Appropriate Evening Gowns for business woman

evening gowns for business women
The question of appropriate evening dresses for women in business can be a perplexing one. Standards for dress vary greatly in various regions of the country. What might be suitable in a large urban community like New York City might be frowned upon in more conservative heartland communities. Women in business must be especially careful to ensure that their apparel strikes the right note of both professionalism and suitability. A few tips can help you choose the right evening dress for the occasion.

The season when the event is held may have a bearing on the type of gown you choose. Warm weather requires a lighter-weight fabric and paler colors. You may be tempted to choose one of the fashionable strapless gowns, such as those that are available at However, no matter what the temperature, be aware that a business event may not be an appropriate occasion to show deep cleavage or a plunging back without causing a great deal of unwanted comments. A lacy shrug or wispy shawl can give you just enough coverage to show your colleagues that not only do you have it; you know when and where to flaunt it.

The region in which the event is held can make a big difference to your choice of eveningwear. Your corporate offices may be in Los Angeles, but travel is part of the businessperson’s lifestyle. You may find yourself in a smaller city in the middle of the country or a mansion event deep in the South. Research the culture of the area you will be visiting to get an idea of the style of gown that is appropriate for an evening event. Again if promoting a professional image for your company is part of your duties, err on the side of conservative wear. A cocktail dress with a fitted jacket can be worn almost anywhere, and the jacket can be removed to show a bit of shoulder or décolletage. Basic black or beige may be too severe for some areas of the country. Try a navy blue, champagne or rose color to look striking but not overpowering.

Some business occasions are more lighthearted than others, and you should keep the type of occasion in mind when choosing a gown. A holiday business event is likely to be a cheerful and easy-going event. However, an occasion such as a charity event in which your company is traditionally involved may have a more serious tone. Some business conferences can require your most serious attitude. If your company is involved in political events, you should lean toward a more conservative approach. The degrees of dressiness can be a tricky matter. If possible, speak with someone that has attended previous events of the same type. She will be able to give you a clearer idea of the apparel required. For black-tie events, your dress can be short, tea-length or floor-length, but regardless of length, it should have an air of elegance and fashion. You can generally be flexible with color for formal eveningwear, but traditional neutral tones give the most professional effect.

Though women in business often much give additional consideration to a variety of different issues when choosing an evening gown, these essential tips can help to reduce the margin for error in eveningwear decision-making.

How To Keep Your Employees Focused and on Task

focus1-margo-connerKeeping employees productive and focused is one of the major concerns of most employers. It often seems that virtually anything can distract an employee, from personal issues to frustrations on the job. A good employer needs to be inventive about getting the most from their employees.

Use The Right Technology

Frustrated employees can easily become distracted from the task at hand, and one of the most frustrating things for employees is using technology that is ill-suited for the work that they’re doing. Using the right technology can cut down on employee frustration, increase productivity, and keep your employees focused. Listening to employees about complaints they have about the current systems and how they can be improved can prove extremely beneficial.

Don’t Micromanage

Many employees find that they lose their focus when micromanaged. This is because lengthy meetings and status reports can easily throw an employee off of what they are doing. This can be more noticeable and irritating to the employee if they are asked for these reports often. A good manager needs to find ways to check in on the status of projects and employees without interrupting or micromanaging. Software solutions such as a business metrics dashboard offered by can allow a manager to check on the information that they need without individually connecting with their employees.

Enforce Taking Breaks

In office environments in particular, many employees end up skipping their breaks because they are working on project that demand their full attention. Unfortunately, employees that skip breaks are usually less focused and productive than employees that take their breaks on time. Employees that take breaks can rest their minds and recharge their energy, which allows them to look at problems with a fresh set of eyes. A business atmosphere that encourages skipping breaks or working overly hard will do little to focus employees but much to keep them in a constant state of distraction.

Acknowledge Their Accomplishments

One of the easiest ways to get employees interested in the work that they do is to take an interest in them. By taking an interest in your employees and noticing when they do things particularly well, you will bolster their confidence and encourage them to work even harder. Employee recognition programs are another easy way to get employees to feel as though the management cares about and notices their individual efforts. Department-wide goals can also encourage staff members to work together, creating a more friendly office environment for everyone.

Do women business leaders face unfair criticism?

Women in businessWhen Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer banned working from home there was outrage. An internal business decision was reported internationally, and many column inches were dedicated to the move. And yet, as this Huffington Post article points out, when male CEOs make similar decisions it rarely makes the news.

Some people justified the criticism levied at Mayer arguing that her decision was hypocritical, as she allegedly has a cot in her office but is preventing other working mothers from spending time with their children. Even if this is true, how many men have made equally hypocritical decisions, for example banning flexible working while finishing early on Friday themselves for a round of golf? Additionally, few people have pointed out that Mayer was recruited as CEO of Yahoo to improve the company’s profitability (which she seems to be succeeding at), not to improve working conditions for parents.

The reality is that female CEOs are not only expected to improve the company’s profitability, but also to become examples of how to juggle motherhood with demanding careers. How often are successful businesswomen asked how they juggle their home life with their work compared to men? It is almost as though society expects these women to come up with a way that will enable all women to have fulfilling careers together with a committed family life, whereas instead they are probably just muddling through the best they can like everyone else.

Perhaps the problem is that many women CEOs seem to possess superhuman capabilities that normal women (and men) cannot possibly hope to emulate. Mayer herself has admitted to frequently pulling all-nighters on top of a day at the office, especially at the beginning of her career. This is just one example, but it is not unusual to hear of female CEOs being more driven and committed than their male counterparts. On top of this they expect their employees to work just as hard, which along with the fact that the ‘masculine’ traits that are often needed to get to a leadership position are usually seen as socially unacceptable in women, and results in females being judged as difficult to work for.

It is not just how they operate within the business that top businesswomen face criticism, instead they can expect scrutiny from the clothes they wear to how much maternity leave they take. The latter is a favourite amongst the media, as too much and they are not fit to rule while too little and they are letting down working mums everywhere. This is not just relegated to business, female politicians are often blasted for the amount of maternity leave they take. When Rachida Dati was France’s Justice Minister there were countless articles criticising the fact that she took less than a week of maternity leave. Yet we rarely hear about whether or not men even take their paternity leave, and no one wonders how Barrack Obama juggles running the world’s most powerful country with being a dad.

Perhaps because they are more in the public eye than businesswomen, but female politicians seem to face more scrutiny. Together with constant belittling articles about what they wear and how they look, there is also an undercurrent of misogyny and sexism levelled against many Western female politicians. In France sexism in politics was reportedly so bad that politicians were given anti-sexism lessons, while when Australia’s Prime Minster Julia Gillard made a speech against the misogynist attacks she frequently received, the video went viral.

Although it is tempting to label the criticism female leaders face as sexist and society’s double-standards, the reasons behind the criticism are arguably more complicated. On the one hand, women in positions of power and leadership are going against what has been the norm of predominately male-rule in the West for nearly two thousand years. But, the fact that there are still so few women in these positions also means that they face more scrutiny than their male counterparts.

Women leaders are still seen as the ones breaking down barriers for other women and as such are being held up as examples for others to follow. But, hopefully as more companies invest in recruiting the best employees available and managing their talent so that both women and men can reach their full potential, female leaders will become more common and will face less scrutiny as a result.

Written by Derin Clark, a writer, editor and blogger who has many years’ experience writing on business topics.


4 Ways to Build a Good Relationship with Each Customer

customer-always-rightMaintaining a solid customer base is essential for business success. It is cheaper to retain existing customers than to recruit new ones. In addition, one dissatisfied customer typically complains to approximately twenty acquaintances or family members, which spreads a negative impression of a business.

To build good relationships with your customers, consider the following suggestions.

Send birthday postcards

Customer service is a dying art, and many people love the personal touch of receiving individual messages from the professionals they do business with. If your office files contain the birth month and date of your customers, set up a tickler system for your file to remind clerical staff to send out birthday postcards. For about a dollar, you can generate customers’ good will and keep them coming back. Further, a visual postcard is a marketing tool for others who see it.

Initiate a few marketing techniques

Visit for ideas and assistance in finding affordable and innovative ways to earn your customers’ gratitude and appreciation. Occasional free gifts, discounted rates, or an annual holiday gift (like a car wash coupon) can make customers feel good about doing business with your company.

Use positive communication techniques

Be a good listener when a customer has a concern or complaint. Encourage staff to smile and compliment customers in sincere ways; everyone feels better as a result. If a mistake occurs, be ready to apologize and make things right. In lawsuits involving businesses, many plaintiffs claim they only want an apology from the company, and a correction of the problem, if possible. Don’t let the office phone keep callers on hold for more than 30 seconds at a time. Return messages promptly, and consider using email, Website feedback, and social networking to promote more timely and effective communication between customers and staff.

Be friendly and supportive

Get to know each customer by name. Treat every person respectfully, and keep in mind any family information they share so you can follow up at the next visit. Consider supporting community sports where customers’ kids are involved.

Giving each customer individual attention is a great way to make them feel special and valued. In return, they are likely to continue doing business with you, and will probably refer friends and relatives, as well. Common courtesy is free, and yet it can generate a sizable return on investment when we take a few minutes to treat others kindly.

Tips for Traveling Safely Abroad for Business as a Woman

Woman business travelerThe number of professional women in business has certainly increased dramatically over the last few decades. Women are indeed a vital force in the business world. Often, their duties will take them around the town or to foreign locations. Traveling is a rewarding experience and very risky. The fact is that in some areas crime is on the rise also. Criminals look for easy targets that will not fight back. Therefore, women traveling alone are seen as more vulnerable than men or groups of women. It is important to keep safe to insure that the trip is a positive experience. Here are tips for traveling safely abroad for business as a woman to help ensure you have a carefree travel experience.

The first important tip concerns the business itinerary. It is important to let the home office and family know exactly where you are going and what meetings or functions that are on the itinerary. Supply contact number or address to business associates and family members. Consequently, if something should go wrong, people will know where you were going.

The second tip involves your attitude and body language. Criminals look for women with submissive body language. They realize that anyone with submissive looking body language will not fight back and is a soft target. Walk with your head up. Look people in the eye. Stand tall and proud. Look in control and walk with a purpose. Use a firm direct voice. This type of body language demonstrates that you are a confident and assertive woman who would stand up for herself and is definitely not a soft target.

Criminals are on the hunt for single women who are traveling alone. Slip an inexpensive wedding band on your finger to stop stalkers. Most criminals and stalkers will think twice about approaching a married woman. Once again, they are searching for an easy target. One without ties.

This is a tip that every woman should follow when traveling abroad or at home. Modern technology has made keeping in touch very easy. Always carry a fully charged cellphone with you doing travel or social engagements. This tip will help you stay safe. If trouble occurs, help is just a call away.

Try to blend in with others around you. Leave the expensive jewelry and fashionable clothing at home. Wear the type of clothing that does not draw too much attention. Thieves and criminals target women with expensive jewelry and designer clothing.

Business travel abroad can be a throughly rewarding, enjoyable, and a safe experience for women who follow the tips included here.


Tech-Savvy Tips: The Top 5 Apps Every Small Business CEO Needs

7-new-apps-worth-downloading-this-week-0543acc07cSmall business CEO’s are usually slammed with work. They need to have their info on the go and at their fingertips at all times. Smartphones and tablets are advancing to become nearly as versatile as computers, so they are helping business owners around the world improve efficiency and reduce costs. If you’re a time-crunched small business CEO, here are five of the best apps that can save you and your company time and money.

1. Evernote

Evernote is a life saver when you are having a hard time staying organized and keeping track of ideas or information. It’s an advanced note taking application that you can access from your phone or any other device. With Evernote, you can take written notes, take pictures and store them as notes, or create voice notes. You can even sync the notes across all of your devices so that they’re accessible wherever you happen to be.

2. Scanning Applications

Another must-have application for a small business CEO is a scanner app. There are several different scanner applications that you could use for your business. These apps can be utilized on any of the Blackberry phones from They allow you to scan documents while on the go and then send them to your computer.

3. Quickoffice

Quickoffice is an application that allows you to access almost any kind of document that you can imagine. With Quickoffice, you can open Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Scribd, and Google Docs documents. This makes it easy for you to create and edit documents from your phone while on the go.

4. Mobile Payment Apps

Another handy application to have when you’re a small business CEO is a mobile payment processor. There are plenty of options for you to choose from in this area, and all of them have some pros and cons for you to consider. For example, you could use Square, PhoneSwipe, Intuit, or a number of other similar applications. With these apps, you can take credit and debit card payments while you are away from the office. Many of them link up with a piece of hardware that you can attach to your phone, which allows you to scan credit and debit cards. You also have the option of entering a customer’s credit card number manually.

5. Financial Tracking Software

Being able to track your finances is also helpful when running a business. Using an app like Mint can make your financial tracking much easier. This app integrates with your bank accounts and other financial accounts so that you get a financial snapshot at any time.

All of these apps have the potential to simplify things for your business. Try them out on your phone or tablet today.

Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs from Around the World

coco-chanel-style-620km093012Who inspires you? Many female entrepreneurs struggle to receive the same credit and accolades their male counterparts receive, even when they must meet the same challenges — and more. What does it take to leave home, move overseas, learn Spanish, and start a business out of nothing? In honor of Women’s History Month, here are some inspirational female entrepreneurs who overcame challenges and made their mark on history.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel’s name is synonymous with fashion, and she has been credited with changing the way we think about women’s clothing. Chanel began designing hats in Paris in 1909, and came into her own when she realized that with the coming of World War I, women would need to break away from the traditional corsets and constricted clothing in favor of simpler, more practical styles.

Competitive, opportunistic, and ambitious, Chanel created a fashion empire out of nothing, and wove legend around herself to increase her cachet. Although Chanel died in 1971, her legacy lives on. She became the only female to appear on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Shazi Visram

Shazi Visram’s path to entrepreneurship began when she spoke to her friends about the difficulty of finding easy, fast, healthy food for their babies. Seeing a need and a niche to fill, Visram launched Happy Baby in 2003, focusing on natural, organic, healthy food for babies and children that busy mothers could fit into their schedules.

Now known as Happy Family Brands,Visram’s company has become a major name in premium baby food and children’s food in the United States. Happy Family is one of the fastest-growing companies in the US, ranked #2 by Inc. Magazine.

Visram has used her success to promote the causes of sustainability and childhood nutrition, and encourages other entrepreneurs to involve philanthropy as part of their business plans. In 2011, Visram made Inc. Magazine’s list of Top Female Entrepreneurs.

 Suze Orman

Chicago-born Suze Orman began her career as a waitress, then as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch, and has since become a “powerhouse of personal finance,” with her own television show on CNBC and ten successful books on managing money.

Curiously, Orman did not set out to become an expert on personal finance. She studied social work at Berkeley before dropping out, and once dreamed of owning her own restaurant, and struggled with her own finances. Orman learned about investing from her failed attempt at owning a restaurant, and eventually became a broker for Merrill Lynch. Allegedly, she was told that the business world was not for women, and that she would be “gone in six months.”

After working for Merrill Lynch for several years, Orman resigned to found the Suze Orman Financial Group, where she not only acted as director until 1997, but published three books, including The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom.


In 2002, Orman launched The Suze Orman Show on CNBC, and has not only appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, but writes a regular financial advice column for Oprah’s O Magazine and has produced a television miniseries for the OWN Network.

Anita Lo

Sometimes the most inspiration comes not from those who wildly succeed, but those who struggle with defeat and come back fighting. Anita Lo cultivated a love of French cuisine while visiting Paris as part of her French studies at Columbia. Lo chose to pursue her dream of becoming a master chef, and eventually got an internship at the famous Guy Savoy in Paris.

Lo went on to open two restaurants, Anissa(opened in 2000) and Bar Q (opened in 2008), but met with disaster in 2009 when she was forced to close Bar Q and a restaurant fire shut down Anissa for the better part of a year. Rather than quietly accept defeat, Lo remained undaunted. She appeared on the first season of Iron Chef America, competed against Chef Mario Batali, and won. Lo then went on to appear as the first female chef on Top Chef Masters.

About the Author:

Leslie Collins is a long-time writer for  Pimsleur Approach. She learned to speak Spanish through the program and enjoys traveling, coffee, discovering new cultures and hikes with her golden retriever.

12 Tips for Effective Presentations

Presentation SkillsThe Oatmeal GroupWhen giving a presentation, it’s important to understand your ultimate goal. What are you hoping to accomplish by presenting to others? Most often, you want your audience to learn something new: something they weren’t aware of before, something they didn’t understand entirely, or something they had a different perspective on.

To increase presentation effectiveness and to help your audience learn, it is crucial that you find ways to keep them engaged. Engagement during a presentation entails not only giving people a new level of understanding, but using tactics that will help them remember the key points and act upon them long after the presentation is over.

Follow these presentation guidelines the next time you find yourself speaking in front of others to create stronger engagement:

1.     Ask questions.

This keeps your audience interested because they have a reason to pay attention. It not only increases engagement, but reinforces key points and helps the information resonate.

2.     Avoid yes or no questions.

It is best not to ask questions that can be answered with simple yes or no, but rather those that are open-ended. These allow for more thoughtful contributions and involvement.

3.     Create additional participation opportunities.

In addition to quizzing your audience, think of creative ways to get the audience involved. You can ask for a show of hands or for a personal anecdote that relates to your presentation.

4.     Respect every question and comment.

Your audience will relate to you better if you understand where they’re coming from. If someone answers a question incorrectly, acknowledge why you understand their response and politely correct them.

5.     Engage with your voice, face, and body language.

It’s easy to learn your presentation so well that your speech and movements become robotic. Make sure that you speak naturally and show your personality.

6.     Make eye contact.

People will respond better if they feel they are being addressed personally. Address individuals in the room for a few seconds at a time as a way of acknowledging their attention.

7.     Be conversational.

Make it clear that this is a two-way dialogue, and that you are open to comments, questions, and opinions throughout the presentation.

8.     Use visuals.

Keep in mind that not everyone processes ideas in the same way. Visuals can help ensure greater understanding, create variety, and keep people interested.

9.     Keep the pace moving.

Presentations are often most effective when they move quickly. The more frequently you change the subject matter, the less likely your audience will disengage.

10.  Limit the information on one topic.

Assuming you have slides for your presentation, limit the text per slide to keep them easy to read. More details aren’t always necessary to get your point across and can cause your audience to lose focus.

11.  Keep the conversation going.

Not only should the presentation itself be a place for dialogue, but consider scheduling follow-up meetings or future activities to remind people of your message.

12.  Be engaged yourself.

Not only should you ask and answer questions, but be attuned to the audience vibe. You will recognize when clarification is needed and when to move on to the next point. Moreover, if you feel passionate and engaged with the material, your audience will notice and be more interested in what you have to say.

 This article was written by Dale Carnegie Training, a company founded in 1912 by one of America’s most influential speakers and leaders. Today, the company offers corporate training, and helps both businesses and individuals achieve their goals. Visit Dale Carnegie Training online to learn more about management training programs.


Sustainability: The #1 Priority for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders

shutterstock_88492132It is difficult to deny the enormous importance of sustainability in light of recent headlines concerning global recession, credit crunches, fiscal cliffs and large-scale bankruptcies. The long-term growth of a business is inextricably linked to economic policies and social and environmental policy, as well. So, why is it important for a business leader to consider sustainability? Simple, it is one of the smartest ways to ensure your business will survive. Here are 3 reasons why sustainability can work for a business.

1. Sustainability forces you to cut costs and increase efficiency: Considering environmental disadvantages will force you as a business leader to look for new ways to “do more with less”. Whether it’s reducing costs in the office by limiting resource spending, eco-friendly office policies, or reducing fuel and distances if you run a logistical department for deliveries, all these decisions impact your budget and they impress your customers, too. Today, customers and investors are looking for companies that match their own personal values in terms of practice. By making your policies transparent, you show how your business is operating to the maximum standards of eco-friendly sustainable policy. Publish an annual sustainability report to highlight this.

2. Sustainability planning helps to mitigate risk and prepare strategically: Approaching the future from the perspective of sustainability helps business leaders to look at opportunities and assess risks more clearly. Depending on your type of business, different scenarios happening in the future present different risks and economical grievances to your livelihood. Tax increase on electricity, fuel prices hiking, or a number of geopolitical events occurring spell out policy change within your business. Keeping a priority of maintaining sustainability will force you to put your thinking cap on and plan strategies to overcome this. In turn, potential investors and customers alike make the connection of sustainability to risk aversion and maintaining financial stability through hard times.

3. Sustainability drives your employees to be more innovative and creative: There is little doubt that working with the “do more with less” mantra forces people to be more creative with how they use resources, and how to get the maximum benefit from very little. Instilling the concept of sustainability and social responsibility into your business ethos will likely bring out the best from your employees and help your business to shine against your competitors. Customers will more likely choose to give their money to a company with a clean and green business record with long-term growth potential over other companies.

These are only a few reasons why considering social responsibility and sustainability within your business plan can work for your advantage as a leader. It is also a good idea to further your own understanding of the field by taking a post graduate program an MBA in sustainable business or enrolling for post graduate certifications in green development. This would help to further your understanding on how to make your business and policies more “green”.

Writer Biography

”This is a guest post by Lindsey Mcmahon, a part-time guest-blogger and a full-time private tour organizer. Her main interests are education and health, but she is constantly extending her field of view to incorporate interesting news suggested to her by her readers. If interested in an online MBA, feel free to check it out at:


Creative ways to attract new customers

New-customersAnytime you have a business you need customers. They are your lifeblood and how you keep things staying afloat financially. You need to fully understand your target audience, learn things about them, and what means of marketing will create those connections with them and attract them to you specifically. Depending on their age or educational level, difference modes might be more effective. If your target audience is the elderly, perhaps consider using paper mailers instead of high tech things since that is what they grew up with and are used to. Both means of communication are relatively inexpensive.

If you are targeting a younger very educated audience, perhaps using the newest products in the technology field will help them to be excited about what you are offering and show you are hip and up to date. There is always the option of using an interactive agency to help market your product. They can be a good resource because they specialize in marketing and advertising so they have done plenty of research in searching out what works and what doesn’t. They are paid to be creative and come up with something good to help you attract new customers. However great these agencies might be, there are also fun ways to attract new customers on your own without having to hire out an additional company.

1. The first way to attract new customers is to use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with people and to get them interested in what you are trying to sell.  I know I for one am on Facebook a decent amount, and when places I like say they advertise on Facebook or even have coupons I tend to check out their page.  This is a very inexpensive and global way to get your name out there to a lot of potential new customers.

2. A second creative way to attract new customers is to run a sale with a daily deal site. Tons and tons of people like deals and coupons, this is a great way to get a new face on board with your company. There are many daily deal sites out there so team up with one such as Groupon or Living Social and see that happens.

3. A third fun way to attract new customers is to hold a contest on your site. People like competition. See how popular Doritos was after they had the contest to make your own Superbowl commercial and then they aired the top two?

4. A fourth way to attract new customers is to utilize Pinterest. This is the same concept as Facebook. it is a popular site that a lot of people are on each and every day.

5. A fifth way to attract new customers is to have t-shirt giveaways. I don’t know what it is, but this marketing technique works because people get excited. Especially college aged individuals if that happens to be your target audience. So have some fun, get creative, and see some new customers emerge.