Should You Change Your Appearance To Get Taken Seriously At Work?

Should You Change Your Appearance To Get Taken Seriously At Work?

In an effort to get taken seriously as a young female CEO, Eileen Carey dyed her blonde hair brown, switched to more androgynous clothing and ditched contacts for thick-frame glasses.

While Carey’s change in appearance was dramatic, aspects of her story echo the decisions of women across sectors and other demographics.

Research from Harvard Medical School shows that, based only on appearance, people evaluate your competence and trustworthiness in a quarter of a second. For women who face other biases surrounding their age, race, or gender presentation, this adds another level of complexity to achieving coveted “executive presence”.

Read More

This One Tool Will Make Getting To Yes Easier

This One Tool Will Make Getting To Yes Easier

When women are asked what prevents them from negotiating, the most common answer is “fear of damaging the relationship.”

Negotiation doesn’t have to be adversarial. With the right mindset, it can be quite the opposite. The authors of Getting To Yes encourage counterparts in a negotiation to “sit on the same side of the table.” They suggest that instead of thinking of two attorneys battling it out in front of a jury, imagine instead you’re judges working together on a joint opinion.

Read More

Should You Have A “Pain In The Ass Tax”? Strategies To Define Your Negotiation Goals

Should You Have A “Pain In The Ass Tax”? Strategies To Define Your Negotiation Goals

Have you ever walked out of a negotiation only to immediately ask yourself, “What the hell just happened?” Both personally and professionally, there have been many times where I’ve been so concerned about the other person’s needs that I either didn’t articulate my goals or – worse yet – forgot to even consider what I wanted. 

Because my heartstrings were pulled, I’ve found myself taking on client projects I actively didn’t want and that didn’t pay enough to justify the aggravation. If I had created an ideal client profile and list of deal breakers beforehand, I would have known what I was looking for (and what to avoid like the plague) with each new prospective client.

Read More

What Houston Can Teach Us About Being Resilient At Work In The Face Of Tragedy

What Houston Can Teach Us About Being Resilient At Work In The Face Of Tragedy

Twelve years ago today, my friend Julia dropped off a Winnie the Pooh coloring book, a 64-pack of Crayolas, and a note that coloring has been shown to relieve stress. Hurricane Katrina had just made landfall and meteorologists were talking about my beloved hometown becoming the lost city of Atlantis. I spent the next week in my Dallas apartment struggling to get in touch with loved ones, watching the news, crying and coloring.

Read More

These Two Listening Tricks Will Help You Up Your Negotiation Game

These Two Listening Tricks Will Help You Up Your Negotiation Game

I am absolutely horrible at remembering people’s names. Moments after an introduction, when someone has just said their name, it’s already gone. I’ll go back and try to remember the introduction, but when I call back the memory, it goes something like this:

Me: Hi, I’m Lelia.
Mystery person: Hi, I’m [beeeeeeeeeep].

This has become such a frustrating problem that I’ve researched ways to get better at it. They haven't worked. But I did learn that one reason that it’s difficult to remember names when meeting new people is that we’re so focused on making a good impression that we forget to listen. Psychologists call this the “next-in-line effect”.

This happens all the time in negotiation. You can be so worried about what you’re going to say next or how to respond to that last point that you can forget to listen to what the other person is saying. 

Read More

This Children's Game Can Help You Negotiate

This Children's Game Can Help You Negotiate

Growing up, the local skating rink was the coolest place to celebrate your 12th birthday. Two-thirds of the way through the party, the staff (who all wore referee uniforms) would initiate a massive game of Red Light/Green Light.

To start, we would skate as fast as our prepubescent legs could carry us until a ref yelled, “Red light!”, at which point, we came to a screeching halt. The more talented among us would crouch on their skate’s brakes, poised to launch into motion at full speed at the next declaration, “Green light!”

Read More

3 Ways People Judge Your Executive Presence When You're A Woman

3 Ways People Judge Your Executive Presence When You're A Woman

We know executive presence when we see it. It’s that feeling you get when a woman walks in poised and polished, with the presence of a leader. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about how she carries herself, which of course, seems effortless.

We all want it, but how do we get it? Until there is a Harry Potter-style magic potion for executive presence, there’s Jennifer Lee, a director of training and development and executive presence expert.

Read More

How To Stalk Your Counterpart For Negotiation Success (But Not In A Creepy Way)

How To Stalk Your Counterpart For Negotiation Success (But Not In A Creepy Way)

If a friend told you they wanted to set you up on a blind date with their cousin, what’s the first thing you would do? Google the cousin, right? The same should apply to someone with whom you’re negotiating. Getting to know your counterpart can help you decide how to approach the conversation based on their personality, what they value and how they like to receive information.

Let’s say you want to hire me to write branded content for your business. Through some light internet research, you would learn that the other part of my business focuses on public speaking and my best friend lives in Dallas (I write about him often). If you were asking me to decrease my contract fee, you could offer me the paid keynote at an upcoming conference or include a trip to your Dallas office to sweeten the pot and encourage me to offer a lower rate.

Read More

The Muse Founder Kathryn Minshew On How To Find A Meaningful Career

The Muse Founder Kathryn Minshew On How To Find A Meaningful Career

Photo credit: The Muse

As co-founder of the popular career website, The Muse, Kathryn Minshew is deeply immersed in the career advice space. While tips and tricks can be helpful, the thing she wishes we talked about more is how deeply personal careers are.

It’s tempting to believe “there are such things as good jobs and bad jobs, good companies and bad companies,” Minshew explains. Lists like ‘100 Best Places to Work’ oversimplify what it means to be a good employer. And they completely overlook the nuanced combination of qualities that make a company the right fit for you.

Read More

Overcome A Negotiation Impasse With This One Question

Overcome A Negotiation Impasse With This One Question

You know those moments when you’re at a dead end in a conversation with your boss, partner or airline customer service rep? Whether it’s explicitly stated or not, your counterpart is saying, “There’s nothing more I can do,” or “This conversation is over,” but you’re not ready to throw in the towel.

I’ve hit many such roadblocks recently. Over the last week, I’ve been booked on a total of 16 flights trying to fly to and from two (2!) client events. While my travel karma is usually excellent, I found myself negotiating with many an airline employee due to weather delays, unrealistically tight connections, and a particularly embarrassing personal first – waking up 30 minutes after my early morning flight departed.

Read More

Venture Capitalist Jillian Manus On 'The Pitch' And Why She Abhors 'Shark Tank'

Venture Capitalist Jillian Manus On 'The Pitch' And Why She Abhors 'Shark Tank'

Jillian Manus is something of a legend in the world of venture capitalists, and I can see why. Based on my time with her, she's exceedingly insightful, candid as hell, and downright hilarious.

Professionally, she's a managing partner at Structure Capital, a Silicon Valley early-stage venture capital firm, where she provides strategic support to founding teams, focusing on creating value in underutilized assets and excess capacity.

Photo curtesy of Gimlet Media

Read More

Try This Mental Trick To Manage Impostor Syndrome

Try This Mental Trick To Manage Impostor Syndrome

Know that needling feeling at the back of your mind that you’re a fake, your success was good luck or an accident, and soon (maybe today!) everyone will discover your secret? Impostor syndrome is all too common among high-achieving women.

Actress Jodie Foster summed it up nicely, “When I won the Oscar, I thought it was a fluke. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take it back. They’d come to my house, knocking on the door, ‘Excuse me, we meant to give that to someone else. That was going to Meryl Streep.’“

Read More

3 Easy-to-use Templates And Strategies For Effective Networking

3 Easy-to-use Templates And Strategies For Effective Networking

We constantly hear networking is important, but women can face negative consequences for perceived self-promotion. Plus, it can feel downright uncomfortable to make requests of your professional contacts, asking them to introduce you to others. Here are the strategies and templates I use to make e-introductions less painful and more effective for everyone involved.

Read More