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Have You Caught the Hurry Disease?

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I couldn’t wait to get to our favorite family vacation spot – Telluride, CO. That was months ago. Now I can honestly say that I had caught the “hurry disease” before I left. You know – the latte in one hand and cell in the other.

In reflection, I recognize how much I hurried through breakfast to get to work, hurried to next appointments, hurried to conscientiously follow up with clients, then hurried to get home and unwind. (Am I kidding myself? Once home I hurried to cook dinner and finally hurried to bed so I’d be rested for the next day!) Exhausting just writing about this.

It took me two full days to unwind. I had to intentionally force my thoughts to move away from work and busyness. Being somewhat isolated and with sketchy internet, I am forced to slow down a bit each day. It was not until the third day I found myself finally withdrawn from my “hurry disease.”

Do you relate?

Do I really have to be in that big a hurry? After all – I AM in charge of my time. Why is it so easy to pressure ourselves to push, push, push? Guess what?! My clients are still there. My friends are still there. And I might have missed memories with family had I not disconnected to be fully present with them.

So here’s the deal. It’s way too easy to be driven by obligation and get in the rut of “have tos.” If we don’t intentionally stop the crazed pace of life, we might miss things like:

• Being fully present with people

• Recognizing daily positive occurrences

• Seeing better ways to handle conflict

• Living mindfully

• Listening – really listening without being distracted by the next “to dos”

Enough said! My commitment is to commit myself. Let’s make a pact, shall we?! You hold me accountable and send me your commitment so I can hold YOU accountable.

 

 That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

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Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

“Monday Morning Leadership for Women is a treasure of timely insights and action plans that can advance any woman. It’s terrific!”

~ Candace O’Keefe -Executive Director, Leadership America, Inc.

Five Elements of Your Elevator Pitch

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In only seconds what can you tell someone about yourself? That’s what you must do for your “elevator pitch” — make it brief enough to deliver on an elevator ride but concise enough to have an impact! The result? Your executive presence will be unforgettable!

A well-written (and memorized) elevator pitch is an invaluable tool as you brand yourself because:

  • It describes what you do, for whom, and how they benefit.
  • It allows you to introduce yourself, quickly and efficiently.
  • It emphasizes the Wow! factors that you bring to the table.
  • It opens doors and invites new opportunities.

Although there are no “right” or “wrong” lengths, your pitch should be short. Just enough to get the other person curious and wanting to know more. That will lead to what’s called CONVERSATION! Isn’t that the point?!

The main objective is to make every word count. Your elevator pitch will (and should) evolve just as your brand evolves. What’s perfect today will be different in the future and will vary for different audiences. Here’s the next step.

Five Elements of Your Elevator Pitch:

 1. The “hook” - Get the listener’s attention with a “hook,”— a statement that makes someone want to hear more.

2. What you do- Not the title, not the corporate speak— but clearly, confidentially, and concisely what you do.

3. The Wow! - What makes you special, unique, someone they “must” have on their team?

4. The passion - Say what you say with Oomph! Make me care. You can’t fake passion, so dig down and find it. Use words like “committed, “dedicated,” and “devoted.”

5. The request - At the end of your pitch ask for something—a business card, an appointment, or a referral. If you make every word count, you can usually get a “yes” for your request.

Sokolosky low resThat’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine.

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

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“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

Find out more about my books here:

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

 

 

Rest Is A Four Letter Word

relax-955798_960_720Here it is the end of the first quarter. EEEK! I’m already rushing toward the next one….without taking a breath—or so it seems. “Wait Valerie! Slow down,” says one little voice. “But I can’t with all this work I’ve got to get done,” says the other little voice. Which one will I listen to?

If this resonates with you, here are 5 things to help us take a breath and enjoy our days with more peace of mind (and body).

1. Start the day with gratitude. The minute you wake up, think of 5 things you are grateful for. Today mine were:

• New mattress that gave me a better night’s rest

• New business relationships that are destined to become friend relationships

• Met a deadline ahead of time

• Loving and supportive family who let me sleep in on Saturdays

• Having a gym in my condo

2. Set your mobile device to alert you to take a rest break several times a day – minimum 3 times!

3. Listen to soft music during drive time. It will slow you down.

4. Pray about your #1 worry and try to let go. Let God take over. Two people can’t drive at the same time.

5. End the day snuggling in your bed with a good book.

 

That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

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Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

Be Insanely Transparent

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This first quarter has been filled with fun, family activities, and attending social events. As I watched people mix and mingle, I observed how they engaged in conversation. Some seemed to talk, just to talk — and often about themselves — what they were doing, and what they were planning. Here’s what struck me. It’s obvious when someone is engaging or just making verbal noise. Let’s be real. Strong brands have no problem showing up authentically. They realize that trying to be inauthentic takes waaaay too much effort. Here’s how to stay authentically comfortable in your own skin.

1. Care about making connections. Connections happen emotionally. When you hit on a topic that has meaning for the other person; when you share something about yourself that resonates with someone else; when you care enough to have relevant discussion. It’s not that difficult. Just put yourself in the other person’s shoes and consider what might having meaning to that person. It’s not all about you…at least not for making connections that count.

2. Decide to care. Many of us have social anxiety…not really wanting to go to the social event in the first place. That’s normal. Having said that – when you arrive, it’s up to you to make the event worthwhile. So just decide to care about coming away with something impactful. How? Look for anyone who’s standing out by standing alone. That’s likely a person who doesn’t feel comfortable. So make the effort to reach out. You never know the gem of a person you might find—someone brilliant who has stories to tell, who has resources you just might need, or who is lonely and simply needs a friend.

3. Own your brand. Give yourself credit for what you DO, what you KNOW or what you BELIEVE. Stand taller when you are making a presentation or meeting someone. Show presence, even those times you have doubts or lack confidence. Own your wonderfulness. No one else can, BUT YOU.

That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Light bulb

Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

Brand Your Presence Stylishly

 

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As I’m writing this it’s a brisk 43 degrees with warmer Spring weather just around the corner. Here are a few style trends to brighten up your professional wardrobe. Show your Brand in what you wear.

Spring/Summer Trends For Men

Grey blazerBlazers-A Staple This Season

Designers are showing a more relaxed and less formal look with lighter fabrics and color options. Keep a blazer handy at the office to quickly switch from relaxed, casual attire to high level business casual. (Order Business Casual – Clarify Please to learn guidelines for the three levels of business casual clothing.)

Stay Cool with Hemp Linen SuitsHemp Linen

Loose, breezy cuts were popular on the runways. Enjoy cooler options for suits and separates by pairing this fabric with a tie and long sleeve shirt. Neutral colors are this season’s color trend.

Pin stripesPinstripes and Patterns

If you like a jazzy, bold look – pinstripes are classic without going overboard. Inspired by the 30s to 50s, it’s trending in shades of brown, blue, and this season’s popular color-light grey.

Diversify Your Shirts & Tiesplaid

While traditional shirts in solid blues and whites are safe, consider (depending on your industry) adding pastel lavenders and pinks. Denim or chambray shirts are a nice departure from the typical button down.

Ties are shown in bold colors and prints. Gingham and thick stripes will oomph your style.

Follow these links to see what else is trending this Spring.

Men’s Trends Spring/Summer 2016 & Blazer Styles 2016

 Spring/Summer Trends For Women

Last year the women’s fashion trends focused heavily on the ‘70s and into the 90’s. The good news is that this Spring and Summer, trends are non-yearly focused. What that means is your wardrobe from last year can easily be mixed and matched with simple additions. Here are a few looks that can update your current clothing.

AsymmetricalAsymmetrical, Loose, Comfortable

This season shows off our feminine side with soft, flowing pants and dresses. Top off your skirt or slacks with an asymmetrical top.

Victorian InspirationVictorian

You’ll see lots of Victorian inspired designs. Shirts and dresses with high necklines, floral prints, lace, ruffles and sheer fabrics.

The Great White Blouse

Have at least three in your closet. And the choices are greater than ever! From the classic button down shirt, White with bowto a variety of styles that include ruffles, lace, and bold ties.

Embrace Prints and Textures Worth

Mix into your wardrobe some gingham, graphic stripes, or denim. This is a smart way to add trend without spending lots of money.

Check out these sites for more ideas!

 Ralph Lauren & Worth New York

 

That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Light bulb

Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

Consider These Trends for Your Personal Brand

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By my Branding Guru Colleague and Friend
William Arruda

Every year I look forward to William’s personal branding trends report. Here are 7 trends to consider as you continue to polish your brand. Let me know your favorites and how you may already be using them!

1. Download apps- Personal branding apps make building relationships and networking more efficient and effective.

2. Get on camera- Videos are gaining popularity and becoming an easier way to communicate in dynamic work environments.

3. LinkedIn is the place to be- If you don’t have any other social media account, make sure that you are on LinkedIn. Google pushes LinkedIn profiles towards the top, easily giving you more visibility. A branded profile is powerful. Call me and I’ll fill you in!

Click here for more details of the 7 Personal Branding Trends for 2016

That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Light bulb

Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

Demonstrate Your Brand with Social Savvy

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A lighthouse doesn’t sound alarms. It shines light on the dark places.

Let’s face it. Today’s professional must function with complete confidence from the board room to the dining room, from the business development meeting to the business lunch, from the cocktail party to the fine dining experience. Social savvy can make or break a deal and quickly diminish a personal brand.

Over 50% of business is done over a meal. Some of you may have grown up in an atmosphere of social savvy. You learned it at home. For the majority of you — class is EARNED AND LEARNED — without the opportunity of going to charm school. When entertaining clients, your actions are observed and judgments are made.

The hard truth? Your manners and common courtesies tell others how confident you are in business. Learning the RULES of acceptable social behavior and the SKILLS of turning small talk to big talk, assures you of making the most favorable impression.

Because THE ART OF BUSINESS ENTERTAINING is a part of building business relationships, it is vitally important in these fast track times to make your entertaining dollars profitable.

Here are a few tips for successful mixing and mingling:

1. Introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to make your presence known. Start with saying your name clearly, giving a firm handshake, and making eye contact. This shows confidence, whether you feel it or not. And showing confidence is a must for a strong brand. Be bold by extending your hand first to a man or a woman. This small gesture may be the beginning of a beneficial business relationship.

2. Be social. You’re at a social event, after all. It’s easy to become glued to our phones and social media. Instead, work the crowd, network, and reconnect with an old friend or colleague. Being fully present and engaged makes you appear more approachable.

3. Are you the host? If you run into glitches when things don’t go exactly as planned, take a deep breath and keep your cool. Negative comments or showing frustration will not leave the best impression!

4. Have fun! Enjoy yourself to the fullest…professionally. You’ve worked hard all year, now celebrate your accomplishments!

 

 That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

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Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

 

Polish Your Presence

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Here are four quick tips to polish your professional presence.

1. Stand tall- No matter if you’re over 6 feet or barely 5, your posture speaks to how confident you are and can affect how others perceive you. Watch out for slumping shoulders in meetings or at the computer.

2. Project your voice- Everyone deserves to be heard. Believe in what you have to say, stand by your POV (point of view), and don’t be afraid to speak up. If you feel strongly, don’t waffle. People respect a leader who takes a stand.

3. Pitch perfect- Do you have an impactful elevator pitch? When was the last time you practiced it?  Make sure your pitch is NOT your title. YOU are the pitch, so include what you do and why! As my friend Deb Dib says – “Make me care.” Use the moment to highlight your value and brand.

4. Be in control – Do you “keep your cool” when stressful things come your way? In the eye of the storm your reactions are noticed. If the leader shows fear – others can become fearful. If others see you calm – tension lessens. So set the tone, showing  you’re a leader who will be there for the team. Demonstrate that you’re at the helm and with the support of your team you will carve out the best solution.

 “You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.”

– Eleanor Rosalynn Carter

That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Light bulb

Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

4 Easy Group Conversation Tips

 

Image courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you feel right at home in the office setting, yet are tenuous and feel uncomfortable in a social gathering, practice these tips:

1. Talk about topics other than business: Include topics the opposite sex can appreciate.

Example: One of my husband’s bosses showed his social savvy when he would graciously ask me about my business, about parts of the country where we had lived, or about general topics such as world events. I appreciated this consideration to include me in the conversations and not just talk about business to my husband.

2. Avoid these subjects: Your health, the cost of things, gossip, off-color jokes, and controversial issues like politics when you don’t know where other people in the group stand.

Example: A friend of mine sat at a dinner with someone who held opposite political viewpoints. Not knowing this, my friend expressed a political opinion. The other person reacted negatively and a heated discussion ruined the dinner.

3. Become proficient at making small talk. Listen intentionally and be interested in what is being discussed. This helps you think of things to say. Asking open ended questions helps — questions that start with “tell me, who, what, when, where or how.” People are flattered when you ask for their insights.

4. Be a good conversationalist. A good conversationalist is cheerful and has a sense of humor. They read to stay informed, listen, ask open-ended questions, are other centered, and do not have “I” trouble! (That means it is NOT all about YOU!) How to carry on an interesting conversation can be learned.

That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Light bulb

Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

Presenting with Presence: Learn to Turn Your Presentation to Your Advantage

Presentation Skills

Taking what comes at you from the audience and turning it to your advantage is an art. That takes practice. And skill. Some people have a gift for doing this – while most of us must learn the skills.

Already the Republican debates are showing who can and who cannot do this well. Here’s a few thoughts on how to give a presentation with presence and be ready for comments.

1 – Cut to the chase. Rabbit trail discourse only chases the rabbit around the field.  If you’re asked a question, know your content so well that you don’t have to look at notes to give an intelligent answer.

2 – Be prepared. Know exactly what message you intend to give and stick to the facts – the fewer the better. The deck doesn’t have to be huge – it does have to be targeted.

3 – Stop, think, then answer. There’s nothing wrong with a pause to be sure you have heard, really heard the question.

4 – Listen intentionally and intently. If you’re focusing on how to respond, it’s too easy to misinterpret the question. And that can lead to rambling. And there goes your presence. Stay fully present and in the moment throughout Q&A(question and answer) time.

Enjoy this free download:

Tips

That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Light bulb

Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate. Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

Valerie Sokolosky

Valerie Sokolosky

PCC, Master Brand Strategist

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