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Business I.Q. & Protocol—What is it?
“One of the hardest tasks you may face in business if you’re in any position of authority or HR,” says Susan Sparkes, founder of Susan Sparkes and Associates, provider of Leadership Presence and Business Protocol and Social I.Q. workshops and guidance, “is telling your staff or colleagues is that their lack of professionalism is impacting the bottom line. People don’t know what they don’t know and those around them don't usually want to tell them. Whether it's chewing gum with their mouths open to dressing down (too far down) for the office or not knowing how to small talk or work well with subordinates—they tend to remain in blissful ignorance.”

Instead, they wonder why they’re not sealing deals or getting invitations to lunch or even the promotion that should be in the bag. “They’ll think their boss or co-worker or client is too busy, or distracted, or simply that you can’t win ‘em all.” But even when they meet dead ends, people rarely look in the mirror and see a problem.

When Companies Pay the Price
If you're stuck, and in a supervisory position, a good workaround may be to suggest the company consider workshops/seminars on the topic. It's a booming business, because companies do see that it impacts customer and employee relations (and business and sales!) and it gets the message across without singling our individual employees.  

Career Blocks
 Equaliy, if you're not reaching the goals or seniority level you'd anticipated,  think your work is up to scratch, and simply can't figure it out— dig a little deeper. Perhaps seek out the helpful sources available online, in courses, etc. It's unlikely you're in need of a complete etiquette protocol or attitude overhaul.  But if you feel your career is blocked, you may benefit from a refresher or a self-confidence building session or two. Your hold back may be something as easy to solve as being tongue tied when it comes to small talk with the boss. 

Small Talk Tips
A tip in the Business I.Q. Polish & Protocol E Manual available through Susan Sparkes and Associates recommends you have a Whatzat? A whatzat is a conversation starter—it could be a lapel pin or a distinctive tie or but should cause people to ask you, ‘What's that?”  it will give you something to talk about and help make you memorable, particularly if the topic is related to a passion about which you can talk with confidence. A second tip is to always have your elevator pitch ready to go... for that awkward moment when someone asks, “And what do you do?” This is after, of course, you've asked about them and tried to help them feel at ease...

Meeting Goals w. Susan and Louise
Susan is working with Louise Fox, The Etiquette Leader (and www.mannersTV), and offers workshops and individual coaching and is skilled at telling you what those around you won't . She also works with experts in the DISC system. Ask about programs—for one or for your organization. Susan's specialty is Transformations—so you're ready when times change or you need to.


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