Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions

Etiquette Blogs

Pachter's Pointers Award

Pachter's Pointers was recently recognized as one of the Top 25 Etiquette Blogs to follow in 2018. 

 

See what all the buzz is about and subscribe to our blog.  

 

Your email:

 

06.11.2018
Barbara Pachter
1 Comments
I don’t have time to write well.   Do you realize how many emails I get a day!I often have to send a second email to clarify my first message. It’s aggravating.The comments above, expressed by participants in my writing classes, are fairly common. Many people seem frustrated and complain that they don’t have time to write clearly and professionally.  No one is perfect, and anyone can make a mistake occasionally, but if you make mistakes frequently, or have a number of them in any one email, your professional standing is likely to suffer, and the consequences could be serious. Following the three suggestions below will add only seconds to each email, but will help to ensure that you don’t make careless mistakes. This is not a lot of time to invest to enhance your writing – and your reputation. • Read your documents out loud. And read slow-ly, otherwise you are reading what’s in your head, not what’s on the screen. You are now more likely to notice any missing words, wrong words, misspellings, and wrong tenses of verbs. You will also hear the tone of your message. If the wording sounds harsh to you, it will sound harsh to the reader.  • Remember my acronym AIL. AIL stands for Address In Last. This tip will ensure that you don’t accidentally email someone before you have finished writing and proofing the message. You can’t send an email without an address. Even when you are replying to a message, it’s a good precaution to delete the recipient’s address, and re-insert it only when you are sure the message is ready to be sent.  • Double-check the spelling of the person’s name. Many people are insulted if their name is misspelled. And if you offend someone in the first line, they may not read any further. Check for the correct spelling in the person’s signature block, if there is one. Copy and paste the name to make sure you are spelling it correctly. If you are initiating the email, the last thing to do before you hit the send button is to check the “To:” line. People’s first and/or last names are often in their addresses, which allows you to check the spelling of the person’s name against what you wrote in the salutation.  (Additional suggestions about salutations can be found in my new book, The Communication Clinic.) Of course, there is a lot more you can do to improve your writings. But these recommendations alone will catch many of your errors. Isn’t your reputation worth those few moments? I post regularly on communication and etiquette.  We can connect via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and my website: www.pachter.comAbout: Barbara Pachter is an internationally-renowned business etiquette and communications speaker, coach and author of 11 business books. She helps individuals communicate more effectively and enhance their professional presence. Pachter is also adjunct faculty in the School of Business at Rutgers University.
21.10.2018
Barbara Pachter
3 Comments
I cannot believe how everyone was shouting in the meeting. No one heard anything and nothing got resolved. My coworkers post such vile things on their Facebook pages. I want to tell them that they’re all idiots. My colleague stopped talking to our intern because of the candidate she planned to vote for.  The recent outbreaks of uncivil behavior in the political arena have impacted our everyday experiences, as the comments above testify. But it's time for people to fight back, politely of course, and assert that being uncivil to one another is not the way we want public figures to behave. Nor is it the way we should behave ourselves. You can be “polite and powerful” and express yourself without resorting to bad behavior. You don’t have to mirror the impolite actions of others. If you want things to change, the change starts with you. Let me say that again: The change starts with you. Use these tips to encourage polite behavior in the workplace and in your wider world. (These apply to your social media postings, also.) 1. Don’t attack back. Remember that someone else’s bad behavior is no excuse for your own. I know this may be a hard concept to accept, and even harder to implement—but it’s worth practicing. If somebody says something to offend you, it may feel good to respond with a comment like, “Well, what do you know, you idiot?” But this type of response is not going to build your credibility or accomplish anything.  Plus, it gives the other person power over you, by getting you to say things that most people will regret later.  2. Disagree agreeably. If you have difficulty with someone, talk to the person. Listen to what he or she has to say. You can evaluate an idea without attacking the person who is promoting it. Explain your reasons. Saying, “I see it differently, and here’s why…” is a lot more productive than screaming at people or calling them names. Or, you can say, “Let’s agree to disagree and move on,” and you don’t discuss that topic. 3. Avoid inflammatory words. Using harsh words such as “stupid,” “ignorant,” and “dumb” only inflames a situation, and this approach is unlikely to lead to a positive resolution. Name calling is just wrong--and childish. Cursing at people is not only mean, it also reflects poorly on the one doing the cursing. (Additional information on word choice and how to respond assertively to aggressive comments can be found in my book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes.) 4. Remember that it’s hard to be nasty to people who are nice to you.  Keep “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” in your vocabulary. Greet others when you see them. Share, wait your turn, and be gracious toward others. Don’t interrupt people. Help them when you can. And be considerate when sharing space with others. This includes cleaning up after your meeting and making sure that you return any items you borrowed. These behaviors are common sense, but unfortunately they’re not always common practice. 5. Do something. If you really don’t like something, take action. Don’t complain to others, get involved. Join organizations. Volunteer for causes you support. Start a blog where you assertively (politely and powerfully) express your opinions – but make sure you follow your company guidelines, if you do.  6. Walk away.  And if you don’t want to do any of the above, you can always avoid hostile or impolite discussions by removing yourself from the conversation or taking a social media break. Pachter & Associates provides training and coaching on business etiquette and communication skills. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at 856.751.6141 or joyce@pachter.com.     
I was just given an assignment to present at a community meeting, but I have very little time to prepare. What should I do? This question was asked by one of my students, and it brings up a communication dilemma – how do you put together a presentation when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare?  This task can baffle the best of us. But there’s no need to panic. Here are some suggestions to put together a presentation quickly:    1. Think about your audience. Who are they? How much do they already know about your topic? What more do they want to know? If you address the needs and concerns of the people in your audience, they are more likely to listen to you.   2. Define your objective and the key points quickly. You don’t have time to waste. People often spend too much of what little time they have agonizing over these items. Make a decision and get started. You can now focus on what you want to convey to the audience. (Additional information on structuring your presentation can be found in my book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes.)  3. Consider whether you have any stories to support your key points. Stories bring your presentation to life. Keep them succinct and to the point. Your audience will remember the story, and as a result, they’ll also remember the message in your presentation. 4. Practice out loud. Have at least one practice. You want to hear how the presentation sounds.   5. Pay attention to your delivery. You want to appear confident and credible – even if you are uncomfortable. Use good posture, and look at people in the audience. Don’t sway. Avoid nervous fiddling, such as playing with a pen or rubber band. Dress slightly better than your audience, and speak loudly enough to be heard.  6. Don’t discount yourself. Avoid comments that belittle you or your talk. These include such statements as, “I hope I don’t bore you; I didn’t have a lot of time to put this together…” or “I know you didn’t come here just to hear me.”   7. Anticipate the questions. Once the presentation is together, spend just a couple of minutes thinking about the questions that you may be asked. Decide how you will respond to them. If you do, you are less likely to be caught off guard. There is a lot more you can – and should – do to prepare for a presentation, but these quick tips will help you prepare an effective presentation when time is short. Pachter & Associates provides seminars and coaching on presentation skills, business writing, professional presence, and etiquette. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at joyce@pachter.com or 856.751.6141. (www.pachter.com)
23.09.2018
Barbara Pachter
9 Comments
Help! I will never meet my deadline. What do I do? A colleague needed help with a large project. She has a tendency to procrastinate and occasionally misses deadlines. She is not alone. Many people have asked me how to accomplish something when they have limited time, are nervous about doing certain work, or feel overwhelmed by how much they have to do. Missing a deadline is not an option for me. I believe strongly that if you have a deadline, you meet that deadline! You do what you need to do to accomplish the task. Here’s a list of things that I suggested to my colleague. You can adapt them to your situations: 1. Break the task into smaller sections. When you divide a large task into manageable portions, the project can seem more doable and less overwhelming. 2. Use your calendar and set time aside for your project. When you spell out that you will work on something at specific times, it’s more likely to happen. But be realistic when allocating your time. You want to set yourself up for success – not failure. 3. Let things go. It is important to prioritize – which means you may have to delay less important or less time-sensitive tasks until your project is finished. I always gave up housework when I was working on a book! 4. Take a social media break. It’s amazing how much time people spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. A 2016 Nielsen report found that Generation Xers spend almost seven hours a week on social media, and Millennials squander more than six hours each week. Some reports say the average person spends 116 minutes a day on social media. So, you could gain an extra hour – maybe two – each day for your project simply by giving up social media for a while!  5. Ask for help. Can you delegate to gain some time? Can someone else run your meeting/prepare the slides/analyze the data/pick the kids up from school? This is a lot easier to ask of a colleague, partner, or friend if you have helped others in the past.    6. Multitask. I am not suggesting working on several things simultaneously as a regular routine, but when it’s crunch time, you need to up your game. Can you eat lunch or take your coffee break at your desk – while you continue to work?  Be creative. When I was on deadline for my etiquette books, I still wanted to spend time with my son. I solved this dilemma by asking him to proof my writings. This allowed him to feel he was an important part of my work, and enabled us to be together in my office. (A side benefit – he has great manners!) 7. Exercise.  Taking 20 minutes to walk, run, or stretch can help you to feel refreshed – and it also helps to dissipate any stress.  8. Anticipate problems. There will often be unforeseen hurdles — computer problems, equipment failures, or other people missing deadlines that affect your productivity. Think about potential problems ahead of time, and consider ways to overcome or avoid them. 9. Review and be accountable. Take a little time at the end of the day/week to review your progress. Stay positive and acknowledge what you have accomplished. This famous adage may be old but it’s still true: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Adjust your schedule, if necessary, to allocate more time to the project. You could also report to a trusted colleague or friend. My colleague would send me a daily text describing her accomplishments. She believed that this type of accountability helped her stay focused on her task.  10. Celebrate. When you meet your deadline, it’s time to celebrate. Thank the people who helped you, and enjoy your favorite indulgence. I always found chocolate chip cookies to be a great reward! Additional suggestions on career success can be found in Pachter’s books, including The Essential of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way to Success.  Pachter & Associates provides training and coaching on business etiquette and communication skills. For information, please contact Joyce Hoff at 856.751.6141 or joyce@pachter.com.     
11.09.2018
Barbara Pachter
4 Comments
My name is spelled correctly in my signature block; why do so many people misspell it in the salutation? It really bothers me. My colleague started one of his emails “Happy Monday to all!!!” He must have had too much caffeine that morning. Only my good friends call me Bobby – my coworker should use “Robert” or “Bob” in the salutation. Unfortunately, the salutation on emails provides endless ways to upset your reader, as indicated by the comments above from participants in my writing seminars. And, if you offend someone in the first line, that person may not read any further.  Here are suggestions from my book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes, on how to start your emails without giving offense:  1.   Spell the recipient’s name correctly. It may not bother you, but I want to impress upon you that many people are insulted if their name is misspelled. Check for the correct spelling in the person’s signature block. Copy and paste the name to make sure you are spelling it correctly. Checking the “To:” line is also a good idea, as people’s first and/or last names are often in their addresses. 2.   Don’t shorten a person’s name or use a nickname unless you know it is okay. Use the person’s full name (Hi Jennifer) unless you know it is okay to use the shorter version (Jen). 3.   Avoid “Dear Sir/Ms." This salutation tells your reader that you have no idea who that person is. Why then should the reader be interested in what you have to say?   4.   Use a non-gender-specific, non-sexist term if you don’t know the person’s name. You can use Dear Client, Customer, or Team Member. You can also use Representative, and add it to any company name or department name, such as “Dear Microsoft Representative,” or “Dear Human Resource Representative.”  5.   Salutations are recommended in emails. Email doesn’t technically require a salutation as it’s considered to be memo format. When email first appeared, many people did not use salutations. Eventually, people starting adding salutations to appear friendlier and to soften the tone of their writings. (After two or three emails have gone back and forth on the same email string, the salutations can be dropped.)    There is a hierarchy of greetings, from informal to formal, and you should match the salutation to the relationship you have with the recipient. The hierarchy follows this general format:    Hi,   /   Hi Anna,   /   Hello,   /   Hello Julianna,   /   Dear Justin,   /   Dear Mr. Jones, If the person you are writing to is a colleague, “Hi Anna,” should be fine.  If you don’t know the person, or the person has significantly higher rank than you have, you may want to use the more formal greeting: “Dear Justin,” or “Dear Mr. Jones.” 6.   Be cautious with the use of Hey. Hey is a very informal salutation (Hey Daniel,) and generally should not be used in the workplace. Opening with Yo is definitely not okay, no matter how informal your relationship with the recipient. Use Hi or Hello instead. Pachter & Associates provides training and coaching on business etiquette and communication skills. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at 856.751.6141 or joyce@pachter.com.    
15.08.2018
Barbara Pachter
5 Comments
“When did women start shaking hands? It feels awkward.” A very bright, talented, professional woman asked me that question. Initially, I was startled. Yet, as I thought about the question, I realized that many women in my seminars are reluctant to shake hands, and others do so incorrectly. The topic is attracting attention beyond my seminars. The dos and don’ts of handshakes have been in the news recently, largely because of highly publicized political handshakes such as those between President Trump and French President Macron, or President Trump and Russian President Putin. Occasionally, political handshakes have seemed more like a battle of wills than a greeting. So, it seems like a good time to revisit my advice on this important business greeting. In today’s workplace, shaking hands is not for men only. Both men and women need to shake hands, and to do so correctly. One woman told me she got her job because she shook hands at the beginning of the interview and again at the end. The manager told the woman that he chose her because she handled herself so professionally. Another woman realized that she had been the only one at her table who stood when she shook hands with her CEO.  As a result, she had a conversation with him; the other individuals did not.   Why do women sometimes feel uncomfortable about shaking hands? The reasons vary: 1. Some women were never taught to shake hands. It is not that these women were told not to do so, it is that they were not taught to do so. One woman in an etiquette class was shocked when she realized that she was not teaching her four-year-old daughter to shake hands, but she had already started teaching her two-year-old son to shake hands. 2. Women bring the personal greeting of kissing friends on the cheek into the workplace. This can be awkward, since you will not want to kiss or hug everyone you meet at work, nor will everyone be comfortable with that greeting. 3. Many women were taught that they did not need to stand when shaking hands. Before each of my seminars, I walk around the room to introduce myself to my participants and extend my hand in a greeting. Approximately 70 to 75 percent of men, but only 30 to 35 percent of women, stand to shake my hand. You establish your presence when you stand. Both men and women should stand when shaking hands. You will be judged by your handshake. Be honest: What do you think if someone gives you a limp handshake? Yes, you tend to think of that person as weak and unimpressive. (Additional information on greetings can be found in my book, The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat and Tweet Your Way to Success.) To shake hands properly:•    Extend your hand with the thumb up. •    Touch thumb joint to thumb joint with the person you are greeting. Put your thumb down, and wrap your fingers around the palm of the other person. •    Make sure your grip is firm, but don’t break any bones – it’s not a competition. •    Don’t over-pump. Giving two to three pumps is enough. Face the person, and make eye contact. And one more thing: It used to be that men needed to wait for a woman to extend her hand. But that is not true anymore. Today’s guideline is to give the higher-ranking person a split second to extend his or her hand, and if he or she does not, you extend yours. The key is that the handshake needs to take place.  Pachter & Associates provides training and coaching on business etiquette and communication skills. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at 856.751.6141 or joyce@pachter.com.   
29.07.2018
Barbara Pachter
6 Comments
Consider these scenarios involving young women: • A newly appointed vice president who said that she had never thought about becoming a CEO until her mentor told her, “You could be running this place in a few years.” • An unmarried college student who decided not to become a physician (her career choice for many years) because she wanted to “have a life.” She hoped to marry and have children, and decided that she couldn’t have a successful family life as well as a career as a physician. • The young woman who became all-but-invisible in her office because she rarely voiced her opinion.  On the rare occasion when she did say something, she spoke so softly that no one heard her. • The (formerly) successful businesswoman who said, “My husband does very well. I don’t have to work.” Yet she was bored at home and missed the challenges she had encountered at work. Though these examples touch on very different scenarios, they highlight how women can hobble themselves and restrict their careers through their own actions. Many of these career-limiting factors – situations that I began speaking about more than 20 years ago – are still evident in the workplace today, and affecting a new generation of young women. Before women can take control of their lives and their careers, they must recognize what they are doing to handicap themselves. Here are my suggestions: 1. Don’t set limits on yourself. Be open to opportunities. Aim high. More and more women are advancing in the workplace. You can be one of them. The vice president cited above noted that once her mentor expressed the possibility of her advancement, she began thinking that she could become the CEO of her company. 2. Don’t limit your options based on an unknown future. No one knows what the future will hold. There always will be obstacles, regardless of your choices. If you are smart enough to advance, you will be smart enough to find solutions. I know a number of career women, including physicians, who successfully balance having children and a career.  3. Appreciate history. Learn about the struggles of women in the past. Had it not been for the efforts of women before you, many of the opportunities that you have today wouldn’t exist. Oprah Winfrey said, “I have crossed over on the backs of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer and Madam C.J. Walker. Because of them I can now live the dream. I am the seed of the free, and I know it. I intend to bear great fruit.”  4. Learn from others. Have role models and mentors. What have they done that you can incorporate into your career? A woman in one of my seminars had four young sons, worked full time, and still found the time to earn her MBA. To help manage family and career, she had a to-do list that included weekly family meetings to discuss the upcoming week’s activities. 5. Support and encourage your friends and colleagues. Madeline Albright, first woman U.S. Secretary of State, said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Sometimes, telling a colleague that “You can do it!” will encourage her to go back to school. Helping a friend out when she needs an emergency babysitter may allow her to attend her night class. Remember, there’s truth to the saying, “What goes around, comes around.” 6. Pick the father of your children wisely. Once you have children, life gets more complicated. You will want someone who is a partner in every sense, someone who supports you and your career. 7. Present yourself assertively. Learn what you are doing, verbally and nonverbally, that could be detracting from your power. Speak up and let people know your opinions. Ask for what you want. There are numerous classes and books available that can teach you to present yourself assertively, including my free Special Report: 5 “Power” Essentials Every Working Woman Needs to Know, and my book The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes (McGraw Hill, 2017). There is not one perfect career path for everyone, but you want to be in control of your career. Explore your options, and think about what you really want. Why not go for it? You may be surprised at how successful you will be! Pachter & Associates provides training and coaching on business etiquette and communication skills. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at 856.751.6141 or joyce@pachter.com.  
08.07.2018
Barbara Pachter
10 Comments
There has been a lot of discussion about uncivil behavior lately, including in the media. For example:   -A recent Washington Post article, “When we fight fire with fire: Rudeness can be as contagious as the common cold, research shows,” discussed mounting research that shows rudeness can cause employees to be chronically distracted, less productive, and less creative.   -CBS This Morning talked about how incivility is rampant in our world today in a segment entitled: “Where's the civility in America? How rude behavior is contagious.”    Rudeness can be contagious – but it doesn’t have to be!  You don’t have to mirror the impolite actions of others.  The recent outbreaks of uncivil behavior in the political arena have impacted our everyday experiences. But it's time for people to fight back – politely, of course – and assert that being uncivil to one another is not the way we want public figures to behave. Nor is it the way we should behave ourselves. People can learn to express their differences at work and at home – without resorting to bad behavior. But the change starts with you. Practice these communication tips in person and online to help foster polite behavior in your workplace and world:  1. Understand that someone else’s bad behavior is no excuse for your own. Don’t attack back. If you respond to someone’s rude comments with your own, you are giving that person power over you – the power to get you to reply as a jerk. You don’t want to do that. I do realize that this is a hard concept to accept. But deep down you know that even though it may feel good temporarily to counter one offensive remark with another, in the long run it damages you. Comebacks along the lines of “Well, what do you know, you idiot?” are not going to build your credibility or enhance your reputation for maturity.  2. Stay calm. Take a deep breath. Tell yourself you can handle the bad-mannered behavior of others with grace.  3. Don’t insult people. It can be tempting to say something like, “How do you know so much about things you know nothing about?” But don’t. That’s offensive. Name-calling only inflames a situation. Cursing at people is just mean, and reflects poorly on the one doing the cursing.    4. Speak up. You don’t have to tolerate the bad behavior of others. Faced with such a situation, many people stay passive and do not say anything, which can encourage additional bad behavior. Some people may respond aggressively. They may yell, shout, scream, ridicule, admonish, or be sarcastic or condescending, which often builds more aggression.  But there is an alternative to being either passive or aggressive.   You can respond to others in what I call a “polite and powerful” manner. This means you respond – you speak up – and say something in a civil manner. Make sure you look at the person and speak loudly enough to be heard. Make yourself familiar with some assertive responses, such as those below, so you are ready to use them, when appropriate.   -Why do you say that? -Did you mean that comment to be as nasty as it sounds? -I’m offended by that comment. -Help me to understand why you say this idea is so stupid. -What information (or facts or data) do you have to support that position? -How do you know that to be true?  One caveat to all this advice: If somebody’s behavior makes you concerned for your physical safety, do whatever you need to do to stay safe, whether it’s leaving the area, calling for help, or some other appropriate action.  6. Avoid controversial topics. Co-workers, customers, clients, bosses, and vendors may have very strong, and very different, opinions about hot-button topics, such as politics. You don’t want to say something that may alter someone’s opinion of you and affect your working relationships.  5. Disagree agreeably. If you have difficulty with someone, talk to that person. Listen to what he or she has to say. You can evaluate an idea without attacking the person who is promoting it. Saying “I have difficulty with this because...” or “I see it differently and here’s why...” is a lot more productive than screaming at people or calling them names. Sometimes you may have to “agree to disagree,” and not discuss a particular topic. (Additional information on polite behavior and communication can be found in my books, The Power of Positive Confrontation and The Essentials of Business Etiquette.)   7. Practice the “It’s hard to be nasty to people who are nice to you” attitude. Courteous behavior will beget courteous behavior. Share, wait your turn, and be gracious toward others. Keep “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” in your vocabulary. Help people. Greet them when you see them. Be considerate when sharing space with others.   Pachter & Associates provides training and coaching on business etiquette and communication skills. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at 856.751.6141 or joyce@pachter.com. 
20.05.2018
Barbara Pachter
48 Comments
I have an etiquette request: Please remember to introduce yourself by name after someone has introduced himself or herself to you. This may seem like a little thing, but it’s important. Let me explain. Before most of my seminars begin, I shake hands with each participant and say, “Hi, I’m Barbara Pachter, your instructor. Welcome, and enjoy the day.” Many people respond appropriately and will introduce themselves, also. This kind of etiquette give-and-take paves the way for a connection between the two people, and makes it easier for conversation to begin. However, there are some participants who don’t give their names. They just shake hands, or shake hands and say “Hi.” An awkward silence usually follows, and I will often jump in and politely ask, “And, you are…?” When people don’t volunteer their names without prompting, they appear shy, timid or standoffish. As a result, making a connection or starting a conversation can be more difficult. It’s not just in my seminars that people fail to give their names. People tell me the same thing happens to them when they attend meetings and introduce themselves to the men or women sitting next to them. Why do people do this? In my classes, I know that some people are startled when I introduce myself to them. They are not expecting the instructor to practice this protocol. One woman sent me a thank-you note, emphasizing how much she enjoyed meeting me before the seminar started. She hadn’t experienced this with other instructors. Other people may not give their names because they are preoccupied, or because they simply don’t know they should do so. Monitor your own behavior. Pay attention when people introduce themselves, and please respond with your full (first and last) name. You may be surprised at what a positive difference it makes in your interactions with others. Additional information on greetings, introductions and conversation can be found in The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way to Success. Pachter & Associates provides training and coaching on business etiquette and communication skills. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at 856.751.6141 or joyce@pachter.com.
17.04.2018
Barbara Pachter
14 Comments
Consider these experiences: --During one of our Sunday walks, my husband commented that I was interrupting him. I apologized. Yet a few minutes later, he interrupted me. I asked, with a smile on my face, “How come I am not allowed to interrupt you, but you can interrupt me?” His response: “Is there a right answer to that question?” --A woman in one of my seminars told me about a delivery man who routinely walked into the office where she worked and greeted the women with "Hi, Hot Mommas.” One of her coworkers told him: “Please don't call me ‘Hot Momma,’ regardless of whether I am or not."  The next day, the man again visited the office and said, "Hi, Hot Mommas" – and then pointed to the woman who had confronted him and added “...except for you.” My presentations include many stories, and the examples above will find their way into some of my future seminars. Good stories reinforce and/or prove your key points. They create a picture for your audience, bringing to life the information you want to convey and making it much more memorable than a recitation of statistics or data. Following the steps below will help you to add stories to your presentations: 1. View your experiences as opportunities to find stories. Very few of my seminar participants forget my story of going to the bathroom with my mic on. I use it to illustrate the point that it’s not what happens to you that matters, it is how you handle what happens to you. Every story doesn’t have to be as extreme as my mic incident. You will soon build a reservoir of potential stories if: • You observe something that illustrates a point in your presentation.  • Someone says, “That happened to me…” in response to some point you are making. That person’s anecdote can add another voice to your information. • You reference someone in an article or book, or on a website, who proves your point. 2. Keep a story file. Write down or copy just enough detail of the story material so you will remember what happened. Keep this information in an electronic file or in an old-fashioned manila folder so the story will be readily available. 3. Prepare the story. When you start to put your presentation together, go to your file and choose appropriate examples to support your points. Don’t use people’s names, unless you have their approval or the person is clearly a public figure. Don’t criticize or belittle anyone, and don’t lie – but you can embellish the details a little for dramatic effect or to protect someone’s identity. However, never embellish specific details, such as statistics. Tread lightly with humor.  It can be effective, but it can also bomb badly. 4. Practice. In business presentations, shorter stories generally work best. Once you have chosen a story you want to use, practice saying it out loud, using as few words as necessary to convey your point. The more you include stories in your presentations, the more comfortable you become using them. Additional information on presentation skills can be found in my book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes. Happy Tales!   I post regularly on communication and etiquette. We can connect via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or my website:pachter.com  About: Barbara Pachter is an internationally-renowned business etiquette and communications speaker, coach and author of 11 business books. She helps individuals communicate more effectively and enhance their professional presence.  (bpachter@pachter.com)  

Home / About / Services / Shop Books / Media / Clients / Blog

Hire BarbaraE-newsletter / Free Report / Testimonials / Contact

 

P.O. Box 3680  /  Cherry Hill, NJ 08034  /  USA  /  Ph: 856-751-6141

Share This Blog

Stay Connected

Like us on Facebook

For additional business etiquette tips, Like us on Facebook.

Subscribe to Our Blog

Never miss out - enter your email address to subscribe to our blog.

Your email address:

Barbara's Latest Book

The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat and Tweet Your Way to Success

Buy your copy on Amazon

Free Report

5 "Power" Essentials Every Working Woman Needs to Know

About Barbara Pachter

Author of 10 etiquette books, Barbara Pachter is a leader in the business etiquette field, with over 20 years experience as an etiquette trainer and coach. Her first book The Prentice Hall Complete Business Etiquette Handbook in 1995 helped set the standard for the field, and her most recent book, The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way To Success continues to establish etiquette guidelines for the ever-changing workplace. 

She has given more than 2,500 presentations throughout the world and won numerous awards, including “Best 50 Women in Business in New Jersey.” Her books have been translated into 11 languages. Pachter is also adjunct faculty in the School of Business, Rutgers University. 

She is founder of Pachter & Associates, a business etiquette and communications training company. Her clients range from Chrysler and Microsoft to Pfizer, Cisco and Campbell Soup. 

Print Print | Sitemap
© 2016 Pachter & Associates all rights reserved. Reprint permission upon request only.