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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 It was not until the third day I found myself finally withdrawn from my “hurry disease.”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.

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

Where Did Civility Go?

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Rudeness: A No Win Cycle

WOW! That man just cut me off in traffic and shared his rude hand gesture. Honestly, I was only driving the speed limit.

WOW! I was having a conversation with a professional, when out of the blue the F word entered in.

WOW! I was put on hold without asking my permission and kept hanging way too long.

WOW! I got slammed by a colleague who jumped to a conclusion without asking for clarification.

WOW! I got snubbed in the shoe store over the weekend. I was wearing jeans and tennis shoes. The clerk left me to pay attention to another woman all spiffed up in her finery.

Enough is enough!

So where did civility go? Where did respect for others go? Why is rudeness rampant? There’s simply no reason to show disrespect – outside or inside the work environment.

There are implications and consequences of incivility. If it’s a leader who is seen as a bully – there will be a disengaged staff. If it’s an employee, the work environment becomes caustic. If it’s a parent, the kids could take it out on others. It’s simply a no win cycle.

These are the rude behaviors by bosses most often cited in a recent survey, in descending order of frequency.

• Interrupts people

• Is judgmental of those who are different

• Pays little attention to or shows little interest in others’ opinions

• Takes the best and leaves the worst tasks for others

• Fails to pass along necessary information

• Neglects saying please or thank you

• Talks down to people

• Takes too much credit for things

• Swears

• Puts others down

These are the rude behaviors people most often admit to seeing in themselves.

• Hibernates into e-gadgets

• Uses jargon even when it excludes others

• Ignores invitations

• Is judgmental of those who are different

• Grabs easy tasks while leaving difficult ones for others

• Does not listen

• Emails/texts during meetings

• Pays little attention to others

• Takes others’ contributions for granted

• Belittles others non-verbally

• Neglects saying please or thank you

Read this compelling article that talks to the value of being respectful – IT MATTERS!

 

“Learn to be strong but not rude. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It’s not even a good substitute.”

- Jim Rohn

 

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

“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.

* Photo credit: Michelle Powell

Learn to Turn

 

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Little 6 year old Dylan came home from school revved up, blasting through the doorway.

“Mommy, Mommy – guess what I learned today at school? I learned that a cheetah is the fastest animal on the face of the earth!”

Mommy turned in surprise. “Really? Well, just how fast can he run?”

“Oh Mommy – he can run faster than our car. In only 3 seconds he can hit 60. And they go so fast that at one point their feet don’t even touch the ground.”

Then lowering his little head he quietly whispered, “But Mommy – he doesn’t live very long!”

“And why is that?” she asked.

“Well, I guess he gets to running so fast that when dinner turns…he falls and hurts himself.” Still melancholy— he continued, “I guess he’s gotta learn to turn!”

Now that’s a great point that we can all consider. We’ve got to learn to turn when things seem to have come to a halt. How often we get going fast in life and everyday tasks that we don’t stop and make necessary turns that would lead us to better positions, more balance, less stress, and maybe even a different focus.

 Here Are 9 Ways to Deal With Change

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.

Is Your Work Wear Ready For Fall?

acc9e114d825027f1c5d4869b09cd850After a long summer with super-hot temperatures and unbearable humidity, we welcome fall as she is gradually showing her face.

This may cause a dilemma with how to make our wardrobes work for cool mornings, yet warm afternoons.

Here’s how to transition your wardrobe from summer to fall.

Incorporate color…with Neutrals. Think outside of the traditional deep brown, red, and orange. Incorporate bright colors with neutrals. The neutral color that took over the fall Fall pantone  2015runways was gray. It’s an easy color to add color. Now that’s an oxymoron! Gray goes with everything in your closet — and makes accessorizing a snap.

Lay on the layers. If you live in an area where temperatures are on a constant roller coaster, layering is essential to your comfort. Men can easily layer with a fall blazer or jacket and scarf. Women can layer their separates and dresses with a blazer, and for a little more drama add a cape or wrap with trendy fringe or fur.

Capes for comfort. Capes for casual. Capes for all ages. Find the style you like – from shawls with fringe to over the neck sweaters to blanket wraps.

Camel – This color meshes well with nearly every other color, or is great with winter white.Picture3

 

* Images courtesy of   GQ, Glamour, J.Hilburn, Nordstrom, Worth New York, and Pinterest

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.

Are You Hiding Your Strengths?

motivation-721825_640Mark had been a Cub master for many years in the Boy Scouts. Under his leadership, the group had become one of the largest and most active in his community; however, when Mark, a chemical engineer, began branding himself, guess what? He left his leadership style and success in scouting by the wayside and never mentioned it. He didn’t realize that although it wasn’t connected to his professional achievements, anyone seeking him as a consultant, manager, or team member would have been impressed.

Claire, a volunteer with the local hospital’s clown corps, never mentioned she had spent two Saturdays each month bringing cheer to patients of all ages. She didn’t see it as an important part of her personal brand, but if you asked anyone about the value of getting before groups, dealing with unwilling audiences or the difficulty in bringing sunshine into the gloom that often accompanies serious or chronic illness – they’d tell you Claire possessed not just a special talent but a true gift!

Image courtesy of kongsky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do these stories sound familiar? It’s important to craft yourself into a marketable brand and exude it in everything you do. Don’t make light of things that are memorable about you. Make your brand known so your boss or client will keep you top of mind on their speed dial. There’s nothing wrong with expressing your uniqueness and positioning yourself in the hearts and minds of people who can help you be successful. When you’re clear on what you’re known for, you will have the self-confidence to tell others. A little self-promoting goes a long way.

Self-promoting is about sharing your value with the people who are going to make a difference in reaching your goals— no matter if you “just” volunteered as a scout or won a million dollar deal on your sales team. What matters is the role you play and the difference you make while applying your unique leadership competencies. Your people skills (soft skills) are just as important as your professional achievements.

When was the last time you accomplished something meaningful outside of your professional work? Did you help meet a goal for a school fundraiser? Or maybe you helped organize a community event. It takes a special set of skills to be able to successfully accomplish those things. You may recognize that one of your leadership competencies is decision making, resourcing, or inspiring. Now that’s something to brag about. You may also realize that your brand personas include being a motivator, an expert, or a visionary.

Be proud of everything you do that makes you, YOU—whether it directly or indirectly relates to your professional day job. Demonstrate those elements and leave your thumb print on everything you do.

 You don’t have to brag, but you can raise their awareness of your unique value that is relevant to fulfilling a marketplace need.

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.

Do It Right – Internationally

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you jet set ready to build new business in another part of the world? When you do, it’s important to show up with your consistent “on brand” image. The way that you conduct yourself overseas is critical. With cultural sensitivities to consider, Here are a few International Etiquette Tips from Do it Right!

1. Learn common phrases in the local language such as “please,” “thank you,”, and “nice to meet you.”

2. Avoid pre-conceived notions and stereotypes about other cultures.

3. Dress conservatively unless you know that a particular country’s dress code is more casual.

4. Don’t put your hands in your pockets, especially during presentations. In some cultures it’s too casual and offensive.

5. Use the word “nationalities” rather than “foreigners” to describe those from other countries.

Below are a few more tips from our best-selling book, Do It Right!

 

Click to download:

“Top Ten Tips for Traveling Abroad.”

 

Top Ten Traveling Abroad

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

“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.

3, 2, 1- Action!

Is Your Brand Camera Ready?

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Your executive presence, your image, and reputation all make up your personal brand! Add to these, your video brand.  I like to say “get comfortable with being uncomfortable “on camera. Why? Because video is now way more important in building your brand than words, audio or pictures. People want to feel a connection with you and video is the best way to achieve that.

Here is an example of my bio that I put into video. I’m told that clients get a “sense” of who I am and what I do, with the added benefit of feeling they kinda, sorta know me just from watching. Check it out and consider doing something similar for your department, company, or using video to send a message to clients.

What’s the benefit?

By recording a brief video, in a few short minutes you’re able to give people a glimpse of who you are. You can bring to life the story you tell in your LinkedIn profile or in your online posts. You can present your authentic brand and re-purpose that digital real estate in multiple places online. It’s a quick way to show your digital savvy while sharing what you have to offer to the world.

Before you grab your camera, here are a few tips to consider as you start engaging your audience:

1. What’s your purpose? Be strategic in your message making sure it is scripted with a call to action for your primary target audience. Look dependable, trustworthy, and sincere. Don’t forget to smile.

2. Have you practiced? Do test runs to check for angles, lighting, and sound quality.

3. How do you feel? If you’re not comfortable being in front of a camera it helps to take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed. Think of things that make you relax, laugh, or remind you of a positive experience. Mainly, know you can do this! Now go for it.

4. How do you look? Check your hair, make-up, and grooming. Be sure your clothing is updated without being too trendy. Don’t wear dangle earrings or have a scruffy beard. Little things can derail a video.

 

Read on for more tips for being camera ready:
10 Tips For Looking Great on Camera
Achieving Great Online Presence

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

“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.

Valerie Sokolosky

Valerie Sokolosky

PCC, Master Brand Strategist

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