Neels & Company - Candor. Insight. Success.

The Elegant Executive
Vol. 2, Issue 1                            January 2011

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Special Announcement

Pentagon City, Arlington, VA

Shop with Me in DC if...

...You're tired of having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear;

...You've got nothing that fits because you've lost weight, gained weight, or gravity has taken its toll;

...You have a special event such as a job interview, award ceremony, major presentation, black-tie or other special occasion requiring you look your absolute best.
As a Nordstrom Personal Stylist at The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, I will save you time and money by putting together an outfit or an entire wardrobe perfect for your needs. 

To make an appointment for this complimentary service, please call 703-415-1121 ext. 1455, or send me an email.

I'm also available to present "Too Casual for Comfort - What Business Casual Should Really Look Like," and "Conveying Confidence and Competence - Seven Steps to Professional Presence" to your organization. Click here for more information. 

* * * *

Elegant Executives know that a good suit and shined shoes will only get you so far. Consider attending the 
Protocol and Executive Etiquette  seminar by our friends at Protocol Partners this February 10-11 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. The two-day program covers all areas of diplomatic, international and business etiquette, including dining and reception protocol. For more information, call (202) 857-9753.
Contact Us

Gretchen Neels
Neels & Company, Inc.
P. O. Box 33937
Washington, DC 20033
Welcome to The Elegant Executive
Happy New Year!

Boy, what a year 2010 was. Most of us are breathing a sigh of relief that it's behind us, and a better year is on the horizon. May all of you experience a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2011. 

The Elegant Executive is a free monthly newsletter offering tips, strategies and advice to enhance the softer side of one's career. We hope you find it useful, and that you'll share it with colleagues wanting to increase business by "looking the part" and connecting with others more successfully.

DressDressing to Impress: The Interview Suit
Interview Dk Suit
Interview Dk Suit
According to a recent survey by job-placement firm Manpower, a whopping 84% of those surveyed said they plan to find new positions in 2011.

This makes me think of all the interviewing that will be taking place in the coming year, and ways to make those of you looking for a better position stand out among
fierce competition

Once your resume is ship-shape, you've done your homework on the organization in question, and you've got your handshake and intro down cold, it's time to fine-tune your interview look so that you make a positive first impression, conveying trust, confidence and competence. Following these three key steps will help you rise head and shoulders above those in line for the position you want.Gray Suit 2011

1. If your budget allows, buy a new suit. You may think you've got something toward the back end of the closet that will work for your big day, but in my experience, a suit that has lingered in the dark for three or four years rarely fits well or looks good when it sees the light of day. Unless you've bought a suit in the last six months, it's time to go shopping.

2. Make sure the suit you wear fits you perfectly. It's essential that the proportions are right, seams are smooth and that you feel comfortable when seated. Women in particular tend to overlook sleeve length - if you are petite, it's a given that you'll need to have the sleeves of the suit jacket shortened. A talented tailor can work miracles.

3. Accessories are the frosting on the cake. Your shoes should be polished and in excellent shape - people notice! The same is true of your brief bag/handbag, and please leave the backpack at home. A man's belt should match his shoes, and of course socks are always the color of his trousers, not the shoes. Jewelry on women should be seen and not heard (and if you have an engagement ring that's so big it "shouts," leave it at home during the interview process).  

Elegant Accessory of the Month
Dainty Pump

Anyi Lu Shoes

Elegant Executives know that shoes are the most important accessory going. These handmade shoes from Italy are perhaps the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, and they look fantastic. Pictured here is a the Dainty Pump, available at Nordstrom.

Anyi Lu Shoes

CommunicationElegant Communication Tip of the Month

Paying Attention
Multitasking while talking to someone isn't only rude, it's a major waste of time. Studies prove that humans are not able to do two things at once well. Elegant Execs understand there is a big payoff for being known as a great listener. Those who listen well are perceived as being more thoughtful, more empathetic and more intelligent. 

The next time you're interacting with a client, whether in person or on the phone, resist the temption to check your BlackBerry, email or Facebook account, and focus on what's being said. As the person speaks, do your best to stay in the moment and listen closely. Our minds tend to wander naturally, and it takes consistent practice to develop solid listening skills.

One tip is to formulate questions in your mind that will help you follow along with what's being said. For example, if you hear, "I'll be coming into town next week...", you would internally formulate the questions, "for what reason?" "when exactly?" and perhaps, "for how long?" Typically, the speaker will finish the sentence thusly: "I'll be coming into town next week, probably Tuesday afternoon, for the Simpson meeting on Wednesday, and I'll take the 6 o'clock train home Friday." 

In meetings, ask if you may take notes. Jotting down questions as they occur to you will allow you to listen more closely without interrupting - a major no-no. If your noted questions aren't addressed as the discussion comes to a close, you'll be able to follow up in a more organized and efficient manner. 

Here's one more tip: if you're talking on the phone with someone, or sitting through a conference call, reach for the sketch pad. It seems that doodling while listening can actually help you focus and retain more information.

Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.