How to Dazzle at a Meeting (Book Excerpt)

How to Dazzle at Meetings || CorporetteToday we have a rare treat: a book excerpt from Kate White’s new book, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This.  Kate White’s been on my radar since my magazine junkie days — I vividly remember sneaking into the Family Circle library to read her older book, Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead…But Gutsy Girls Do, and I’ve followed her career (former editor in chief of Cosmo, mystery writer, author of multiple best-selling career books) ever since.  It’s an honor to have an excerpt here today! – Kat

Not long after you start a job, you will probably be asked to attend your first meeting there.  Meetings are a great opportunity for you to impress your boss and peers. But if you aren’t prepared, you can also come across as a boob. I’ve probably held way over a thousand meetings in my career, and I’ve loved watching some of my staffers really strut their stuff in them. They’ve also been a perfect way to get a closer look at those on staff who don’t report directly to me. Yet unfortunately, for every person who’s dazzled me at a meeting, there have been many more who have never volunteered a single solitary idea and have sat there with their jaws totally slack, as if I were up at the head of the table reading the instructions for installing a plasma-screen TV. Never miss the chance to shine at a meeting. Meetings may sometimes seem very casual, and you may not even be called on to participate, but your boss is paying attention to how you perform. If you contribute and look engrossed, it will raise his opinion of you and may even lead to new assignments. If you do poorly, you will lose ground—and you may not be invited back. Here are ten fail-proof strategies: [Read more...]

How to Be a Boss

How to Be a Boss | CorporetteHow do you be a boss — if you’ve never been a boss before? What changes do you have to make to your working style, attitude, and more? Reader Y has a great question.

I received a promotion last year at my job and I have had some trouble adjusting. I am generally a lighthearted jokester in the office and I find it hard to delegate work or to have my coworkers recognize/ respect my new position. Even though it has been a year, I was wondering if there is any way to turn this around?

Congrats on your promotion, Y! We’ve talked about how to step up your wardrobe to be seen as more managerial, how to delegate to your assistant, and whether you should be friends with subordinates — but we’ve never really talked about the changes you have to make when you become a boss.  (Update: and I just found this post on how to become a leader — knew I had one in the archives somewhere.)

When I started managing people, I remember this being kind of difficult as well — particularly because I was basically a middle man between my boss and my subordinates. [Read more...]

The Pros and Cons of Flair for Your Phones

The Best iPhone Cases | CorporetteDo you jazz up your iPhone or Android with a fashionable case, ringtones, and more?  Do you think there are pros and cons to doing so?  Reader M wonders what the best iPhone cases are, but I think there’s a broader question here.

I am planning on buying the new iPhone but don’t know what case to get. I thought a post on the best iPhone cases that are also fashionable would be timely. My current case for my iPhone was inexpensive and it shows. Not only is it falling apart but it essentially makes the flash feature unusable which means taking pictures with it is not an option most of the time. I don’t want to make the same mistake the next time around.

Interesting question.  We’ve talked about the best apps for phones before, but we’ve never talked about “flair,” which I’ll use in the same way the movie Office Space uses when referring to the buttons Jennifer Aniston’s character is supposed to wear to jazz up her waitressing uniform[Read more...]

Are Scarves Professional Enough?

Are Scarves Professional Enough? | CorporetteAre scarves professional enough for conferences? Are there some ways of wearing a scarf that are more professional than other ways?  How, in general, do you dress for a male-dominated conference?  Reader A, writing from Europe (and a very male-dominated profession), wonders:

Maybe this is a cultural issue, but I’d never, ever, wear a scarf to a conference. Ever. At the office, sure, if there’s no meetings. At a conference, however, there is no more surefire way to be treated like a hostess/secretary/admin than wearing a scarf. The women who actually have those jobs are all colour-coordinated, but that doesn’t help. All people see is scarf or no scarf.  I think it’s a real shame, as I like scarves and the femininity they bring to an outfit. Instead, I’ve settled for statement jackets, or a skirt or shoes that “pop”.

Is this because I’m in a (very) male dominated business, or is it a Europe/US thing?

We’ve talked about how to wear scarves, as well as how to pack and what to wear to conferences before, of course, but this is a new one — and a very interesting one, given that scarves would never strike me as something a) unprofessional in general, b) hostess/secretary/admin.  When I worked at a very male-dominated law firm, one of the female partners I worked closely with — who certainly commanded respect from everyone — was known for her collection of Hermes scarves that she would wear long and loose beneath her blazers, a bit like the “drape scarf with bomber jacket” look above from Wendy’s Lookbook. (If you haven’t seen it, her scarf-tying tutorial is pretty awesome; the screenshot above is from the “companion” video. Another great resource generally: Une Femme d’un Certain Âge.) [Read more...]

Good Grammar Costs Nothing

good grammar.indexedI’ve seen a lot of fun grammar roundups lately, such as The Oatmeal’s breakdown of who versus whom, and this Buzzfeed roundup of grammar jokes.  So I thought we’d have a little discussion: what are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to grammar (particularly with coworkers)? What are your best tips?  (Pictured: I own this shirt!  Good grammar costs nothing, $16 at Glarkware.)

For my $.02 — as a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern (my undergrad degree), I sat through so many lessons in copyediting that I still remember the different meanings of ordinance and ordnance, and the proper spelling of ophthalmologist.  (Ha, I kid, WordPress’s spellcheck just changed my A to an O. Fine.) [Read more...]

How to Change Makeup as You Age (And: A Few Great Natural Makeup Tutorials)

how not to look oldHow do you change your makeup as you age? And which are the best makeup tutorials for professional women? Reader E wonders…

You’ve had all sorts of posts about makeup to wear when interviewing/commuting/etc. I’m wondering if you could offer some resources that step back even further. I’m in a career (and life!) transitional phase. Before now, I’ve been able to get away with not wearing makeup on a daily basis. Now I’m starting moving into management positions and my professional makeup needs are changing to something more daily. I’m also in my mid 30s and noticing odd things like “fine” lines and growing pores that my old makeup seems to accentuate rather than cover. Can you direct me to what you think are some good, basic tutorials that lay out how to do professional, daily makeup?

Great question. We’ve had an open thread about how your skincare should change as you age, but not specifically about makeup. You may want to check out Charla Krupp’s book, How Not to Look Old (pictured above)– she has a ton of great “aging gracefully” beauty advice in there. Unfortunately, the main piece I remember is that she advised against mauve/rose lipstick, which is my favorite lipstick color, so personally I’m going to ignore that one entirely. A few other suggestions on how to change your makeup as you age: [Read more...]