Tag Archives: Business

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You Can Survive The Company Holiday Party!

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It’s Company Holiday Party Time! You are either excited about it or loathing the idea of having to spend yet another couple of hours with people who you have to already spend the majority of your life with. (Hopefully your situation is the former and not the latter) Either way, I support you and I want to get you through it unharmed, unbothered and with your dignity, respect and professionalism in tact. I offer 6 easy tips that will help you to survive your company holiday party:

  1. Show Up –  I image3am certain that there are a million other things that you could or maybe even want to be doing other than attending a party with the people who you spend 40+ hours of your life with every week, BUT, hear me out first. It’s not the daily recurring Monday morning team meeting that helps to building relationships. It is actually the random one-off similarities and conversations that you share about personal things, challenges and situations. While I’m not inferring that you should spill your deepest darkest secrets with your co-workers, I do recommend that you engage in casual, social conversations when the opportunity is appropriate. What better environment to do it in than the Company Holiday Party.
  2. Drink, (If You Want To) But Know Your Limit – I get it; an open bar filled with all the image2wine, champagne and liquor that you could ever yearn for is quite tempting, but know your limits. If you need to eliminate the constant nagging co-worker who wants you to keep drinking your life away well after you have reached your limits, try the club soda with a lime fix. It looks like a cocktail, but it most certainly is not.
  3. Dress To Kill, But Don’t Murder Your Career – If there is a dress code, stick to it. Don’t be the one person who wore a suit to your company’s Christmas Sweater themed party. Also, mind your sexy. I highly encourage dressing all the way up when its appropriate to do so, but be mindful of your outfit lengths, low cuts and fit.
  4. image1It’s A Party, Not A Meeting –  If Lisa did or did not send the report to you or if you plan to attend next week’s finance meeting are not really important tonight. Take this opportunity to get to know people personally and enjoy the festivities of the evening. Work is not going anywhere and will be there for you to discuss further on the next business day.
  5. Taking A Date?  Introduce Them! – If you are inviting someone as a date to your Company Holiday Party (or any party for that matter), introduce them! It is your responsibility to engage them in conversations.
  6. Turn Up… IN MODERATION –  I know that the word party is  clearly in the title of this event and while I encourage you to party, I also want you to acknowledge and accept the fact that this is still in many ways connected to work. Do party, do dance and do have fun, but always remember that you must have some limits. Set those limits before you step in the door and stick to them.  image4

Are you facing another upcoming holiday party challenge and you are trying to determine how to handle it? Just send the question our way.  Send a note using the form below or feel free to post your question on any of our various social media accounts by clicking them below!

Until Next Time,

Happy Partying!

Scarlet

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I’ll Support You… If I Can Get A Discount

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SLP-280Who pays the full price for anything anymore?

Let’s face it…we are all trying to find a way to stay within our budgets, exceed goals and advance to what’s next, all with a particular (usually limited) amount of resources, right? So, trying to cut corners and take advantage of discounts, deals or promotions is pretty wise. But, when does this taking advantage approach turn into down right negligence?

It turns into this when you start trying to get over, get on or get the hook up at the expense of your friends and family and their goals.  For example, think about your friends who are small business owners. Do they provide a product or service or manage a place that you frequent? Is your first question every single time you stop by their establishment, “can I get a discount on this” or “come on, I know you can do something”?

You absolutely should try to stretch your dollar and make it go as far as it can, but I’m suggesting that you genuinely and whole heartedly support people – especially friends and family – without always peaking through the lens of “what’s in this for me“?

Supporting someone does not always have to come in the form of a monetary exchange. There are surely other ways to show your appreciation and support of someone, including:

  • Sending someone an article that has content that they would interested in
  • Passing along a discount that you can’t use but perhaps they could
  • Calling (actually picking up the phone and dialing numbers – not texting) someone just to say hello
  • At work, let a colleagues’ superior know they do an outstanding job
  • Encourage someone to try something you know they want to try, but haven’t yet because they’re scared, and offer to try it with them

Scarlet Says…no one wants to feel like their relationship with someone is solely based on their ability to provide a “hook up”. Take the time – when you are not in need – to show the people around you that you are grateful for them, so when you actually do need something, making the ask will be appropriate and not awkward.

As a treat to our Scarlet supporters and readers, I’d like to pay it forward to you. You now have an opportunity to try out your first Hello Fresh box at a deeply discounted rate. Hello Fresh provides weekly deliveries of farm fresh ingredients and delicious recipes to your doorstep and is a dinner party partner to Scarlet. Visit their website and use the promotional code, Scarlet35, towards your first box. Consider this our way of paying it forward! Happy Eating!

Until Next Time,

SC

Scarlet


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How To Entertain Like a Boss! National Etiquette Week – Day 5

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The E-Word – entertain, can really rattle some people. If you are used to being the guest versus being the host(ess), even considering entertaining family and friends may shake you up a bit. Contrarily, if you are the master host who regularly has family and friends over, today’s post will merely be a refresher, with perhaps a few new nuggets that you can use at your next event.

So, how is it done? How do you position and prepare yourself to host your own event? While being a seasoned, experienced and efficient event host takes a while to master, you can certainly pull off a dynamic event by following some key elements:

Mind Your Guest List

Your guest list just as important as the event itself. Unless you are in to planning and solely attending your own events, you’ll need some guests to make the event complete. Now, here’s the thing, which we mentioned in Wednesday’s blog post – Yes, YOU can host a dinner party too, all of your friends or acquaintances may not be complimentary of each other. So, this means that you’ll need to give some honest and careful thought to your guest list.  Complimentary personalities does not mean that everyone must be a parent, attended an Ivy League School or work in government. This just means that you will have to ask yourself some simple, yet effective questions in determining who is best to attend THIS particular event.

Questions like:

  • What is the maximum number of people my venue can hold?
  • Is there a theme for this event? Is my guest list representative of people that I would enjoy being around and would they embrace this theme?
  • Does my guest list consist of people who will only talk about themselves or are they open to collective discussions?
  • Is my guest list filled with people who have picky personalities that would pick this event apart piece by piece and make my night a challenge?

Now, you certainly don’t want to alienate your potential guests solely because they are picky or have certain expectations, but you do have to ensure that your event goes the way that you planned it. In a perfect world, you’d be able to invite any and everyone, but if you really want to have a successful, enjoyable and peaceful evening, do give some thought to who’s on the list!

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You Are The Event Host. Embrace It!

The bottom line is that you are the ringer leader, the front runner, the pioneer, the champion and the torch bearer for the event. People will likely accept an invitation to an event in large part because YOU invited them. While there may be good food planned, perhaps an expectation of great music and maybe event a hosted bar, many people would forego all of those things if the host left little to be desired personally. This is why you have to own this thing. This is your name, your vision, your personal brand out here, so invest some thinking and some planning into this!

Before your first guest knocks at your front door, rings your doorbell or sends that text that says, “I’m here”, you should already be in “host mode”. Host Mode (or as I referred to it in my wedding planning days, GO MODE) is when the imaginary director in your head says, ACTION. It is when you turn on your gracious ability to ensure guests are comfortable,  snacks are being snacked on, libations are being poured and people are generally having a good time. Mentally switching to host mode ensures that you will be fully ready to engage with your guests instead of finishing up last minute things in preparation for their arrival.

As you think through your event and what’s going to happen, you’ll also have to make some decisions on what you’re not going to do that may conflict with your regularly scheduled life. For example, perhaps you are a huge fan of Game of Thrones (as many people are), but subjecting your guests to watch it just because the season finale is on and it happens to fall on the same day as your dinner party isn’t the best move. Now, if everyone that you invited is a huge Game of Thrones fan, perhaps its not that big of a deal, but if it will detract from the focus of the event or bore half of the crowd, perhaps its best to just save it for you to watch another day.

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What’s On The Menu?

Whether you decide to go the cheese and crackers route or spring for sushi and an array of the finest cured meats, it is in your best interest to give some intentional thought to your menu selection. The menu selection starts with one fundamentally important component for all events, the five words that most of us dread hearing or considering – HOW MUCH IS YOUR BUDGET?  Being honest, up front and accountable to your budget will make your event experience a positively memorable one. There’s nothing worse than wrapping up what you thought was a fantastic event, only to realize that you spent 200% of what you thought you were going to spend.

As you move towards actually selecting your food items, make sure that the items themselves are complimentary toward any activities that you have planned. Have you ever had a delicious meal and ended up feeling immobile for the remainder of the day? Do you want to have a philosophical conversation after the food is served? Are you planning to have open dancing? If your food selection has consisted of an array of comfort food like, mashed potatoes, short ribs, greens and cornbread, chances are your guests are going to be completely wiped out and very much uninterested in rigorous activities. When choosing your menu, be sure to keep your overall goals in mind.

Additionally, allergies are no longer a uniquely rare thing that just a few people have. About 1:5 people have some level of an allergic reaction to food. This means that if you took a quick poll of your immediate friend circle, at least one of those people will have a food allergy. Chances are, at least one of the people that you plan to invite to your event has a food allergy, so you may want to have multiple options to choose from, or if your guest list is small enough, take a poll to see what you’ll include and what’s left off the menu.

When guests arrive, you shouldn’t be still preparing food, cleaning up or getting yourself ready. There are ways that you can cook the meal yourself and still be in hostess mode when your guests arrive. If you go this route, you’ll just need to watch the time and ensure that you keep a to-do list to ensure that you’ll be ready to rock and roll when the first guest arrives. If you decide to go the route of cooking all of the food yourself as opposed to hiring a caterer, you may want to consider meal or grocery delivery that could assist with the added hassle of a trip to the grocery store.

As a treat to our Scarlet supporters and readers, and because I am an avid user of Hello Fresh, you now have an opportunity to try out your first Hello Fresh box at a deeply discounted rate. Hello Fresh provides weekly deliveries of farm fresh ingredients and delicious recipes to your doorstep. Visit their website and use the promotional code, Scarlet35, towards your first box. 

Ok…now back to the list…

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How Wet Is Your Bar?

Right up there with your food selection choice lies another event component that requires some intentional thought – the bar and beverage choices. Generally speaking, your beverage choices are:

Wet Bar: consists of complimentary alcohol beverages during the event. (also referred to as an Open Bar)

Dry Bar: is completely void of alcohol or in some cases, alcoholic drinks that you can purchase.

Moist Bar: may consist of complimentary beer and wine and in some cases alcohol is available for purchase. Your decision to serve (or not serve) alcohol at your event is completely yours, but if you decide to, consult your budget first. Alcohol and food are usually the most expensive elements of any event. While an open bar is certainly attractive and will be very welcomed by your guest, if you are looking to reduce costs, consider a moist bar.

Also consider that, there are many people who do not consume alcohol or consume it, but are at a particular point in their life where they can’t consume right now, like pregnant women or people who are on specific medications. Of course you can have carbonated beverages, juice tea and coffee on- hand, but you could also take it one step further and have non alcoholic cocktails.

Scarlet Says…at some point in your life you just might get an urge to switch roles from guest to event host, and when you do Scarlet wants you to make sure that you are cool, calm, collective and pleased with the event outcome. Give yourself sufficient planning time, use these tips to your advantage and most importantly take time for you to actually enjoy the event yourself. Happy Planning!

Until Next Time,

SC

Scarlet


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When Customer Service Goes… Good?

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About 4 years ago, we were in the market for a travel agent to assist with planning our wedding in Mexico. Although I’ve had a significant amount of experience in wedding planning, doing so internationally wasn’t quite my thing, so I knew that I needed an experienced travel agent. With all of the do it yourself options online nowadays, coming across an experienced and dedicated travel agent seemed almost impossible.

I recall that some dear friends of ours, the now married coupled, Mack and Linda Ornsby Hendricks, had just hosted a beautiful wedding in Costa Rica, so I reached out to see if they had used anyone to assist, and luckily they did. Now, at a first pass, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Brenda has an email address that ends in comcast.net, which always makes me a bit eerie. I always expect that in business, a company or person should have a non-public domain name, but I digress. I pushed that piece of information to the side and took the recommendation at face value and reached out to her and I’m so happy that I did.

This is where the, now 4 year relationship, with our travel agent began. Mack and Linda referred us to a woman named Brenda Stock, who has been our consistent, reliable and dedicated travel agent since we’ve met her. While I take recommendations from my friends seriously, Brenda has surpassed the recommendation and went above and beyond proving that she is a highly qualified resource. She has even planned trips for my friends and family because of our recommendations. I was recently doing a brief tally in my head of how many trips she has planned for us or from a recommendation from us and that number is quite impressive.

But why? What has made Brenda’s service so outstanding and even caused me to push some usually, baseline business basics to the side. It really boils down to 4 things:

  • Consistence
  • Responsiveness
  • Professionalism
  • Industry Knowledge

Over the past 4 years, every encounter with Brenda has had the 4 components above. Unlike many professionals, who get used to your business, then begin to be a bit more lax in their responsiveness or professionalism, this is not the case for Brenda. The even more ironic and partially amazing things about this business relationship is that I’ve never physically met Brenda before; all of our encounters have been either via phone or email, which is completely against how I prefer to do business. Brenda gives her perspective of industry specifics and recommendations and she consistently meets or exceeds our expectations. In an industry where most people take to the Internet to “self serve” their travel needs, it’s nice to have a reliable professional who consistently exceeds expectations and does so with professionalism, industry knowledge and impeccable response time.

Scarlet Says… Customer Service has one key word that should be kept in mind – “customer”. The success or demise of a business is strongly indicative of how the customer is treated. If you want your business to succeed and thrive, take special care in how you treat your biggest asset – your customer.

Until next time,

SC
Scarlet 

Want to learn more about Customer Service Etiquette and how it can enhance your organization, just click HERE!


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Did Scarlet Renege?

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Always arrive on time. Make sure that you’re at least 15 minutes early. Respect the time of others.

These are statements that you’ll continuously hear me saying in both youth and adult etiquette classes. I’m a big advocate of being respectful and mindful of others’, especially as it relates to time. Time is undeniably the one thing in life you can’t buy, barter, steal, swindle or take back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

So, imagine the utter void in my gut as I was heading to teach a class recently and the nasty conclusion that I would be late became a realization. Traffic is absolutely monstrous in the DC area. Your quick 30 minute commute can easily turn into a one hour and 30 minute frustrating, prolonged and stop and go commute, and that’s exactly what I endured.

As I headed to class, locked and loaded with certificates, cupcakes and an excitement to teach about social networking etiquette, I was overly anxious about knowing I would be late.The traffic was relentless and didn’t let up for even a moment.

So, as I walked up to class, 35 minutes late for what was only a 60 minute class, I inwardly dreaded the would-be conversation. Now, I remind you that I did have cupcakes in hand, so of course, that has the potential to soften any blow. I bravely approached the girls and their mentors who were wasting a little time at the play ground as they waited for me. To my surprise, the girls and the mentors were all smiles when I walked up. I’m sure that apart of the smiles was directly linked to the sweet treats in my right hand. But, much of the smiles seemed genuine about just my attendance.

I immediately apologized for my tardiness, and even used it as a learning lesson of transparency for the girls. After a few moments of chatting, one of the more quiet girls in the class said quietly, “Mrs. Jacqueline, aren’t you always supposed to be 15 minutes earlier”. I replied “yes” and proceeded to tell her a little more about what led to the lateness and what she and I could do to prevent something like this happening in the future.

Quite honestly, this was one of the young ladies, who I didn’t think I was engaging. I was doubtful that she was really retaining or had taken an extreme interest in the instruction. Boy, was I wrong. She remembered almost everything I said and was chattier than ever that day.

Scarlet Says… Surely, there will be mistakes, delays, traffic and things that are completely beyond your control. If you are unexpectedly delayed every now and then, (hopefully) your normal on time, thoughtful and kind protocol will keep you level. Also, be mindful of your energy, messages and impact. As much as we go about our robotic and mechanical-like days, we sometimes become immune to our impact. What vibes, information, positivity or negativity are you projecting for others to pick up on?

Until next time,

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Scarlet


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Are You Hiring?

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While enjoying a yummy burger at this local burger shop in Grand Rapids, I witnessed a young lady come in to inquire about job openings.

Now, I was first surprised because I haven’t witnessed a young person inquiring about a job in a long time. I thought (like my siblings),that they had written off work as something that just us “old people” do.

Anyway, so while she was asking “are you hiring”, I couldn’t help but notice the outfit she had on. Now, the shirt she had on was cute…if she were hanging with friends or maybe even by herself, but not for pursuing a job. Now truly, maybe she just got the itch to stop in and ask the question, but what if the owner said, “Sure, how about you interview now”?… (which could happen)

Scarlet Says…Be prepared by dressing appropriately while out looking for a new job.

…until next time…

-Scarlet


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Thank you for stopping by to see us. What other kinds of etiquette do you think we should teach?