Tag Archives: business communication

Be Yourself During Interviews… Coronavirus Changes Digital Etiquette… Isolation Can Be Good for Problem Solving

Be Yourself During Interviews

Many job seekers enter an interview planning to deliver what they assume the interviewer wants to hear. However, research shows this strategy often backfires and that instead, interviewees should simply be themselves.

Research has found that attempting to cater to an interviewer’s expectations is a flawed tactic primarily because no one can be certain about another’s preferences. In addition, trying to hide one’s own opinions and ideas is draining and leads to a diminished performance during the interview.

The researchers of a recent survey examined 379 working adults and asked them to prepare a video interview talking about themselves and a proposed job. Participants were divided into three groups: catering, authenticity, and control. Those showing authenticity—voicing their own opinions and preferences despite the potential unpopularity of those ideas—were more likely to land the job than job seekers in the other groups.

Shakespeare may have been onto something when he wrote “To thine own self be true.”

 From The Wall Street Journal

Coronavirus Changes Digital Etiquette

The pandemic has made reliance on digital communication the norm, and consequently, the rules of good online etiquette have become more critical than ever.

These tips will make communicating online more effective in meetings or conversations that take place over platforms from Zoom to Google Hangouts.

  • Avoid multi-tasking while in a work meeting.
  • Make eye contact as much as possible during video calls.
  • Appoint a call leader to keep the meeting on task.
  • Keep the microphone muted until you want to speak. Then raise your hand and wait to be recognized. Remember to turn on the microphone when you do
  • Create less formal get-togethers with colleagues outside of meetings. Doing so helps attendees to focus on the meeting agenda instead of catching up with one another, thus improving productivity.
  • Realize co-workers have other demands in their lives that affect their ability to respond to text messages or e-mails quickly.

The bottom line is that kindness is key, the article notes.

From The New York Times

Isolation Can Be Good for Problem Solving

The benefits of collaboration are many, from brainstorming to gaining insights from multiple perspectives. But working alone is also important, especially for problem solving.

New research suggests that constant communication among team members can reduce “collective intelligence,” or a team’s ability to solve problems together. Instead, short bursts of collaboration and longer intervals of solo thinking time seem to garner the best work from both high-and low-performers.

The researchers found that teams practicing continuous interaction did not allow top-performing individuals to maximize their creativity. In teams whose members worked in complete isolation, lower performers did not receive the benefit of others’ input and solutions, thereby pulling down the team’s effectiveness. The sweet spot that netted the best team output practiced intermittent communication—a combination of touching base while still allowing individuals time for solo contemplation.

This working style of implementing short but intense group sessions leaves members enthusiastic, able to hear one another’s ideas, and coordinate activity moving forward, all attributes of successful teamwork, the research found.

From BBC Worklife


Tips for Networking Novices… Recipe for Successful Teams… Recruiters’ Thumbs Ups (and Downs!) on LinkedIn Profiles

Tips for Networking Novices

Launching a career requires understanding how to network. The pointers below can help those new to the important career-building strategy.

  1. Be polite, humble, and professional. Listen rather than trying to impress more senior staff. Always thank people you meet when networking. To be taken seriously, adopt a professional persona and observe business etiquette.
  2. Work at the process. Networking is more than checking social media feeds. Get out into the world and make face-to-face connections. It takes time and energy, but it’s worth the investment.
  3. Ask questions. Network to learn by asking questions and paying attention to the answers. People will want to help you if you show your interest by listening closely to advice and demonstrating that you want to learn and grow.
  4. Act natural. Be yourself—but be your best If you are nervous and uncomfortable, you’ll make others around you feel awkward.
  5. Be patient. It takes time to build a professional network—and even more time for those connections to generate results.

From payscale.com

Recipe for Successful Teams

  • Take a large dollop of tolerance for others’ perspectives
  • Add plenty of differing personality types
  • Mix well
  • Watch team excel

The need for smooth collaboration in the workplace is well documented, but recent data from Google parent Alphabet Inc. seems to have homed in on a recipe for success.

One of the ingredients identified was placing people motivated by the same values together, since teams with members who have differing goals may end up pulling the group in opposite directions.

Another characteristic for successful teams was engagement. This refers to all team members participating, i.e. everyone speaks, everyone listens, and everyone does so in equal parts. It also means that each team member speaks to every other team member.

Diversity was another important quality for successful teams. Combining introverts with extroverts and organizers with improvisers is a good way to make the best use of individual talents. Likewise, using a respectful tone of voice allows a free flow of divergent ideas.

Finally, winning teams are goal driven—each team member sets individual goals, and all individual goals point toward completion of the overall objective for the project.

From The Wall Street Journal

Recruiters’ Thumbs Ups (and Downs!) on LinkedIn Profiles

A LinkedIn profile has become as important as a résumé. To make it entice rather than repel recruiters, follow these tips.

Complete the entire profile. Include work experience, education, and accomplishments, making sure to keep the information updated. Anything less leaves a bad impression, according an expert from the recruitment firm Korn Ferry.

Use a professional photo. Selfies don’t cut it and make your profile appear as if you didn’t care enough to make yourself look professional. Evaluate the photo choice using Photofeeler or Snappr.

Be specific. Sync dates of employment, job titles, and other facts with your résumé to demonstrate truthfulness and your ability to be detail oriented.

Write a professional headline. Name your industry and job in your headline so it will appear with your name if a recruiter performs a Google search on you.

From fastcompany.com


Handwritten Notetaking Wins, Hands Down… Workplace Agility—The Latest Management Concept… Singular They is Now Okay?

Handwritten Notetaking Wins, Hands Down

Students who take notes in longhand learn better than those who type notes, according to new research from UCLA and Princeton University. Specifically, handwriting seems to lead to better retention of information and an enhanced ability to grasp new ideas.shutterstock_262840031

Notetaking requires individuals to transform what they hear into words. Students taking notes on their computers try to keep up with what is being said, but in doing so, fail to pay attention to what they hear. So while typing notes yields more words per minute—often verbatim accounts of a lecture—reviewing those notes later seems to actually undermine learning rather than enhance it. Students who type notes forget the material quickly—usually within 24 hours, the researchers found.

On the other hand, material from handwritten notes appears to stick with the note taker longer. Scientists surmise that the physical process itself encodes the information being written more deeply in the brain. Additionally, taking notes by hand results in better organized notes, which helps when reviewing material for tests.

Nevertheless, past studies have determined that any notes are better than none.

From The Wall Street Journal

 Workplace Agility—The Latest Management Concept

A new buzz phrase has come to town, and it rides on the coattails of technology. Workplace agility is the ability of an organization to change quickly in reaction to market forces. It has its roots in agile computing, a management strategy that combines cloud computing with collaboration of small and cross-functional teams used in tech companies to create and fine-tune projects faster than the competition.

shutterstock_379676221Workplace agility benefits a broad spectrum of organizations in several ways. First, cloud-based computing has allowed workers to access information anytime, essentially extending the hours worked per day and keeping employees tethered to their jobs constantly—score one for employers. The other aspect of this increasingly popular management style is to break up large projects into smaller, more scalable tasks, which allows problems to be caught early in the creation process—another plus to the organization.

Finally, workplace agility helps organizations because it requires employees to be flexible, often meaning they are pulled off one project and moved to another, thus maximizing the workforce’s effectiveness.

It’s not surprising that only about a third of workers who practice workplace agility love it; another third resist but eventually come around. The last third? They’re the ones who hide until they’re caught… and released.

From The New York Times

Singular They is Now Okay?

 After years of correcting our students’ incorrect use of the singular they, we instructors of writing may be witnessing the acceptance of a once taboo grammatical error.shutterstock_406703422

Recently a Washington Post copy editor announced a change to the venerable news organization’s style sheet, making use of the singular they permissible. According to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, that is exactly how grammar rules change—“one style guide at a time.”

The article notes that it may take a while before the walls completely disallowing the singular they come down. However, there can be no doubt that the chink in the stonework is getting harder to ignore. While some may remain uppity about the common usage, few readers are confused by it. And that marks the beginning of the end of any grammar rule.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education