Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /data/14/1/155/74/1318237/user/1412113/htdocs/blog/wp-includes/cache.php on line 36

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /data/14/1/155/74/1318237/user/1412113/htdocs/blog/wp-includes/query.php on line 15

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /data/14/1/155/74/1318237/user/1412113/htdocs/blog/wp-includes/theme.php on line 505
Verbal Dexterity: Talking the Talk » Human Resources

Archive for the ‘Human Resources’ Category

Smiling Through The Pain: How Your Workplace Attitude Can Affect Your Altitude

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

So here we are. 2009.
The noisemakers and party hats have been put away, the long weekend is over and, like a cold slap in the face, we are all back at our desks trying to figure out what’s next.

What’s next for our country, for our Company and for our individual job security?

Tough questions for tough times…but let’s focus on you and your current job.

Assuming that you would like to stay where you are for now (the alternatives are for another day and post), what are the things that you can do to ensure that you will remain in the “starting line-up?”

Here are some tips:

  • Do not become the Chicken Little (”the sky is falling”) of your office. While it’s somewhat comforting to strut around proclaiming gloom and doom (e.g. the demise of the economy, the business, the free world, etc), people tend to want to stay away from “downers.”
  • Take a minute, before you walk into your workplace, to focus and get into the proper mind-set with the appropriate demeanor.
  • Listen more to those around you. It will give you a better feel for the “pulse” of the workplace.
  • Arrive on time or early and stay late. Those who are constantly tardy are, manytimes, the first to get booted. Those that take long lunches and leave early are deemed to be more expendable.
  • Do your work on time and be extra prepared to answer your Supervisor’s questions. Now is the time to really show that you understand the business.
  • Generate a list of “best practices” and cost-savings opportunities that could be implemented to help the business survive and for your Boss to look good.
  • Do not flaunt holiday gifts or brag about vacations. Times are tough and you do not want to plant any seeds that suggest that someone else may need their job more than you.
  • Be cognizant of others who may be going through some tough economic or emotional times. Many spouses have just received layoff notices and family emotions are running high.
  • Now is not the time to bad mouth a colleague, a supervisor or the organization (no matter how much they deserve it).
  • Get all of your work in on time or early. People will notice.
  • Offer to help someone who seems to be struggling.
  • Smile. It’s contagious.
  • Today’s Tip: Times are hard. The stock market and our spirits are down. Companies are folding everyday. But, don’t let it all get to you. Stand tough and tall. Smile through the pain. Be a role model rather than a bad example. Show up, do your job, be approachable, listen and hang in there. Others will notice and it will help you get through to tomorrow.

    Recession, Repression & Reinvention: How To Survive The Upcoming Downsizings

    Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

    Can the daily economic news get any more depressing?

    As layoffs and bankruptcies start spreading like the plague, you need to properly prepare to protect yourself inside and outside of the building…because

    Yes, it can happen to you!

    Here are some tips:

  • Read as much as you can about your company every day (e.g., check the internet, the corporate website and chat rooms).
  • Become a far more attentive listener. Listen to the gossips and water cooler chat. Other people may see or hear things that you didn’t (just don’t take it all as the gospel).
  • Sometimes, upper level management foreshadows events with their behavior or their inflections. Note unusual meeting cancellations or groupings of leaders.
  • Start making a list of all of your successes (especially those that resulted in savings) as well as a list of additional duties that you could readily take on, if asked. You want to be able to show, on instantaneous demand, your past, current and future financial value.
  • Make a concerted effort to get your office straightened up, files in order and projects on schedule.
  • Avoid latenesses and absences as much as possible. You want to be seen and valued as much as possible.
  • Attempt to resolve any outstanding feuds with co-workers.
  • Volunteer to take on more work and responsibilities (when the Boss asks for help, your hand should be the first one up).
  • and while all of that is going on internally…

  • Get your old resume updated and in order.
  • Start scanning job websites (e.g., Monster, CareerBuilder, Hot Jobs, etc.).
  • Talk with a headhunter/recruiter.
  • Start (confidentially) applying for some appropriate and appealing positions.
  • Recognize that finding a new job takes about 9-12 months…so start now.
  • Start to inquire about possible opportunities and connections through your friends.
  • Make lawful copies of your work product and records and bring them home now. You may not get the chance later.

  • Today’s Tip: Don’t be naive. In this economy, you need to be aggressive inside and outside of your workplace. Maximize your value to your Boss, your colleagues and to the company…while preparing for a safe landing (elsewhere) just in case you have to hit the “Ejector Seat” button (or if someone hits it for you).

    The Buck Stops Here (assuming that you have a buck): Dealing with your employees during tough economic times

    Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

    The stock market is down, houses are in foreclosure, companies are laying off thousands or in bankruptcy and your quarterly numbers look like an airplane that just lost its wings..and its engine.

    Yikes!

    With all of that going on, December only 3 weeks away and raises, performance reviews and bonuses on the immediate horizon–what’s a Boss to do?

    How do you deal with associates during such tense & economically challenging times?

    Here are some thoughts:

  • Recognize that the grapevine has been going full throttle (with rumors ranging from the pending sale to aliens to mutterings that the office will be bulldozed to make room for condos)…so you need to clear the air, limit the speculation and get people on the right track.
  • Handle layoffs discretely and with dignity.
  • Make you office’s Holiday celebration consistent with the tenor of the other messages that you are delivering (e.g., avoid holding a black tie dinner with shrimp cocktails in the same month that you will be firing 50% of your staff).
  • Desperately search for a “good news” spin. Small bonuses are better than none; no raises are better than pay cuts and wage reductions are better than terminations.
  • Avoid conspicuous spending (redecorating your office now won’t win you any new friends).
  • Encourage “pot-luck” lunches to save money and build morale.
  • Offer financial incentives to employees whom can generate significant cost-savings ideas.
  • Avoid bragging about any new or conspicuous expenditures.
  • Reward employees daily with little things like gold stars, happy face stickers or a piece of candy (they will truly appreciate being recognized and continue to vie for your approval).
  • Instead of a more formally catered meeting or lunch out, bring in some pizzas.
  • Give your workers a choice in what they may have to give up (e.g., free coffee vs. buying their own bottled water).
  • Encourage the office to make bulk supply purchases from a big box warehouse.
  • Encourage everyone to contact their vendors and extract some cost reductions (you could even make it a contest).
  • Acknowledge anyone that is contributing and performing above expectations (even if you just say “atta boy/girl”).
  • Allow your workers more time to vent with you and each other.
  • Be a really good and empathetic listener.
  • Don’t wear your emotions on your sleeve. Nervousness and fear are toxic and contagious.
  • Recognize that even your most innocent comments will be analyzed and dissected by your team, so think twice before you blurt something.
  • Today’s Tip: Tough financial times cannot be ignored by leaders. Associates can get easily rattled and distracted. Speak prudently, listen well and be creative. Employees will always appreciate acknowledgment, compliments, sensitivity and candor. In challenging economic times, you, as the Boss, need to serve as role model, parent, therapist and motivator.

    Stressed employees don’t need you to bet your bottom dollar…just give them your two cents.

    Penny for your thoughts?

    Spinning Plates, Juggling Knives & Making Meatloaf: The Work-Life Balance

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

    When it comes to your job and your home life, “balancing” isn’t an option-
    it’s a necessity.
    To paraphrase Freddie Mercury of Queen, we “want it all.”

    The question is whether this balance can ever really be attained.

    Working women know this better than anyone.
    How can you be a fully contributing cog in the workplace and then also play the role of dedicated wife, mother, lover and friend?
    I guess it’s the new version of the “Madonna/Whore” dichotomy.

    For men, years of sexist and antiquated role models and traditions have made the demands upon them less tactile and apparent. Still, many struggle with their multiple roles as spouse, father, partner and friend.

    Regardless of gender, stereotypes or past practice, the real question is what can you do to make some serious headway towards this elusive goal of work/life balance.

    Here are some tips:

  • Sit down with your partner and kids and explain what the demands of your job are. Family members will be more understanding if they have a general idea of what’s coming.
  • Make your trips away from home an educational exercise (use a map to point out your destination and bring home something indigenous). Pretty soon, your kids may actually encourage you to go to more and different places so that their “collection” will expand.
  • Make a commitment to an activity or an event every weekend (e.g. soccer, movies, pizza night, etc).
  • Don’t make a promise that you can’t keep. Broken promises sting far worse than unmade ones.
  • Give yourself a daily “break.” Whether it is a hot bath or 30 minutes of watching Sports Center, you will appreciate the down time and be better equipped to deal with everyone else.
  • Don’t send mixed messages. Family dinner is not the time for calls or Blackberry monitoring. Shut the outside world off—-even if it is just for a few minutes.
  • Be a good listener. One of the nice things about not being with your significant others every second is that it gives them a chance to live their lives and to have things to talk about. Ask personal questions and listen like it matters. Also, listen far more than you talk.
  • Share your day with your partner, ask for advice and engage them in your work world. If they understand your daily pressure, they will cut you more slack.
  • Commit to vacation time and re-establish and maintain the fabric of your family unit.
  • If you have to work at home, do it before the family wakes up or after they go to sleep. What they don’t see won’t remind them of your “other” life.
  • Explain the “opportunity cost” of work to your family in economic terms. Would they rather that you worked 1/2 the hours but had to give up 1/2 of the goodies? (e.g. vacations, nice clothes, cable TV, text messaging, eating out in restaurants, movies, etc.).
  • Bring your family to work at least once. It will help them create a picture memory that will enable them to envision where you are when they communicate with you on the phone or via e-mail.
  • Leave family members notes (in silly places) while you are away. It will feel like a little hug when they find it.

    Today’s Tip: No one has the ability to keep the see-saw of work/life in a perfectly horizontal and balanced position. It’s angle changes every day and the tilt can be painful. Don’t get upset at the imbalance. Adjust it. The ultimate secret is to make each minute count and to work hard at not working so hard.

  • Don’t Kill The Messenger (It’s Me): How To Deliver Bad News To Your Employees

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

    In these challenging economic times, it is far more likely that you, as a manager, will have to share some bad news with a colleague or a direct-report.

    Not an easy thing to do.

    Whether it is a performance appraisal, a layoff, a termination or a consolidation, there are some prudent things that you can do to prepare for this awkward scenario:

  • Spend some time thinking about your opening line. Tone, inflection and brevity can communicate far more than a circuitous, nervous fumpher.
  • Be very aware of your body language: big smiles and close proximity could contradict your theme.
  • Be candid and direct. Listeners can smell bullsh_t immediately.
  • For terminations of potentially volatile personalities, have a 3rd person present. Even for even-keeled individuals, it is not a bad idea to have an HR person present.
  • Spend time, in advance, anticipating the 10 most likely questions that your listener is going to ask…and have answers ready. Clarity and comprehensiveness go a long way.
  • Don’t discuss what might/will happen to other associates. This is a legal tripwire that can cause you problems (plus, it’s really not the purpose of your meeting).
  • Close your door, shut your phone and turn-off your Blackberry. These interruptions will affect the flow of this very tense meeting…and make it worse.
  • Speak in a clear, soft and non-confrontational manner.
  • Avoid personalizing any part of the message.
  • Don’t linger or prolong this interaction. Know what you want to say, say it, respond to questions and conclude.
  • Make sure that your closing line/call to action is clear, professional and thoughtful.
  • Even if you have mixed feelings about this message, NEVER suggest that you disagree with this “corporate” decision. You are not there to make friends.
  • Today’s Tip: No one likes to be the bad guy…and no one likes to be the bearer of bad news. But, sometimes it is necessary. Don’t run away or plaster a fake smile on your face. Prepare your message, deliver it candidly in a neutral manner and get through this with dignity and professionalism. It’s the only way.

    The “Get Out Of Jail” Kit: How To Prepare For The Inevitable Office Emergency

    Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

    Sometimes the workplace can provide more adventure than you bargained for.

    Files go missing, drinks get spilled, heels break, seams rip and clients show up early. It’s enough to make you feel like a character in a British farce (anyone remember “Noises Off?”). So, other than running away or drinking heavily, what can you do to prepare yourself for that office emergency?

    Here are some items that you should keep in your office to help get you through an “obstacle course” kind of day:

  • Crazy glue and duct tape: Why? Because they can solve 90% of all emergencies.
  • Dental floss, a toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash: Sure, no one thought that your primary client would show up just as you returned from “all you can eat garlic bread day” at the local pizza joint…but you need to freshen up quickly. Excuse yourself and get that breath minty fresh.
  • Clean underwear, a dress shirt/blouse and a blazer/sport jacket: When, out of the blue, the Boss wants you to accompany him to an “event” because his wife bailed at the last minute, you need to be ready to go. Keep this on a hangar behind your desk in a suit bag. It’s time will come.
  • A spare set of glasses or contact lenses: Squinting during your big presentation (because you lost a lens or your glasses broke) is neither endearing nor persuasive.
  • Extra cash: Find a good hiding place and keep some petty cash around for the next emergency. You can’t schmear a restaurant Maitre’D with a credit card.
  • A small toilet kit with deoderant, cologne and a hair brush: Because you were just informed that YOU will be entertaining that opposite-sex client who is in from out-of-town and anticipating a nice dinner. It doesn’t matter who you are– at 6:00 PM, everyone’s personal hygiene could use a little “freshening up.”
  • Band-aids and bactene: That paper cut is more serious than you thought and none of us want to watch you bleed on the McGregor file.
  • Instant stain remover: It only takes one leaky pen or one messy pasta lunch, to turn that crisp white shirt into an ink blot. Get one of those portable stain removers and keep it in your desk.
  • Aspirin and cold medicine: No one cares if you have a headache or a cold. Shut-up and make the presentation without sneezing all over us.
  • A nail-clipper: No one is impressed with a nail-biter and no one cares if you just ripped a nail. You do not have time to go to a drugstore. Be prepared to trim as needed.
  • Some bottled water and some food that can last awhile (nuts, crackers, chocolate, etc): Hey, the 4-year analysis is suddenly due tomorrow and there’s no one delivering take-out at this hour…so this is your dinner tonight. Bon appetit!
  • Today’s Tip: Perhaps the Boy Scouts have it right…”Be prepared.”
    You never really know where your workday will take you: surprise client visits, demands from the Boss, new projects, re-jiggered analyses, corporate turmoil…and on and on. The key is that while you can’t prepare for everything, you can prepare for most office emergencies. That’s why when the sh_t hits the fan, I am coming to your office.

    Summary Of All Tips: The Best In Verbal Dexterity (So Far)…

    Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

    To get your full dose of Verbal Dexterity,
    please visit us at www.verbal-dexterity.com/blog or our website at www.verbal-dexterity.com

    The Art Of The Business Handshake: Yes. In business, you will have to “Shake” your moneymaker. Like a tie, pin or pair of shoes, how one shakes reinforces or reveals a little more about you or your counterpart. Use it as an opportunity to radiate confidence, control and deliberation. If done right, you will leave the other person in a state best described as a “James Bond Martini.”
    That’s right. “Shaken, not stirred.” (from Blog Article dated 9-2-08: “You Must Be Made Of Jelly Because Jam Don’t Shake That Way”)

    How To Get Rid Of An Annoying Caller: Telephone salespersons are people too. Treat them with respect and politeness. However, if they are not willing to stop when you say so, it’s time to be a little more aggressive. Turn the tables on them and watch how fast they run. Respect deserves respect, but abuse deserves your clever on-the-phone reaction. (from Blog Article dated 8-19-08: “Sorry Wrong Number”).

    How To Take Criticism From Your Boss: It’s hard to believe that there are others that might not recognize or appreciate the perfection that is you…but it can happen. If the Boss calls you in and criticizes you: listen, focus, react intelligently and deliberately and maintain a professional composure. How you react to criticism may leave more of an impression on your Supervisor than your screw-up. Exhale, react and move-on…and try not to let the air out of his tires tonight. (from Blog Article dated 8-12-08: “Sticks & Stones & My Performance Bonus”).

    The Small Stuff That Makes You Credible : Before you have even opened your mouth, we have all formed an impression of you. Make it a good one. Crappy, dirty and cheap accessories (as well as childish behavior) will persuade us that that’s who you really are. Dazzle us, impress us, wow us. We will pay that much more attention to you when you speak. (from Blog Article dated 8-5-08: “Matching Socks, Combed Hair & Pens that Don’t Leak”).

    Knowing How To Make A Good Mistake: NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT: The worst mistake that you can make is to make the “wrong” kind of mistake. Take a shot and go face this week’s challenge on your own: just be thoughtful, flexible and responsible. Remember, a baseball team can still win the game with a couple of errors.
    Just make the right kind of errors. (from Blog Article dated 7-29-08: “The Error Of Your Ways”).

    The Office Romance: Let’s be careful out there. At the end of the day, co-workers should share a vision, not a bed. Don’t dip your pen where the Company keeps its ink. It’s messy, unpredictable and really hard to get out the stains. (from Blog Article dated 7-20-08: “Love On The Photocopier”).

    How To Deal With The Pain-In-The-Ass Client: You can’t turn an Asshole into a Princess…but you can avoid making things worse. Understand your P-I-T-A’s personality, hobbies, preferences and never let them see you sweat. In the long run, preparation, stoicism and successful execution can tame and impress that difficult client. (from Blog Article dated 7-8-08: “If You Weren’t Paying Us I’d Kill You”).

    How To Pitch An Idea To Your Supervisor: Don’t just blurt out ideas to your Boss. Prepare and strategize. Treat it like a negotiation. Know their concerns and their next question…and be ready to persuade them. You have a great idea, so go for it and share it with your Supervisor. Clearly, you should Speak Up! (from Blog Article dated 7-1-08: “Speaking Upwards”).

    How To Change Your Speech in Mid-Stream: The shortest distance between a speaker and his audience may not be a straight line. Don’t leave home without a knapsack of options, alternatives and tap shoes…and always be prepared to make a sharp left turn! (from Blog Article dated 6-25-08: “Making A Sharp Left Turn”).

    Who Can Put The Point In Power Point : Slides should be a thoughtful supplement to an already stimulating presentation. Use them sparingly and don’t make them the center of your speech. You’re too good a speaker to share applause with a screen. (from Blog Article dated 6-18-08: “Hiding Behind The Slides”).

    Incentives & Discipline In The Workplace: Only the enlightened Employer can properly decide how to serve the “carrots” or throw the “sticks.” Just make sure that each is serving its purpose (it’s hard to throw a carrot and no one likes to eat a stick). (from Blog Article dated 6-11-08: “Don’t Like Carrots, Not Afraid Of Sticks”).

    Using Your Hands While You Speak: Your hands can help or hinder your oral effectiveness. Words and gestures should complement, not conflict with, one another. Clever use of your hands will get you the handshake that you are looking for. (from Blog Article dated 6-3-08: “These Hands Were Made For Talking”).

    Returning To Work After A Vacation: Vacation Get-Aways are for getting away. Make the most of your down time and relax. However, easing your transition back requires foresight, planning and a pink umbrella. (from Blog Article dated 5-27-08: “Where Did My Drink With The Pink Umbrella Go”).

    The Over-prioritization Of Work In Your Life: You need to be focused and driven to succeed in today’s business world. The pace is relentless…but can come at a real cost: to your spouse, your kids and your health. Just remember that if you actually win the “rat race,” you are nothing more than the best rat. (from Blog Article dated 5-14-08: “Praying To The Work Deity”).

    Humor In The Workplace: Everyone wants to make their colleagues laugh. The real question is: What is the cost of a workplace guffaw? People love when others are made fun of (it eases tension and keeps attention away from them) but always remember when they were the butt of the joke. So, be funny, respectful and make sure that your next “punch-line” doesn’t knock you out. (from Blog Article dated 5-6-08: “Your Boss Slips On A Banana, Crashes Into A Stack of Dishes and Gets His Tie Stuck in The Shredder”).

    Differentiation: Kermit the Frog was wrong. It IS fun being green! Recognize your competitive difference (size, location, volume, flair, service, uniqueness, background, language, etc.) and shout it to the marketplace. Differentiation is the spice of life and utilizing it is the key to success! (from Blog Article dated 4-28-08; “Viva La Difference!! -Differentiation In The Market Place”).

    Bargaining For Everything: Consider all purchases to be subject to negotiation. Sellers want to sell and buyers want a bargain. Try to find the secret middle ground (4-23-08: “Bargaining For Bread, CDs and Carpet”).

    Feeling Sick At Work: Getting sick on the Big Day is a prescription for disaster if not handled properly. Don’t let your ego get in the way of the correct remedy. Take two minutes to assess…and call me in the morning (4-18-08; “Getting Sick On The Big Day”).

    Being On Time: Lateness does not reflect well on you or your troops. “Watch” the clock, manage your calendar, take control of meetings and try to beat deadlines. Anything less is going to “tick” someone off (4-10-08; “Johnny Come Lately -Timely Advice To Beat The Clock”).

    How To Pitch A Prospective Client: If you want to throw the right business pitch: get a firm grip on the ball, measure your strike zone, size up the batter and always be prepared to throw the curve. Further, a client (or prospect) will always respect the high heat or an inside pitch (4-7-08; “How To Pitch Business Like A Pro”).

    Real Teamwork: A Team needs to be nurtured, trimmed, fed and cared for. Don’t just bring strangers together and hope. Help create the proper “chemistry” and watch the Team flourish (3-26-08; “There Is No Jerk In “T E A M” ).

    Trade Show Success: Trade shows can be wonderful opportunities to meet fellow specialists, network, to learn or to drive new business. Be polite, aware, aggressive, strategic and always be ready to put on your Spock ears (3-24-08; “Who Put The Swag in Swagger-Trade Show Strategies”).

    Good E-Mailing: Write your business e-mails in a pithy, spare manner and think about who really needs to be a (cc: or bcc:) recipient. Before sending out an enraged diatribe, take a couple of hours to cool down and assess. You can never delete a bad impression (3-17-08; “Mail Pattern Boldness -The Secrets to Good Business E-Mailing”).

    Attaining A Verbal Return-On-Investment: Businesses that truly invest in their associates’ verbal skills (speaking, presenting and persuading) will see a significant and dramatic ROI (3-11-08; “Does Your Business Have A Favorable Verbal ROI?”).

    Improved Sales: Sales don’t improve because they need to. They improve because the pitch, the execution and the follow-up are thoughtful, honest and energized. Clients (new and old) are magnetically drawn to superior fundamentals (3-4-08; “How To Triple Your Sales In 5 Minutes”).

    Tele-communications & You: Always keep all of your business contact info (telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc.) in at least two separate databases/locations. Otherwise, you will be only one computer meltdown away from a personal meltdown 2-28-08; “Giving Good Phone”).

    Summarizing You & Your Business: Don’t watch the elevator doors close. Always be ready to explain your business to others in a concise, clever and alluring manner (2-25-08; “Your Elevator Speech: Is The Elevator Going Up or Down?”).

    Corporate Jargon: Don’t fall into the corp-speak trap. Use clear, concise language to direct others or ask your leader to clarify. Nodding your head to phrases that are meaningless WILL come back to haunt you. You can bet your evolving paradigm on it! (2-21-08; “Drilling Down To The Synergies Of Leveraged Empowerment Opportunities…or Does Anyone Speak Plain English In Corporate America Anymore?”).

    Complaining: Before you go into a stream of consciousness rage, think before you complain. Use logic, past relationships and respect to score points with the listener.
    Your goal is to get what you expected, not a pound of flesh(2-14-08; “The Sweetest Whine Of All”).

    Networking: Your business card is a reflection of you.
    High quality, dependable and memorable individuals have cards of similar construction (2-11-08; “A Font Of Information”).

    Meetings: Schedule some unscheduled time into your workday to cover extended meetings and unexpected developments, emergencies and delays.
    It will help you finish the day “on time” (2-6-08; “Minutes To Go Before I Meet”).

    The Business Meal: A business meal is not a relaxing event. You need to be “on” from beginning to end and very aware of your manners.
    Others may judge your credibility and competence by your table behavior (2-4-08; “Some Things Are Hard To Swallow”).

    Conducting An Interview: An interview is like a first date. Your candidate will never look, sound or act better.
    Develop your interviewing X-ray vision and figure out exactly who the person across from you really is (1-31-08; “How To Interview Applicants With X-ray Vision”).

    Standing In Front Of A Room: Don’t let an upcoming speech stress you out. Forget the imaginary naked people in the audience
    Believe in yourself, ooze self-confidence and never let them see you sweat (1-28-08; “The Naked Truth”).

    Eye Contact: In any business context, eye contact can make or break you (1-25-08; “The Eyes Are The Window To The Goal”).

    Public Speaking: If you shake it up by changing your speaking location, voice and presentation, your audience will follow (from Article dated 1-23-08; “Is This Mike On”).

    To read the full content of our Blogs,
    please visit us at www.verbal-dexterity.com/blog.
    To visit our web site, please go to www.verbal-dexterity.com

    Sticks & Stones & My Performance Bonus: How To Take Criticism From Your Boss

    Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

    No one likes to be criticized at work…especially when we all think that we do (and know) our job better than anyone else.

    But what about when it’ s your Boss doing the complaining?

    Of course, your fantasy first instinct is to tell him to go to hell, comment on his paltry work ethic, his uncle the owner and then storm out of the room, smashing the door closed behind you. Yeah, right.

    So what should you do in real life?

    Here are some ideas:

  • Focus all of your attention on what they are saying.
  • Maintain complete and focused eye contact.
  • Do not interrupt. Let them finish their thoughts.
  • Take notes so you can appropriately respond and so that you will remember what they said later, once you have emerged from your emotional fog.
  • Do not attack them (verbally or physically).
  • Avoid all eye rolling, smirks, grimaces and overwhelming desires to spit or scream out “Bullsh__!”
  • Once they are done, exhale and calmly choose you response options (1- immediately reply; 2-acknowledge that you have heard what they said and that you would like a little time to digest their words; 3- give them the finger, resign and bolt). Option 3 is not a viable option for most of us.
  • If you are going to immediately reply, measure your words and speak in a neutral to sincere voice. Bosses are very sensitive to the tone of your response, so make it respectful and factual.
  • If you have the opportunity to leave and respond later, use your time wisely and expeditiously. Immediately go to another room and write down as much of what you heard as possible. Include your impressions and anything else that you couldn’t jot down while the Big Guy” was ranting.
  • The best responses are those that are: factual, precedential or that have memorialized support (“but I was directed to do this by___.”
  • Never blame the Boss. He doesn’t want to be reminded of his mistakes.
  • Never get emotional (anger, confrontation or crying just have no place in the professional business world).
  • Throw the criticizer off base by thanking them for their input.
  • Make allowance for the criticism and adjust what you need to. At the end of the day, they are the Boss, so do it their way, if they won’t adopt your approach.
  • Today’s Tip: It’s hard to believe that there are others that might not recognize or appreciate the perfection that is you…but it can happen. If the Boss calls you in and criticizes you: listen, focus, react intelligently and deliberately and maintain a professional composure. How you react to criticism may leave more of an impression on your Supervisor than your screw-up. Exhale, react and move-on…and try not to let the air out of his tires tonight.