Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire
By Mireille Guiliano. isbn: 978 1 84737 440 0
Next time someone next asks me “What is your philosophy of doing business?” I will just hand them a copy of this book. Yes, this book is a mirror image of how I believe business professionals (and not just women) should conduct themselves in business.
This book has many tips and aspiring stories to build your confidence (at any stage of your business career) and the author has also tackled some business topics that no-one wants to talk about. Perhaps you may consider some of these topics ‘light-on’ such as how to handle your emotions at work; business dress-sense; how to conduct yourself in business entertaining (whether at home or out). I believe that after reading the chapter on ‘Branding’ you will see how these fundamentals will contribute to your business signature.
The book was easy to read and had an interesting title for each chapter. Here are some of my favourite chapters and tips within:
• The principle of enlightened self-interest: Mireille acknowledges “We live in a 24/7/365 business world and the demands always to ‘be on’ are intense”. Mireille suggests the way to survive is to ‘to know thyself’ and act with enlightened self-interest. This requires you to step out of your immediate body full of instant passions, anger, love, jealousy and perhaps even hate and to make a cold analysis of your situation in its content before acting. Not always easy but Mireille gives some great tips on how to do this.
• Of velvet gloves, words, and handshakes: One of the greatest challenges we have in the business world is communication and this chapter covers some of the fundamentals that should be taught in every business course including – how to make a PowerPoint presentation; greeting business people (do you kiss them or give them a hand-shake, including how to do a handshake); giving feedback; mentoring others plus other great basics.
• Paint yourself orange: My favourite paragraph in this chapter is “What do people think of when they think of you as a brand? If you don’t stand out with a clear identity, you are lost in a sea of indistinguishable peers. If you have business ambitions, you don’t want to be a commodity, something perceived as commonly available, unspecialized and easily exchangeable with another product of the same type. … You need to be known for your unique qualities, and that means being recognized.” This chapter also covers some great tips on company branding.
• Whose success?: Mireille believes many women ‘want it all’, but she says that is not possible unless you manage your expectations and those of the people closest to you of what ‘having it all’ means. This is a great chapter for those over-achievers.
The book’s subtitle is ‘business sense and sensibility’ and I believe it lives up to this. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did.