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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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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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Tips for Smarter Living: Effective Communication for the Busy Professional Women

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 2, 2017

Tips for Smarter Living: Effective Communication for the Busy Professional Women


No matter your age, background, or experience, effective communication is a skill you can learn. As a busy professional who is often pulled in many directions, I sometimes find myself struggling to find my inner Goldilocks: am I communicating “too tough,” “too soft,” or “just right”?

A “Goldilocks principle” of communications describes the amount, type, and detail of communication necessary to be “just right,” that is, to maximize effectiveness while minimizing the “too much” side of redundancy or the “too little” side of inadequate or incomplete information.

With a little practice, you can find your “just right” by mastering the following basic tips:

Choose three key points to communicate. These key points will act as the anchors you wish to convey, bringing focus and clarity to your message.

  • Have a clear purpose. Make it clear why you are communicating, whether to inform, gather information, or initiate action.
  • Stay on topic. Once you establish your three key points, make sure everything you express is focused, adding information to each point.  This strengthens your message, keeping clear and direct.
  • Consider your audience. It is important to deliver your message clearly for different audiences. Keep in mind what they do and don’t know and what their biases might be.  This helps you speak/write in a way that is most suitable for a particular audience.
  • Listen. Listening shows you value opinions outside of your own and are open to new concepts. Listening builds trust between you and your audience and shows you to be a collaborator who is benefits for the greater good.

Lastly, don’t avoid or wait too long to begin a conversation about a sensitive issue. Usually a quick, direct discussion can develop a resolution that does not negatively affecting a relationship.

Whenever possible, choose a face-to-face meeting to discuss a difference of opinion; if such a meeting is not possible, choose a phone conversation.  Emails and texts don’t include the important visual or auditory clues needed to appreciate differences of opinion and offer opportunities for misinterpretation or misunderstanding that can intensify the situation.

--Written by Debbie Story, Sales Manager, Corporate Identity, Inc. She can be reached at 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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Do I Have to be Likeable to Succeed?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Do I Have to be Likeable to Succeed?

(And why do I have to ask this?)

 

In a world of increased competition, a business’ success may depend on its likeability as much as on its expertise. Having likeable products and likeable/supportive sales and customer service staff can help a firm stand out in a crowded pack.

 

But what about personal likeability, especially for professional women?

 

The notion of being “likeable” at work appears to plague professional women more than it does professional men. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg discusses how "success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women." In other words, the higher on the corporate ladder a woman climbs, the less likeable she is perceived to be. In the case of a man, the opposite holds true. Sandberg presents a massive amount of data to support this fact, whether we like it or not.

 

And yet, in “New Research Shows Success Doesn’t Make Women Less Likable,” Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman conclude from their analysis of assessments of men and women leaders who have come through their leadership program that “likeability and success actually go together remarkably well for women.”

 

So what gives (and I’m smiling while writing this in an effort to remain likeable).

 

In many ways, this differing of opinion cycles back to cultural norms for female behavior. Women are culturally regarded as being natural collaborators, supportive of the efforts of others. So when a woman in a position of leadership collaborates with her peers or with her subordinates, she is considered to be “likeable” and often receives high marks for her leadership.

 

The issue becomes less clear when a woman leader’s opinion differs from her peers, has to make difficult decisions that involve job reductions or dismissals, or has to act in an authoritative manner.It is in these circumstances that a professional woman’s likeability may suffer, as she is judged to be aggressive. Simply put, a professional woman acting authoritatively may be violating gender stereotypes that support cultural norms.

 

Marianne Cooper has studied the conundrum that many professional women face: be a team player and be liked; be a strong leader and be disliked. In “For Women Leaders, Likability and Success Hardly Go Hand-in-Hand,” Cooper writes:

 

Women are expected to be nice, warm, friendly, and nurturing. Thus, if a woman acts assertively or competitively, if she pushes her team to perform, if she exhibits decisive and forceful leadership, she is deviating from the social script that dictates how she “should” behave. By violating beliefs about what women are like, successful women elicit pushback from others for being insufficiently feminine and too masculine.

 

So, does a professional woman have to swallow a desire to be liked in order to be successful? (Still smiling while writing.) Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm, writes about this uniquely female dilemma in “Likable vs. Successful: The Issue Women Leaders Face.”

 

From her perspective, professional men don’t care if you do or don’t like them. They don’t care if you don’t like their decisions. But women, according to Dietrich, adjust their behavior to be likable.

 

Admitting that she herself likes to be liked, Dietrich has some tough words for professional women:

 

We do care what others think about us and that gives us less power in the boardroom and in our personal lives. In a world where we want the top jobs and equal pay and equal rights, we have to stop playing a supporting role in our own lives. By wanting to be liked, we are more concerned with what others think about us than with doing the very best job, even if it’s not popular.

 

In trying to make sense of all of this – and don’t ask me to comment on “resting bitch face,” please! – I wonder if it is possible to blend the positive “female” trait of collaborator with that of an assertive authority in a working environment. A true collaborator is honest and challenging but never argumentative for the sake of argument. Collaborators never disregard the feeling of others, even while honestly disagreeing, honest, but not so blunt as to disregard the feelings of others. They are challenging, but supportive. This kind of leadership has within its DNA a genetic marker for emotional intelligence.

 

So, being likeable in a professional setting is tricky for women. But maybe “likeability” isn’t the scale on which we should be measured. I think it’s a good thing to rely on our natural instincts to collaborate as well as on our intrinsic sensibility about the feelings of others when making tough decisions. Remaining honest and supportive of our peers and our subordinates while also remaining true to our beliefs, knowledge, and instincts, even during times when we disagree with a direction or proposal or when we must make difficult decisions, may begin to formulate a paradigm for leadership that is especially female. And it doesn’t measure likeability at all.

 

Written by: Carol Jambor-Smith Founder and Principle of Jambor-Smith Communications.Jambor-Smith Communications provides you with the strategy and training you need to execute internal and external communications that empower and motivate staff, build and retain clients, and inspire interest and confidence in your brand.For more information, contact Carol Jambor-Smith 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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Tips for Smarter Living

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tips for Smarter Living

Making First Impressions Count By Taking Care of Your Wardrobe

 

We all know that first impressions count (“You only have one chance to make a first impression”) and how you dress is a big part of that impression. Regardless of the dress code for a specific situation -- business formal or business casual -- taking care of your appearance can only help you communicate your professionalism.

Whether you’re meticulous about caring for your clothes – putting away your day’s outfit immediately – or not – stacking worn outfits on your dresser, to be put away “over the weekend” – there are simple things to do to make sure your clothes last and keep their appearance.

 

1.     Lingerie/Swimwear

Never put lingerie or swimwear in the washer/dryer.  Doing so will ruin the elastic, which in turn will ruin the fit.

a. Wash like colors together.

b. Fill a sink or bowl with cool water and a gentle detergent or with shampoo.

c. Hand agitate the laundry a few times and let soak for about an hour.

d. Gently squeeze out excess water.

e. Dry on a drying rack.

f. Put an empty bottle of perfume or a bar of lightly scented soap in your lingerie drawer.  The hint of the scent will be wonderful.

 

2.     Cashmere

Despite what it says on the tag, cashmere is best washed by hand in cold water with baby shampoo or Woolite for optimal softness and protection from chemicals (and only about two times a season).

a. Never hold up a wet cashmere sweater by the shoulders, it’ll stretch it out. In fact, keep your cashmere in a lump when you go to pick it up when wet.

b. To dry it quickly, use a salad spinner, which releases excess water in seconds. Don’t have one? Lay it flat to dry, pressing it with a towel.


3.
     Cotton

Cotton is super-durable, so it can be washed in the machine with any detergent and bleached as needed.

a. For best results, machine wash cotton items in warm water on a normal wash cycle.

b. Tumble dry on low setting.

c. If your cotton is white, you can wash it with bleach on a hot water setting.

 

4.     Viscose/Rayon

Viscose has a silky appearance and breathes like cotton but it wrinkles very easily, so it’s advised to use an iron’s medium setting with steam.

a. If the garment is particularly special or has intricate draping, hand-washing is suggested in cool to lukewarm water.

b. Hang wet items totally wet (no wringing or twisting) as this will help remove creasing and ensure the garment doesn’t lose its shape.

 

5.     Polyester

Most polyester and can be easily machine washed and dried in warm water, with added fabric softener because polyester is prone to static cling. Certain poly-blends need to be dry cleaned, so always check the tag.

a. Dry the garment on a low temperature and use a moderately warm iron if needed.

b. Polyester is easy to care for, but tends to lock in stains. To lift a stain, rub stain remover on the area and allow it to sit for 10 to 20 minutes before laundering.

 

6.     Silk

While dry-cleaning is fine for basic silk pieces, it’s even better (and cheaper) to hand wash them in order to keep them in good shape.

a. Hand wash silk in cool or lukewarm water using a tiny bit of mild detergent or shampoo dissolved in water.

b. Like most natural fibers, silk doesn’t tolerate changes in temperature, so stick with either cool or warm water the whole way through.

c. Never wring out silk to dry! Instead roll the item up in a towel and gently press the water out.

d. Wash items labeled “washable silk” in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in a mesh bag. Hang dry on a padded hanger.

e. To prevent color loss and to keep silk in good condition, add up to three tablespoons of white vinegar for every two quarts of water.

f. Silk should be pressed while it’s still damp. Iron on a low setting and don’t use steam, which can leave watermarks.

g. Always store silk in a dry dark place, and never keep in it in plastic since the fabric needs to breathe.

 

7.     Jeans

Unless your jeans are made from raw denim (in which case they should not be washed for six months), jeans can easily be washed, inside out, in cold water. Try not to machine dry them but, if you must, do so on the lowest possible setting.

 

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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Behind Every Red Door is a Different Dream…

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 3, 2017

A few weeks ago my mentee Becca Berkenstadt and I toured ICNC, the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, located at 320 N. Damen Avenue in Chicago.  I met Jennifer Holmes, ICNC Director of Development, through the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago and was immediately drawn to her sparkling personality.  She extended the gracious invitation to tour ICNC’s facilities, an organization I didn’t even know existed.  ICNC is one of the oldest and largest business incubators in the world, housing more than 110 new and growing companies across a diverse set of industries; including light manufacturing, distribution, professional services, and food and beverage.  The building encompasses 416,000 s.f. of space (larger then seven football fields).  Currently ICNC represents more than 2,000 local companies in and around Chicago, offering its support to any Illinois-based business.  Established in 1967, ICNC works with start-ups and provides a range of services including direct advising to new and existing businesses as well as providing a range of entrepreneurial education.

 

Throughout the giant building, each business is marked with a red door.  “Behind every red door is a different dream,” said Jennifer, as she opened the door to our first tour.  Jennifer arranged for a visit with Studio Thread (http://studiothread.com) where Jon Satrom, Principal, and Brannon Dorsey, Creative Technologist, showed us around their gorgeous space.   Studio Thread is the media partner of 3Arts, a nonprofit that advocates for Chicago’s women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities who work in the performing, teaching and visual arts. Next we visited Anastasia Chatzka (www.anastasiachatzka.com), a fashion designer who makes her clothes in Chicago.  Anastasia sews her clothes in the ICNC space, and sells them in her store located at 1001 N. Damen Avenue in the city.  You can see her work on YouTube under “Sew Anastasia.” We also visited Exquisite Designs (www.exqdesigns.com), a woman-owned floral and design studio for weddings, corporations and special events.   There was so much to see, we already planned another time to come back for another visit, to get a broader idea of the range of companies housed here. What an incredible organization, supporting new business owners navigate the landscape in Chicago.   For additional information on ICNC, visit www.industrialcouncil.com.

 

Written by Alyssa Burns, Owner & President of Alyssa Burns Communications, Past President of PWCC, and current co-chairperson of PWCC’s Mentorship Program.  Alyssa is a behind-the-scenes collaborator, a creative problem solver, and a strategic business advisor who can influence others to be successful.  Visit her website at www.alyssaburnscommunications.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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