Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Friday, January 07, 2005


  Tall Poppy Basics Lesson 7: Charming

(Before we become EVEN MORE charming, I want to remind you that there are only a few more days to vote for our friends who have been nominated for BoB's. Several of them are within shot of the top prize. But YOUR vote is important!!! EVERY DAY! It's EASY! So check out our list of nominated friends below, then Click here to vote in the BoB awards! AND VOTE EVERY DAY, PLEASE! THANKS!)

Best Overall Blog: Vote For Michele!
Best New Blog: Aussie Mama, Sound of Muzik, and Sig, Carl and Al
Best Mommy Blog: Fighting Inertia
Biggest Blog (Promoter... ;) ): Scheiss Weekly, Barefoot Principessa
Snarkiest Blog: FFS!
Most Inspirational Blog: Always Victoria, Purple Goddess...
Best Literary/Book Blog: Magnificent Octopus
Best Weight Loss/Fitness Blog: Do You Have That In My Size?

Most Humorous Blog: Rockchild

Best Fertility/Adoption Blog: Redhead Princess

OK, now you have to wait 24 hours before you can vote again, so don't vote at 11pm unless you want to vote at 11pm EVERY NIGHT! Just do it. Thanks! )

Tall Poppy...

Knows that you really DO catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Makes friends with the "Gatekeepers" since they have more power to get more done than most people know.

Looks for the best in others and strives to put those around her at ease.

Understands that charm and good-natured conversation with men will help her go far.

Knows the subtle differences between being charming and being inappropriately flirtatious. In the long run, the latter will gain her nothing.

Charm-ing 1 a: to affect by or as if by magic b: to please, soothe, or delight by compelling attraction

"You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer "Yes" without having asked any clear question."
--Albert Camus

"Charm is a glow within a woman that casts a most becoming light on others."
--John Mason Brown, Vogue, November 15, 1956

Content Advisory:
If you're a Tall Poppy, read on.
If you WANT to be a Tall Poppy, read on.
If you despise Tall Poppies and think they are all just a bunch of conniving, selfish jerks who always get what they want and more than they deserve, please feel free to read on. And, by all means, comment. HOWEVER, you might want to grab an Alka-Seltzer and a stiff drink. You'll need them to get through this. This is pretty much gonna confirm ALL of your worst nightmares.

It's CRUCIAL for both men and women to have the ability to play the "charm" card appropriately--professionally, socially, and at home. The ability to be charming protects the person who uses it wisely from both the scorn of others AND from becoming too aggressive in antagonistic situations.

However, today I am going to focus on charming the Gatekeepers in our lives. If you want to grow a little taller and gain more respect from others, you need to know how to get what you want--and convince those who help you get it that it was THEIR idea to give it to you in the first place. I have spent most of my life in "power circles". I have known some of the most powerful people in the world--and certainly in the US--in my relatively short lifetime. And yet, 99% of the people who played pivotal roles in my career (back when I HAD one of those...) were people whose names you would never know. They were secretaries, doormen, executive assistants, interns, drivers, receptionists. Gatekeepers are among the most important, and yet, the most underestimated and underutilized people in the workforce. There are so many people who believe that you get an appointment with the CEO by haranguing the receptionist! Do they not KNOW how this works?

You smile. You are respectful. You are sympathetic. You compliment. And you learn to sit quietly, WITH a pleasant look upon your face. If the "gatekeeper" is someone you need to work with frequently, you charm them EVEN when you want nothing at all--except, perhaps, to take them to lunch or invite them to a party. You charm them just "because". You let them know that YOU know that they are "in charge" and that you value them. Because, guess what? Most of the time they ARE in charge! And THEY are going to decide whether you get the meeting, interview, or lunch appointment with THEIR boss. And if they DO help you out, you are profusely complimentary to them--and VERY complimentary of their "professionalism" when you speak to their boss. If the gatekeeper is your friend, the sky's the limit.

This principle holds true outside the workplace, as well. I have a group of girlfriends with whom I travel a few times a year. When we first started traveling together, they were always surprised at the level of service (and VIP perks) I could muster for us simply by becoming friendly with the concierge and bellmen! We get discounted rooms, keys to the concierge lounge (even when we AREN'T ON the concierge floor), gift baskets, robes, "contraband" rollaway beds (in rooms where they 'aren't allowed'). And best of all? We always have chauffers ready and willing to take us wherever we want to go, whenever we want to go. Rental cars? We don't need them. Did you know that hotels have vans and limos that they will use to drive VIP guests anywhere they want to go? Yep. It's true. But you can't ASK for them. Unless you're a big-spender VIP.

None of us are big spenders. In fact, we're a rather thrifty bunch. But we travel in style. And it all begins before we leave with a simple phone call to the concierge or bell desk. I call and introduce myself to the staff, ask a few questions and make sure I know who is going to be on call the day we arrive. Then, as soon as we reach the hotel, we make a bee-line for that person to introduce ourselves. Did I mention that my girlfriends are incredibly charming? Oh yes. They are. We are best friends with half the staff before we ever get our bags to our rooms.

Once our bellmen realize that we consider them to be our friends rather than flunkies, they go out of their way to do helpful things for us. If we say, "How far are we from a shopping mecca and what's the easiest way to get there?", the bellmen grab a set of keys, whisk us into the hotel limo, and away we go. And, yes, they come back to get us when we call them. And, of course, we ALWAYS say "Please".... AND we get to know their co-workers so that if our "First Friend" is off duty, another friend will be ready to help us out. We don't treat our new friends like chauffeurs. We make them part of the gang. And the more they become "one of us", the more fun we have.

At some point I'll do a detailed post about all of the intricacies of "charming" the gatekeepers--and how to keep them in your corner. But today, let's talk about simple ways we can become just a LITTLE MORE charming. (Except for Michele, who just really can't survive being much more charming. It IS hard work. And a girl's gotta rest...)

1). Don't consider lower-level employees "the little people". If you do, you may never find out how much power they really have.
2). Treat everyone like they are your best friend, 'cause some day you may wish they were.
3). Smile. Is this so hard? Smile. A lot. I think I may have to get Restylane injections in my smile lines because, otherwise, they're gonna sink straight through to my teeth. But ya' know what? It's been SO worth it. I wouldn't have had HALF the fun I've had if I didn't smile 24/7. People often tell me that they do things for me because they love to see me smile. Awww...
4). Give credit where credit's due. It doesn't hurt ANYONE to tell the boss that their employee is a great representative of the company. If someone is particularly helpful, make sure their employer knows about it.
5). Say "Thank You!" Everyone (even the terse Executive Assistant) is lookin' for a little love. Let them know how much you appreciate their efforts, EVEN if it was like pulling teeth to get them to assist you. If you do, you will most likely find the job MUCH easier the next time...

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