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May 19, 2022

Soft Skills that Create Massive Impact

Today I am interviewing Janika  LeMaitre.
Janika LeMaitre is an Australian destined to help people with their professional
brands. It’s why, after moving to Boston in the U.S., she started her consultancy, The Better
Professional®. She is a consultan...

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Today I am interviewing Janika  LeMaitre.

Janika LeMaitre is an Australian destined to help people with their professional

brands. It’s why, after moving to Boston in the U.S., she started her consultancy, The Better

Professional®. She is a consultant, coach, and host of the “Polish Your Persona” podcast.


Today we are discussing soft skills and how they can create massive impact as you expand and grow in your leadership, these are things we are not taught in school, branding, business etiquette and reputation self-management. Knowing these skills could be the key to landing your next opportunity.


Follow/Connect With Janika:


Web: https://www.better-professional.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/better.professional/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janika-lemaitre/


Book a Chat with Laura: https://lauranoelcc.com/calendar


Check Out My Website: https://www.ratracereboot.com/

Connect With Laura at: https://www.stretchintosuccess.com/ratracereboot/


Watch/Listen to the Show on:

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoc1sIm3AlUCrmcaFyZaFbw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RatRaceReboot

Podbean: https://infogtu.podbean.com/








Guest Bio –

Janika (Jan) LeMaitre is an Australian destined to help people with their professional brands. It's why, after moving to Boston in the U.S., she started her consultancy, The Better Professional®. She is a consultant, coach, and host of the 'Polish Your Persona' podcast. Jan guides her clients, ranging from entrepreneurs to senior-level executives, on modern business etiquette, personal brand building, and reputation self-management. Her mission is to provide invaluable knowledge and life-changing skills for professionals to evolve their business, brand, and overall reputation successfully. For more information, please visit her website: www.better-professional.com.



people, etiquette, soft skills, person, conversations, personal branding, business, protocol, world, brand, life, rat race, travel, skills, professional, feel, culture, podcast, learn, knowing


Jan LeMaitre is an Australian destined to help people with their professional brands. It's why after moving to Boston in the US, she started her consultancy the better professional. She is a consultant, a coach, a speaker, and a host of the polish your persona podcast. And I am so excited to welcome her on rat race reboot, so you're gonna want to stick around today.


The following was recorded in front of a live studio audience at the studio 21 podcast cafe. This is the United Podcast Network.


Welcome to rat race reboot. I'm your host, Laura Noel. And as a certified coach and former 27 year military leader. Each week, I provide bite sized mindset pivots that will help you reset your mind reawaken your spirit and regain your control. Welcome back, everybody. I am so excited to welcome Jan on the show. This has been a long time coming. We've been talking about this for a while. And I just wanted to read a little bit more of her bio. And of course, this will be in the show notes for you to take a look at. But jam guides her clients ranging from entrepreneurs to senior level executives on modern business etiquette, personal brand building, and reputation self management. Her mission is to provide invaluable knowledge and life changing skills for professionals to evolve their business, their brand, and their overall reputation successfully. Jan, welcome to the show.


It's a pleasure to be here. I appreciate the invitation. Thank you, Laura.


Oh, it's our pleasure. And our audience is going to gain so much from you sharing with us today. And so how I'd love to start out is just you sharing a bit about you how you came to, you know, build your business, what brought you and led you down this path? And, yeah, we can just take it from there.


I actually started off in the hospitality industry knowing that at an early age, I wanted to travel the world in five star styles. So I made it my mission. And I thought, as a teenager, how do I do this with you know, my resources, and I decided that flying as an airline hostess would be the perfect way to do that. And I worked my way. You know how many jobs studying hospitality school and worked from numerous hotels, eventually flying for Emirates Airlines at the age of 21. So I learned about these really high levels of international expectations for customer service, self presentation, and what that looks like, globally. Now. I then found a position with the Four Seasons Hotel Boston, they sponsored me to come over in about 2006 or 2007. I just said absolutely, I need to take this position. I I came over and realized a lot of the standards were very similar, even though they're different industries. But the customer service expectations, self presentation, the etiquettes the cultural diversity, it was all still there. And I was able to transition industries quite well. I was then looking to get my green card and I'm telling you the long story by the way, I hope you're Oh no, no. Yes. So then I got my green card, but the recession hit and my visa had expired. So I couldn't go back into the hospitality industry. I'm not sure if anyone lived through this. I'm sure you know what it was like Laura and a lot of people were out of work especially in the in the world of hotels, restaurants, etc. So I decided well what what are my skills, what am I good at and that was that was an understanding of service, very high levels of service, as well as great etiquette, business etiquette understanding how to connect with people and those skills this the norm is soft skills. I transitional so I moved into the retail world and eventually found myself after years fine jewelry store, which had a very well known one in New England. So I I learned through all of my experience that I could change industries just with this knowledge How to connect with people and these soft skills.


And COVID came around. And we were all so I'm sure many people out there can relate, forced to take a step back from being in the workplace and having to be at home. And my mother in law moved in with myself and my husband and we, we realized to to keep her safe, and to be at home and in a bubble. I just couldn't go back to work, there was so much that was unknown. I thought, well, I can't just sit around, I need to do something to help other people. And what does that something look like? So I made it my mission to become certified. I thought, I want to know, what I can do to help other people transition at pivotal points in their careers. And that might look like they're stepping up into a new position, perhaps they are being interviewed on TV, perhaps they are looking to establish their presence as a presenter at an event, whatever it looks like, all of these soft skills are absolutely necessary. So that's why I've come up with a consulting business that I realized I need to make this possible online, how can I work via zoom, or on video calls or by phone? What can I do to help other people, and now that this world is fully a hybrid of digital, social media, your online networking platforms as well as in person and, and this transition out of being at home and working from home? What I have noticed is that people are now expected to have a brand about being who you are as an individual. And it's not necessarily something, for example, where you're a product, you are a human being and what do other people think of you? How are you portraying yourself to the world? And are you consciously taking control of that? And what does that look like? And a lot of these soft skills translate. So that's where I step in, and I consult I do project consulting, so very unique projects that might come up. And it could be training teams on customer service standards, so that people understand how do I present myself as part of a team and still give the level of customer service that's expected of wherever I'm working. It could also be I'm, I need to update my resume, and how do I make my resume reflect what I'm, what it is that I want to let other people know, what I'm doing how, how I am as a person, how does that translate through my my writing and, and the look of the resume. And perhaps it could be some reputation management where you're interacting with a client, and perhaps they only interact by text message, because a lot of that is something people do now. And it's become quite a casual, quite a casual atmosphere, perhaps, then, to make sure that you're translating your message in a professional manner. And there's no miscommunication that happens and you don't have a big issue that arises, you would something like that you would call me consult with me. And I would explain after learning the situation, step by step, what some of the outcomes could be, if you approached it a certain way. So it's a really interesting Canvas for a lot of different unique scenarios. And I think that business etiquette is such a big part of knowing etiquette, knowing protocols, such a big part of what I do.


My gosh, and your work is so needed, and there are a couple of things. I was just taking a few notes as you were sharing with us. Your work is so interesting, and it's so important. And you are you're spot on I mean, those soft skills are important. I mean, I I can think back in my military career. Most of the positions I held We're in the realm of soft skills. And it was in the realm of partnership building. So we had protocol in our international environment and on other bases as well. And we would engage with other people from other countries and the band, when I was part of the band was a part of public affairs, we would be there to, you know, build relationships and bridge that that gap that might have been happening. And that's a very powerful skill, because it enabled conversations to happen and for people to see the connectedness of one another, which is another thing that you had mentioned here, I wrote connection. You know, people are wanting to see authentic, that authenticity, and they want to see the whole person, and they want to know, you know, what's behind a brand, and who am I dealing with. And there's so many avenues and mechanisms in which to, to really highlight yourself and make sure that your brand is in alignment, and you're sharing and you're you know, you have the right message out there, you're giving people enough to know who you are, know what you're about, know what your brand is about, and you're sending the right message.




The other thing that I was thinking of is in terms of etiquette, and I was sharing with the this with you before we jumped on our call, I was reflecting about business etiquette and going into other cultures, whether it's overseas or in a different organization, because different organizations have different cultures within their organization. Knowing how to navigate that culture, appropriately is so important. And we here at rat race, reboot, are all about leveraging the right things, doing things the right way, so that you can maximize your potential and success without having it be so hard. And I think when you get that coaching and you understand the culture in which you're navigating, it just makes those conversations much easier. It gets your message to be heard people receive you more with open arms, there's less of that confusion and communication styles. You know, you mentioned that speaking via text, and in how do you do that, where one culture might frown on that, and it might seem inappropriate, another kind of a lot of tech, it's, you know, high tech kind of high paced industry that might be acceptable there, but not in other realms. I, you know, I just think that this work is so important that you're doing and I thank you for that.


Well, thank you. It's very interesting to hear from your own perspective, through the military, you become the face of the brand of the military. And so when you're sent out there, what does that look like? And how, how does that translate to other cultures? So being very professional, and understanding these cultural differences and norms, you can really place yourself at a great advantage with relationship building, if you know how to set the standard with just the basics. And it could be as simple as, Are you allowed to shake hands with this culture? Or not? How many times do you kiss on the cheek? If that's how you greet someone? And how do you say hello. And sometimes the someone from another culture will not expect you to have practiced or even know how to say something like hello in their language, and it can be warmly welcomed if you do your homework. And it sets the standard for you being a better professional,


you know, that really can help elevate someone's confidence. You know, I can recall before we would travel, and I started really getting versing myself in other cultures and reading about other cultures and making sure that before I traveled somewhere that I had an understanding. And I would also talk with protocol, and public affairs, and we would talk as a team before we would go somewhere. But prior to that I was in my head. I was not thinking about the other person. I wasn't being outward focused, I was focused on myself, and what I perceived as my own inadequacies, and am I doing the right thing. Am I saying the right thing? Should I do this? Do they sit down? Should I stand up? What do I do, and it really prevented me from stepping in to my highest potential, serving at the highest level and shining my light. But once I started getting support, and help, which is what I highly recommend, if you ever feel like, I don't know how to act in this culture, or engage in this type of, you know, atmosphere, I am looking for that next promotion, how do I become that person now, so that I'm poised for that, I highly recommend somebody seek out Janica and get that support, because I'm telling you, it, it was life changing for me, in my roles, I had a whole different level of confidence and, and connection with people I otherwise it just would have been very surfacey if I had been going down that path, the what the old way, versus understanding culture, and, and really making an attempt to engage with people in the way that they appreciate. And to their surprise, it just, it just created more of that that connection.


And you feel so much more confident you you just you come to life a little more when you have that knowledge. So you're quite lucky you and most I find military operations, they do have a lead protocol officer, I actually trained with the protocol School of Washington, where they sent members of the Air Force or, or members from different NASA stations to because they do work a lot with different cultures. They they have ambassadors, presidents, vice presidents, diplomats coming in from all over the world. So how even when it comes to dining experience, what does something like that look like? Yeah, so you'll see now and I'm learning that some of these sort of private companies that do have contracts with outside government bodies, they are now starting to realize how important important a protocol or etiquette officer or some someone who can come in, and stand in that role and provide guidance on how to establish a great rapport. And make sure you are hitting all the necessary protocols with who greets who, how, how long should some particular meeting or ceremony take, and what is the AWS order of precedence, those are such important things to know. But if you don't get it, right, you could really make or break whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish.


That's so true. And even if, you know, I think people are forgiving, oh, they don't, they don't know. And they'll kind of, Okay, let's move on. They don't know any better or whatever. But it there's a little bit of discomfort, it just feels awkward in the moment. And I can remember, you know, being a part of NATO and going to events and Public Affairs would be there. And all of these conversations with officials would be orchestrate. It was like a fine oiled machine from just the candles being the same height, and lit to how the meal was brought out to people coming out into the drying room. And then having a little performance. I used to sing for a lot of those events. Everything was just perfection. But there was somebody leading it so that the individuals who needed to have those conversations and not be distracted by you know, a mistake or just a little blip in protocol. They could have those conversations, and they accomplished a lot of wonderful things. So even if we're, you know, I think, like I said, we're forgiving, even if we make a mistake, you'll find that other people are forgiving too. But it is a little bit of a distraction. And it does kind of stall that forward momentum that you're trying to create.


And if you meet someone that let's just throw out a scenario, if you're at a NATO conference and you meet someone that does know that etiquette and protocols quite well versus someone who doesn't, who might you trust a little bit more to move forward with whatever it is a conversation, any business that might come about who might you decide to go with the person that does know or the person that kind of sort of smooth things over and really doesn't have an idea hasn't done their research hasn't prepared as well.


Yeah, that trust, know, like trust, you know, that's a big piece of Who do you choose to work with. And it's, you know, not all of us know these things, we don't come up in our lives knowing these things, I did know all of this, I learned, you know, I sought help. And I learned how to do these things. And actually, even the etiquette you mentioned in a, in a dining situation. And just going through that process, learning and then sitting at meals and having a host and offering a toast, all of those things matter. And it really doesn't take a lot of extra effort. It's you're just learning and you're practicing something different. It's just showing somebody respect and common courtesy.


And when you meet someone that knows how to do that, and you don't, don't you just feel like wow, how, how do they know this? So as you say, you, as you just said, you didn't learn this before you went out into starting to travel, for your work. However, it is such a necessary skill, soft skills, I'm coming back to soft skills, because I really feel like the hard skills are what people learn when they go to university or college. And they have a really structured overview of how things run. But etiquette, it's so transitional between countries, between cities, between towns, between just areas of towns, if if you're thinking of how to relate to people, and make sure you're on the same wavelength, as others being able to have that understanding, knowing sympathy, empathy, having awareness of other people's emotional skills, sorry, emotions. And that comes to emotional intelligence, which I know I feel like you are very well versed in. These are not taught. But I think there's a bit more awareness about it. And that, that, especially when it comes to people who are entrepreneurs who are starting their businesses, and they get to a point, or even executives and upper level management, they get to a point where they feel stuck. They say, Where do I go from here? How do I elevate my image. And that's where I would come in, to help guide them through these next steps. Help them learn be that person that they can call on, you know how you might call a lawyer, because you have a question, you might go to your dentist, you have these trusted people around you, you have your jeweler you have your hairdresser, you really need someone like myself, who is well versed in etiquette and brand personal branding. And I'm going to come back to that term in just one moment. Personal Branding, what that really means. But if you have me as part of that inner circle, someone you trust to make sure you get it right, every single time, wherever you are, whether they whether you're in a situation you're traveling, and you need to make sure you pack correctly, because you're going to a country that that doesn't necessarily dress the same way as a New England does. When it comes to business. You have to make sure you are aware of what dining etiquette looks like in a different part of perhaps the US. The way you use a knife and fork is so different here to Australia, and the UK. And so what does that look like and even China, very interesting tea ceremony. And if you know the tea ceremony, well, you are certainly going to make a better impression than if you don't. And so these are really interesting minor details where I can be that person you call upon to consult when you need as you need to go. Oh, yeah, the personal branding. I know that this is something that some people find this a very new term. You hear the this sort of buzz phrase, but it's becoming much more of a real need to be aware of in your career and in your professional life. So what is personal branding? Well, you think of an image consultant, someone who says you know, you want to look this way and act This way, and then you'll get this image that comes across to people. Well, that's great. But personal branding sort of that one step further, it's really taking this overview of not just how you look and self present to people. It's also about your mission in life with who you are and what you want to be moving forward, your vision, your core values, and being able to say I have, I absolutely know who I am, and how I want to come across to other people so I can achieve my mission and vision, my daily mission. What is that? And then your vision for the rest of your life? Well, I see myself becoming a thought leader in this industry. Great, well, how do you get there, and so it personal branding ties in the image, the etiquettes, and protocols as well as that reputation management for yourself. It is so necessary. Now, you are not just someone seen in person, you're not someone seen who just goes out socially. It's a blend of everything. And it's also digital is a virtual world. And once you put something out there it is out there. So how do you help step in and navigate that story a little better. It's what personal branding does and is.


I love that, you know, you mentioned image, or your self image. And so a lot of the work that I do ties into helping people create in their mind, the image that they hold to themselves, not just now, but that's in alignment with their vision, their brand, their personal brand, right. And so what I love about this is by helping people be cognizant of how they're showing up in everything they say, in the digital realm in the things that they're doing it, it kind of gets people to think, well, how can I show up today as that person I want to become, am I showing up today? Like I want to am I showing up to this meeting, the way that this person would show up. So you're really, in essence, it sounds like creating a new self image of the person you want to become that's in alignment with your vision for your life. And then you're you're reaffirming it. And you're just making sure because what we don't focus our attention on doesn't happen. So continually being mindful and asking that question, how am I going to show up today? How do I want to arrive at this meeting? How do I want to carry myself? How do I want to be perceived and received? Those are all very important aspects of evolving.


Yes, I love that. I like how you use that word that that nails at 100% The evolution of you because you change over the years, you're not the same person you were 10 years ago, even physically, you've changed your cells recycle your you probably do your hair a little differently. Your skin changes, you might change the way if you're a lady, you do your makeup, who knows. But you are not the same person. You may not even speak the same way as you did 10 years ago. So what does that look like? And that's a bit of a it's a slow pivot happening in your life. You sometimes get to a point and I know I did where you say to yourself, What does it look like going forward? Because I'm a I'm a change person. I'm new, these things are happening around me. I can't control but what can I control about myself? How can I stay grounded? And what does that look like? So putting verbiage around it, internalizing it and making sure I love the word mindful, taking mindfulness and being embodying that, that it internally to the very core, knowing that you're so sure of yourself, you are mindful moving forward and have a bit of that calmness around you. It's something that other people respect because not everybody can achieve not well.


Yeah, it's a practice skill. And, and I always say find somebody who is doing that, and is teaching that and get some help. Because it's it's, it's a skill that you can learn and practice and that repetition of a new idea. I like that you said the word internalize. You have to internalize this new vision of yourself and of your life. Your image, you have to intern don't realize it. And there's a lot of tools and ways that you can do that. You just have to learn and make it a part of your daily life and consciously choose to become that person each and every day, maybe even moment to moment if you're dealing with a difficult circumstance. I love that. So how do people get started? How do people connect with you? What would be some tips? I know this is like a multitude of questions and one. Where can people start?


Okay, so you can start by going to my website, better dash professional.com. On my website, better dash professional.com, you'll find I have a plethora of information, you can sign up for my emails, I have monthly blogs that come out, I have my podcast season two, which you can find there. And I also have a dress decoding guide for New England women. If you are traveling to the northeast of the US, there is a certain expectation of how to dress for different occasions and it's changing dress codes have evolved. So stay up to date, please download that it's a courtesy guide. I would also recommend if you are looking for a book, one of my favorite series is called Kiss bow or shake hands. And there are many editions tailored to different industries. But you can have a broad one. So if you are traveling and you need something just a great guide, it is not for the light hearted reading, dense, very informative book. And it's quite consistent with each country expectations, a little bit of history, and how to approach different situations, whether it be different genders, and introductions or conversations. You know, some countries, they may require you to sit down at a dinner table and drink vodka with them before you even start talking business. So there are some really fun, interesting facts that you should know about before you travel and do business or interact with people to make sure you, you just come in at that ground level, knowing what to expect without surprise. So that's a great resource. And I will say one thing I could give you all to take away. Right now. This is my own mantra. If you come up to a situation and you feel like your heart is beating, you're starting to get that anxious feeling because maybe you're walking into a room and you're networking with all of these new people, or you're doing something where you're speaking in front of an audience. If you have that feeling that comes about, I just say repeat these four words to use slowly. And those four words are be cool, calm, collected, controlled. And you just take a breath, cool, calm, collected, control. And that's my one takeaway.


I love that out. Jan, thank you so much for joining us on the show today. I know our listeners gained so much from you and our conversation today. So I'm extremely grateful. And yeah, I'm looking forward to continuing this dialogue maybe having you on again and hearing how wonderful things are going for you. But thank you so much.


It's been a great conversation with you, Laura. And I'd be happy to join you anytime.


Thank you. Okay, listeners. Well, we are going to end today like we do every episode and that is in taking inspired action and getting clarity on who it is you want to be. Who do you want to show up as in your world today. So wherever you are, if you're comfortable, just take a deep inhale through your nose


and exhale. Take another deep inhale, releasing any signs of tension and then exhaling all out and take one last deep inhale hold it and exhale


and I want you to imagine you are showing up as a calm, confident, collected person you are living from your goal, the vision you have for your life


showing up in a way that just makes you smile and feel proud.



Now bring to your mind's eye how you are living, how you're serving in the world?


And start to bring it into focus. Who are the people you're connecting with? What are you doing? And how are you being received. You are living your best life, serving at your highest potential. And it feels so wonderful being you.


This is your reality. If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand


stay open for any ideas or thoughts, insight and inspiration that may bubble up to your consciousness. And ask yourself how can I step into that person today with that level of confidence in every action that I take today, with joy, enthusiasm. And as ideas float to your consciousness, make a note of them. And even though it might not make sense right now take action. You are in harmony with what you want and who you want to be. And taking inspired action every day is your path of least resistance.


Thank you once again for tuning into rat race reboot. Remember to take inspired action every day, not just when we have our episodes. If you got value out of our episode today, I want you to go to rat race reboot.com And leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts, leave a five star review, write a review we read them. And if there's anything else that you would like to learn and take a deeper dive on any other subjects in the realm of mindset, and getting out of the rat race. Leave a comment there as well because I take that seriously and I want you to get the most out of these episodes. So thank you again, for listening. Remember, everything's created twice, first in your mind and then in physical form. We'll see you next week.


The views and opinions expressed by the hosts guests or callers of this program do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the studio 21 podcast cafe, the United Podcast Network, its partners or affiliates.

Janika (Jan) LeMaitreProfile Photo

Janika (Jan) LeMaitre

Coach & Consultant

Janika (Jan) LeMaitre is an Australian destined to help people with their professional brands. It's why, after moving to Boston in the U.S., she started her consultancy, The Better Professional®. She is a consultant, coach, and host of the 'Polish Your Persona' podcast. Jan guides her clients, ranging from entrepreneurs to senior-level executives, on modern business etiquette, personal brand building, and reputation self-management. Her mission is to provide invaluable knowledge and life-changing skills for professionals to evolve their business, brand, and overall reputation successfully. For more information, please visit her website: www.better-professional.com.