A Publication of WTVP

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… Regift?
Every holiday season, it happens. Whether it’s a bottle of off-putting cologne from Aunt Nora or a tin of peanut brittle from a friend who forgot about your nut allergy, we all end up with a gift that’s just not our style. After mustering a polite smile and “thank you,” some will discard the unwanted items, while others may seize the opportunity to save some dollars and “recycle” the gift. This practice of regifting has become so common that the creators of recently declared a new holiday, National Regifting Day, celebrated on the third Thursday of December.

According to Money Management International, the credit counseling agency that started the website back in 2010, more than 60 percent of Americans believe regifting has become more acceptable, and an equal percentage of recipients say they take no offense to receiving a recycled gift. The same survey revealed the majority of people—62 percent—regift because they believe the item is something the intended recipient would truly like, while 42 percent admit they do it to save money.

If you plan to regift this holiday season, keep in mind these four rules from etiquette expert Jodi R.R. Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Counseling:

  1. The item needs to be new and unopened. Disqualified items include that perfume you opened, took one sniff of, and decided you didn’t like.
  2. Don’t regift something just because you didn’t like it. Only regift when the item is something you would have bought for the recipient anyway.
  3. The gift should be unwrapped and then rewrapped. You don’t want him or her finding that card from Grandma Edith inside.
  4. Avoid a “Seinfeld” scenario. Don’t regift to anyone in the same social circle as the original gift-giver.

Keep Your Cool: Nine Tips for Public Speakers
It’s something nearly all of us hate doing, yet will inevitably face at some point in our careers: public speaking. Whether standing in front of a sold-out lecture hall or a conference table of colleagues, each situation can just as easily elicit sweaty palms, a gurgling stomach, racing heart and lump in your throat. In fact, getting up in front of a crowd can evoke such anxiety that some studies have found people fear public speaking more than they do death!

Keep your cool at your next speaking gig with the following tips, courtesy of

  1. Know your audience. Figure out why they are there, what they know and what they want to learn.
  2. Know your content. You’ll be more relaxed and confident if you’ve mastered your material.
  3. Use PowerPoint wisely. Don’t lull your audience to sleep with hundreds of cluttered slides. Use slides as springboards to your speech, and avoid littering them with excessive text or cheesy clip art.
  4. Interact with your audience. Build a rapport with attendees and encourage questions.
  5. Remember: it’s not about you. Most likely, you’ve already been introduced by the host or a short bio in the program. The audience knows who you are; make your speech about them.
  6. Tell a story. Connect with your audience by using an anecdote that illustrates your point. Bring one great story to your speech, and the audience won’t forget it.
  7. Own your content. Don’t rely on quoting other authors and experts. Find something unique and original to say.
  8. Choose your words carefully. These days, one off-color quote can go viral on social media and affect your reputation and that of your organization.
  9. Don’t picture your audience naked. Rather than picturing them in a more vulnerable state than you, imagine your audience thinking positive thoughts about you and cheering you on. After all, they want you to succeed!

Nine Things to Avoid During Flu Season
Living in the Midwest, two things are practically guaranteed every winter:snow will fall, and cases of colds and flu will rise. This season, lower your chances of getting laid up with a nasty bug by avoiding these nine germ-infested items:

  1. Makeup counter testers. Ladies, put down that lipstick! An undercover study conducted by Good Morning America revealed that 20 percent of samples tested from 10 makeup counters across two states showed significant growth of mold, yeast and/or fecal matter.
  2. Soap dispensers. Though somewhat counterintuitive, soap dispensers are breeding grounds for germs, as they are constantly touched by dirty hands and rarely cleaned. But don’t skip the soap! Just practice sound hand-washing techniques and scrub with hot water for 15 to 20 seconds.
  3. The hotel room remote. The next time you’re traveling, think twice before reaching for the remote. Nearly every guest touches it and housekeeping rarely disinfects it.
  4. Your keyboard and mouse. Ever snack at your desk? Little portions of your mid-day meal end up on and all around desk, inviting a host of potentially harmful bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, onto your computer equipment.
  5. Your cellphone/tablet. Most people carry their mobile devices everywhere they go—sometimes, even into the restroom! A study by British watchdog group Which? found that many smart devices harbor “hazardous” levels of bacteria, including E. coli.
  6. Restaurant menus. More often than not, the server hands you a menu before you—or any of the patrons before you—have had the chance to wash your hands. Good Morning America found that menus are among the most germ-infested items in restaurants.
  7. Lemon wedges. The next time you order water, pass on the lemon. Most restaurants and bars don’t wash lemons before slicing and placing them in your drink, transferring any bacteria on the rind into your beverage.
  8. Condiment dispensers. Think about how many people have touched that salt shaker or ketchup bottle on the table. Now think about how often you see anyone sanitizing condiment dispensers.
  9. Your gloves. Though you might think gloves help you avoid coming into contact with germs, that only holds true when you wash them regularly. Otherwise, the germs you pick up on door handles, stair railings, ATM buttons and the like end up back on your hands as you take your mitts off and put them back on.

Source: Marie Claire

Perfect Pitch
Do you know how to “tell it to sell it”? Count Me In, a leading nonprofit resource for women entrepreneurs, recently launched a mobile app to help small business owners perfect their “elevator pitch.” Small Business Perfect Pitch offers users comprehensive tips and practice tools, as well as the ability to compile notes and track their progress while preparing their next presentation. The app costs $0.99 and is available in the App Store or Google Play. Learn more about perfecting your pitch and other business tips at

Ladies First
According to the 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, Illinois is home to about 382,700 women-owned firms, employing approximately 319,000 people and generating more than $57 million in annual sales. Over the past decade and a half, the Prairie State has experienced nearly 60-percent growth in women-owned businesses, as well as a 30-percent jump in revenue produced by women-owned firms. Nationally, the number of women-owned businesses has grown nearly 59 percent, from 5.4 million to 8.6 million, since 1997, while sales have jumped from $818.7 million to $1.3 trillion, exceeding the growth of all but the largest, publicly traded corporations. Visit to read the full report.

Another Reason to Smile
Making it easier for customers to give to a charitable cause, Amazon recently released AmazonSmile, a shopping portal that allows users to donate a percentage of the purchase price of their order to a charity of their choice. With the exception of digital content purchases and items ordered through Amazon’s subscribe-and-save program, nearly all products are eligible for donations, which can be made to one of nearly a million nonprofit organizations. Log on to to start supporting a cause you care about. iBi