What do thank you notes, self-doubt, confidence building, the Buccaneers and doing business on the golf course have in common?

Zoom mike ilitch School of business wayne state thank you notes, self-doubt, confidence building, doing business on the golf course

What do thank you notes, self-doubt, confidence building, the Buccaneers and doing business on the golf course have in common?

These are all questions and conversations stimulated from my most recent work with the students in the Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University in Detroit.  I know you have heard me say this many times before and it’s worth repeating.  The work I do with the students in the Corporate Mentorship Program led by two amazing women, Amber Conway and Emily Kravetz is truly the highlight of my year.  I am so grateful for the partnership we share.

While all the work I do is rewarding and interesting, working with the WSU program is basically that on steroids.  The students are always immaculate, attentive, and impressively engaged during the discussion and this year was certainly no different.  What was different about it was we had to do it virtually.  While we couldn’t all dine together “live” during the dining etiquette module like we historically have done, we certainly did our best to cover all the highlights and important parts with the help of Zoom.  We also discussed the significance of first impressions, business networking and virtual etiquette.

One of the first questions raised was regarding virtual thank you’s.  Is sending a virtual thank you note with an electronic Starbucks gift card okay since their mentor is working from home?  I thought this was a great question and also a brilliant idea.  In fact, we should all consider adding it to our thank you tool kit.  Writing handwritten thank you’s and sending them to the office address in many cases is no longer the first choice.  If you don’t have a home address and know someone has yet to return to their office, virtual thank you’s are best right now.

One of the students, asked about how to deal with self-doubt.  You know, it takes courage to ask this question.  Not just by someone in business school, but by anyone including those of us who have spent many years in the workplace.  Remember, self-doubt can affect any of us at any time no matter our title or position.

Self-doubt is this thing that creeps up on us, sometimes when we least expect it.  Since the pandemic, people are experiencing feelings of self-doubt more often than they have before, and this is mainly due to all the uncertainty we have experienced.  The one piece of advice I will offer for anyone feeling more self-doubt than normal, don’t ruminate about it, speak up about it.  If you let it continue it can begin to affect your life in a negative way.  Try to identify why you are feeling self-doubt.  Self-doubt can be caused by comparing ourselves to others.  You are unique, no one is like you, so comparing yourself to another is not a good idea.  New challenges can also cause us to experience self-doubt.  Remember, work on your confidence, being challenged by something new is an opportunity to learn.  And clearly, we have all been challenged to learn new things and new ways of accomplishing our goals during the last twelve months like never before!

The question about confidence, (which can be linked to self-doubt too) is one that I love.  Again, no matter title or position, no matter years in the workplace, our confidence can and does wain from time to time.  I shared with the students I make working on my confidence a part of my daily routine.  If I need to power pose, I do.  Thank you, Dr. Amy Cuddy.  I often advise my clients and students to watch her TedTalk.  She is the expert, and her talk has been watched millions and millions of times.  I highly recommend watching it.  I may have watched it once or twice.  Wink. Wink.

And I loved the two questions from students majoring in Sports and Entertainment at the B-School.  One inquired about the etiquette of doing business on the golf course and the other wanted to know about the celebration following the Super Bowl.  All of us in Tampa Bay are so proud of our sports teams who have had an exceptional year.  The Stanley Cup, the MLB National League Championship AND the Super Bowl?  They are calling us Champa Bay these days, and I think it has a nice ring to it, don’t you?

Now on to conducting business on the golf course.  I loved this question too.  There is much potential business that can develop from relationships you build on the golf course.  Here are the tips to remember.  Look your best, just like you would for any business meeting.  You won’t want to overdue the business discussion because after all, you want to enjoy the golf.  It’s important to play a few holes before launching into business discussions.  Also, people are serious about golf, so know when to stop talking about business.  It’s best to speak about business matters in between holes.  And last but certainly not least, moderate alcohol can be appropriate, however, you might want to wait until you get back to the clubhouse to enjoy a drink after the game.

This is just a snapshot of our robust conversation!  We covered numerous topics that are so important to success in business including the power of first impressions, how to master business networking, making a great impression on video and all the virtual etiquette tips, and last but certainly not least dining etiquette.  We determined that we all missed seeing each other in person, we look forward to being able to shake hands for business once again, because after all it is the All-American greeting.  I want to personally thank Dean Robert Forsythe and the Mike Ilitch School of Business along with the Co-Directors of the Corporate Mentorship Program, Amber Conway, and Emily Kravetz for allowing me to engage with the incredible students in the B-School for the fifth consecutive year.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more, follow here, or if you would like to access our free training visit http://bit.ly/ImpressionsTraining

We’ll continue to answer questions, post tips and advice for how you too can stand out and be your best in business.  It’s our commitment to you and what we are passionate about at MWFIA.

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Mary Williams

Mary is a business etiquette and protocol expert for executives and rising stars who want to unleash their best self and achieve their goals. A veteran of the C-Suite, Mary is a passionate advocate for utilizing the best skills in business etiquette and protocol to ensure meaningful actions for success in business and life. After more than a dozen years in her role as chief of staff, Mary launched her own dream business, Mary Williams, Your First Impression Authority. As a graduate of The American School of Protocol and a certified Business Coach, in addition to working at the highest levels of national and international organizations, Mary understands both the demands and the complexities of maneuvering effectively through business and life.   She is a regular presenter at university business schools, nonprofit organizations, trade association conferences, as well as corporate events. Her mission is to share all she has learned along the way, and in doing so provide effective business coaching to ultimately help people reach their true potential, utilizing distinct techniques and simple steps that guarantee success.

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