Check your appearance in the mirror… ACK !!!! There’s a stain on your jacket, shirt, blouse, or whatever you’re wearing to the presentation. The source of the offending stain doesn’t matter. It’s there – large as life!
Act natural: Panic! Quick, go through the list of standard questions:
Tide Stick? No, too late, won’t dry in time.
Maybe they won’t see it. I saw it. They’ll probably see it. (Even if they don’t, you’d feel like you’re wearing a big sign that says: LOOK HERE à).
Do I have something else to wear? No. I didn’t think of that. Led Zeppelin T-shirt in the car appropriate? Probably not.
If you haven’t found yourself in this situation, you’ve probably thought about it. Whether you’re teaching a training session, networking over lunch with a potential customer or client, meeting with your boss or trying to get your big project approved by the C-suite; there are two types of presenters. Those who have done it and those who will.
Being a big guy, I am forever getting something greasy on my shirts – food, gasoline, actual grease, (this morning it was automatic transmission fluid), go figure. Luckily, I’m not presenting today.
As a professional trainer, part of my pre-presentation preparation is to check my favorite shirt in a room with good lighting before I put it on. Then I check it again in a room with different lighting. Stains are sneaky, ya know. My final step…..ask my wife.
If I’m very well prepared, I’ll take a matching set of clothes and leave them in the car. Even if I get out of the house unscathed, it doesn’t mean I’ll make it through the day without a spill. You will never guess how many times I’ve had to think, “I wonder if they’ll notice that the polo shirt with the IBM logo that I was wearing now says 3M? Nah~”
Here are some other tips I have tried: Stay away from greasy, messy, and easily spilled breakfast items. Stick to power bars, fruit, and water. Avoid eggs, hash browns, doughnuts, coffee. Don’t put yourself in a position where you can be jostled by other people. I’m enough of a klutz myself, I don’t need help. I even have a friend that wraps a napkin around her glass so condensation doesn’t drip on her.
Lunch – If I have my choice of menu items, I stick to the low risk items; easily handled, not too soupy, light on the sauces. The goal here is to consume just enough sustenance to make it to through the rest of your day. Quit while you are ahead. If you are full(ish) and you haven’t spilled yet, Stop. Murphy’s Law: It’s always the last forkful that will get you.
Things to avoid – BBQ anything! Sloppy burgers, soups, copious amounts of salad dressing. Anything with filling. Get the point?
This brings me to the original idea for this blog. Self-Adhesive Napkins! It’s one of those inventions I wish someone would develop, because I could use it. (Note: In case someone does develop this and makes their million, I want a lifetime supply delivered to my house as payment for my participation.)
Self-Adhesive Napkins = A medium sized napkin packaged up like a small wet nap, in a little pouch, perfect for the pocket or purse. Large enough to cover your food catching zone, this napkin comes with an adhesive strip on the back to keep it in place. Bonus: They can be offered in designer colors so the user can choose a napkin color that will complement their wardrobe.
I can hear the food snobs now: “Well, that’s tacky.” Is it not tacky and embarrassing to sport a big grease stain on the front of your shirt? Is it less tacky to tuck your napkin into your collar? You choose. Remember, this is a practical tool, not a five star solution to impress Ms. Manners.
I hope these tips will help. We all want to go out and be great all day every day. It’s hard to be great with BBQ sauce on your shirt.
PS: To the entrepreneur: a case should be a good start. I’ll let you know when I begin to run low.
We would love to hear your most embarrassing wardrobe malfunction story. Share with us in the comments below, on the RFN Facebook page or on Twitter.
Graduation is just around the corner and soon enough, you’ll be searching for the perfect company where you want to invest all of the knowledge and skills you’ve gained from college. But what they didn’t teach you in class is how to face an employer when they ask you vital questions during a job interview.
Based on a survey from GreenJobInterview, companies are now using online video interviews as an alternative approach of screening their applicants. If one of your potential employers asked for an online meeting, here are some recommended tips you can do to ace an interview.
Do it from home:
Although it will be online, it’s best to do the conference while you’re at the comfort of your home. Avoid conducting it while in public places where there are various distractions and noise. Find a nice, quiet room in your house. Take extra effort in tidying up the place so that you will get a good impression from your interviewer. Even when you’re at home, don’t forget to dress accordingly.
Practice makes perfect:
If this is your first time, seek help with your friends or family and try do a serious online video chat with them. This allows you to get used to the process and help you determine the areas that you need to improve on. Verizon wireless news center recommends the Job Interview Question-Answer app which “provides an opportunity to record your answers to frequently asked questions then compare your responses to those provided by a job interview coach.”
Familiarize yourself with your resume, the company, and the job description. Learning all the necessary information about the job, the business and your skills that will benefit them is a plus point for you. This will also allow you to be confident whenever they ask you pertinent questions related to the work you applied.
Set your devices in order:
Make sure that your internet connectivity is stable for a lag-free video call. Double check the webcam and the microphone if they’re in good working condition. Before they fire away the questions, ask first if they can see and hear you properly to avoid any miscommunications.
Observe proper posture:
Your body language is more obvious in virtual chat. The company might be using third-party software to record the entire conversation so bad physical habits like avoiding eye contact, playing with one’s hair, or checking your phone every now and then will clearly be seen. Make sure that you sit up comfortable all throughout the interview. Look directly at the web camera and not at the screen to create the illusion that you are having eye contact with the person you are talking to. Lean slightly forward but make sure you are not crowding the camera. You can also don’t nod or smile once in a while to show your enthusiasm.
Technology is changing the way employers seek future employees. And if we want to get our dream job, we need to be prepared at all times.
Do you have any other suggestions that you can share with fellow job hunters? We love to hear your thoughts.
I recently read an article by Fast Company Inc. on 8 Simple Ways to Get Happier at Work. #1 addresses “walking meetings.” A walking meeting is ….well….you meet while you walk. This is something I have actually practiced and I am here to say that it is awesome.
Here are some “why” and “how” tidbits that might help you get started:
- By being away from your office, you reduce the amount of distractions you will have during your meeting.
- Creativity and inspiration are often jumpstarted by a change of scenery.
- Reduces guilt! Many of us feel like “slackers” if we take ten minutes to get up from our desk, walk around and stretch our legs. Walking meetings help you feel like you are not “wasting” time yet you are still getting up and getting that blood flowing.
- People speak more freely when there is reduced fear of being overheard or interrupted.
- A walking meeting sets an unspoken start and stop time which will reduce idle chatter and off topic discussions.
- Your boss not the type to get on board? Then don’t suggest that your meeting with him/her be a walking meeting. Instead, request permission to take your direct report/intern/colleague for a walking meeting.
- Bring your phone so your boss feels he/she can reach you while you are out but encourage others to leave all distractions back at their desk. INCLUDING their cell phones.
- Limit the meeting to 2-3 people to assure focus, no side chats and assure everyone can hear the conversation.
- Map out your route beforehand (indoors or out) to keep the walk focused on the meeting topic and not on “should we go left or right?” Use the same route for every walking meeting so that your partners become familiar with it.
I hope this minimized some of the “weird” that surrounds walking meeting. Give it a try! Already a fan? Tell us some of your walking meeting stories either in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Thanks as always~
Q : "Is it OK to hit on a woman at a networking event?"
WOW…. I don’t even know where to start with this one…LOL OK, here is the deal, first of all the fact that you used the term “hit on” makes it an automatic NO from me. That is a dead giveaway that the primary reason you are attending the event is to meet your one main goal of the night and we all know what that is. Save those tactics for another time. Use your time at your networking event to meet good friends (male and female) and develop a more professional “self”. Should you meet someone that you would like to know better on a personal level than I would suggest you contact her after the event. Even if she doesn’t accept your offer she will certainly respect your approach more than if you put her in an awkward situation by coming on to her at a business type function.
Hitting on a woman at a networking event is a huge risk. Women don't go to networking events to get dates. They go to networking events because they want to make business connections. Even in today's progressive business culture, women often struggle to be taken seriously. Asking a woman on a date when she's trying to do business with you isn't just inappropriate – it's insulting. However, I spent my late twenties and early thirties single and I know that you can't help it when you meet someone you like — you want to ask them out. If you're going to do it, here is my advice:
1) Never use a "line". "Those are sexy boots" or "you have beautiful eyes" are completely inappropriate comments in a business environment. Don't try to get cute and don't use a bar pickup line at a networking event.
2) Be clear about your intentions. Asking someone out for coffee or lunch at a networking event is a fairly common thing. So if you want a date and not a business lunch, you need to be clear about it. Otherwise you could be in for a seriously awkward meal! You could say, "I'd like to get you know you better outside of business. Can we do coffee sometime?" (Yes, this takes guts. Don't chicken out!)
3) Don't address it at the networking event at all. Have a nice conversation with her and get her business card. Send her an email or call her up after the event and ask her out. Again, be clear about your intentions or she'll show up for a business lunch. No woman likes to feel as if they were "tricked" into a date.
Thanks for reading~
Maybe you have heard this saying before but here it is again – “Everyone is an example…good or bad”. So here is my question (you knew it was coming) – what kind of example are you? I actually heard this saying a month or so ago for the first time and ever since I have been asking myself that same question. What kind of example am I to my family, my friends, my colleagues, my network and to strangers? Do people look at me and see positive things or by watching me do they see an example of how they do NOT want to be?
If you haven’t given this much thought I would challenge you to do this exercise for 30 days. Look at the actions of others around you. Become a professional observer. The next time you are out to dinner with your family or friends take notice of the other diners. Are they happy, sad, grumpy, easy-going, demanding, loud or conservative? How do their actions affect the way they are treated by the wait staff? Do any of the negative things that you see mirror any of your own actions that you may have been unaware of?
What about at work? Take note of the colleagues that you avoid. WHY? What is it that they do that will make you turn and walk the other way in the hallway or avoid sitting next to them in a meeting? What about your colleagues that you really enjoy working with – what is it about THEM that make you drawn to them? Do any of the actions in the desirable/undesirable co-worker mirror any of your actions?
While it’s not always easy to look within I feel it’s an important part of self-exploration and growth. I’m sure you have also heard the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. FALSE! If in your 30 day experiment you see actions that are undesirable but do mirror your own than it is NOT too late to make a change for the better. I will tell you that I have had a lot of positive personal growth over the years. I will also readily admit that I am still a work in progress. This is not a bad thing at all – I am enjoying every step of the journey.
I would love to hear your story – your challenges – your successes. Connect with me on Twitter @chelelawson, look for Michele Lawson on LinkedIn or simply leave a comment here.
Thanks for reading!
Being miserable in your job is no fun. It’s certainly no way to spend 40+ hours a week of your life. Yet almost everyone encounters a less-than-ideal employment situation at some point in their career.
It’s never easy.Unhappiness in your work life can often spill over and impact your personal life in negative ways, eventually becoming a destructive loop that just can’t end well. If this is your current situation, you may be thinking, “I wish I’d spent more time networking so someone could help get me out of here!” RFN can help you begin building that network, but keep reading. There may be more to this situation then you think.
The first step is to be completely and brutally honest with yourself. You need to explore why you’re unhappy. While it’s easy to place the blame on the job,you need to discover where the negativity is truly originating. It could be coming from the work environment;it could be originating with a specific person or group of people, it could be the work you are assigned, or it could even be coming from inside of you.
It’s not easy to figure out the true source of your unhappiness. I have had friends complain about being overworked and underpaid. When I asked them “How much money would you need in order to be happy doing this job?” sometimes they name a figure. But other times they stop and look at me for a second and say, “There is no amount of money that would make up for the things I go through every day.”
Bingo. They might feel as though they are overworked and underpaid, but their statement tells me that it’s not really the money that bothers them. It’s something else. If that is the way you feel, I encourage you to sit down and make a list of things you would change about your job. Be realistic and positive, such as, “I want a5% raise this year”, “I want to be assigned to the X project”, “I want to telecommute 2 days a week.” Or “I want to report to a different boss.”
Now look over the list. How much of this list would need to happen in order for you to feel happy at work? Which things on the list might you have some influence over if you tried? If you determine that changing the things you have influence over will make you happy,you now have a plan for improving your work situation. However, if you find that you don’t have influence over the things on your list, or if even changing EVERYTHING on your list still wouldn’t make you truly happy, it’s time to look internally and figure out if the negativity is coming from inside you.
Coming to the realization that you are the source of your own pain can be difficult, but don’t look at it as a negative thing — look at it as a growth thing. Maybe you are unhappy because you are in a career or a job that you have outgrown and it just isn’t suited to you anymore.Or maybe you are doing a job that you are really, really, good at but you don’t find it to be fulfilling or challenging. Just because you’re good at something,doesn’t mean it has to be your career forever. If you find that these things are resonating with you now, it’s time to do an all-out career assessment. Look for a career coach who can help you to work through your options. Most career coaches will offer a free consultation so that you can get to know them and decide if they can help you.
Once you decide it’s time for a move, start getting the word out to your network that you’re looking for a new opportunity. There are plenty of good and bad ways to do this, but that will have to be another blog post. If you haven’t spent time building a network, it’s time to start. There are articles and resources here at RFN that can help you get moving.
You may also find that the source of the negativity is your environment. It could be that you and the company you work for have a moral or ethical difference that can’t be resolved. There could be a person you work with, your manager or a fellow employee, who is simply a difficult person and is causing your work environment to be negative. If you find that the source of your unhappiness is something that you just can’t change, it’s time to look for a new job. I’ve read a lot of advice that says you should change your attitude, grow a thicker skin, and learn to deal with it. If that has ever worked for you, I applaud you. I’ve never been able to master the skill of not caring what is happening around me. There have been times when I’ve needed to tolerate this kind of situation for a period of time due to financial reasons,health reasons, etc. but eventually it caused me to leave the job.
What if you can’t change jobs? It’s time to understand that barring a few extreme situations, you ALWAYS choose your employer and you always have the choice to leave. If you feel trapped in your job, it’s not because you can’t leave, it’s because you are not willing to accept the consequences of leaving.
For example, let’s say that you are a biophysicist and there is only one company who employs biophysicists inyour small town. Leaving would require you to uproot your family, sell your house, and move to a city where you can have a different employer. However, you’re not willing to do that because you don’t want to tear the kids away from their schools, or you don’t want toleave your elderly parents. You may feel as though you are trapped and that you don’t have a choice.
You DO have a choice.
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