Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to Pitch a New Idea to Your Boss

You have a great idea for a new project—a marketing initiative that’s going to reach new audiences, a revamped tagline for a flagging product, or an efficient new way to organize the team's records. You’re probably feeling excited (way to innovate!) and slightly apprehensive (um, how exactly am I going to convince my boss it’s worthwhile?).

Remember, pitching a project to your boss is like pitching anything else—you need to look at the cost-benefit analysis from his or her perspective. To sway your supervisor that your brainchild is the way to go, be prepared with answers to the questions that will be on his or her mind.

See the rest of my latest Daily Muse post here.

The 3 Most Important People to Stay in Touch With (and How to Do It)

When it comes to networking, there are the “easy” people to stay in touch with. The old co-worker you still get monthly drinks with. The connections you see regularly at industry functions. Your first boss.

But I probably don’t have to tell you that the easy way out isn’t always the best. 

Given the unpredictability of work (i.e., you never know when you’re going to need your connections the most) and of networking (think: the person you’re certain will open doors is on a month-long tour of Europe), staying in touch with a wide array of contacts is more important than you might think.

In other words, when you’re thinking about building and fostering your network, don’t simply reach out to the most obvious contacts. In particular, be sure to make time to connect with the three kinds of people below.

See the rest of my latest Daily Muse post here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

How to Avoid This Networking Mistake When You Travel

You know how important it is to stay social and build your network on the road. But sometimes, there is so much emphasis on connecting with colleagues and meeting new people that you can develop tunnel vision.

How so? Because it’s tempting to simply split your time with others into two categories—close connections and new contacts—thereby (unintentionally) ignoring anyone else.

In a professional context, it makes perfect sense: You divide your time between longstanding clients or donors and new people you’re hoping to pull into the fold. So it seems only natural that you would apply the same strategy to your off-hours, connecting with dear friends or the team member with whom you are traveling, or trying to meet someone completely new at a fitness class.

And to be clear, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this approach. It’s great to steward your close relationships and build new ones. The only downside is the aforementioned tunnel vision: There’s a whole group of people you are overlooking. Somewhere between those you’re close with and those you’ve never met lies a group of people you know peripherally. Maybe you met someone at a conference a couple of years ago or fell out of touch since you met at your first job.

Don’t fall into the trap of overlooking this valuable part of your network. Read on for tips to connect with this distinct group.

See the rest of my latest Stiletto Dash post here.

Dropping the Bomb: How to Give Your Boss the Bad News

I remember the time I had to walk into my boss’ office and tell her I’d set the printer on fire, and that it was flashing a message that read, “Ink Burning.”

Thankfully, it was only a ruse so the staff could sing her “Happy Birthday,” but the rather amazing part of the story was her reaction. She did nothing—other than ask me to leave her meeting. It wasn’t until I came back a second time in full-on (fake) panic mode that she finally came down to the break room to see the entire staff standing around a plate of cupcakes.

When I asked her why she hadn’t come down at first—I mean, a fire is pretty serious, right?—she said, “I figured one of two things would happen: Either you’d sort it out, or the smoke alarm would go off and we’d all have to evacuate. But until that happened, I intended to finish my meeting.” Meaning, she came down the second time because I had found something that actually merited her attention—the thought of me throwing a fit in the common area.

Learn from my experience: If you have bad news and actually need your boss’ attention, there are three things you should always take into consideration.

See the rest of my latest Daily Muse post here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Maximize These Few Hours of Your Business Trip

For me, a standard business trip can last up to three weeks and crisscross multiple cities. It’s truly a marathon and not a sprint, so I prioritize healthy habits to ensure I’ll make it through.

If I can fit in a traditional workout, I will; and if I can’t, I’ll find an excuse to walk more each day (to and from meetings, or up the seemingly endless steps of the Washington, DC Metro System). I focus on healthy eating—even ordering some of my lattes “Half-Caff” to curb potential caffeine dependence. I know the importance of a good night’s sleep, and while away, I always try to catch up with friends in the cities I am visiting.

Sounds like I have it all under control—right?

Well here’s my confession: As healthy as I am on the road, I blow it as soon as I get back home.  I let myself feel the exhaustion that has been dormant for days or weeks, and all I want to unwind is two glasses of wine and chocolate chip cookies (not exactly a model dinner!).  Moreover, it can take me up to a week to unpack my bags and find the energy to keep my house as clean and organized as usual.

Thankfully, I’m learning how to keep these bad habits at bay.  Read on for my tricks to stay healthy…after your business trip.

See the rest of my latest Stiletto Dash post here.