I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a “Hurdles and Help” workshop hosted by the BWA chairperson and Local PR guru, Michelle Brown. The workshops give women a chance to gain perspective on areas of business where they either lack confidence, experience or just need a fresh look at how they conduct themselves.
I must say I rather enjoyed the session, it’s a hands – or rather ears on approach to the unspoken rules of business women constantly negotiate their way through when getting ‘down to business’
Here are the 20 commandments – as tried, tested and sworn by Michelle – which us young ‘up and comings’ can ‘mantra-lise’
1. Embrace being a women – especially in times when you’re the only one around so u can capitalize, man-opalize and work your charm.
2. Technology can be interruptive . Leave your mobile device, laptop or tab off or put away. It’s respectful.
3. Business for women works better over breakfast or dinner, not over drinks. Bars are not conducive to good business dealings, or a good rep…
4. Listen more and always take notes.
5. Every now and then u have to move with the times, that means keeping tabs on trends and technology.
6. Personal contact is an effective tool, it helps to be aware of what is out there. We all love our emails but we are people after all – so – make sure to make face to face or telephonic contact.
7. Learn to accept challenges and try and find solution. Just breathe. You will find a solution, just take a moment to clear your head first.
8. Things happen for a reason. Remember and realize that in life you won’t get every job or contract. Look at the bigger picture. That thing you wanted might not be right for you right now, so get over it as quick as possible and get on to the next thing.
9. Do your homework about people places and products. For new clients – Knowledge and info gives you a confident edge. You have the power to start and maintain conversations. Research and knowledge gives you the power to connect.
10. Be assertive and know your worth. Don’t undermine yourself for any reason. Promote yourself, but not at the expense of being a bragger. Its just that you know what u can bring to the table
11. When you are networking, you need to exchange contact details. And you must Follow Up!!! This leaves an imprint of yourself and a strong impression with the other person.
12. Genuinely praise and encourage others. Email, text or call people in acknowledgement of their achievements . It shows you are doing your homework and builds stronger connections
13. You always have a choice. And it’s yours as to how you react and how you rise to the challenge. After all its not the situation that counts but how you overcome it.
14. The rules between men and women are different. Look at braai’s. Learn to play the game.. Know your sport, it comes in handy. Be assertive when entering a conversation. Involve yourself in the conversation if men are dominating it. Don’t be scared.
15. Network, share, mentor, connect. As a woman, preserve the connectiveness. Build on old relationships. Keep in the line of vision of people in prominent positions. Even if it’s an odd SMS or email.
16. Professional and ethical conduct is very important. Don’t badmouth as it doesn’t do anyone any justice.
17. Deliver on promise. Rather under promise and over deliver. Think of your reputation
18. Give a helping hand.. There’s always someone climbing the same ladder below you, doing the same thing, needing help. You needed it at one stage, pay it forward!
19. Follow yr intuition, your gut sense. Know when to walk away
20. Think or envision what your actions it will look like to the public tomorrow. This exercise will aid you in your decision making and conduct – as you must always conduct yourself with dignity. No one will think badly of you afterwards.
I hope these pearls of wisdom may fill a gap in your education, even if it’s a small one, because it sure did for me…. I’m sharing knowledge, now, the ball is in your court to do the same in some way…
Now go forth and conduct yourself in a fashionably fabulous manner!
. Michelle Brown doing her thing at a function