Ask Kate: How can I stand out in front of the CEO?

Be-Different-1Dear Kate,

I have an audience with our CEO to present our newest product initiative. How do I make sure it’s a success and that I make a great impression?

Nervous in New England

Dear Nervous,

To make a positive impression, it’s important to tailor your presentation as much as possible to your audience and only include what’s necessary to achieve your desired outcome.  Here are some tips to help you prepare: Continue reading

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Tips on Reaching the C-Suite

A recent New York Times article, Four Executives on Succeeding in Business As a Woman, interviews executive women on what it takes to rise to the top of their profession.

Here are three of the tips that resonate with me:

  1. Spend your political capital. Women tend to hoard favors “as if they were airline miles.” Instead, spend that capital whenever possible to introduce people, compliment someone, fight for people on your team, and argue for principles that matter.
  2. Don’t behave like a “dutiful daughter.” The model of traditional female success often means being the good girl behind the scenes. Instead, it’s critical to make the transition from dutiful daughter into the role of partner or leader. Become more visible, claim your voice. Speak up, own the room, and speak with confidence.
  3. Overcome gender roadblocks by ignoring them. Don’t let gender be a reason to limit your success. Instead just plow ahead. If someone tries to undermine you ask yourself, “Do I actually believe that about myself?” That way you can be objective about the comment.
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Retreat Yourself

By Kate Purmal

Long-term planning. We all know it’s important. But for most of us, it’s the to-do that always slips to the bottom — or right off — the list!

Since there is never enough time, why not pair planning with fun? Retreat yourself!

Time out

One of my clients goes on a personal retreat twice a year for several days. She completely unplugs with no cell and no Internet. I know! It’s hard to imagine being off the grid. She takes a list of things she wants to do — like write her company’s manifesto or develop new product ideas. And she does it.

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Sales Tip: Five Ways to Ask for a Referral

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” ~ Michael Leboeuf

“A satisfied customer – we should have him stuffed!” ~ Basil Fawlty

Even if you have dozens of happy and satisfied clients, chances are that asking for referrals makes you uncomfortable. But think about it. If you’ve had a great experience working with someone, it’s really satisfying to refer a friend or colleague. It’s even more rewarding when they, too, become a happy and satisfied customer and thank you for having made the connection.

So how do you ask for a referral without being pushy or sounding desperate?

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Five Tips to Get the Most from Your Advisory Board


By Kate Purmal and Lisa Goldman

Peer advisory boards, or mastermind groups, are a great way for entrepreneurs to get support to help manage and grow their business. Typically these boards consist of four to six people who provide each other with ideas, feedback, guidance and accountability.

It’s not easy to maintain interest and momentum in your board as members get distracted by the demands of their work and lives. My colleague Lisa Goldman and I recently held a call with the board chairs from the new advisory boards  formed during a workshop we led. Here’s what we learned from them about how you can make your advisory board meetings more effective and keep your board engaged.

Communicate “wins” when they happen: Several of the advisory board members share short emails with their board when they experience a “win.” These communications benefit the group because they keep each other informed and engaged, and they motivate and inspire other members to seek their own “wins.”

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The One Minute Trick for Better Negotiations

one minute 2Here’s a great negotiating tip from today’s Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip of the Day. If you haven’t yet subscribed to get a daily dose of quick, practical management advice from the Harvard Business Review I recommend you do so now:

How do you negotiate better? Simple: Beforehand, take a minute or two to focus on what you have to gain and what you hope to achieve – and banish all thoughts of what you might lose. List everything you hope to accomplish and the ways you will benefit if you are successful. Re-read this list just before the negotiation begins. Throughout the exercise, it’s important to try not to focus on what could go wrong. Great negotiators stay focused on their ideal target, despite the risks they face. With practice, this focus-training will become easier and, eventually, automatic.

Adapted from “The One-Minute Trick to Negotiating Like a Boss,” by Heidi Grant Halvorson.

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Where Are All the Women Entrepreneurs?

My colleague, Denise Brosseau, tackles this question in a recent Inc. post. And she should know. Denise is a co-founder of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and co-founder of the Springboard Venture Forums that have helped women raise over $5 billion for their businesses.

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