interpersonal skills

I’m Dying

I'm DyingWhen you pass someone in the hallway in a familiar setting such as a college or office, it’s common courtesy to say “hi” to them. The same holds true when you enter a waiting area, elevator or other small area and there’s only one other person there. Sometimes, a question such as “how are you?” or “how’s going is asked?” and this is where it starts getting interesting.

When people make this kind of small talk, they often do it on auto pilot because the typical response they get is “good” and then they reply with “good.” So I recently tried an experiment. When someone passing me by or sharing an elevator with me would ask me how I was, I replied with “I’m dying” nonchalantly. Seven out of eight times, they said “good” or “cool” – they had no idea what I said – the other person asked “figuratively or literally?”.

How A Bad Reference Can Harm You

How A Bad Reference Can Harm YouWhether you’re looking for work or looking for new clients, people want to make sure that you are who you say you are and you’ll do what you say you’ll do. One way to assure those considering you or your services is to provide a list of references – satisfied customers or employers that can vouch for your character and skills. But even though this seems like a no-brainer, many people lose out because they choose the wrong people for references.

The wrong reference can make you look unprofessional, unethical and unprepared – and all of this can be done unintentionally from someone who is trying to help you. Yes, this has happened and I’ve seen it. Remember that these days most employers are doing their homework and checking references – ditto on the consumer side when working with a small business. So there’s a good chance the people you list will get called so you’ll want to make sure that these people will represent you well. So let’s start with how to choose the right people as references. Here are some tips:

Avoiding The Angry Response

Avoiding The Angry ResponseIt’s easy to snap at someone. They may say or do something that bothers you or they may just look a certain way. In this high stress world that many of us live in, people walk around like ticking time bombs, just waiting to explode. But it’s during these moments that we immediately respond with anger that we may say or do something that we regret. And they can hurt, and even irreparably damage, a relationship.

One piece of advice that I share with my speaking classes is that speaking to groups makes you a better communicator during one on one situations. This is because you learn good habits such as thinking before you speak. The communication that typically gets us in trouble happens in these moments where we speak without thinking. So here are three ways to avoid the angry response.

How to Exit a Conversation

How to Exit a ConversationIf you’ve ever been to a business networking event, you’ve probably been told that starting a conversation is the hardest part. This tends to be true for neophyte networkers – walking up to someone new and introducing yourself can be quite challenging. However, when you become an experienced networker, you may sometimes find that exiting a conversation is much more difficult than starting one.

Life Lessons From Video Games

Life Lessons From Video GamesI spent most of my afternoons throughout my early teens playing the infamous NES (Nintendo Entertainment SystemLife Lessons From Video Games
) with friends from my neighborhood. At the time, I remember a few articles that I’d share with my parents about the benefits of playing video games – developing problem solving skills and increasing hand-eye coordination were the two biggest. But I learned something else that I didn’t realize until I was an adult – how to balance my life.

Your Words Have Power

Your Words Have PowerEver catch yourself muttering something negative about yourself under your breath? I’ve caught myself doing it a lot and it’s something I’ve been to working to stop doing. It usually happens when I make a mistake — I’ll say something like “that was really dumb of me.” What I didn’t realize at the time was that when I said things like that, I started making more mistakes because I was essentially convincing myself that I was dumb.

I’m Talking to You

pointing girl by Marinka van HoltenThere’s an interesting scene in “A Very Brady Christmas” where Mike Brady, the patriarch or the infamous Brady Bunch, is giving a speech before Christmas dinner. Mike’s speech is about the importance of family and traditional values such as honesty. What’s funny is that while Mike’s speech isn’t about anyone in the family in particular, members of his family think that he is talking about them and therefore interrupt him to confess about not being honest with the family.