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Doing Business... With Class


March 2010





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Keepin' the Faith

Gary UMC

If you live in the Chicago area, are in career transition and are in need of some spiritual support, please consider yourself invited to Between Successes Career Ministry, a joint ministry of Gary United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton. We meet from 7 to 8:45 p.m. every Monday at Gary UMC, 224 N. Main Street, Wheaton, IL 60187, in Commons E (come in the west side entrance). The evening is comprised of introductions, a spiritual message and some content on the job search followed by small group discussions. If you're between successes yourself, this faith-based support group could be a welcome contribution to your campaign. For more information, contact me at 312-213-1795 or call Angela Stephenson from First Presbyterian at 630-200-2533.



"Your Golden Rolodex: How to Network for Results" E-book


Golden Rolodex E-book


For most people, the word "networking" conjures up images of forced conversations, bad cocktail parties, dreary conventions or cold calls. So they avoid it --to their peril. Networking is one of the most critical skills in business, and it's especially important to anyone making a career transition or seeking to move up in the business world.

Over the years, Vickie Austin has been speaking about "Your Golden Rolodex: How to Network for Results!" and now she's made it available to you in this e-book. Begin building your own "Golden Rolodex" by reading this practical e-book.


You'll learn to:  

  • Leverage the value of your existing contacts
  • Invest in people along the way
  • Conduct a "Golden Rolodex" conversation
  • Open doors for future opportunities

Click here to buy online now for just $29.95.

Business Class book coverSometimes it's the simple things--saying "please" and "thank you," observing the proper way to introduce people or remembering a person's name that builds relationships and ultimately wins us the contract or lands us a job. Those simple, yet often overlooked, niceties are highlighted in a wonderful book I just read called Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work by Jacqueline Whitmore


Ms. Whitmore, a nationally acclaimed expert in business etiquette, provides an engaging primer for veterans and novices alike in this book that covers everything from how to engage (or disengage) from a networking conversation to the right fork to use at a formal dinner. She offers guidance on small touches that equal big rewards and the power of a personal thank-you note.
Jacqueline Whitmore 
As someone who is committed to refining my listening skills, I was taken with Ms. Whitmore's simple steps to becoming a better listener. Attentive listening, she writes, builds trust... and we all know that people like to do business with people they trust.  Here, with permission from the author, are ten ways to become a better listener:  

  1. Ask pertinent questions. Asking questions demonstrates a sincere interest in the other person, and it's the hallmark of a good listener.
  2. Practice empathic listening. Put yourself in the other person's shoes with the intent of understanding versus replying (can't you always tell when someone's just waiting for his/her turn to talk?).
  3. Listen with your entire body. Nod occasionally, make eye contact and, with permission, take notes.
  4. Share personal stories. Stories are a powerful way to break down barriers and build relationships.
  5. Paint a visual picture. This helps you track with the speaker and remember their story later on.
  6. Don't interrupt. Whether we realize it or not (and I'm guilty as charged), we interrupt to demonstrate we understand. Don't.
  7. Pause before you reply. Don't be afraid of silence--it's like white space on the page.
  8. Eliminate distractions. Turn off or away from anything that distracts you from the speaker, and you'll earn his/her admiration and respect forever.
  9. Speak with a purpose. We hang onto the words of those who save their words until they have something to say.
  10. Don't give unsolicited advice. As tempting as it may be, save your advice (or "coaching") for those who are asking--or better yet, paying--for it.

From small talk savvy to techno-etiquette, Ms. Whitmore provides tips that are simple, yet profound. She also has some insights and resources for those doing business internationally, something that piqued my interest as a graduate of Thunderbird School of Global Management. You don't have to "go global" to be doing business with those from other cultures, so her guidance on cross-cultural etiquette is something that could benefit us all. To subscribe to Ms. Whitmore's e-newsletter, "The Protocol Post," and to order her book, visit



Thanks to Those Who Played

"The Networking Game"


Networking GameMany thanks to those of you who played "The Networking Game: Tips & Techniques for Effective Connections," my first teleseminar held March 16. Mark Gregory, author of the "How to Prepare for An Interview" blog (, interviewed me on this evergreen topic of networking that seems even more critical today. More than 150 people registered for the teleseminar, and here are just a few of the reviews:

"I thoroughly enjoyed the teleseminar yesterday with you and Mark. It was very interesting and you provided some practical tips... It was also just motivational to listen to what you had to say. Thank you for the invitation to listen and please let me know if you hold any sessions in the future."  Elizabeth Vennekens-Kelly, Business English & Cross Culture Consulting, Germany (


"As I sift through the four pages of notes I took as a participant in 'The Networking Game,' I realize that each page is full of valuable ideas shared. Overall what I value most is the emphasis on success coming from personal integrity and individual accountability. Vickie validates my resistance to the 'kiss-kiss-let's-do-lunch' approach to networking and confirms a higher-purposed inclination towards the serious cultivation of simply 'honoring current relationships and building on them.' Her insights and applications are 'golden' on many levels."  Diane Novak, Ed.D (Monroe, LA) 

Based on the response to the teleseminar, we'll be offering an upcoming Webinar in April to go into more depth on the topic of networking. "Your Networking Game Plan" is a two-hour workshop that will help you develop your own game plan to achieve your goals by building and maintaining your "Golden Rolodex." Stay tuned--details to follow. 


The famous bard Will Shakespeare said, The Second City"All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players..." and who knows that better than the people at The Second City ( in Chicago? The famous incubator for improvisational talent has launched the careers of such luminaries as Tina Fey, the Belushi brothers and most of the original cast of Saturday Night Live. 
I was lucky to be part of a training offered by Sarah Finch, producer and director of learning for the Second City Communications, who spoke to the National Speakers Association of Illinois ( at our March meeting. Some key principles I learned from Sarah as she took us through a few exercises in improvisation: 

  • There are no wrong answers! Take risks and see what happens.
  • Let go of self-judgment and the judgment of others. (Amen, sister.)
  • Listen to understand, not just to respond. (Hey, isn't that what Jacqueline Whitmore just said in Business Class?)
  • Support your partner, and play to make your partner look good.
  • Affirm and build with "Yes, and..." versus "Yes, but..." The difference is amazing

Maureen O'Brien & Sarah Finch

Maureen O'Brien (R), president-elect of NSA-IL, and Sarah Finch (L) of Second City Communications

Many thanks to the folks at NSA-IL who brought Sarah to our meeting.



And One More "Thank you..." 


Vickie AustinI was touched by the many e-mails I received following my last e-newsletter after sharing about the loss of my mother. I thank each of you who took the time to send your condolences both before and after I shared my news and for those of you who thought of me in spirit.
One of my good friends and colleagues Jeff Rudolph recently lost his dad. As he told me about his own loss, he quoted an article in Newsweek where the author said, "When you lose your parents, you lose your fan club."


Luckily we are still around to cheer each other on, so if you need a fan letter or a shout-out, please let me know. I'm always good for "the wave!" 






CHOICES Worldwide | 615 W. Front Street | Suite 201 | Wheaton | IL | 60187

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