The Elegant Executive /blog Just another WordPress site Sat, 21 Jan 2012 21:53:10 +0000 en hourly 1 Free Elegant ExecutiveTeleseminar Series for 2012 /blog/free-elegant-executiveteleseminar-series-for-2012/ /blog/free-elegant-executiveteleseminar-series-for-2012/#comments Sat, 21 Jan 2012 21:53:10 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=247

Continue Reading "Free Elegant ExecutiveTeleseminar Series for 2012"]]> For three years, Neels & Company was a content provider to West LegalEdCenter, the largest provider of online continuing legal education in the country. We loved doing the programs for West, and wish to continue providing soft-skills training to a broader audience. Our new Elegant Executive Teleseminar Series is comprised of monthly half-hour programs designed to enhance the softer side of your career. We’ll offer tips, information and advice to make you a more effective and elegant executive. Our teleseminars are offered on the first Thursday of each month from 12:00 -12:30 (Eastern Time). Registration is required, but these professional development learning events are free of charge.

Below is the schedule with links to sign up:

Effective Email Etiquette – Thursday, February 2, 2012 Noon

Learn how to write clear and concise email messages that your readers will actual read and act upon. This session will also cover the business etiquette dos and don’ts to ensure your email messages are always well received. Click here to register.

Working the RoomThursday, March 1, 2012 Noon

Master the art of small talk and learn how to connect with others at cocktail receptions, industry-related events and other networking situations. Get your personal professional development plan off to a great start by meeting new people and cultivating rewarding business relationships. We’ll cover effective communication techniques, three questions that will get anyone talking, and how to juggle a glass of wine, plate of food and a business card. Click here to register.

Confidence – What it IS and How to Get More of It – Thursday, April 5, 2012 Noon

High levels of confidence are essential to all professionals. In this teleseminar you will learn what confidence is, what it isn’t, and how to develop more self-confidence when necessary. We’ll speak with a mental health care professional and get clarity on the difference between confidence and arrogance. Click here to register.

Stress Management – May 3, 2012 Noon

It’s more than just saying “Ooohhhhmmmm,” but that’s a good place to start! In this program we’ll cover why managing stress is one of the best things you can do for your health, and what techniques are available to those of us struggling with too few hours in the day. Click here to register.

So, You Say You’re a Good Listener… – June 7, 2012 Noon

Most people think they have great listening skills, but few really do. Learn why it’s important to be a good listener, and how listening well can help you build stronger relationships and connect better with clients and colleagues. We will explore the concept of “active listening” and how you can begin to apply better listening techniques immediately. Click here to register.

Going the Extra Mile – July 5, 2012 Noon

While truly great customer service is a rarity, most of us have experienced it and know it when we see it. This program will define what exactly great customer service is, and what elements of it you can begin to incorporate into your business life so that your clients and customers genuinely feel cared about and appreciated. We’ll also address how to handle others when their customer service skills need an upgrade. Click here to register.

Telephone Etiquette – August 2, 2012 Noon

Because more communication is taking place electronically in the workplace, many people have forgotten their manners when it comes to speaking on the telephone and leaving voicemail messages. Talking by phone is often the basis of a first impression, so you’ll want to get it right the first time (and get your calls returned!). Click here to register.

Dressing to Impress (Men) – September 6, 2012 Noon

Our non-verbal signals to others start with what we are wearing. Like it or not, first impressions are based in large part on clothing and grooming within a blink of an eye, and in this economy, no professional can afford to send this signal: “I’m comfortable and couldn’t care less what you think of me.” We’ll cover appropriate dress for business casual and more formal office environments, what to wear to a client meeting, and review some grooming basics.  Click here to register.

Dressing to Impress (Women) – October 4, 2012 Noon

Our non-verbal signals to others start with what we are wearing. Like it or not, first impressions are based in large part on clothing and grooming within a blink of an eye, and in this economy, no professional can afford to send this signal: “I’m comfortable and couldn’t care less what you think of me.” We’ll cover appropriate dress for business casual and more formal office environments, what to wear to a client meeting, and review some grooming basics.  Click here to register.

What it Takes to be a Professional – November 1, 2012 Noon

Whether this is your first internship, your first job, or if you’ve been working for years but find yourself in a “professional role” for the first time, this session is for you! Learn what it takes to be a professional, the type of image you need to project, and how to make this early part of your career the foundation for a fulfilling and balanced professional life. Click here to register.

Connecting With Your Boss – December 6, 2012 Noon

The relationship you have with your direct supervisor deserves attention. Are you nurturing this relationship proactively, or are you simply responding to requests and hoping for the best? In this session, you will learn what supervisors of all types want from their subordinates, and specific action steps you can take to enhance your career. Click here to register.



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Destructive Delusions #4 /blog/destructive-delusions-4/ /blog/destructive-delusions-4/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2012 09:51:31 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=164 4. Catastrophize: “When I get very frustrated, treated unfairly or rejected, I have to view things as awful, terrible, horrible and catastrophic.”

Drama queens (and kings!) are expert at turning small incidents into big-time disasters. Do you make mole hills into mountains requiring lots of energy and effort? Do you get others into the mix, convincing them of the catastrophy? Check your thinking and if the words “awful, terrible, horrible and catastrophic” come up often, it’s time to regroup and keep things in perspective.

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What’s Worse than Flip-flops? /blog/whats-worse-than-flip-flops/ /blog/whats-worse-than-flip-flops/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2012 14:09:28 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=229

Continue Reading "What’s Worse than Flip-flops?"]]> I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, where flip-flops were what we kids wore to the beach, pool and around the neighborhood when we weren’t wearing our roller skates. These plastic, quasi-disposable “shoes” were merely a means to avoid blisteringly hot sand and black-top, otherwise we were happy to be barefoot. No adults ever wore them past the swimming pool parking lot.

Whenever I see professionals wearing these play shoes with skirts, dresses or pants, I cringe. The message they are sending is “I’m really a kid at heart and frankly, would rather be barefoot.” I’m not so sure that’s the right message for these times.

Readers, when it comes to footwear, what’s worse than flip-flops in your opinion?

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Destructive Delusions #3 /blog/destructive-delusions-3/ /blog/destructive-delusions-3/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:22:05 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=162

Continue Reading "Destructive Delusions #3"]]> 3. Changing Others: “I have an obligation to change others who act unfairly or obnoxiously.”

It’s impossible to change another person’s thinking, behavior or outlook. We can share information that may have an impact on one’s thinking, behavior, or outlook, but the recipient has to be ready to hear it and act upon it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

If you feel that it’s an obligation to “fix” someone at work or home, stop right now and think about all the faults and shortcomings you have that could benefit from this energy instead. Focusing this year on changing ourselves for the betters rather than changing others makes far more sense and will yield rich rewards.

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Destructive Delusions #2 /blog/destructive-delusions-2-2/ /blog/destructive-delusions-2-2/#comments Tue, 10 Jan 2012 09:47:06 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=209 2. Making Mistakes: “I must prove thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving at all times.”

Re-read that sentence, and really let it sink in. Now, think about some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the course of your life. In each case, I’ll bet you learned more through your mistakes than your accomplishments.

To err is human, right? We have good days and bad days, and many days somewhere in between. Give yourself a break when you make mistakes. Admit when you’re wrong, learn from the experience and move on.

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Q-1 Style Update (Corporate Dress) /blog/q-1-style-update-corporate-dress/ /blog/q-1-style-update-corporate-dress/#comments Wed, 04 Jan 2012 09:21:47 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=198

Continue Reading "Q-1 Style Update (Corporate Dress)"]]> Now is the time to take advantage of post-holiday sales and add some color to your wardrobe.

In many parts of the country, January is cold and dreary. If you’re lucky enough to live in Southern California or Florida maybe this post isn’t for you. But for readers from Maine to Minnesota and clear down to Memphis, read on to learn how to give your wardrobe a little lift that will help transition from the winter doldrums to the first hints of spring.


The easiest way to punch up your wool suit is with a colorful shirt and tie combo. Consider wearing a light blue, light pink, or blue and white stripe shirt with a necktie that puts you slightly out of your comfort zone. If you’re not good with mixing color and pattern, speak to a helpful sales associate for ideas (they’re great at this kind of thing at Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus).


Brighten your suits and separates by adding a solid block of color underneath in the form of a cashmere or cashmere/silk/wool blend sweater. Are you already making the argument that cashmere is too hot to wear under a jacket? Think again. Cashmere comes in a number of weights that will be comfortable. If you’re still worried about too much warmth, look for a cashmere sweater blended with silk and perhaps a little cotton. The sleeveless sweater pictured is also great for warm office environments. You’ll feel fabulous every time you wear it, and when cared for properly, it will last for many years.

Those who wear cool neutrals such as gray, navy or black, should go for a bright jewel tone top. Women who wear warm neutrals including brown, chocolate, camel or olive can jazz things up with a turtleneck, scoop neck or V-neck sweater in a shade of orange or yellow. A warm red from the red-orange side of the color wheel (rather than the blue-red side) is especially appealing with chocolate and camel.

The elegant executive makes it a point to look fashionable, but is never a slave to fashion.

If you’d like to learn more about color, core neutrals and dressing well, be sure to check out our new e-book series, I Hate to Shop! But Still Want to Look Great. These four volumes cover corporate and business casual dressing for the female executive who wants to look her best. Please visit the store on our website to learn more and order your copies! (Available January 15th.)


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I Hate to Shop! E-books about to launch /blog/i-hate-to-shop-e-books-about-to-launch/ /blog/i-hate-to-shop-e-books-about-to-launch/#comments Tue, 03 Jan 2012 22:04:32 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=218

Continue Reading "I Hate to Shop! E-books about to launch"]]> We divide women into two categories: those who love to shop, and those who hate it. If you find yourself in the latter group, our I Hate to Shop! But Still Want to Look Great guides were written just for you! My editor assures me the e-books will be ready January 15th, as planned.

  • Do you have a closet full of clothing but nothing to wear?
  • Are you at the point where you know you need to refresh your work wardrobe, but you just don’t know where to start?
  • Do you find yourself leaving stores empty handed because nothing fits properly?
  • Once you get inside a store, do you become overwhelmed and discouraged by too many choices and not enough assistance?
  • Does the very thought of shopping put you into a panic?

 Whether you work in a conservative professional environment or a business casual setting, our illustrated I Hate to Shop! guides will save you time and money by showing you step-by-step:

  • How to determine your body type silhouette and what styles look best on you
  • How to determine your best colors, based on your hair color, eye color and skin tone
  • What proper fit means and what to look for when shopping for quality pieces
  • What basics you’ll need first, and how to add to your wardrobe over time
  • How to choose and wear the right accessories so that you always look modern and polished.

Go here to get an alert when the e-books are available and be the first to get your copies!  Listen to Gretchen’s intro here.



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Destructive Delusions #1 /blog/destructive-delusions-1/ /blog/destructive-delusions-1/#comments Tue, 03 Jan 2012 09:06:59 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=158

Continue Reading "Destructive Delusions #1"]]> For the New Year, I invite you to review the “Dirty Dozen Destructive Delusions” put forth a number of years ago by the American Management Association. Some may not apply to you, but I’ll bet a box of bons bons that at least one does. Let 2012 be the year to detatch from these energy drainers and realize that the name of the game is progress, not perfection.

1. Needing Approval: “Everyone I work with must approve of me at all times.”

You feel that pit in your stomach when someone in a meeting disagrees with something you said. You second-guess yourself and devote lots of head space dreaming about what you should have said or how you should have said it.

Enough! Let it go and realize you can’t please everyone, nor should you even try. Think before you speak and understand that if you’re not ticking some people off, you’re probably not being true to yourself.

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Being Quick to Apologize Makes You a Winner /blog/being-quick-to-apologize-makes-you-a-winner/ /blog/being-quick-to-apologize-makes-you-a-winner/#comments Thu, 29 Dec 2011 21:36:53 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=194

Continue Reading "Being Quick to Apologize Makes You a Winner"]]> I find the holidays stressful and am always quite happy to see the calendar turn over to January 2nd. In addition to eating too much, and perhaps drinking a little too much bubbly, I don’t sleep well and find myself short on patience between Thanksgiving and New Years. This year I snapped, unfortunately, and had to do some major damage control, which started with a heartfelt apology.

When you’ve done something to annoy, offend or really tick someone else off, the best way out of it is to say you’re sorry, without the “if” so often placed after the “sorry,” as in “I’m really sorry if I made you mad by drinking all the Captain Morgan Spicy Rum, leaving none for your eggnog.” Instead, just go with “I’m sorry I selfishly took the last of the Captain Morgan.” It’s all too easy to explain away bad manners and inconsiderate behavior (Jerome had plenty of spicy rum, darn it, so I’ll just finish the bottle…). Going into the New Year, make it a point to apologize quickly and sincerely, without any ifs, ands or buts.

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Post-Christmas Shopping /blog/post-christmas-shopping/ /blog/post-christmas-shopping/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2011 18:45:41 +0000 Gretchen Neels /blog/?p=191

Continue Reading "Post-Christmas Shopping"]]> While electronics and toys are the items of choice for Black Friday shoppers, softer goods, such as clothing and luxury handbags, shoes and other accessories are what shoppers want after Santa’s departure and the stores are full of great deals.

Neiman Marcus, for example, has taken an additional 25% off clothing already marked down 30-50%. This is the perfect time to add something special to the basics in one’s wardrobe: a cashmere sweater, a silk scarf, a pair of wool trousers, an expensive dress that’s not so expensive with the discounts, etc. Just remember to make a list and a budget before you head out the door, stay within your personal color palette, and totally love, not just like, what you purchase.

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