From Zoom Back To The Boardroom

Change isn’t always easy. Do you remember how foreign a concept working/learning from home was, just a short year ago? Do you remember how long it took to feel like you had a handle on things? Think about what it took to finally find your rhythm? 

Returning to in person work is yet another change in your life. And because you have managed so many big changes lately, this is the time to take it easy on yourself and use your recent experiences to your advantage. 

You know I’m all about easy to digest solutions that you can apply today…not someday. This is why I am sharing 3 ways to grant yourself grace and give yourself a break as you transition from Zoom back into the “boardroom”.  

I want you to go easy on yourself. It will take time to reestablish routines, communication, and even consistency. Which means it is totally normal if you feel more tired than usual. It is ok if you find yourself frustrated trying to communicate and get on the same page with coworkers. It is alright to find yourself a bit annoyed at unexpected interruptions to your workflow. It is reasonable to be less than satisfied with your commute. 

In the coming weeks, I want you to check in with yourself often and answer these 3 questions: 

>> Am I allowing myself time to adjust? 

>> Am I using all of the tools available to me? 

>> Am I asking for help? 

Let’s unpack how these questions can impact and even strengthen your transition success plan. 

Allow Yourself Time To Adjust

It is imperative to give yourself the time and mental space to create and settle into your new routines for home and office. It may take time to get used to the commute again, to create new expectations for friends and family, to carve out alone time, to learn how much energy the day takes out of you, and/or how to replenish it. There is no one size fits all answer here. Offer yourself generous amounts of understanding as you make progress figuring it out. I assure you, it will come together if you give it time. 

Use All Of Your Tools

I will always encourage you to lean on the tools that help you make your next move your best, move. Instead of allowing overwhelm to take over, I want you to identify tools that may help you show up as your best self. Write down the tools/services you have access to; solutions that save you time,  keep you organized and/or help you grow. For some, using grocery pick up/delivery services for a few weeks will be helpful or working out using online platforms. For others, polishing skills like communication and/or conflict resolution communication will serve you best. 

Whether personal or professional, remind yourself of the resources that help you spend your time and attention in the places that matter most. 

Ask For Help

Read that again…asking for help is a behavior many of us do not practice often enough. Where or in what ways could you use a little more help? Your answer(s) to this question can help identify new resources, relationships, and opportunities for you to explore. 

Maybe you’ll ask your children/spouse to cook dinner one night per week to help lighten your mid-week load.

Maybe you’ll invest in professional coaching or courses to help accelerate your momentum in reaching your next goal. Maybe you’ll collaborate on a temporary kids car pool to ease the morning/afternoon rush over the next few weeks. Maybe you’ll bring in an expert to help you reestablish team cohesion on the job.

Whatever it is, it is ok to ask for help, recommendations and/or suggestions. 

I want you to keep in mind that you are not getting back to normal, you are creating a new one. There is no blueprint for this transition, as it has never been done in our lifetime. For that reason alone, I want you to be gentle with yourself while you figure it out. Every successful transition takes planning, support, action and TIME.

Give yourself permission to feel what you feel, explore potential solutions, and ask for the additional support you need.

You can do this! Post a comment sharing a service, resource or affirmation that you will lean into helping you transition back into the office and your new routine.     

Podcast Interview

I had a blast sharing the mic and my insight on Keeping Your Composure for the Beyond Small Talk Podcast. I will be honest, if you didn’t see the show LIVE on IG a few weeks ago, you just missed it. Every technical difficulty possible tried to interrupt our flow; making the replay painful to watch, but you can listen (warts & all right here).

Part 1: Keep Your Composure

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/beyond-small-talk-season-2-5-keeping-your-composure/id1533365078?i=1000507872565

Difficulties aside, we had such a great conversation that Jackie ask me back for a bonus episode to dive a little deeper.

And you know I couldn’t wait to share it with you! Get caught up with the audio link below.

Here is the link for the first ever BONUS edition of Beyond Small Talk as we continue the conversation with Michelle A. Whyte on keeping your composure. Especially now, living in such a heated political and social environment, Michelle’s tips and tools help us navigate this ever-evolving terrain of communication. 

Part 2: BONUS EPISODE

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/beyond-small-talk/id1533365078?i=1000509485273

A big takeaway for the Beyond Small Talk community – knowing how, when and what to do when taking your emotional temperature. Practice makes progress! Life is messy! There are no perfect solutions! 

Find Michelle at www.michelleawhyte.com and check out her Conflicts & Confrontations Etiquette Quick Guide. IG @themichelleawhyte

Beyond Small Talk IG live Season 2 Every Thursday at 4 pm ET. Catch up on Season 1 on your favorite Pod (Apple, Spotify, YouTube, Audible) Show some love with a follow and download.  www.jackiejaniec.com • @jackie_janiec

#etiquettecoaching #womensupportingwomen #civility #tolerance #jointheAlist #personalgrowth #professionaldevelopment

Pants & Productivity

If you are noticing that your mindset, your mood, your productivity, are tapering off or taking a dive mid week.

Many of us have been working exclusively from home for almost a year now. I’m talking about an entire calendar year. Unbelievable!

We have forged our way through the chaos and uncertainty. We’ve managed to establish systems, routines and some semblance of normalcy and order for our individual lives. All the while, maintaining some sense of sanity.

Remind yourself of this when days are hard, friend, you should feel very proud of yourself!

You are still surviving. You being of sound mind and body is enough! Groceries, emails, zoom calls – everything else – is a bonus. So be easy on yourself, and remember to award yourself a point for every bonus activity you accomplish. Hang in there. You really are phenomenal.

Now, if we are going to bother to show up, then we must do so with intention and purpose.

With that being said…We need to talk.

I can see the smokey embers of burnout kindling. I feel your frustration mounting and the balancing act of expectation versus reality becoming all too heavy to juggle.

We need to talk about how relaxed we are getting- in our productivity, our communication and our presence.

Lean in, because I’m going to say a hard thing. It might be time to put on pants.

Have you ever heard anyone use the phrase, when you feel bad, look better? I lived by this as best a broke college student could during my undergraduate years. If there was a big exam or presentation or I literally felt a bit under the weather, I’d boost my mood and my odds of a more successful outcome by passing on the oversized sweatshirt and shorts for a dress, sweater or dressy jeans.

I’d sit more attentively in class. I likely took better notes and felt a little more studious. It could be because I thought I was cute on those days. But it could also have been an intentional shift in my mindset. A change in routine prepared my brain in advance that we were out to handle the business and tackle it head on.

There is something to dressing the part that can enhance our mood, our focus and even boost our productivity. Look, I get it. Home is home. And some days it can feel like the longest loop in time; and still no end in sight. You are still a professional, still a leader, and your next opportunity is still waiting for you. You are still responsible for showing up and bringing your best!

So I want you to ask yourself, is it time to put pants on? I mean really think about your energy, your posture, your approach to the work.

It’s not just you, I have been super guilty about sporting my business on top and sleep in Sunday on the bottom. But the truth is, I find that when I actually do my morning routine, choose clothes and get dressed before my coffee, I am more alert and ready to start my day than when I stay in pajamas and meander from one room to another. I get more done than when I fake it through the day. You know what I’m talkin about, throwing on a decently ironed shirt 10 minutes before a call.

And I wonder if the same could be true for you too.

Here’s what I’m going to do? I’m going to challenge you to choose just one day this week to get dressed. Nothing over the top, just a bump up from what you’ve been doing. Instead of yoga/exercise or sweatpants…remix your routine to break up the monotony of this week.

Reverse the concept of casual Fridays. We’ve been casual fridaying…any everydaying for about 52 weeks now. All I’m saying is try something like cardigan Tuesday.

I want to see if we can find a way to re-energize you and the work you do. Let’s try to counter these sluggish feelings with a little style.
Snap a pic. Tag me on social sharing, not only, how great you look but how your day goes. Do you notice that you feel more refreshed? Did you sit a little straighter during your Zoom? Did you find yourself more attentive and engaged? Maybe you answered more emails with focus and intention? Or did it just feel good to boost your mood? Totally counts!

This year is far from over and we’re just going to have to get creative in bringing our best selves to our digital spaces. Your next opportunity is still waiting for you, how you show up and deliver still matters. Try this small step to get you back in the groove.

And if you find yourself doing your best proofreading after you hit send – there’s a guide for that. Head over to the site to scoop your Email Etiquette Quick Guide and brush up on the 15 rules of email you should be respecting.

4 Zero Cost Ways To Help Me Grow.

The holiday season has officially kicked off and don’t get me wrong, I absolutely want you shop, shop with me! With my whole heart, I want my Email Etiquette Bundle in your hands (especially the pre/teen guide). I want you to book a Situation Room Strategy Session to talk through a difficult situation or obstacle standing in your way. And I want at least 10 students for my upcoming Etiquette Exchange Monthly Mastermind program when enrollment opens.

I may be a CEO but I am also a wife and mom, so I get it! I understand that money is tight for a lot of us. I also know that many of us are being much more intentional with our spending. And I don’t blame you one little bit. But I also know that you want to help a friend like me, continue to serve and grow her purpose through small business.

Listen, I know if you could, you would…I know if there was something you could do, you’d be there for me.

Friend, I’m asking! I need your help. Believe it or not there are a number of no money ways you can shop small this year.

  1. Help Me Grow The A-LIST. It doesn’t cost a thing to join The A-LIST {Ambiance Leadership Institute for Success Training}. But I only want you signing up if you are interested in finding more clarity and confidence in your professional skin. You know, learning to be comfortable with who you are, mistakes and all. You should also join if you’re interested in proven strategies to help you build better business relationships or better manage your people, preference, and pet peeves with more tact and diplomacy. It’s a community for etiquette, awareness, application, mentorship, and engagement all rolled into one. Best of all, you’ll be safe because no perfect people allowed.
  2. Help Me Grow Socially. No money, just a few clicks. This is a super easy way to help me grow my reach on social media. Follow and share @themichelleawhyte on FB, IG, and or Twitter. Be sure to turn your notifications on, so you don’t miss a thing.
  3. Help Me Grow My Network. Virtually introduce me to a friend, colleague, or young professional. Send a DM, text, or email saying hey, I saw this and thought of you. Maybe a good fit for you? Check it out when you get a chance. Just be sure to share a post, link to my website or social channel in the message and that’s it!
  4. Help Me Grow My Opportunities. Offer up my name for professional development training in your spaces and places. Mentorship Workshops in self-awareness, leadership development, and personality preference assessments help strengthen the civility, character, and confidence of a team; individually and collectively.

There you have it. 4 different ways you can help grow and support this minority, woman-owned small business today. No money required!

If you can’t purchase, help me progress. I appreciate you choosing 1 or all of the above. But I thank you for being open to wanting to find ways to support me, more.

IT MATTERS!

Election Aftermath

Listen, the aftermath of this year’s Presidential Election will likely be overwhelming, no matter what side of the political aisle you align with.

The news cycle, social platforms and even your close conversations will likely be inundated with political conversations & theories. On top of all that we’ve been adjusting to in 2020, it could be another source of overwhelm, stress, and fatigue.

That’s why I want you to be prepared. Hey, I care about you. 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride magnifying the need for self care and inner peace protection.

And I don’t want any of my A-LIST friends falling prey to office or social pressures and guilt. Nor do I want you caught off guard by being put on the spot to engage and/or respond in professional situations.

It is OK to take a hard pass. You do not have to make room for this in your already trying to juggle it all, extra busy life. And I am happy to share with you a few best practices on how.

I am telling you that you have options, you have choice, you have power, and you have a responsibility…to you and your personal brand values. In this 60-second etiquette, check out 3 guilt-free options for passing on engaging politically and 3 ways to say you respectfully decline.

I hope, first, that you do choose to exercise your right to Vote! It’s needed friend. I also hope that you’ll be taking great care of yourself in the aftermath, using these 60-second etiquette tips:

I Make Mistakes Too!

Last week, I was in the Situation Room with a client. She scheduled a consult because she was furious about something at work and she needed to talk through how to go about regaining control of a situation with her boss. 

In these types of situations, the first step is often the most challenging, moving past the feelings. Facts over feelings is a phrase you will hear me use often. And this time, we had to dig a little deeper, past the surface to find discernment between the two. 

As we continued to talk, we discovered that her overwhelming work frustrations had seeped into how she had also dealt with the family that day. We’ve all been there at some point, right?

After creating her situational strategy, she then took a step back and decided that she probably owed her family an apology for being snapping at them; recognizing that they didn’t deserve it.  

Excuse me, Michelle, what exactly, does that have to do with you? I’m getting there, friend, promise. 

I was so proud of her A-list effort. I absolutely love getting to witness growth in action. We had done the work…and my client was back on course, heading toward a win! 

Release the confetti, cue the happy dance and insert a shimmy or two. 

Then it hit me; that dreaded lightbulb of self accountability.

In my client’s moment of growth, I had my own “ah-ha” moment. I realized that years ago, I gave someone the apology I wanted them to have and not the apology they deserved. Listen, I told you I wasn’t perfect. 

Here’s the thing, with my knowledge and experience in business etiquette, I can’t unknow the right thing to do. I’m obligated to make it right. Now, I want you to hear me good when I tell you there is no expiration date on that and no half steppin allowed. 

Here is where building better relationships really gets a workout. I have to provide an appropriate apology, while – wait for it – not wanting to rekindle the friendship. I know, I know! But, we are friends right? So I can tell you, it was all my fault (lol); but the situation unfolded in a way that allowed me to see things in that person that I’m ok, being without.

I’m sharing this with you because I want you to see how my choice to not rekindle a relationship does not absolve me from fully owning my behavior/actions. I’ve made a commitment to myself and to you, to filter my actions and reactions through the lens of consideration, honesty, respect and integrity.  

I want you to see that all of this (the A-list community, the workshops, the development and the positioning ourselves to be more profitable) is about our confidence and commitment to being a work in progress, continuously developing into better versions of ourselves.

Once you commit to yourself and your brand values, you will face difficulties, you will have to boss up in ways you didn’t know you could and you may not always get it right. Keep trying! 

I will always celebrate your C+ effort over an F, anyday. And I need you around, to help me celebrate mine. 

Is there a situation you need to make right? Learn from me. You can do it. It’s never too late. And friend, if you need help, I am always just a click or call away

Zoom Like A Pro

Lights! Camera! ACTION!

You are now the actor/actress you never really wanted to be. The camera is always on and that means, so are you.

I know it feels a lot like the sky is falling. It’s a lot. And you just want to stand out and make your mark, especially during this chaotic time. So what can you do?

Number one, do not be seduced by the comforts of home. Being too comfortable and too casual while remote working can be detrimental to your brand. Instead, commit to presenting yourself with the same professional image you would outside of the home.

Secondly, video meetings are real meetings! And I need you to conduct yourself accordingly friends. Prepare to bring your A-Game, each and every time.

I know you are busy and have much on your plate; so here are 5 of my top helpful hints to help boost your brand while video conferencing.

And don’t worry…it’ll only take a minute.

It Only Takes 60 Seconds To Video Conference More Professionally

5 Totally Worth Your Time Takeaways From The Movie Little.

Photo: IMDB Dot Com

I imagine that social distancing, sheltering in place, educating from home, and working from home, has created an increase of entertainment time in your home as well. Whether you are streaming for family time or as a means to unwind and chill,  you are likely finding quality downtime to be even more valuable to your routine right now.

I am right there with you. This past week, I found myself in serious need of some mindless entertainment; something just enough light hearted and funny to relax to {suggestions welcomed}. I didn’t want anything too serious. You know, nothing that I’d have to connect dots or remember how things were related. 

Something I could unwind to and even if I fell asleep, it would be peaceful with a smile on my face. I surprisingly found that escape and more in the movie Little, starring Marsai Martin, Regina Hall, and Issa Rae. 

The more I watched, the more I saw many of the conversations I’ve had with you and the real life stuff that we all go through. Even though I wasn’t looking to work, this movie turned out to be a fantastic illustration of everyday etiquette that I just had to share with you. 

Entertainment aside, there are 5 key takeaways from this movie that I am confident you can connect with and use to strengthen your everyday etiquette practice. 

Develop your voice. 

A lack of confidence can handicap you. I will admit there is an art to knowing and speaking to your strengths while supporting and respecting the opinions and feelings of others around you. It’s not an easy thing to learn. You also can’t even begin to learn to finesse the art if you don’t know your own voice, your own worth, your own value.

Sure, we all have work to do. We all have areas in which we can improve ourselves but you do have to get clear on what you do and do well. Give yourself permission to be better than average at something and know it! It’s time for you to acknowledge and take pride in the hard work you’ve put in and/or the things you have accomplished. Whatever “it” is.  

Your voice is the most important voice you’ll hear. 

Deal with the haters. 

You will not be everyone’s favorite flavor. People can dislike you for any number of reasons (and sometimes it’s just a choice). A peer or co-worker choosing to dislike your style, your flow, your look, your presence, isn’t a thing you can control. And it isn’t your stress to carry or manage. Don’t waste your energy here, you have a job to do, a legacy to build, a reputation to protect. 

Haters are everywhere. Serve anyway. 

Sometimes itʼs you! 

That’s right, I said it. Some of the challenges you’re experiencing aren’t always sabotage, someone out to get you, or the incompetence of your team, but rather a result of how you treat, interact with, manage, and trust others. 

The bottom line is people usually wonʼt perform for people they donʼt like. That goes for adults and children alike. I advise you to think about your actions, think about your reactions, and then ask yourself? Is it me? 

Be prepared friend…occasionally the answer will be yes. 

Own your mistakes. 

When you are wrong, you’re wrong. When you have wronged someone or made a mistake an apology is owed. Doesn’t matter if you intended to harm or whether or not you think the other person is deserving of your apology.

Life happens. It is ok if you drop the ball, or run late, or forget. It happens and let’s face it, you don’t know everything.  Let’s commit to being mature enough to reflect on who was counting on us, who we let down, and if there was anything we could have done to avoid or lessen the impact. 

This is how you start to learn from your mistakes. After that, address…adjust, and then…move on. 

Transformation doesnʼt happen over night

Unlike the film, you wonʼt be a new person at the break of day; but you can work to make small improvements each day. 

All you have to do is choose. You can choose to start (or stop) today. You can choose a new path, a new direction, a new habit…but, remember this, EVERY DAY…it is your choice. 

Friend, as always, if you need extra support and guidance, I am here for you. And here’s the bonus lesson from the film, we don’t have to do it alone; use your resources, use your team.

Let’s talk about taking a serious step toward upgrading your image and influence. If you have 15 minutes, so do I. You pick the day and time, HERE.  

3 Tips To Work From Home

As many of you are finding out, working from home (teleworking) requires a pretty high level of communication. This unprecedented working in teams, working as an organization while social distancing, has lots of moving parts. And because it is so new and fresh, it seems to have little rhythm or a systematic approach to it. It feels a lot like…the sky is falling.

Non-stop emails and more oh by the way, we’re scheduling a video call in an hour, than I can count.

We are talking about information being updated every half hour to an hour. EVERY communication is of the highest importance right now. And nothing can fall through the cracks. It’s everywhere…all the time.

Don’t get frustrated, get prepared.

We are going to be OK friend. We have each other. I am here to help you, not only save your sanity, but to thrive & survive. Truth is, the world may never be the same; but in the meantime, you are still putting in the work to build a bigger, better, stronger toolkit to help you withstand this professional storm. And I am really proud of you for digging deep and staying committed to yourself and your legacy.

So what can you do? What can you do to continue to build your brand and polish your professional skills?

Simple, you are going to keep reading. You are going to get your pen and paper or your screenshot finger ready to capture these three, quick tips for high touch communication while teleworking.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

#1. Acknowledge Receipt.

I’ll be honest, this is a great practice to have on any day of the week but especially now when email communication is high and consistent. The bottom line is you don’t want to leave people hanging. You don’t want to leave people wondering whether or not you got the message or if you’ve been updated/notified. Simply hit reply and acknowledge that you received the message.

If a question is being ask of you, but you need time to gather info or do more research, simply provide some insight on when you’ll get back to them. “Message received. I hope to provide you an update by end of business today” or “Message received. You can expect a follow up by noon tomorrow.”

The key takeaway here, is that you start communicating that the information or their needs are on your radar. Make sense? Let’s move on.

#2. Apply the W-4.

I know some of you are thinking, say what now? I’ve never heard of it, let alone know how to apply it. Let me explain. When it comes to email and providing a high touch communication experience you’ll want to answer questions involving who, what, when, and where…your W4.

The fifth W, why (or how) is a phone call! Explanations through email can sabotage a business relationship because you are depending on the recipient to interpret what you mean and how you mean it. Don’t be tempted to type like you speak in conversation. Written, it often leads to miscommunication. Something you are likely to see increase in the coming weeks.

Take the time to elevate your brand through personal connection by picking up the phone to provide further clarity on a matter involving why/how. You’ll be glad you did.

#3. Watch Your Tone.

Here’s the thing, when someone is reading, they do not have your facial expressions, body language, or voice to help with the meaning behind your words. Take the time…better yet…make the time to re-read your email communications. Re-read your message to double check and ensure that your message says what you want it to say, how you want to say it.

Look at this social distancing, work from home era as a time to put in the work to truly set yourself apart as a consummate professional who can quickly adapt to change. Every organization looks for a team members with this skill set.

Now is your time. Let’s practice to make progress.

For an insiders glimpse into seriously helpful professional tips and best practices, join us on FB or INSTAGRAM, drop your email to join The A-List, and/or schedule 1:1 consulting session. You can also check out more products and webinars under our Resources page. Together we’ll work to create and elevate your personal brand; creating a portfolio of value that can’t be duplicated. I’m so excited to collaborate with you.

Dear Rude People…

Dear Rude People…


As a military spouse, I love that technology has advanced in a ways to help people maintain close relationships across distances far and wide. It has been incredibly helpful for my marriage and keeping my whole family connected. 

These same features have been transformative for the way we work and do business as well. It is how I can train and coach clients, literally, anywhere in this world.

But I need you to lean in friend, because today, we’ve got to get real about a thing. 

Ya’ll…these cell phones!!!! 

Facetime and speaker phones are wonderful features but we must take action to use them more responsibly. These features are earbud compatible AND help to keep your conversations and entertainment preferences semi-private. 

For a culture that seems to love for everyone to stay out of their business, we sure keep publicly sharing all the things. I just don’t get it. And I know it’s not you but you’ve seen it. You know what I’m talking about. 

I’m just saying: 

  • You want to say see you next time to your grandbaby while waiting at the airport…fine!
  • You want to listen to your music while riding the train…no problem!
  • You want to scroll through Facebook while waiting for your kid during gymnastics…go for it!
  • You need for your kid to self entertain at the restaurant table…I’ve been there! 
  • You need to take the video call while waiting in line at the post office…knock yourself out.

But for goodness, PLUG IN! Use your earbuds, Beats, headset, whateva!

I like to say that each of us stars in our own movie, meaning whatever we have going on, is our priority and focus. The people around us are just extras in the film. 

And don’t get me wrong, I have been guilty of being oblivious to others. I can get hyper focused on this is what I need, this is the time I need it and this is how I’d like to get it done. 

But then I learned the importance of perspective and how it is a HUGE part of building strong, lasting personal and professional relationships. You know the old saying, it’s not what you know but who you know. Well, the “who” is all about relationships. 

The truth is we often act in the interest of our own convenience.And  that isn’t necessarily a bad thing; but when I committed myself to becoming a more poised professional working to build a legacy of distinction, I learned I must continuously be conscious of how I respect and show consideration for those around me. 

I’ve become more aware of the little things. I make an effort to not be on my phone when checking out at the store. I provide the greeting of the day to my cashier and respect the effort they put into their job of trying to get me out of the store quickly by not holding them up, trying to balance my phone, my conversation and my purse while trying to pay. It also shows the person I’m talking to, a little more respect by providing them my undivided attention instead of continuously putting them on hold. 

Side note, have you ever wondered why someone even answered the phone when they really couldn’t talk? I mean…right?!?!?

If you have been looking for a small way in which you can improve yourself, I offer you this small step. I hope you’ll think of this journey of personal growth  like a lego set…the small pieces build something larger and more exciting. 

I’m happy to share with you and support you in taking more steps toward embracing the improvements that are working for me – today! Just click the link: https://page.co/Kjm7g .

Practicing a little more each day, 

Michelle