18 Things You Should Know by Now

Cold-call a client, overcome writer’s block, make a spectacular entrance, minimize your carbon footprint: A cheat sheet for women of experience.

By Rebecca Adler, Marisa Cohen, Lisa Selin Davis, Juliann Garey, Cathy Garrard, and Amanda Robb

How to Bluff at Poker

Professional poker player Cyndy Violette shares her secrets for keeping a straight face; whether you choose to use them at the gaming table or elsewhere is your call. "Observe the competition for at least one hand to analyze their betting patterns," she says, "and don’t create your own by playing with your hair or fiddling with your chips. I hold my cards with both hands at all times. A good hand is easy to recognize: Players’ pupils get big. They look as if they’ve just woken up, and they study their chips to calculate their winnings. Breathe — holding your breath is a telltale sign that you’re lying! Raise the bet only two or three times higher, and focus your eyes on one thing, like the flop [the face-up cards] — a reasonable thing to stare at. You’re not going to pull it off all the time, but when you do, it’s a great feeling."

How to Relax Before Speaking in Public

Ask anyone who’s at ease in front of a crowd how they do it, and the first thing, the key thing, the if-you-only-do-one-thing-do-this thing she’ll say is: prepare. "As the actor Michael Caine has said, ‘Rehearsal is the work, and performance, the relaxation,’" says Patricia Fripp, a San Francisco-based executive speech coach. That doesn’t mean memorizing your entire speech, says Ann Hastings, a board member of Toastmasters International. But you must practice it, in front of live people, as many times as you (and they) can stand it. Fine. We get it. But we’re not Michael Caine. We need a little more help for the day-of.

Get to the venue where you will be speaking about an hour early, Hastings advises. Test the sound system and any other equipment you’ll be using. If you can, greet the people who will be in your audience, "That will make them feel like friends," she says.

About 10 minutes before you speak, use the bathroom.

About five minutes before, take some deep breaths — "just enough to get your adrenaline under control," Hastings says. We like the 5-5-10 method: Breathe in through your nose for five seconds, hold for five seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 10 seconds. "Let your arms hang by your sides and just shake them, discreetly," she suggests. Or, if you have some privacy, slip off your shoes, stand on one leg, and shake the other. Switch legs and repeat. "When you put your foot back on the ground, it will feel lighter," says Fripp, explaining that this will channel your nervous energy into the floor. "It’s a practical technique used by actors." Aha! And we thought Sir Michael simply rehearsed a lot.

How to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint

The slingbacks you’re sporting may say you’re a size 8, but one backward glance and you just might find you’ve walked a mile (or more) in Bigfoot’s shoes. How much energy we use (and greenhouse gases we emit) by driving and flying and turning on the lights is known as our carbon footprint. Here’s how to tread a little more lightly.

1. Measure your footprint with a carbon calculator, found on Web sites such as epa.gov and climatecrisis.net. You’ll need your electric, gas, and water bills; your car’s make, model, and average gas mileage; and your air travel mileage for the year. Include your state and the size of your household. Then compare your score with the national average, which is 7.5 tons of CO2 per person per year.

2. Take just one baby step. Your sleeping computer or plugged-in empty cell-phone charger consumes loads of standby (a.k.a. phantom) energy — at least five percent of your bill. Plug all your nonessential appliances into one or two power strips and switch them off when you don’t need them. If all four million women readers of MORE did this, the atmosphere would be 2.5 million tons of CO2 lighter this year.

3. Offset what you do use. Buy "carbon credits" that plant trees or invest in clean solar or wind power (at sites such as nativeenergy.com, terrapass.com, and carbonfund.org).

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