Mixing Business With Dating Doesn’t Work

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a business negotiation, and suddenly realized that a new element has been – sometimes delicately, sometimes not—added to the mix? And that that element is no less than– surprise– you?

Now I’m a big fan of business, and I’m a big fan of pleasure. I am not, however, enamored of the business and pleasure mix. For every one situation that works out, there are thousands and thousands of examples of situations gone awry.

And that’s when both parties are interested and free to become involved. Further complications ensue when you’re not interested, and/or when he’s not, in fact, single.

But let’s begin with the fairly straightforward scenario:

You’re single. He’s single. Everybody’s Interested–and No Company Policies are Being Violated.

Let’s tackle company policies first. Before entering into any kind of romantic relationship, you need to know that no ethics/corporate regulations are being violated.

In addition to checking in on the black-and-white version of the company policy, I also recommend doing a bit of asking around to see if there are any unspoken rules and regulations around inter-office/inter-client etc. relationships; not to mention any thoughts on “sleeping with the enemy,” should the person you’re interested in work in a competing arena.

If you get the green light, and the signals are overt–“Maybe we can have dinner tonight?” or “I’d like to see you outside of the office,” etc.–I think it’s important to be both kind and clear.

You might say, for example, “I would like that a lot. At the moment, however, we’re in the midst of a business negotiation/company project, and I don’t want either our deal/ project–not to mention our date–to be impacted by mixing business and pleasure. I’d love to take you up on your offer once we’re not professionally involved.”

If you’re working with someone who’s not as overt about their intentions you might say, “It seems like we’d have a lot to talk about outside the office, but I know you would agree that this deal/project is our first priority right now. Once this is complete, however, maybe we can get together for a drink?”

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10 Things Women Can Do Today to WOW Tomorrow

12/09 - 10 Things Women Can Do Today to WOW Tomorrow with...

Register for my upcoming teleclass, “10 Things Women Can Do Today to WOW Tomorrow” presented by the Downtown Women’s Club.

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Event Details

Join author, corporate coach and career expert Frances Cole Jones and learn (at least!) 10 practical, immediately applicable changes you can make today to guarantee you are more effective tomorrow, including:

  • How to ensure you are projecting your most authoritative self — in person, on the phone, and on the page
  • The proven formula for selling anybody, anything, anytime
  • Ways to gracefully handle interruptions, circumlocutions, and the occasional (preposterous) interjection

To view or download the presentation for this teleclass, visit the following link.

My List of the Top 10 Essentials of Good Etiquette

1. Please and thank you make the world go ’round. Use them frequently with everyone you meet– they’re not just for special occasions.

2. After ringing the doorbell, step back a foot. It gives the person opening the door some breathing space.

3. Always announce yourself first when calling. “Hello, this is X. May I speak with Y?”

4. If you’re the person being asked, “Is this X?” The correct response is, “This is he/she.”

5. When the restaurant’s maitre’d comes to seat you, step back and let your host or hostess proceed to the table ahead of you.

6. Your napkin goes in your lap upon sitting down at the table. On your chair should you excuse yourself to go to the Ladies or Men’s room. On the table when the meal is complete and you are leaving.

7. Unless you are expecting an emergency call– from a doctor, your child’s teacher, etc– electronic devices have no place on the table during a meal.

8. Short of visible shards of glass, or the possibility of anaphylactic shock, don’t comment on the food unless your comment is favorable.

9. If you are a guest and there is something peculiar about your food, or you would like a refill on your drink, tell your host and let him speak with the waiter.

10. Again, there’s no need to look at your electronic device in between finishing the meal and leaving the restaurant. Give your dining companions your full attention until your goodbye’s are complete.

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Five Tips for Confidently Speaking Up at Meetings

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The way you present yourself in company meetings can have a big impact on your career.

If you take the role of passive onlooker, for example, and never offer an opinion or comment, you may be giving off the impression that you’re not sure what’s going on — or that you just don’t care.

At the same time, if you speak up every chance you get, dominating everything to from the department budget meeting to the planning session for the holiday party, your colleagues may end up thinking that you’re overbearing — or that you just like to hear yourself talk.

Whether you’re the shy type who usually opts not to speak up — or you’re just the opposite — here are a five expert tips on making your point effectively in front of a crowd.

Here are a five expert tips on making your point effectively in front of a crowd.

1. Practice: Like anything, practice makes perfect when it comes to speaking up — especially if you’re shy.

“One way shy people can gain confidence to speak in meetings is to practice outside of meetings,” says Susan Newman, co-founder ofSchool2Life, an organization that helps students transition to the workforce.

“Share your point of view and participate in conversations in and out of the workplace. Doing this helps you recognize where the discomfort sets in. In time, it will get easier or more manageable because you’ll know what to expect from your nerves. So speak up and speak often.”

One of the best ways to get practice outside of the workplace is to join your local chapter of ToastMasters, a group specifically designed for helping people to improve their public speaking skills. The organization currently has more than 12,500 chapters globally, so chances are there’s one in your area.

CareerBuilder.com: Have an incompetent boss? You’re not alone

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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,

Frances