Neels&Company The Elegant Executive Newsletter

The Elegant Executive
Vol. 3, Issue 1                            January 2012

Quick Links

Keeping Track of Time

Praise Pays


Our I Hate to Shop! e-books are now available 

We've just launched four new e-books for the professional woman who hates to shop but still wants to look great.


We're so confident you'll find tremendous value in these guides, we're guaranteeing it! We'll refund 100% of your money if our shopping strategies don't save you time, money and frustration.


Each e-book is only $12. For a limited time, get all four now for only $37.


Volume I

Corporate Environment

For women working in professional services and other conservative enviroments. In addition to information on body type and color selection, you'll learn the basics of how to shop for and build a wardrobe that works for you. 


Volume II

Corporate Environment Advanced

Ever wonder why designer clothing costs so much? Want to know what details make the difference? This edition has exclusive interviews with industry experts, including the Wall Street Journal's Christina Binkley, and is geared toward the current and prospective C-level executive.


Volume III

Business Casual

The same essential information as Volume I, but written for those who don't need to wear a suit every day. Learn what business casual is and what it isn't.


Volume IV


The last thing put on is often the first thing noticed. Accessories are the spice in one's wardrobe and are easy to wear once you know how.



Place your order now on our website.


Free Teleseminar
Series Starts 2/2/12

Join us the first Thursday of each month for the Elegant Executive Teleseminar  Series hosted by Gretchen Neels.
We will cover business etiquette, communication and the many ways to present your very best self in 2012.

Register Today For:

Contact Us

Gretchen Neels
Neels & Company
P. O. Box 33937
Washington, DC 20033

Welcome to The Elegant Executive


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.

DressPlan for Success

Don't let the next 12 months fly by without putting a plan in place to make this coming year your best ever. Below is a Professional Development Plan I recently put together for a coaching client who wanted to work on three things: (1) more visibility at work, (2) more self-confidence, and (3) better networking skills.


Keeping things as simple as possible, I've asked my client to do only three things each month, building on the previous months' work. I invite you to take a little time to put together a similar roadmap to maximize your success in 2012.


2012 Professional Development Plan (Sample)




1. Write down three words you want people to think of when they meet you for the first time (such as smart, confident, trustworthy, etc.). These three adjectives are the basis of your personal brand, which all manner of verbal and non-verbal communication must support.

2. Ask yourself if your clothing, hair and make-up add or detract from your professional brand.

3. Purge what no longer works when it comes to clothing and grooming. Hire a private stylist if need be, or make an appointment at a department store with a stylist to ensure your "look" supports your brand.




1. Join Toastmasters to be a better speaker and work on self-confidence (alert marketing department that you will be available as a speaker in a few months).

2. Join women's affinity group at the firm.

3. Volunteer for a role on the affinity group's social committee.




1. Identify three people at the firm who could possibly be a mentor.

2. Invite each for coffee or lunch away from the office and discuss with each your reasons for getting together and what specifically you would like them to help you with.

3. Follow up with a thank-you note to each person. Did one or two accept your request?




1. Assess first quarter accomplishments and give yourself a pat on the back if warranted. If not, what did you miss? It's only April, keep pushing.

2. Beef up LinkedIn presence (read The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success by Wayne Breitbarth).

3. In an effort to maintain a balanced life, choose an activity you would like to participate in or a class you'd like to take that is in no way connected to work (yoga, mountain biking, Mandarin Chinese). Put class(es) on the calendar for May/June/July.




1. Ask 3 past clients for recommendations on LinkedIn profile; write 3 unsolicited recommendations for people on LinkedIn.

2. Commit to reading local newspaper and Wall Street Journal every day.

3. Attend one networking event out of your comfort zone (bring business cards).




1. Write one article on area of expertise and post it on profile page of LinkedIn.

2. Send this article to past clients and prospects as a way of keeping in touch; ask them to forward it to people who might be interested in the topic.

3. Speak to marketing department about potential speaking events appropriate for you. 


We'll share the rest of the Professional Development Plan with you in next month's issue. 


 Neels & Company MMXII All rights reserved.  


Elegant Accessory of the Month
Skagen WatchSkagen WatchSkagen Watch

Essential TimepieceSkagen Watch

Skagen WatchBack in the day, everyone wore a watch to work. I can remember the sinking feeling I would get if I happened to leave my watch behind. Today, many professionals have traded in the watch and manage their time instead with a smart phone or other electronic appendage. However, wearing a watch sends a myriad of signals to others, and if you're in a business where time is money and you bill by the hour, an elegant watch is an essential accessory. 


Love the clean lines of this stainless Skagen watch available at Nordstrom for $110. Men's versions also available.  


CommunicationElegant Communication Tip of the Month
Wine glass

Praise Pays
Psychologist Bruna Martinuzzi says that "Recognition and praise are indeed high octane fuel for the soul. When we receive a genuine compliment, we experience an inner glow - it's a warm, magical feeling that makes us break into a smile. It makes us want to go the extra mile for the person who bestowed the sincere compliment."
The Power of Praise is not to be taken lightly. Baby Boomers like it. Gen Xers love it, and Millennials - well, they've simply gotta have it. Because we're all doing more with less, can you think of anything else that costs nothing, yet has such a high return on investment? Praise pays. 
1.Try never to let an opportunity to praise go to waste. It costs nothing, yet will add significantly to an organization's bottom line over time (think retention, for example).
2.  Be specific when you point to someone's achievement and why you think it's worth mentioning. "This was pure genius," or "I would have missed this if you hadn't picked it up," beats the heck out of a simple, generic, "job well done." The praise does not have to be elaborate, but it does need to be genuine. And finally...
5. Let the words do their magic. Don't follow up words of praise with conversation about more work. Deliver the praise and leave - it will have much more of an impact.
 Hand that gives roses
Chinese proverb: A bit of perfume always clings to the hand that gives roses.


Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.