contact an organization’s HR department.  Additionally, we live on our cell phones.  Many times, we use these electronic appendages to reply to those HR departments and recruiters.  Some of those calls and emails could be the difference between a future job and a trip to the unemployment office.   

Hence, it would benefit all job seekers to follow a few of my suggestions.   

Consider how you use your phone. 

Sure, texting is fast and convenient.  However, it’s not the best method to use for answering emails from a recruiter or anyone else who may be trying to assist you in your job hunt.  These replies should appear professional and well thought-out.  Therefore, it is best to reply to those messages with a proper email program on a computer. 

Additionally, consider what impression you are sending those who call you.  It’s a no-brainer to wear your best attire to an interview.  So, why not dress-up your voicemail greeting?  Instead of, “Hey, dude, this is John, shoot me a message.”   It may be better to state, “You’ve reached the phone of John Martinez.  Please leave me a message, including your phone number and best time I may reach you, and I will return your call very soon.” 

Clean up your social media profiles 

Allow me to tell you a little story--true, of course.  One of my young friends interviewed for a position in a top Fortune 500 company.  She was perfect for the job, as her previous position was very similar.  For this type of position, there were a series of interviews, which she sailed through nicely.  However, within a week after her final interview, she received notice that the job was not hers.  Why? The hiring manager searched the Internet for her profiles and found some questionable pictures, some with a negative connotation for someone who would be representing a high-profile company.  

The lesson here?  Review all social media profiles and view them as someone else might. Remove any pictures and posts that include alcohol, partying and anything too personal.  Remove all political and religious posts.  Contact all friends and family informing them of your focus.  Ask them to refrain from “tagging” you in their pictures.  

Remember, your online presence is part of your brand.  Make it work for you, not against you! 

Your email represents who you are

Ask yourself.  Does your email address reflect the image you want an employer to see? probably won’t cut it, unless you want to sell beer.   Therefore, it is vitally important to create a business-like email account address using your first and last name. 
Additionally, send only well-written emails with good grammar and punctuation.   Always remember, everything you do and say reflects who you are. Consider that all your actions speak loudly.  Ask yourself, how you want to be perceived and then work toward making sure you represent that perception.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Marketing Review: #BiolageCleansing Conditioner

Will The YouTube Commercial Video "What Is A Cleansing Conditioner?" Sell A New Hair Product?

As one with long, bushy, frizzy chemically treated hair, I’m always drawn to commercials showing the women with sleek, soft manageable manes.  Instantly, I’m lusting for the product.  Rarely, though, do I pull out the credit card.  Thankfully, my brain checks in. 

However, I recently watched a YouTube commercial video of a product I did end up trying.  Will the video prompt others like me to try their product?  Well, let’s examine their message together.

My first impression

Visually, the video begins with pleasing colors, attractive women with great hair and snappy music.  As the women move, their hair shines and bounces as if on cue.  Seconds later, text flows across the screen announcing. “There is a new way to wash your hair.  And it’s amazing!”  The scene fades introducing Matrix’s celebrity hair stylist George Papanikolas who discusses his client’s worries about harming their hair with harsh shampoos.  Within the first few seconds, I’m engaged. 

What is #BiolageCleansing Conditioner?

Boom!  Within thirty seconds, I’m informed why shampoos can harm hair and what I can do about it.  Attractive bottles of Biolage Cleansing Conditioner float across the screen as an equally attractive woman’s voice fills in all the details. 

Evidently, it is a new cleansing conditioner that goes on like a conditioner, but cleans without stripping and conditions without weight.  The before and after pictures of the women in the video are remarkable.  

Dispelling disbelief?

One issue advertisers need to do is to dispel disbelief.  The viewer has to ‘believe’ the product will work for him or her just as it does on the commercial.  In this case, many viewers, including me, may watch this and think, “The cleansing conditioner can’t be cleaning her hair; it isn’t foaming.” 

Well, the advertiser here actually used that phrase and then showed how it is done.  It’s quite convincing. 

Will you try it?

Please share how you feel about the video.  And if you do decide to try this product, please share your experience with all of us.  You can read my review here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Business & Financial Advice: Free Advertising

How I Use Free Advertising for My Small Business

Running a small business can be a challenge in any kind of market.  This is especially true today with so many potential customers looking for the next big thing--the newest flavor of the month.  Thus, it is particularly important to stand out above competitors. With my 20+ years as a small business owner, I've learned how to do this on a very small advertising budget.   Follow along for my favorite tips. 

Establish yourself as the expert--interview frequently.

My face is on your television, in print media, and on pod-casts.  My voice is on your radio.  Why?  It's because the need for content is great. Quite often local networks require an expert in my field, so they typically call me for interviews.  The same is true for all other content driven media outlets, like newspapers and magazines. 

As an etiquette expert, I frequently interview during the holidays due to gift giving, tipping, and business party questions.  However, these segments are a mere three-minute snap shot, so I maximize my exposure and free advertising by contacting the local networks and pitching story ideas as well.  

Volunteer for events.
Volunteering has always been a part of my life.  However, I never realized that it could actually benefit my business.  That is, until I began judging beauty pageants.  When I first received a request to judge I had images of "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Toddlers in Tiaras" dancing in my head.  I nearly politely refused until I did a bit of research and found the organization to be a good fit for my business--no little ones in makeup.  During the pageant, my business name was announced repeatedly to thousand of potential customers, resulting in many paying clients. 

Get out of the office and network!

My brand of networking is a mixture of face-to-face and social media.  Three times a week, a group of local business owners and I meet for coffee in a busy public place.  As regulars, we've all met most everyone frequenting the establishment, which means that they all know who we are and what we do.  Attending most events in town also increases my exposure.  Thus, more free advertising.

To maximize my social-media exposure, I have at least one page on most major platforms, including LinkedIn.   I devote one-hour minimum each day to social media posting.            

All three techniques have resulted in paying clients and all were free or at minimal cost due to traveling expenses.  However, the very best free advertising comes from my previous clients.  I strive to provide a high quality, unique product for my clients.  Happy clients tend to result in referrals.  Referrals equal free advertising. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year's Goals

Having Goals Makes us More Productive

Most who have followed me for years, know how much I love to present workshops.  However, those who know me very well, know that I love writing even more.  So, when I was presented with a challenge by  #CrowdtapAmbition to  answered the question of my 2015 goal, I couldn't wait to answer.  Here it is, my New Year's goal.

My 2015 goal is to streamline my consulting business so I have more time to write. Within the first few days of the new year, I've moved 200+ pages from my largest website onto a blog so I don't have to maintain those pages anymore--huge job.

I'm only taking on new clients who truly interest me. Plus, I'm dedicating at least one hour per day for writing fiction. My year end goal is to spend at least five hours each day writing. To stay on track, I'll critique my schedule on the first of each month.

I'm confident that this is the year I publish at least two new fiction books. '