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    Learn to see yourself as others do and become magnetic, magnanimous, and memorable! Savvy advice, specific examples, and tactical exercises to develop your presence—in months, not years.

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    Inspired to extend a helping hand to ambitious women working in corporate America, a veteran executive offers honest, practical, slightly irreverent advice about navigating companies that are run and populated predominately by men: how to interpret their sometimes surprising behavior, avoid common mistakes, flourish with the good guys, deal with the bad guys, and nurture a wonderful, satisfying career in a non-traditional role.

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  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    The Spirit of the Discreet Guide
    FIRST PRINCIPLES
    The Facts of Life
    In and Out of the Men’s Room
    Tuning In and Dropping Out
    Hold It Right There, Lady
    Skeptical Spectacles and a Critical-Thinking Cap
    YOUR SISTAS AND YOU
    Whose Girl Are You?
    Taking Care
    You’re Different, and That’s Only Mostly Bad
    Impressions and the Real Thing
    Sistas
    EARLY MANEUVERS
    School Days
    Your First Company
    The Cubette
    NAVIGATION TIPS
    Guiding Lights
    The Big C’s: Competition, Challenge, and Conflict
    DANGER—FALLING COCONUTS
    Sit Down and Shut Up
    How Do You Get Anything Done?
    He Doesn’t Think You’re Very Smart
    But Don’t Be Dumb
    TOUCHY SUBJECTS
    After Hours
    One-on-One: Danger Zones
    Sex At Work
    GUYS, GUYS, GUYS
    The Big Guy
    The Good Guys
    International Guys
    The Messed-Up Ones
    Bad Guys
    Super Bad Guys
    YOU’RE A BIG GIRL NOW
    Managing—Between a Rock and a Hard Place
    Work—Why You’re Paid
    THE EXECUTIVE WOMAN’S DILEMMA
    What? I Can’t Hear You
    Courage
    Common Sense
    A Powerful Combination
    THE PRIDE OF THE LIONESS
    Power and Risk
    Leadership
    THE DIAMOND

Travel: Try Out a New You

A business trip can offer an exciting opportunity to practice some new behaviors if you’ve been working on some behavior modification techniques. I counsel my clients to branch out a bit and not miss the chance to try on a new style. You will be encountering people who don’t know you and who don’t have any preconceptions about what you’re like. So, if you’re working on being more outgoing, more reserved, or more empathetic, all of those slight adjustments to your vibe (how you come across to people) can be practiced along your route.

If you’ve been told you’re overly serious, try to being a little more lighthearted with your flight seatmate. If you feel as though you aren’t taken seriously, try exuding a little more gravitas with the check-in agent. If you’re working on speaking more slowly, or confidently, or more humorously, try that out with strangers you encounter. Notice how they react and how you feel. Think of the travel opportunity as your sandbox, where you get to play and experiment with little risk of embarrassment. After all, you’re probably not going to see these people again. If you succeed in creating a positive and more controlled experience around you, you are learning techniques you can transfer to your “real life,” when you return from your trip.

For example, if you notice a young mother struggling with her luggage and children, and if you would normally ignore her trouble, bury your nose in a book, and feel bad about it later, maybe this time, you’ll step forward, get her kids in their seats, and put her bags in the overhead bin. If your flight is delayed and passengers are being abusive to the gate agents, and if you would normally glom on, let loose with a few smart-alecky comments of your own, and regret them later, maybe this time, you’ll offer some words of encouragement and appreciation for the agents. If you are normally tongue tied when riding in a taxi, try drawing out the taxi driver, asking where he’s from and how he ended up driving a taxi. I have met some very fascinating taxi cab drivers, including a professional ice skater, a singing opera lover, and a South American sheepherder.

The people around you don’t know that you are not behaving as you typically would; they take you at face value. It’s an opportunity to turn your trip into something more interesting, to try out a slight variation of your usual behavior. It’s a chance to play a little, and you might find that you enjoy your new face very much.

© 2016 Jennifer K. Crittenden

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  • About the Author

    Raised on a farm in southern Indiana by an idealistic professor and a feminist homemaker, and after language and film studies in Europe, Jennifer was an unlikely candidate to graduate from a leading business school and enter corporate America. To her surprise, she excelled in her new world and spent the next twenty years building a scintillating career, rising from Financial Analyst to Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary, working for big pharma and biotech companies in the US, Europe, and the UK.

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