It's a perfect day to hit the beach, but you've got a date with your desk chair. Acting coach Elisa Eliot shows how to convince the boss that you're illin'.

By Rachael Ray Every Day
November 01, 2005

In Advance

Leave a voicemail before the workday starts. It's not as much of a cop-out as an e-mail and you won't have to dodge questions, says Eliot. Single out a symptom and rehearse your speech. Bad fakers should go with an ear infection. But if you're a risk-taker, cry strep throat. Just talk quietly and pepper your message with a cough or two.

In Person

If you made the mistake of going into the office, you can still salvage your day by cutting out early. Here's where you don't want to overdo it, says Eliot. Use subtle cues like squinting or putting your hand to your head. An acting technique called substitution could be helpful: Choose a sickness you've actually experienced, and recall how you felt.

The Day After

The pressure is on: Make it obvious that you're still recovering. If you went with strep throat, continue to sound strained when you speak, and keep the volume down. You may have to sacrifice your good looks for a day, too. Don't wear blush, bronzer or a complementary color that might give you a healthy glow.