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The PWCC Blog provides a platform for our community to interact online so that we may deepen our connection with one another outside of meetings. Promoting PWCC’s mission to create a strong, vibrant network for professional women, the blog also offers individual members a unique opportunity for self-expression. Topics may range from advice on careers, financial matters, and work/life balance to personal observations or even humorous vignettes. Whatever the subject, we hope that all of our members will take advantage of this chance to support, inspire, and enrich the careers and lives of each other. If you’d like to write for the blog, submit your blog to admin@pwcc.org for review. All submissions are reviewed prior to posting. Information is posted regularly by the PWCC blog team, so check back often!

 

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PWCC Blog: Surviving Business Travel, Part II

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

PWCC Blog: Surviving Business Travel, Part II

2017 ushered in some unpleasant realities about travel: there is no perfect day to buy a plane ticket; you can get bumped from your paid-for seat with little recourse; people misbehaving can result in a return to the gate and/or a cancelled flight.

And yet, travel we must.  So what are some (sometimes small) things we can do to mitigate the disasters that seem to be lurking around every corner?

1.     Make 2018 the year you enroll in a “trusted traveler” program.  Global Entry (for those who frequently travel abroad) or TSA Precheck (for those who frequently travel domestically) is like a gift from some heavenly providence.  The money, required interview, and wait time will repay you every time you move through security lines and customs more quickly.

2.     Invest in a really good carry-on piece of luggage. Not a bag, a suitcase.  Buy one with a hard shell (they survive rough treatment). While it may require some strategic packing (see #3), you’ll be able to avoid the hassle of baggage claim and get on your way much more quickly once you reach your destination. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about your luggage getting lost since it will be with you at all times.

3.     Learn to pack smart. Experiment with either folding your clothes flat or rolling them (rolling usually prevents wrinkles), stick to a monochrome color scheme, and try to limit yourself to two pairs of shoes (and stuff those shoes with small things – think of shoes as mini-suitcases).

4.     Whenever possible, become loyal to one or two airlines and hotel chains and enroll in their loyalty programs. But this advice comes with a caveat: if you can’t fly 50,000 miles a year, which is the threshold for most mid-tier status and the perks like upgrades, always go for the cheapest price. The same is true for hotels: if you don’t book frequent stays, always investigate alternatives such as short-term leasing/rental properties through airbnb to fully-furnished short-stay apartments through Oakwood Worldwide.

5.     Bring Snacks Airline food is not reliable, often not available, and is overpriced.  When you bring your own snacks, you’ll be sure to have something you like to eat and avoid paying $1.50 for a banana.  

6.     Drink bottled water.  You’ll stay hydrated and avoid stomach trouble after changing multiple environments in a limited number of days.

7.     Stay safe:

  • Request a hotel room on the second floor or higher and away  from recreation areas, elevators, and stairwells as they are less easily accessible to non-guests and, thus, more safe. Notice how hotel staff are dressed and be wary of those who do not appear to “fit in.” Though rare, there are incidents of people impersonating hotel staff to access rooms.
  • Protect your personal information by copying your credit cards and identification (passport or driver’s license). Keep these copies in a different place than the originals. You might leave copies with someone you trust. Should your cards or ID be lost or stolen, having copies saves time in reporting them missing.
  • The most common sense tip is also the easiest: lock the deadbolt or use the swing lock when in your room to prevent unauthorized key use.

8.     Do one thing just for you! Even when traveling on business, make sure to leave time to do something “touristy” or local.  Eat in a restaurant you’ve read about or visit a museum, shop, art studio that has received rave reviews.  That way you’ll know you’ve been someplace different.

Submitted by:

Carol Jambor-Smith, Principal and Founder,
Jambor-Smith Communications, strategic communications that engages, changes, and inspires.  carol@jamborsmithcommunications.com

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Tips for Smarter Living: Surviving Business Travel

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tips for Smarter Living: Surviving Business Travel

I love to travel and enjoy telling my kids how when I first started traveling I would have to call a local chamber, order brochures of local hotels, and drive around to ask if I could see the room and negotiate a fair rate, or go meet with a travel agent to plan a trip.  Now, we have the luxury of virtual tours, apps, and online reviews.  But for all of this new-found convenience, traveling for business can still be arduous. Below are a few tips to make business travel easier in 2018.

  • Take advantage of all the virtual information available! Download apps for the airlines, hotels, and rental car companies you tend to favor. Downloading your airline’s app will give you access to your mobile boarding pass, gate information, and more! Downloading your rental car agency and hotel apps often gives you the ability to check in online and skip the counter when you arrive. Remember to sign up for frequent traveler programs to earn points and be notified of special deals.  This works best if you are loyal to one or two companies. See our Savvy Business Traveler IQ Test for find a few more apps you may like.
  • Sign up for TSA Pre-Check if you only travel domestically. The sign-up process can take up to 8 weeks, so plan ahead. The $85 fee is well worth it, as TSA Pre-Check membership is good for five years and you will love the feeling of waiting in the (usually) shorter security lines and not having to take off your shoes, belt, etc.
  • Keep essentials packed at all times. I fell in love with a small emergency kit I discovered in the checkout line at Starbucks of all places, from a company called Pinch Provisions.  It includes sample size necessities like deodorant towelettes, an emery board, stain stick, lip balm, a mending kit, clear nail polish, as well as Emergen-C, Airborne, aspirin, and Sudafed.  Add your favorites to be ready for any adventure.
  • Find your perfect jet lag cure.  Everyone reacts to changing time zones differently, so it's important to figure out what your body needs and doesn't need to avoid jet lag and stick to your plan.
  • Pack and/or Find Healthy Snacks. Whether you pack healthy snacks in your carry-on bag or grab some at the airport, always have a healthy snack nearby. You are less likely to grab a candy bar (or two) if you have a protein bar to hold you over until your next meal.
  • Exercise! Whether you hit the hotel gym, work out in your room, or take a walk to explore the area you are visiting, be active!! There are many benefits of exercise for business travelers, including stress reduction, increased productivity, and decreased jet lag.
  • Remember to set your out of office reminder. Even if you will be replying to email, let your recipients know your response may be delayed. This helps to keep your stress down and sets expectations for the recipients.
  • Stay Organized. Keep your laptop bag and luggage organized. This includes cords, medications, papers, and anything else that has a tendency to get tossed into the bag. The more organized your bag, the less likely you are to lose or forget something along the way. Packing cubes, plastic bags, cord organizers, and smaller travel bags are all useful tools.
  • And lastly, contact phone and credit card companies in advance if you will be traveling internationally. Ask for email follow-ups to these contacts that detail special instructions and take screenshots of these emails so you have the instructions handy.

For more great tips, take this month’s Savvy Business Traveler IQ Test.  I love the apps Elaine mentions, especially an app that practically packs for you, helping you organize what you need to pack in your luggage and suitcase based on the length of you.

Submitted by:

Debbie Story, Corporate Identity, Inc. dstory@corpid.com

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Member in the Spotlight: Leslie McDonnell, Sales Representative for Oakwood Worldwide

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Leslie started her career with Hyatt Hotels here in Chicago in 1986 and had many roles within the Rooms Division, starting with the Front Desk and including Turndown Manager, Housekeeping Supervisor, Hotel Assistance, and ending as Assistant Reservation Manager.

From Chicago, Leslie relocated to Greenville, South Carolina, and worked for Holiday Inn Hotels as the Executive Housekeeper and then the Front Office Manager. Next, she moved to Orlando, Florida, and worked for Vintage Air Tours in the Reservations department. Vintage Air Tours was a small Charter Company owned by Richard Branson with a 1940’s Theme that offered trips to Key West, Florida. She then relocated to St. Louis and worked for TWA Airlines’ Corporate Reservations Department while also working as a Flight Attendant until she returned to Chicago in 1997 when her first son was born.

When she became a mom, she switched gears and sold building maintenance/cleaning products for State Industrial Products in Chicago, working as an Account Executive for thirteen years. She then worked for Buildingstars, a commercial cleaning franchise for five years as the Sales/Operations Manager. She was the client liaison and assisted the franchise owner in growing the business.

Eventually, Leslie realized she wanted to return to the hospitality industry and, through research on LinkedIn, identified Oakwood Worldwide as a company for which she wanted to work.  As luck would have it, the company had an opening in Chicago! 2017 is her third year working as the local sales representative.

While away from the hospitality industry, Leslie realized that she missed a job in which every day is different and she could meet very interesting people from many different Industries and backgrounds.  She enjoys assisting corporate clients, those within the entertainment industry, as well as leisure travelers. Her clients have accommodation needs in Chicago as well as internationally, which gives her the opportunity to interact with Oakwood Associates all over the world as she fulfills her clients’ needs.

Over the last ten to fifteen years, Leslie sees the hospitality industry beginning to offer many options to travels for their accommodation needs. Travelers can choose from traditional hotels, extended stay hotels, Airbnb and other short-term leasing/rental properties, to fully-furnished short-stay apartments. Now that the business world has become increasingly technology driven, most of her transactions with clients are completed via email. Clients expect to be able to make reservations online via the Oakwood Worldwide website and/or booking platforms such as Booking.com and Expedia. Additionally Leslie’s clients can download the Oakwood Mobile app, which gives them access to their reservation and the ability to communicate with an Oakwood associate via the app 24/7.

Built upon the developments of the past, the hospitality industry is evolving on a daily basis. Today’s business and leisure traveler has become very knowledgeable and has very specific requirements; this traveler has also done research to compare the options available for a particular trip. Technology has made this quite easy and efficient. Amenities, locations, price and ease of making a reservation are very important.

Leslie believes that technology will continue to be an integral part of the hospitality industry, from meeting the clients’ demands for easily-made reservations to virtually seeing a location they are considering.

Leslie believes that the professional woman traveler must always keep her safety at the top of her mind.  She believes that Oakwood Worldwide takes the safety of their clients very seriously especially as many clients are traveling to a location for the first time and may not be aware of the local surroundings. She is proud of the very stringent vetting process all Oakwood Worldwide properties go through to ensure that a location is in a safe area of any city.

Since networking is an important part of Leslie’s professional role, she was very interested in learning more about PWCC; the first event she attended was the 2015 December networking lunch. She was hooked the moment she walked into the room, loving the energy and commitment everyone had to networking.  She joined immediately and is now also a member of the Corporate Sponsorship Committee.

When Leslie is not busy providing her clients with the best possible attention to their traveling needs, she is the mother of three amazing young men, ranging in age from 20 to 16 to 14.  While they do keep her very busy, she enjoys cooking, practicing yoga, and attending concerts, the theater, or anything to do with the arts.  She also values the time she spends with other family members and friends.

Submitted by: 
Carol Jambor-Smith, Jambor-Smith Communications, carol@jamborsmithcommunications.com


Professional Women's Club of Chicago,
PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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PWCC Savvy Business Traveler IQ Quiz

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

PWCC Savvy Business Traveler IQ Quiz

 

Test your knowledge of the basic business traveler tips, hacks, and tools --- from planning your trip, packing, booking your hotel, and travelling to and from your destination.

 

 

1.     Which of these actions could save you money on your next airfare?

 

A.  Signing up for in-flight Wi-Fi

 

B.   Clearing your Internet browser’s “cookies” before searching for a flight online

 

C.   Saving those airline miles for at least a year—they increase in value over time

 

D.  Flying frequent, short-distance flights to earn extra miles

 

 

2.     Which of the followings are proven practices of road warriors?

 

A.   Limit luggage to a carry-on

 

B.   Use technology to plan ahead

 

C.   Join 1 (2 at the most) rewards program and stick with It

 

D.  Keep a bag packed with minimum amount of clothing, shoes, and accessories

 

E.   Keep customer-service numbers for hotel, car, and airlines stored in your phone

 

F.   Keep you Traveler Profile current with airlines, hotels, and car rentals

 

G.  Dress well and appear wealthier

 

H.  Apply for expedited traveler status like TSA Pre

 

I.     Pack at least one change of clothing and a few toiletries to take with on the plane

 

J.     All of the above

 

K.   All but G

 

L.    All but F and I

 

 

3.     81 percent of millennials prefer ride-sharing services to taxis

A.  True

 

B.   False

 

4.     76 percent of millennials opt to hail a Lyft or Uber over expensing a rental car

A.  True

 

B.   False

 
5.     7 in 10 business travelers are interested in a "shared accommodation”

 

A.  True

 

B.   False

 

6.     Which of the following is the most efficient packing method (i.e., you can fit in more in the same size bag)

 

A.  Flat Packing

 

B.   Rolling Packing

 

 

7.     Which of the followings is NOT a valid international business travel tip:

 

A.  Notify your bank and credit card companies to avoid any unwanted security stops.

 

B.   Check your mobile phone plan for overseas rates and charges, buy a temporary international service if you need one, and keep your mode in Airplane mode unless you have Wi-Fi

 

C.   Get cash at the airport

 

D.  Make sure you have a credit card without international transaction fees.

 

E.   Learn what’s required for entrance visas ahead of time

 

 

8.     Which of the followings are NOT a helpful packing tip for a woman business traveler:


A.  Pick one basic color (black, brown or blue) and stick with it.

 

B.   Pack a comfortable travel outfit and comfortable shoes for the trip home.

 

C.   Bring 3-4 pair of shoes

 

D.  Pack enough underwear and stockings for each day of your trip plus two extra pairs of each. You never know when you might want to change clothes or just freshen up a bit.

 

E.   Pack one lightweight quick-dry exercise outfit.  Wash it out in the sink after each exercise session and hang it to dry.

 

F.   Replenish your supply of business cards before each business trip.

 

G.  Don't take an entire office supply store with you in your briefcase - just what you will actually need for your trip (minimum pens, pencils, paper clips, sticky pads, and notepads)

H.  Don't pack an Umbrella. This helps you avoid the separate fee to check your bag.

 

9.     The followings are tools (websites, apps, helpful devices) used by modern travelers to make their trips stress free and efficient.  Match the name of the tool on the left with its function/benefit on the right.

 

A. Upside

Priceline website that gives you discounted rates—and cash back in the form of gift cards for Amazon and other retailers—when you combine flight reservations, hotel stays, and even Uber rides. Rewards will depend on the cost of the booking, but a hefty signup bonus can net you anywhere from $100 to $250 in gift cards for spending as little as $400.

B. Virtuoso

This website uses the same rates as other hotel booking sites, but offers "Price Drop Refunds." If the price of the room you've booked goes down, it locks in the lower rate and refunds the difference to your credit card without you having to click, call, or log in. If you don't want to worry about playing the pricing game, and want to book early, this site makes your life simpler.

 

 

C. Tingo

Practically packs your bag for you. A travel packing list organizer and packing planner for serious travel pros. It helps you organize what you need to pack in your luggage and suitcase based on length of travel, weather at your destination, and any activities planned during your trip.

 

 

D. GateGuru

Known as a collective of travel specialists, this has an online tool that works just like Expedia—except your booking comes with bonuses, including free breakfasts, free Wi-Fi, room upgrades, and restaurant and bar credits.

E. Packing app

Travel-size to-go containers.These easy-to-load silicone tubes hold products and prevent drips with a ring on the rim for you to designate bottle contents.

 

F. Visa Due Diligence

A simple search tool fort international travelers to learn about visas, as well as vaccinations and other requirements

 

G. Go Toobs

A smart Carry-on luggage with a TSA approved removable battery. This high-tech luggage does everything except book your flight.The ergonomic handle doubles as a scale to determine its weight and the two external USB ports will make sure your phone never runs out of battery. And once you download its app, you’ll also be able to track your bag via Bluetooth.

 

H. Raden22

Get this app so you can quickly find food or coffee when at your airport. This travel hack allow you to maximize your time at the airport so you can get work done before a flight.

 

 

Answers

 

Q1:   Correct answer is B:  Clearing your Internet browser’s “cookies” before searching for a flight online

 

Q2:  All of the above

 

Q3:  A. True

 

Q4:  A.  True

 

Q5:  B.  False

 

Q6:  A.  inch for inch, the flat packing method is more efficient

 

Q7:  C is not correct

 

Get cash at the airport (No)

Get cash money at your bank. Trading money at the airport will have you paying between five to 15 percent more than the prevailing bank rate, on top of a $10 service fee. A week or so before your trip, order your destination’s currency from your bank. You can usually pick it up within a day or two, and many will deliver it right to your door.

 

Q 8:   C and H are not an effective tip - Bring 3-4 pair of shoes (No)

C Bring a maximum of one to two pairs of shoes. Select a style and heel height that will work with your basic wardrobe selections described above. If you'll be doing a lot of walking while on your business trip, choose comfort over style.

 

H - Pack an umbrella in the outside pocket of your suitcase so it's accessible in the event it is raining when you arrive (it is worth it)

 

Q9.  See the chart below that matches the tool to its function/benefit:

 

Upside (A)

Priceline website that gives you discounted rates—and cash back in the form of gift cards for Amazon and other retailers—when you combine flight reservations, hotel stays, and even Uber rides. Rewards will depend on the cost of the booking, but a hefty signup bonus can net you anywhere from $100 to $250 in gift cards for spending as little as $400.

Virtuoso (B)

Known as a collective of travel specialists, this has an online tool that works just like Expedia—except your booking comes with bonuses, including free breakfasts, free Wi-Fi, room upgrades, and restaurant and bar credits.

Tingo (C)

 

This website uses the same rates as other hotel booking sites, but offers "Price Drop Refunds." If the price of the room you've booked goes down, it locks in the lower rate and refunds the difference to your credit card without you having to click, call, or log in. If you don't want to worry about playing the pricing game, and want to book early, this site makes your life simpler.

GateGuru (D)

Get this app so you can quickly find food or coffee when at your airport. This travel hack allow you to maximize your time at the airport so you can get work done before a flight.

packing app (E)

Practically packs your bad for you. A travel packing list organizer and packing planner for serious travel pros. It helps you organize what you need to pack in your luggage and suitcase based on length of travel, weather at your destination, and any activities planned during your trip.

Visa Due Diligence(F)

A simple search tool for international travelers to learn about visas as well as vaccinations and other requirements.

Go Toobs (G)

Travel-size to-go containers.These easy-to-load silicone tubes hold products and prevent drips with a ring on the rim for you to designate bottle contents.

Raden22 (H)

A smart Carry-on luggage with a TSA approved removable battery. This high-tech luggage does everything except book your flight.The ergonomic handle doubles as a scale to determine its weight and the two external USB ports will make sure your phone never runs out of battery. And once you download its app, you’ll also be able to track your bag via Bluetooth.

 

 

 

Submitted By:  Elaine Mikesell, PhD, Managing Partner, Mikesell Digital Consulting-WSI, elaine.mikesell@wsimikeselldigital.com

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Networking Ninja Quiz

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, December 5, 2017

This month we focus on YOU with a reminder to take stock of your networking practices. To get you started, we invite you to take this Networking Ninja Quiz, spending a few minutes taking the pulse of your networking skills and learning a few new tips to add to your 2018 Business New Year's Resolutions.

Networking Ninja Quiz

Whether you’re working to enhance your career or build your business, it helps to have other people in your corner. Test your networking skills with this short quiz.

 

1.   Which of the followings are the top 5 practices of master networkers (pick 5)?


a.
     Giving and being helpful

b.     Being reliable with the network

c.     Having a well-defined and rehearsed unique value proposition

d.     Talking to more than one person in the room

e.     Following-up and build personal connections

f.      Providing good referrals

g.     Actively and genuinely listening

 

2.   What are the 3C’s of networking?


a.
     Communication, compassion, calm

b.     Courage, curiosity, communication

c.     Collaborate, communicate, commit

d.     Courage, curiosity, charisma

 

3.   When you meet people at networking events for the first time, what do you remember about them the most?


a.
     Their story

b.     Their smile

c.     Their name

d.     How they can help you

e.     How you can help them

 

4.   If you only know someone through a social networking site like LinkedIn or Facebook, it's inappropriate to ask him or her for an in-person meeting.


a.
   True

b.   False

 

5.   To avoid seeming intrusive or presumptuous, you should offer to help contacts only when they specifically ask for your help.


a.
   True

b.   False

 

6.   Since networking can be so time-consuming, it's a good idea to research new prospects while talking with contacts on the phone.


a.
     True

b.     False

 

7.     Thanking people who help you is one way to stand out from the crowd and get even more referrals from them.


a.
     True

b.     False

 

8.   The most effective networkers take frequent breaks from networking, to give their mental batteries a chance to recharge.


a.
     True

b.     False

 

9.     Listening carefully to other people's needs and problems is just as important as telling them about yours.


a.
     True

b.     False

 

10.  Trustworthiness is an essential part of successful networking, because people won't pass on valuable information or contacts unless they can trust you to handle it well.


a.
     True

b.     False

 

11.  Nobody likes to hear others brag, so when you're talking about your accomplishments and interests, you should be modest and self-effacing.


a.
     True

b.     False

 


Correct Answers:

 

Question 1 Correct answer: a (giving and being helpful), b Being reliable), e (Follow-up) f (provide referrals), g (actively listen)

 

Question 2 Correct Answer:  c (collaborate with others, communicate your message, commit to networking)

 

Question 3 Correct Answer:  b (their smile.  It is rare that we remember much about the people we meet for the first time at a networking event; someone’s warm smile is the most memorable)

 

Question 4:  b (False) - Master networkers don't let any opportunity to work their networks pass them by. They set up appointments to get better acquainted with new contacts and learn as much about them as possible, so they can truly become part of each other's networks.

 

Question 5:  b (False) - Successful networkers are always on the lookout for ways to lend a hand. They authentically want to help others. They get joy out of helping other people succeed.

 

Question 6: b (False) - No matter how friendly and forthcoming you are, if you aren't sincerely interested in others, they can tell when you're not all there.

 

Question 7: a (True) - Expressing gratitude to associates and customers is just another building block in the cultivation of relationships that will lead to increased referrals. Saying thanks to people who have helped you isn't merely a courtesy, it's the right thing to do.

 

Question 8:  b (False) - Great networkers are only off duty when they're asleep. Networking is so natural to them that they do it in the grocery checkout line, at the doctor's office, and while picking up the kids from school, as well as at business meetings and networking events. They take advantage of every opportunity presented to them.

 

Question 9: (a) -  The faster you and a networking contact learn what you need to know about each other, the sooner you'll establish a valuable relationship. If you carefully listen to others, you're more likely to find a way to help them with a referral or other assistance. That, in turn, will make them more likely to return the favor.

 

Question 10: (True) - When you refer one person to another, you're putting your own reputation on the line. You have to be able to trust people and be worthy of their trust in return.

 

Question 11: (False) - The most crucial sales characteristic is enthusiasm. We have to sell ourselves with enthusiasm to be respected within a network. If you can't muster up any enthusiasm for your career, it's unlikely anyone else will either.

 

How did you do?

 

Ninja Networker if you answered 9 -11 questions correctly.  You are a master networker and mentor

Admirable Networker if you answered 6 – 8 questions correctly.  You're well on your way to becoming a master networker. It may be time for you to concentrate more on spreading your wisdom and sharing your wealth of contacts, perhaps by mentoring younger colleagues or fundraising for a nonprofit. But then, you're probably already doing those things, aren't you?


Novice Networker
if you answered less 3-5 questions correctly.  You probably already have a fairly strong network of professional and personal contacts. Try a little harder to find ways to help them out. Set a goal that will help you broaden your network (i.e., establish six new networking relationships over the next six months) and stick to it.


If you answered less than 3 correctly.  Yikes, you don't seem to get what networking is all about. Watch how the most successful, well-connected people operate and try to emulate their style.

 

Submitted by:
 
 

Elaine Mikesell, PhD, Managing Partner, Mikesell Digital Consulting-WSI, elaine.mikesell@wsimikeselldigital.com

 

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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TIPS FOR SMARTER LIVING: Taking the Stress Out of the Holiday Season

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Are you old enough to remember the free Hallmark calendar?  One of my favorite childhood memories was walking to Hallmark to get the latest yearly pocket calendar and load it up with everything important I needed to remember. What calendar do you use today?  Whether you use your phone, outlook, or a handwritten planner, making a 30- minute date with your calendar to add a few important reminders will make for a stress free and fun month.

 

Tip one. Schedule a massage or a special treat the week of January 5th; we all need something to look forward to!

 

Tip two. Schedule a 30-day workout challenge and add the activity for each day to your calendar.  HIT Training doing something every day.


Tip three. Schedule some shopping time.  I like to commit to a few days of store shopping on the calendar, supplemented with on-line shopping. My favorite holiday shopping days are eating lunch at Uncle Julio’s and shopping along North Avenue with my sister-in-law, and participating in the local wine walk/small business shopping day in Barrington with my best friend. Power shopping with a partner can be highly productive!


Tip four.
Add Holiday parties to your calendar and set a deadline 1 week before to test run your outfit. Consider ordering a few new pieces online that can easily be returned. Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what to wear.

Tip five. Add everything else that needs to be scheduled, including travel plans, guest arrival days, school schedules. and holiday recitals.

Tip six.  Add to your grocery list ingredients for a few simple appetizers, a brownie mix, and a few bottles of wine. Brie, a fancy jelly, and some party crackers will be an easy solution for any last minute invite.

Tip seven. Add wrapping supplies to your grocery list. Pick up a few nice rolls of paper, plenty of tape, and tags.  You will be prepared to wrap your gifts as they arrive.

Tip eight. Make plans to attend the company holiday party, whether or not you want to. A holiday party is the perfect place to renew old relationships and establish new ones. Bring a friend, promise yourself a treat, or do whatever you must to motivate yourself to go!

Tip nine. Go to the business holiday party with light, small talk on your mind; it's obvious that some business-related conversations will come up, but don't go to the party with an agenda.  Ask your co-workers questions about their families, hobbies or interests. That’s a nice way to get to know them better. You’ll undoubtedly discover new connections and commonalities.

Tip ten. Follow up! After the parties are over, get back in touch with the people you met who could be useful to your career. Send a “great to meet you” e-mail and a personalized invitation to connect on LinkedIn (not the auto-connect version LinkedIn offers). If you find an article or video you think might interest someone you chatted with, send it along with a note referencing your meeting.

Remember, the holidays only come once a year and only last for a few weeks. With these plans and timeframes in place you’ll alleviate the stress of keeping everything straight in your head, you might just find this season to be more joyful and less stressful!

 

Submitted by:

Debbie Story, Corporate Identity, Inc. dstory@corpid.com

 

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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PWCC Community Blog: Using Social Media to Help You Network

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Without a doubt, social media has changed the way we can communicate – with our friends or with strangers.  Social media has made communicating a 24/7 business.

We can now share content with little effort, whether these postings last forever or only for twenty-four hours.  Indeed social media allows us to curate our lives with some airbrushing and precision, things not possible when we interact face-to-face.

Which brings up a question: are we networking when we are using social media?  Which then leads to another question: should we care whether or not we are networking?

The answer is certainly not straightforward but nuanced through the lens of our need for instant connection and feedback.

Mandy Edwards reminds us that “we are now able to interact with thousands of people all over the world – this is why we see people who have thousands of Facebook friends or tens of thousands of Twitter followers. Without social media, that would be impossible. Social media networks allow us the opportunity to share opinions with a far wider audience.”

And this vast type of connection is something of a two-edged sword, as the use of social media may be impacting our ability to really connect with people face-to-face.

In the October 24, 2017 issue of Forbes, Tom Peters, the business strategist extraordinaire, said, “Guarding your reputation is easy.  To build it, though you must invest insane amounts of time to developing and maintaining relationships from the bottom to the top of every organization with which you come in contact.”

And is there really enough “insane” amount of time available to build relationships with hundreds or thousands of people?  To state the obvious: no.  So is what we are doing on social media networking or something else?

For Soren Gordhamer, social media affords a way to start a conversation that face-to-face meetings should continue. “Of course, there is only so much communication that can happen through a social network, but via Tweetups and other in-person events, people are expanding these online interactions to face-to-face meetings. The introductions are initially made through social networks, then people develop the relationship using phone calls and in-person meetings. In other words, social media is increasingly being used to find and maintain both old and potentially new friendships.”

The rub to social media is that genuine communication is comprised almost entirely of nonverbal clues:  of the traditional give-and-take of listening and looking for verbal and visual clues as to whether you are being understood and accepted.  Social media relies on the small percentage of communicating that is strictly verbal: you are what you write.

Anna Johnson reminds us “When used correctly, professional networking via social media can unlock many doors and create valuable opportunities for professional development and advancement. However, when done incorrectly, you can burn many bridges and close doors of opportunity.”

Social media is an ideal place for getting that lunch or meeting set up with your potential connection. Keep in mind that is where the real benefit of professional networking with social media comes into play - in making connections. Social media is not an ideal place for actually doing business, discussing professional development opportunities, or directly meeting most worthwhile goals or objectives.

Think of it this way: there’s a reason so many successful business people play golf (or some other form of social sport). Doing so affords everyone an opportunity to do something enjoyable in a relaxed setting with others, getting to know each other and share ideas and thoughts.

Social media may help you find people with whom to play golf, but it won’t get you on the links.  Cultivating a relationship through face-to-face interactions will.

Submitted by:  Carol Jambor-Smith, Principal and Founder, Jambor-Smith Communications, strategic communications that engages, changes, and inspires.  carol@jamborsmithcommunications.com

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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PWCC Community Blog: Disrupt, Innovate, Change: A Pathway to Transformation

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 30, 2017


Innovation.  Change.  Disruption. Three words on an endless loop. And ones that can inspire resistance and sabotage if not presented as opportunity.


While the concepts of “innovation” and “change” are familiar markers in industry, it is the third concept of “disruption” that appears to bear the weight of the new.

The essence of disruption is not necessarily blowing things up but standing them on their heads to see them in a new way.  And therein lies the rub: perhaps the hardest thing to do is to see something familiar in a totally new light, from a new angle, or from another perspective.

Disruption is far more than brainstorming.  In “Disruptive Thinking: The Revolution is in Full Swing,” Luke Williams differentiates between brainstorming and disruptive thinking. “Unfortunately, most [brainstorming] methods focus on quantity and not quality. They typically start out with the goal of solving a specific business problem, and then come up with as many ideas as can fit within the constraints of that problem. Worse yet, traditional brainstorming completely overlooks the issue of what to do with those ideas after they’ve been generated.”

Disruptive thinking takes whole processes as its canvas and imagines entirely new ways to proceed, without constraints of industry, finances, or stakeholders.  Disruption asks questions like “how,” “why,” “what,” and “if” in an attempt to “see” something from an entirely new perspective, without a limit to the imagining.

Karima Mariama-Arthur believes there are five essential components to successful disruptive thinking:

  1. challenge the status quo;
  2. become comfortable with being uncomfortable;
  3. forget what other people think;
  4. become comfortable with failure;
  5. be boldly bold.

Clearly, a process not for the faint of heart!  But interestingly, and perhaps because it requires such a bold approach to the familiar, many believe that disruptive thinking is best practiced within a team…so that many eyes are asked to “see” something new as an answer to the what, how, why, and if.  And not surprisingly, disruptive teams work best when comprised of cross-departmental members so that differing philosophies and expertise such as designers, communicators, and IT specialists are included.

Once disruptive solutions are generated, a cross-disciplinary team can then also begin to shape disruptive solutions into an implementation roadmap.

This innovation phase facilitates the transformation of the why, what, how, and if into real steps that can be implemented, analyzed, and measured. Greg Satell understands well the bridge needed from disruptive thinking to innovation: “The tricky thing about disruptive innovations is that they rarely fit into existing business models and so the value they create isn’t immediately clear…It’s not just products that we have to innovate, but business models as well.”


The final step to transformation is implementation.  A successful organizational change management model ensures that change is smoothly and successfully executed. As many will attest, this can be the trickiest phase as it requires universal buy-in to avoid employee resistance and sabotage.


From Kotter to Prosci to Roger, organizational change models stress the importance of communicating: the urgent need for the disruption, the processes required for change implementation, and a clear pathways to effect this change. 


Regardless of the version being followed, most organizational change models include these facets: a clear case for and support of change from the organization’s leaders, involvement of all levels of employees (accomplished by developing cross-departmental teams), a clear communication plan that is structured and systematic, and an implementation plan that includes a timeline and training where and when needed for staff to embrace the changes required to status quo. 

When divided into disruption, innovation, and change implementation, transforming a way of thinking or doing business becomes an achievable goal that blends creativity with strategy, an unbeatable recipe for success.

Carol Jambor-Smith, Principal and Founder, Jambor-Smith Communications, strategic communications that engages, changes, and inspires.  carol@jamborsmithcommunications.com

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Tips for Smarter Living: Embrace the Technology that is Disrupting Your Industry

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 30, 2017

Increasingly, technology brings unique tools to our fingertips through our laptops, tablets and smartphones.  New apps and software programs are user friendly, providing  a wide range of ways to efficiently tackle business functions. Each month new tech products and services are launched into the market to help us sift through the giant mounds of data that have become essential to most industries, professions, and jobs.

 

There is no longer any doubt that technology is a powerful gamechanger. Companies of all sizes are starting to engage technology such as bots to handle simple tasks like scheduling or sorting queries and routing them to the right department or staff member. Chat bots have become standard virtual helpers to generate and supply leads in all industries. More and more workplaces are moving to the cloud, demanding that workers collaborate on platforms to complete projects or assignments.

 

If you’re a self declared non-techie, how do you keep up? How can you learn to not only stay relevant but thrive in the digital era?

 

Here a few tips to help you stay afloat and rise to new opportunities during the technology revolution that is impacting fields and careers across the globe.

 

  1. Stay up-to-date on technology innovations in your field by paying attention to programs that  streamline tasks and speed up processes. Think about your role and how technology can be a positive force by freeing up time to concentrate on higher value work.
  2. Be open to new career opportunities. Technology is disrupting many fields, eliminating or dramatically changing  jobs, but new opportunities will be created. Learn what technology brings or offers with career changes as there may be a new path that integrates your experience or expertise with IT to bring changes and positive value to your company. You may find yourself become less of a tactician and more of a thought leader or manager of business innovations.
  3. Gain more technology knowledge and skills. Don’t be afraid. Embrace technology and gain a better understanding of how and what the apps, programs or SaaS are designed to do for you. Being able to adapt quickly to new technology is important but also think through the processes that are used to change the work landscape. Learn how to become a guiding light in the changing landscape.
  4. Embrace change management and learn more about ways technology may be useful for your company or in your industry. Be inquisitive. Look at old and new ways of doing things and bring ideas to your superiors. Some companies are more forward thinking than others but eventually those not embracing technology to its fullest will fall behind the competition, so your newly-acquired knowledge of change will help you pick the right company to grow your career.

 

While being a disruptor and changing the way an industry conducts business can be exciting, remember that with disruption comes hard work.Look for others to collaborate with as a team to conceptualize, develop, market, activate, and train across a company. By proactively thinking about how technology can improve your work function and then applying your knowledge in team settings to the company as a whole, you can become a thought leader in a world that is constantly changing. 

 

Ellyn Caruso, Principal, CarusoPR ellyn@carusopr.com a Chicago based public relations marketing firm.

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

 

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PWCC Community Blog: Can’t We All Just Learn to Communicate?

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 2, 2017

PWCC Community Blog:  Can’t We All Just Learn to Communicate?

 

Years ago, when running for a state-level office, I attended a candidate communications training session. Based on my background in communications, I thought I was in for training that wouldn’t offer anything novel but would, instead, merely reinforce everything I already knew.

 

During the session I was asked to speak to the camera from a variety of vantage points: sitting behind a desk, poised behind a lectern, and standing alone.

 

A recurring criticism I received was that I nodded my head too often while listening. While I thought this practice established me as an empathetic listener, the trainers told me that my habit signaled weakness and a lack of authority, indicating someone who would agree with anyone over anything.

 

And this feedback both surprised and troubled me because it seemed to expose the dilemma for women communicators: can we have a communications style that is strong and authoritative, empathetic and collaborative but not viewed as weak and emotional?

 

But maybe the question is even more basic: are there gender differences in workplace communications and should we do anything about them?

 

In her research paper How Men and Women Differ: Gender Differences in Communication Styles, Influence Tactics, and Leadership Styles, Karima Merchant reviewed studies of gender differences in workplace communications styles.  Early research she surveyed concluded that women strive for empathy while men strive for authority.

 

The biggest difference between men and women and their style of communication

boils down to the fact that men and women view the purpose of conversations differently.

 

Academic research on psychological gender differences has shown that while women use communication as a tool to enhance social connections and create relationships, men use language to exert dominance and achieve tangible outcomes (Leaper, 1991; Maltz & Borker, 1982; Wood, 1996; Mason, 1994). Women are, overall, more expressive, tentative, and polite in conversation, while men are more assertive, and power-hungry              

 (Basow & Rubenfield, 2003).

 

Researchers have also routinely concluded that the female style of empathetic, collaborative speech puts them at a disadvantage in many workplace situations as it may suggest tentativeness rather than confidence.

 

Sadly, more recent research reaches the same conclusions.

 

Carol Kinsey Goman  studied gender differences in communications styles across Europe, Central America, and the United States and offered a summary of her findings in Is Your Communication Style Dictated By Your Gender?  Goman concludes that “In the workplace, people are continuously -- and often unconsciously -- assessing your communication style for two sets of qualities: warmth (empathy, likeability, caring) and authority (power, credibility, status).”  Women communicators are assessed as being intuitive, empathetic, and audience-centric; men communicators are seen to be authoritative, direct, and focused.  Of course, there are negatives aspects to both sets of styles: women are often judged to be too emotional and meandering when communicating and men are thought to be too overconfident and insensitive.

 

So what to make of all this?

 

It seems to me that the focus should be on what makes a good communicator and how these traits can be applied to whomever needs to convey information, ideas, or calls for action in a variety of settings to a variety of audiences, regardless of gender.

 

First, a good communicator knows the audience: to inform or persuade people, you have to know who they are, what they know, and what they believe.  This knowledge helps you gauge the language to use, the right amount of background information to provide, and the pace at which you speak. It is vital that a communicator first assesses an audience for its needs and beliefs.

 

Second, a good communicator knows what information she wants to provide and organizes everything that’s presented around this information.  Having a sharp focus helps you know what information belongs and what does not, regardless of how interesting it may be.  A good communicator also organizes information around this focus, using words like “first,” “next,” and “another” to segment the material into digestible “chunks” of information.

 

Lastly, a good communicator speaks or writes to connect with the audience and should seek to appear empathetic, collaborative, and supportive.  Regardless of the weight of the information, maybe especially in situations where the information being conveyed is difficult to “hear” or agree with, a trusted communicator is listened to and followed.

 

Ultimately, both “female” and “male” communications styles have aspects that can be combined to form a powerful style for anyone who wishes to inform and persuade.

 

Just don’t nod your head in agreement.

 

-- Written by Carol Jambor-Smith, Founder and Principal of Jambor-Smith Communications, a consulting firm that develops and executes communications strategy that engages, changes, and inspires. She can be reached at carol@jamborsmithcommunications.com

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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