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The Most Powerful Button on Your Phone, and More Tips for July

Plus 19 words to bring out the best in your employees.




hand holding phone

salesPound for Pound

The most powerful key on your phone is the # button. Why? According to Deb Hiss, whose company Debbie Hiss Consulting provides product and sales training to the jewelry industry, it’s because after leaving a message for your clients, the pound sign will almost always give you the opportunity to listen to your message or delete and start over if you’re not satisfied with it. “How you come across aurally is just as important as the impression you make visually,” she notes.

MANAGEMENTSet the Standard

Employees generally hate reviews. Managers generally hate giving them. What to do? In his book, Culture Code: The Secrets Of Highly Successful Groups, Daniel Coyle recommends using 19 words to bring out the best in the situation and deliver the feedback that will lead to a “dramatic improvement” in performance and effort. The words? “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.” Why does it work? According to Coyle, it builds trust, signals belonging, and combines high standards with the assurance that people can reach those standards.


BUYINGGet Show Ready

If you’re off to Vegas next month, Dan Pink, the widely traveled business author and speaker, recommends you follow this routine after checking in: Clear everything off the desk in your room and then establish your own “personal inbox.” To do that, he spreads a small towel on the desk and lays out everything he’ll need each day: his pen, notebook, passport, wallet, show pass, phone, etc. “And every time I come back to the room, I put everything back here so that I’m not always searching for my notebook, for my keys,” he says.

MANAGEMENTSchedule Breaks

A recent Columbia University study makes the case that you’ll be more creative at work – and perhaps more refreshed in your soul – if you schedule your breaks, rather than stopping whenever you feel like it. “Participants who didn’t step away from a task at regular intervals were more likely to write ‘new’ ideas that were very similar to the last one they had written,” the authors explained. So, if you’re hesitant to break away because you feel that you’re on a roll, be mindful that it might be a false impression. It’s notable, too, that the “break” in each case merely involved switching tasks. A change, it seems, really is as good as a rest — so long as you do it on schedule.



Like a lot of small business owners or just about anyone living in 2021, you’re likely often over-committed or just too scattered in your approach to life. You know you should say “no” more often, even to the worthwhile sounding things. But it’s tough. To guide you, entrepreneur and author Derek Sivers suggests this easy-to-remember heuristic: If you’re not saying “Hell Yeah!” about it, say “no.” Everything has an opportunity cost, not just in time but in your attention and energy. “When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say, ‘Hell Yeah!’” he says on his blog at

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Time for More “Me Time”? Time to Call Wilkerson

Rick White, owner of White’s & Co. Jewelry in Rogers, Ark., knew it was time to retire. Since the age of 18, jewelry had been his life. Now it was time to get that “me time” every retailer dreams about. So, he chose Wilkerson to manage his going-out-of-business sale. White says he’d done plenty of sales on his own, but this was different. “Wilkerson has been a very, very good experience. I’ve had the best salespeople in the history of jewelry,” he says. “I recommend Wilkerson because they are really the icon of the jewelry business and going-out-of-business sales. They’ve been doing it for decades. I just think they’re the best.”

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