Neels & Company - Strategic Business Communication
Trusted Advisor
Gretchen Neels
Gretchen Neels, President, Neels & Company

Dear Trusted Advisor

What do you think of a job applicant who comes to an interview with a bottle of water and an apple? As a veteran recruiter, I was quite taken aback when this person started to eat the apple as he answered my questions, one of which was, “Are you hungry?” to which he answered, “Yes.”
H.T., Charlotte, NC

Dear H.T.:
There’s a first time for everything, and I believe you’ll win hands-down the next time you play “Top That Interview” with your recruiting colleagues. Yikes! This is a great example of how unprepared some people are for the business of interviewing.



We’re taking our popular seminar, Total Image Management®, on the road this fall to 9 cities. Register before August 1st and save $200; register with a friend, and save another 20%.Click here to learn more.

We’re moving! As of September 1st, Neels & Company's headquarters will be in Washington, DC.

Check out the style blog I write for As their new Washington correspondent, I’ve already managed to ruffle a few feathers. Fox Business recently asked me to weigh in on the First Lady’s style. Can Project Runway be far behind?


The Personal Touch

A little over half the year has passed, and I for one am relieved. Perhaps as fall approaches, we’ll see a turnaround in the financial markets and some stabilization in employment figures. Or maybe, things will stay pretty much the same through December, and we can hope for a brighter outlook as we usher in 2010. Either way, I invite you to say “thank you” to those who have helped you get this far through 2009.

Heart-felt thanks, especially in troubling times, are wonderful seeds to plant as you cultivate your business development efforts for next year. Conveying appreciation costs next to nothing and the results can be significant. Has someone introduced you to an influential contact? You’ve got to thank them. Did you get invited to an event that resulted in opportunities? Thank the person who suggested you go.

If you’ve got clients paying their bills on time, they definitely deserve a thank-you. Do you have employees doing two or three jobs instead of the one they signed up for? They’ll remember a sincere note once the job market picks up and they are free to look elsewhere. How about the boss or colleague who has helped you develop professionally? Thanking them and telling them how they helped you will mean a great deal.

Job seekers in particular must be diligent in getting their thank-yous out promptly. Sending a well-crafted note to a hiring manager (while others email a casual “Thx”) can, all things being equal, tip the scales in your favor and win you the offer. And let’s not forget those who might have helped get you the interview in the first place — they also deserve your appreciation.

Here are three steps to ensure you make the most of sending a memorable, sincere note:

    1. Use quality stationery, such as papers from Crane or William Arthur. Have your full name or monogram printed on the front, and spring for the lined envelopes. The look and feel of the note cards should support your personal brand.

    2. Compose a draft, make your edits and then handwrite your message in black or blue ink. Typing a note is acceptable if your handwriting is illegible, but even block printing is preferable.

    3. Keep it short and to the point. Tell the reader how he or she made you feel, and why that matters to you.

My thanks to you:

Dear Readers,

This month marks Neels & Company’s third anniversary. Many of you have sent me very kind comments on our monthly newsletter, along with lots of good etiquette questions, for which I am most grateful. Thank you also to the many who have forwarded copies to coworkers and friends. Having the readership grow from a skimpy 135 to over 3,000 this month has convinced me that my message of projecting one’s very best professional self is one people wish to hear.

With kindest regards,


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We are the leading provider of soft skills training to professional services firms, covering all areas of business communication.

Neels & Company, Inc. – Strategic Business Communication
P. O. Box 623, Boston, MA 02117
800-975-7031 ext. 701
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