How Shy, Introverted, and Reserved Professionals Can Win at Small Talk

How to best connect with former and new acquaintances has been a hot topic since we went into quarantine more than half a year ago.

And it remains a popular question as we emerge from our state-sanctioned restrictions and straddle rekindling face-to-face relationships with virtual communications.

Of course, there are extroverts who are bursting at the seams! They want to be back in their normal workplace, which is not a makeshift home office, and interact with people, physically distanced, and face-to-face. They need that energy to thrive!

And on the other hand, there are the shy or introverted professionals who just can’t believe their good fortune!  I should rephrase that —we cannot believe our good fortune. As a quiet, socially reserved person, I’m definitely in the latter camp.

I became Zoom fatigued early on and stopped attending some meetings. Now I’m ready to go back — in moderation and be what my colleagues need me to be; a friendly face...

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Using Virtual Networking Groups as a Social Strategy for Introverts

Are you working from home right now, or is your office or workplace just business as usual with everyone in their normal place? Because so many working adults are in some way affected by the pandemic, are you feeling more connected to people than before the coronavirus came to your neck of the woods or less so?

What I know for sure is that statistics and polls pretty much say that few if any of the lives of professionals are remotely similar to what they were pre-pandemic.

Chances are that if you are working remotely, even that has lost some of its luster.

At first, it was like a dream. You didn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn just to beat traffic or catch the train. And you felt like you could get more done from home because there were far fewer distractions.

The perks and benefits of working from home definitely outweighed the aggravation of needing to always be in the immediate vicinity of annoying co-workers or employees.   

But, months on, and...

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How Introverts Can Avoid Talking Politics at Work

I’m offended. In fact, I’ve been offended a lot lately. Most often the offender is on social media. It likely won’t surprise you the topic of the offensive dialogue is political, and some of it is simply vile.


Being a quiet person sometimes means choosing my battles wisely. In other words, I do my introverted best to think about how I’ll respond and then go to sleep with the offensive comments still at the forefront of my mind. Then I start a new day, still stewing and overthinking whether to respond.


I’ll give myself and all the quiet introverts a pass on this one because we’ll soon want to retreat, and if we are in the midst of a heated discussion it can be difficult to do so.


It is true that certain topics are best avoided in business and social settings. They’re the topics that we tend to be overly passionate about, both positively and negatively.


Money, religion, and politics, also referred to as the big...

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7 Tips to Sway People to Your Way of Thinking (Even While WFH)

These days it seems like your voice cannot be heard because other people speak so loudly.

It has nothing to do with you in particular, but rather the environment in general. When you are over-tasked and trying to keep your head above water at home and at work — and these days home and work may be one in the same, all you want from a business associate or a friend is a little compassionate understanding.


And the noise in their head is trying to fend off danger and annoyances and what may be trivial conversation.  So how do you make your presence known and your voice heard when connecting from a remote, home office?


Here is some food for thought. We are living manifestations of our environment. And the experiences in that environment informs our paradigms and how well whatever it is you want to present is received.


Those we work with, albeit at a distance are not familiar with our home environment. They’re not privy to our set up or our...

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7 Best Introvert Strategies for Speaking up in Meetings

Learn how to command the room with my step by step guide. I teach you how to be proactive, muster your courage and the best way to register on your superior's radars.

 Yikes! You were just called on to speak in front of your colleagues and you'd rather disappear - but that's not an option. If you're among the 71-percent of adults who identify as introverts, being called upon to speak up is akin to painful dental surgery.

But fear not, my friend, I've got some fool-proof tips to help you prepare for your moment in the spotlight.  

First, it's necessary to have a mindset shift. You can speak in front of a group if you truly want to conquer that fear. You have the ability to share a compelling story, share images that elicit emotions and make them laugh and lean in with anticipation - if you want to.

There are of course other options to speaking up in meetings. They include not moving up in your company, receiving the bare minimum in raises and not being viewed as a...

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Case Study: Do Table Manners Matter?

Uncategorized Jun 15, 2019

Do table manners really matter? Ken was considered a rising star at the office and was hoping to be offered a promotion to lead one of the firm's European offices.

In the final days before a decision was to be made Ken was thrilled to be invited to lunch with his boss. After several minutes of small talk, his boss glanced at the menu and closed it, while Ken continued to consider the selections and drool over the dishes being delivered to other tables. When the waiter took their order, Ken hemmed and hawed before coming to a decision. After the food arrived, he tossed his necktie over his shoulder then tossed back his meal as if he hadn’t eaten in weeks.

Did this matter? Absolutely. Ken would have been smarter to consider this rare lunch invitation as a test to determine whether he could handle himself professionally and hold his own when representing the firm. Instead, manners and courtesies were not even a consideration as he prepared for the meeting.

Ken did not receive the...

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How To Choose The Power Seat

Uncategorized Jun 15, 2019

Here’s how it goes down. You enter the room for a seminar and hope there’s a seat in the front row. Or maybe your cohort already grabbed a seat at the midpoint of let’s say 20 rows of chairs, so you join them.

Then there are my favorites, the least enthusiastic who immediately take seats in the very last row, smack in the middle as if they’ve already planned to tune out or nap, or near a rear exit if they want to make a quick getaway.

I notice who hasn’t removed their coat or hat, even though the temperature is ideal, who has a pen and notepad at the ready, and each person with their arms folded across their body and sliding down in their seat.

Where I find the greatest pleasure as a public speaker is in observing and interacting with the audience both before and after the program. Whether they’ve independently registered for the session or assembled by HR mandate, the first thing that catches my eye is how attendees select a seat.


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Case Study: Who Should Pay The Bill, and When?

etiquette Jun 15, 2019

For over a decade, Amanda has traveled the globe as a partner in a consulting firm. Imagine her surprise to recently learn from her manager that some clients felt uncomfortable when she reached for the check at business meals.

Since Amanda initiated the invitation and work was clearly on the menu, she was correct to pick up the tab. But how could she avoid the awkwardness that occurs when a waiter leaves the check on the table, the inevitable discussion over who will pay, and the uncomfortable silence that accompanies deciding on the tip?

The solution was easier than she imagined it would be. Amanda now arrives at the restaurant before her clients and leaves a credit card with the manager or host, with explicit instructions that she’s going to pay.

Why is this the smartest approach to business dining? Rather than having conversation grind to a halt, Amanda is able to graciously thank her guests for the pleasure of their company at her own time and on her own dime.

This is a...

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How To Go From Quiet To Charismatic

Uncategorized Jun 15, 2019

Ahhh...charisma. The word alone sounds nice. It conjures images of a smooth operator who can make their way around the office or cocktail party as throngs of admirers glance in their direction and smile, all the while thinking "I wish I had that (elusive) thing!".

While charisma is often viewed as an enviable and worthwhile trait, it requires foundational building blocks to ascend to that level. There are a few other areas which may require your attention first.

Have you ever wondered what exactly "professional presence" is and whether you have it? Well, it's a component of your personal branding strategy and well worth your time to develop.

As a young girl, I recall watching my father win over people everywhere he went. It didn't matter if we were shopping, at a sporting event, or an amusement park. Within minutes, he always seemed to have a cohort of new friends gathered around him.

At the time, I didn't understand what my dad was doing or what "presence" was — let alone how...

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Raise Your Professional Grade

Uncategorized Jun 15, 2019

"Believe in what you do and think hard about what kind of changes you want your work to make."

That quote, attributed to Ceci Bastida sums-up the transition from the moniker of Oh My Gauche! to Business Class.

For the past nine years, Oh My Gauche! performed precisely as it was intended, to stand-out in a staid arena, and bring attention, some levity and lightheartedness to the often uptight, stodgy topic of etiquette.

As the founder of the firm, I embrace change. I believe that we should all be so lucky to have the ability to make our mark as we see fit and to receptive audiences. Remaining in atrophy is unnecessary, and not how our lives were intended to unfold.

Alas, I love a good pun, play on words and idioms, and after months of searching and focus groups, Business Class was selected as the corporate name, although we continue to offer a robust selection of youth programs.

Don't be fooled. Etiquette is not an endgame, and all clients, including private coaching, corporate...

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