Category Archives: Holidays

How Can You Make Your Resolution a Reality? It’s all in the Timing

“Timing: the alpha and omega of aerialists, jugglers, actors, diplomats, publicists, generals, prize fighters, revolutionists, financiers, dictators, lovers.”

Marlene Dietrich didn’t speak often, but in this instance it was worth waiting for.

I bring this up today as it is currently the time of year when we are fired with resolutions, goals, plans…. But while our New Year’s resolutions are at the forefront of our mind, our sense of purpose may already be tinged with doubt, dread, dismay, etc, as we realize that it’s not enough for us to want or need to re-shape our lives. We need to consider the lives of those impacted in order for us to be truly effective.

Why? Because although most of us pay lip service to the idea of “waiting until the time is right,” we also live in a culture of immediate gratification, which I believe has thrown off our sense of timing, and causing distortion in our judgment—ranging from the slight to the extreme—but inevitably causing an enormous amount of unnecessary push/pull within our relationships.

For instance, we send someone an email requesting their participation, reaction, decision, and because we know when we sent it, we have a pre-conceived idea about when we might hear back from them. When we don’t, we begin our internal storytelling, ‘He must be thinking this,” “She must be doing that.”

And while this might seem a small thing, it’s small like a hangnail: until it’s addressed, it occupies an inordinate amount of our mental space.

For example, we might call a long-term customer on the day his annual report is due, and take it personally when he doesn’t have the bandwidth to give us feedback on our new product offering, or we might take rejection personally when a new sales call tells us it’s not a good time, not knowing that he’s late for his anniversary dinner.

We don’t recognize that these are important plot points in the other person’s life.

So how can you begin to raise your awareness of the importance of timing in a relationship? One way is to watch a little more TV or a few more movies. (I bet you didn’t see that coming.) I recommend this because most of have heard of television shows and screenplays having ‘beats’: moments within their structure where we feel the need for something to happen. Beginning to think of a relationship having ‘beats’ is one way to step back from the particulars of the situation and look at the larger whole.

What’s an example of ‘beats’ with a movie? Well, screenplay calculator offers the following formula for a screenplay of 110 pages:

Opening Image: pg 1

Establish Theme: pgs 1 – 5

Setup: pgs 1 – 10

Inciting Incident: 12

Debate – Half Commitment: pgs 12 – 25

Turn to Act II: 25

Subplot intro by: pg 30

Fun – Games – Puzzles: pgs 30 – 55

Tentpole – Midpoint – Reversal: pg 55

Enemy Closes In: pgs 55 – 75

Low Point: pg 75

Darkest Decision: pgs 75 – 85

Turn to Act III: pg 85

Finale – Confrontation: pgs 85 – 107

Aftermath: pgs 107 – 110

Final Image: pg 110

As you can see, there are multiple moves within the narrative. Similarly, there are likely to be multiple moves within your relationship with another person. Learning to recognize these will help you to know when to show up with the gift, and when to withdraw the olive branch; when to hang back and let time go by, and when to lean in and ask for the favor, the money, the deal—could, in fact, cause you– when someone doesn’t offer you the immediate response you seek—to ask yourself, “Hmmm, I wonder where they are in their thinking/their day? Although I see this as an ‘inciting incident,’ they might be midway through ‘fun, games, and puzzles’ in another conversation; or contemplating their version of today’s ‘darkest decision.’”

Keeping these beats in mind is likely to ensure greater proportionality in the beats of your day, and your life— ensuring this year’s New Year’s resolution becomes a reality.



A Holiday Message from Frances Cole Jones

As 2010 ends I wanted to take a moment to thank you all so very much for your interest, feedback, and suggestions this past year– and tell you a bit about what’s in store for 2011.

I don’t know if you had a chance to see my piece on why mixing business and pleasure is a dangerous cocktail but this column is an ongoing assignment and I would love to hear what you’d like me to be writing about in the new year.

I’m looking forward to speaking on The Art of Sales at the Spark and Hustle conference in New York in March.

Topics for upcoming Wows of the Week include:

  • The importance of setting 3-day, 3-month and 3-year goals
  • Why “No” is just the opening gambit in a negotiation, and
  • How to use “quick wins” (not quick fixes) to boost morale for yourself and those around you

I’ll be adding a number of new items to the Wow Store—among other things, the search for the perfect women’s blue shirt appears to be drawing to a close– stay tuned.

I’ve been getting such great feedback from those of you who downloaded the Interview Wow app that I’m contemplating another. Details to come.

And “just so you know, FYI,” in the “upcoming future’ I will continue adding to my list of “core foundational” redundancies that drive me wild….Keep sending them along!

Most importantly, however, I would like to say how privileged I feel for the time and attention you have given this space this past year. I truly appreciate it.

With gratitude and joy,



Wow—It’s Time to Buy My Boss/Colleague/Client a Gift Video

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Wow—It’s Time to Buy My Boss/Colleague/Client a Gift

Yes, it seems it’s that time of year—not my favorite, if you must know. (In fact, in my dream world, I would be like Sleeping Beauty: eating the apple that has me fall asleep just before Thanksgiving, and having Prince Charming Heimlich it out of me on January 2nd.)

Since it’s unlikely that particular wish will come true, however, I thought I’d do a quick roundup of possible gifts for your boss, colleagues or clients, as well as cover a few I’d prefer you steer clear of.

In fact, why don’t we begin with those:

I think we can all agree that anything along the lines of a thong-party-pack/a full-body-wax/a gift certificate for a home visit from Super Nanny is likely to end poorly.

I’m also not a fan of a gag gifts/toys: magic 8 balls, miniature putting greens, desk-sized Zen gardens and the like. While they may be funny in the moment, they generally just end up being clutter.

What then, do I recommend?

While I understand this might seem like shameless self-promotion (likely because it is) the items I included in the Wow Store really are appropriate and thoughtful, and provide a nice mix of choices. They include items for:

  1. The tech-friendly: the charge-pod “spider” keeps all your devices fully charged, and allows you to extend the party to those around you
  2. The networker: a lovely card case will keep you from exchanging cards like you’re doing a drug deal—which makes me nuts. You need to make a big deal out of receiving someone’s card. Putting it away in your card case at the exchange, reassures the giver that your drycleaner won’t be the next person seeing it
  3. The control freak: elegant in-and-out trays and an 8-day-a-week planner keep your office from looking like you’re working in a goat’s stomach
  4. The frequent traveler: the ultimate piece of carry on luggage. Remember George Clooney in “Up in the Air”? Like that. Enough said.

Most importantly, everything in the store comes in at a variety of price points, so (with luck!) there will be something for everyone on your list.

Happy browsing!

SHOP the WOW Store Now >



3 Rules for Wowing Your Holiday Office Party

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3 Responses to be Thankful For Video

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3 Responses to be Thankful For

As we head into the first of the holiday festivities, many of us feel a certain amount of…Well, let’s say “trepidation”…at the thought of sitting down next to Great Aunt Ida or second-cousin Bob and hearing their ideas about how we “should” be living our lives/how our politicians “should” be running the government/how our children “should” be behaving, etc, etc.

With this in mind, I put together the following noncommittal responses for use during these family conversations. (Or, as my father used to say, “Opportunities to get to know each other better.”)

“I can tell you’ve given this a lot of thought”
This is one I bust out after I’ve been subjected to an extended monologue from a loved one. Why do I like it so much? Well, it begins with “I” as opposed to “you”, which is automatically less confrontational (particularly if you’re initial reaction runs along the lines of, “You have got to be kidding me!”)
That said, this phrase does include the word “you” which Yale University has flagged as the most persuasive word in the English language. (My caveat to that is, “Used appropriately.”)

“Tell me more”
While “Tell me more” doesn’t always roll trippingly off the tongue, I find it’s a great safety valve whenever I’m tempted to blow my stack—allowing my dearly-beloved relative to continue their diatribe while I collect my wits (and hopefully recover my temper.)

“Let me think about that”
I love this one, as it fulfills my single-most important quality in a conversation: truthfulness (After all, let’s face it, you are probably going to be giving it some thought once the conversation is over.) On the other hand, please note it commits you to nothing with regard to changing your lifestyle/romantic relationships/politics/personal grooming choices/childrearing policies, or any of the other topics that appear to be fair game when any family gathers to give thanks.

With all my best wishes for your joyful (and harmonious) Thanksgivings,