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Special section 6 ways to get ahead in the office or get out

If you're tired of getting treated like a young whippersnapper at work, learn to get their attention -- professionally and with style.

Moving up the ladder

Ilene Amiel, co-author of "Business Casual," in Scarsdale, N.Y., provides five communication skills for improving your verbal presentation.

Improve verbal skills:
1. Be articulate and clear.
2. Think before you speak.
3. Listen effectively.
4. Build on ideas of others.
5. Be prepared.

Mind your manners. In addition to body language and communication skills, your manners say more about you than anything you say. Amiel says, "That's stuff that younger people don't get." We're not talking the "Yes, sir" and "Please" type manners, though those are a good idea, too. Nor does this mean bending over backward for everyone. Be polite, yet strong.

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For a good professional image, Amiel and Bedford remind us about some of those things we all learned in kindergarten:

1. Respect your parents (In grown-up terms: Respect the hierarchy.).

2. Don't eat the crayons (In grown-up terms: Don't usurp anyone's ideas).

3. Be nice (In grown-up terms: Be diplomatic and mature).

4. No hitting (In grown-up terms: Don't act aggressively).

5. Wait for your turn (Means the same thing today).

6. Pay attention (Ditto).

7. Don't run with scissors (I added that one to their list -- always seemed like good advice to me).

Professional manners still matter when you're on the phone, too. Amiel recommends using good telephone manners, being positive and being of service. This phone etiquette goes for both answering and calling.

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