A Month of Warmth & Kindness

Welcome to our Month of Warmth & Kindness!

Our world can always use a little more warmth, kindness and patience, seems we all like a ‘challenge’ (as long as it’s not that challenging) so here is ours, with a candy cane twist.

Note! Here are all the things you don’t need to worry about with our challenge:

  • You don’t have to check-in with anyone…except yourself
  • You don’t have to do all the tasks to be successful – honestly just doing the bonus task everyday will make things brighter
  • You don’t have to do them in order…pick, chose, omit, or even add your own!
  • AND (in my view this is best of all) you don’t need to sign-up, or give us your email address to access the ‘challenge’…it’s all here in this post, ready and waiting for you to save or print or come back to.

Life can be hard on any given day but often more so around holidays. Making a conscious decision to spread some warmth and kindness will not only make your day better but will absolutely (money-back-guarantee-absolutely) make those around you, even strangers, feel appreciated, respected and loved.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started!! Let us know how you get along…which one is your favourite? Which do you already do? How many can you tick off the list?

No matter which holiday you mark or how you chose to celebrate, I wish you VERY best of the season.

 

Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness

Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness

Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness  Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness

Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness

To follow and like us simply click the icons:

The Spirit of the Season

Holiday Greetings from Polished Professionals

 

December is almost here and our thoughts are turning to our various holidays, and these days that gives way to the inevitable discussion about ‘holiday’ greetings.

Over the past number of years I’ve seen an increase in the number of “It’s not Happy Holidays, it’s MERRY CHRISTMAS” posts, and I find these unfortunate.  The frustration that leaps from these posts is palpable, but I’m not entirely sure where it comes from – when any greeting is given in warmth and friendship we ought to receive it the same way.

Whether your faith or belief system is based in deep religious roots, or a certainty that Santa does live at the North Pole, it should not be so easily shaken that you rail against a ‘happy’ greeting.  Instead of worrying which greeting is used, we ought to recognize that the words (no matter which ones they are) come from a place of affection and warmth.

I think that we are immensely fortunate living where we do, and when we do: our melting-pot-cities and societies are made up of many traditions and holidays, and this is what gives our lives richness and depth. Let’s embrace it, not fight it.

Read moreThe Spirit of the Season

To follow and like us simply click the icons:

Accepting Compliments: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

Compliments are lovely.  We all like to hear nice things about ourselves, don’t we?

While most of us like hearing compliments, not many of us feel comfortable receiving them.

Justify a compliment: DON’T DO THAT

Instead of being left with a sense of accomplishment when someone pays us a compliment we find ourselves slightly embarrassed; we stumble for words, look at our feet and probably mutter something self-deprecating.

Often the conversations go something like this:

‘Job well done!’ …‘Oh, I was just doing my job.’

‘You look gorgeous!’ …‘Oh, I, um…in this old thing?’

‘Great presentation.’ …‘Oh, anyone could have done that.’

Not only does this leave us feeling slightly embarrassed but it also leaves the person giving the compliment feeling awkward and takes away from their good intentions. When we make excuses and try to rationalize the compliment we run the risk of turning it into a much bigger ‘event’ than the other person intended.

DO THIS INSTEAD: Say ‘thank you’

Read moreAccepting Compliments: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

To follow and like us simply click the icons:

‘Hey!’: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

HEY!

Relax, it’s 2016
Yes, yes it is, and life is generally less formal than it used to be – which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, there are times when a lack of formality can lead you down a path that impacts your professionalism.

Be fooled into foregoing formalities: DON’T DO THAT
Recently, a short video was doing the social media rounds. It showed a group of young reporters receiving a briefing in the White House press gallery. During their briefing, President Obama made a guest appearance: he sauntered in, relaxed, smiling and carrying his cup of coffee.

When the group was invited to ask questions, one young women started hers with, ‘Hey’.  If you’ve seen the clip, you’ll know that President Obama, ever the diplomat, responded with a smile and a ‘Hey’ in return. HOWEVER, look closely, that smile is one tight smile.  In this situation, some (teeny tiny) leeway would have been granted because of this person’s age and inexperience, and nerves, but it still impacted how he responded.

Read more‘Hey!’: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

To follow and like us simply click the icons:

RSVPs: Don’t do that. Do this instead

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

R.S.V.Ps

Who doesn’t love a party?RSVPs: Don't do that. Do this instead
I suppose that’s a loaded question because some people don’t actually ‘love a party’. But there the invitation sits: on your mantel, in your inbox, lurking in your voicemail.

So, whether you can’t wait to arrive, and out stay your welcome (that’s a different post), or you want to make a brief appearance and leave early, you need to reply to the invitation.

Neglect to RSVP: DON’T DO THAT
These days the idea of letting your host know that you are (or are not) going to attend an event – an event to which you have been so graciously invited – seems to be something that people think is ‘optional’.

It’s not.

I repeat, not replying is not optional.

Whether it’s a wedding, an office event or a backyard BBQ, if you’ve been invited you MUST reply.

Read moreRSVPs: Don’t do that. Do this instead

To follow and like us simply click the icons:

LinkedIn: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

LinkedInLinkedIn: Don't do that. Do this instead.

Six degrees of separation

LinkedIn is a fabulous business tool in so many ways, not least of which its ability to create powerful connections. That’s why it drives me nuts when people initiate those connections in the most anonymous way possible.

Sending the ‘standard’ LinkedIn request: DON’T DO THAT
We’ve all received it, it reads:

Hi Hilary, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network.

And that’s it. No background, no context.

When I receive requests like this, unless I know exactly who that person is, I ignore them, and I know from conversations with others that I’m not alone in this.

Now, I will admit that it is partly to do with the way LinkedIn operates. There are times when you click the ‘Connect’ button and the next thing you know LinkedIn is telling you that the request has been sent. If you are me, you then find yourself yelling ‘Argh!’ at the computer.

So, if you want to really grow your network on LinkedIn in a meaningful way:

DO THIS INSTEAD: Personalize every request
If you want to make sure that people will pay attention to your request, then include a note, every time.

Read moreLinkedIn: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

To follow and like us simply click the icons:

New Series: Don’t Do That. Do This Instead.

Have you ever had your relationship with a colleague, client or boss change suddenly – and not for the better? Yet you’ve not been able to put your finger on why.

Small actions. Big Impact.
I’ve always maintained that some of the smallest things we do often have the biggest impact on how our professionalism is viewed.  In this new series, “Don’t do that. Do this instead.”, I’m going to help you avoid the tiny (and not so tiny) things that can trip you up and place barriers between you and your success.

Small bites for easy digestion.
Each entry is intended to cover one small piece of a larger topic. However, even though seemingly small, each and every action has a big impact.

Read moreNew Series: Don’t Do That. Do This Instead.

To follow and like us simply click the icons:

How to Become a Meeting Master

Meetings, meetings everywhere – no time to stop and think.

I once worked in an environment that was made up entirely of meetings: all day, every day. I’m still not exactly sure how I managed to fit in the actual work these meetings generated.Clock Musee d'Orsay

If you work in a company, any size company, eventually someone will ask you not just to attend, but (gasp/horror) to organize a meeting. So, in anticipation of that day, here are the steps to follow to ensure that your meetings stand out in the sea of others – for the right reasons.

1. First and foremost: do you need the meeting? I kid you not, people don’t ask this nearly often enough, and odd though it may seem, not all meetings need to happen. Make sure you know the reason for the meeting: is there a question that needs answering, a project to work on or a problem to be solved? If you have your reason, move to step 2 – if you don’t, go back to your day job (which is, chances are, not organizing meetings).

2. Alright, you have your reason (well done!), now you need to set the agenda. This is another task that seems to stump some. If you can’t come up with any agenda items then your reason for holding the meeting might not be solid – go back to step 1 and double-check. Keep in mind that agendas need to be relevant to the topic at hand, not long for long’s sake…the length of your agenda does not, I repeat, does not, reflect the importance of your meeting.

Read moreHow to Become a Meeting Master

To follow and like us simply click the icons:

Seeing etiquette through a different lens (it’s not always about which fork to use)

WindowThere are occasions, when telling people that I provide training on the subject of Etiquette & Protocol, that they look at me like I have an extra head.   Every now and then I can even see their internal dialogue written on their face: ‘that’s so old-fashioned’, ‘she’s clearly living in the past’, ‘oh no, she’s going to critique everything I say and do’.  This last one is the most common; at a recent event the host of my table looked up as I approached and exclaimed, more-or-less in jest, ‘great, I’ve got the etiquette expert!’ (I don’t by the way, unless asked.)

I put these responses down to the fact that many people equate etiquette with ‘rules’ – rules that govern our every move, and get us into trouble if we don’t follow them.

Yes, there are rules when it comes to etiquette and protocol but though they can seem frivolous, they are actually very helpful.  Many stem from common sense and are in place to help us navigate business and social settings; some are driven by interacting with other cultures; others, leftovers of bygone eras, fading into the past.

However, I believe, firmly, that etiquette is so much more than simply a set of rules.  You can take your pick of words and phrases: etiquette, courtesy, civility, polite behaviour, consideration for others – but when it comes down to it, all of these ensure that we carry out our daily interactions – be they business meetings, hosting an event, or passing someone on the street – in a thoughtful, kind manner, which, in turn, shows others that we value their time and attention.

I don’t view the ‘rules’ as being stiff, old-fashioned directives.  I see them, instead, as the tools we use to give us the confidence and freedom to interact with others under any, and all, circumstances.  Sometimes it is about which fork to use – and if you know which fork to use you can ignore your place setting and pay attention to your guests.

And, the great thing about knowing the rules is knowing how, when and where you can break them.

To follow and like us simply click the icons:

Small but Perfectly Formed

IMG_0117There is an act of kindness and civility so small that it goes practically unnoticed…until it’s not done, and then it can become quite literally a slap in the face – or at the very least a near miss.

‘What is it?’, I hear you ask.  It is this:

When you walk through a door, check behind you.  If there is someone there, or someone approaching, then hold the door open.  Small yet kind.  Simple yet thoughtful.

Looking for an even smaller, easier act of kindness?  If someone does hold the door for you, say thank you.

Interested in sowing the seeds of thoughtful behaviour and good manners? Encourage everyone in your life to embrace this small, but perfectly formed, act of kindness.

To follow and like us simply click the icons: