Blog

Category: Communication

What Entrepreneurs can Learn About Brainstorming from TV Writers

Filed under: Communication, Productivity, teams

Wendy Calhoun is a veteran TV writer, who has worked on hit shows including Empire, Justified, and Nashville. Which sounds like a fun gig, but why did she recently spend time talking to Google employees at the company’s re:Work 2016 event?

Because, as Calhoun makes plain in the first minutes of her Google presentation, writing for TV these days isn’t the lonely pursuit many of the uninitiated expect it to be. Rather than hunkering down alone with a computer, their own creativity, and endless cups of coffee, TV writers mostly spend their days hammering out ideas in collaboration with others in a writers’ room.

And from this deep experience with creative collaboration (as well as diverse, and probably occasionally difficult) personalities, Calhoun and TV writers like her have become world-class experts on the finer points of creative teamwork and effective brainstorming. At the Google event, she shared several of her top lessons for any group trying to come up with better ideas, including these.

1. Warm up.
Just like athletes, creative minds can’t just go from stock still to top speed in seconds. They need to gradually warm up to reach their full capabilities. Different creative teams use different techniques, but Calhoun insists that, if you want to get the best from your people, you should kick things off with a fun activity that flexes their innovation muscles in a fun way.

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >> 

The Positive Trait That Holds Talented People Back at Work

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Career Advice, Communication, Confidence

In a perfect world, your completed assignments would speak for themselves. You’d work on friendly, collaborative teams with fair-minded co-workers, and each person would be free with praise and full of self-effacing humility. You’d never have to worry about self-promotion or navigating office politics to get your due.

But the reality is that you need to speak up. Generosity and a humble nature are great attributes to have, of course. They help you keep a team-first attitude, improve your leadership abilities, and generally endear people to you as a professional.

However, if you think you can just let your work speak for itself and never stake out that territory yourself, then being “the humble one” is hurting your career.

Here’s how:

1. It Makes You Invisible

Imagine this: Your team just completed a complex, innovative project, and you feel proud of your contributions to the group effort. But when the boss stands up at the company meeting to praise your team’s work, others are singled out for individual contributions while you seem invisible.

Click here to read the rest on The Muse >>

The Classic Goldilocks Problem: How to Ask Your Boss for Just the Right Amount of Work

Filed under: Communication

In an ideal world, you’d have a perfect amount of work to fill your day. But let’s be real: The odds that you’ll just show up and be met with the exact right number of tasks are slim. It’s a lot more likely that you’ll (at least at times) feel overwhelmed, underutilized, or downright bored.

To make the leap to a project list that fits your work flow, you’ll need to have a conversation with your boss. She may be too busy to notice the signs you assume are obvious (like an 11 PM timestamp on your email), or she may think it’s working for you (because you’ve never told her otherwise and she’s not a mind reader).

So, schedule a time to have a chat and clue her in to what’s really going on. Open communication is the first (read: essential) step toward finding a solution.

Click here to read the rest on The Muse>>

17 Email Etiquette Rules

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Communication, Good Habits

US employees spend, on average, about a quarter of the workweek combing through hundreds of emails.

Despite the fact that we’re glued to our reply buttons, career coach Barbara Pachter says that plenty of professionals still don’t know how to use email appropriately.

Because of the sheer volume of messages we’re reading and writing, we may be more prone to making embarrassing errors, and those mistakes can have serious consequences.

Pachter outlines the basics of modern email etiquette in her book “The Essentials of Business Etiquette.”

We spoke to her and pulled out the most essential rules you need to know.

Click here to read the rest on Business Insider >>>

How to Convincingly Fake Confidence, Happiness and Other Necessary Feelings in the Workplace

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Career Advice, Communication, How To, Strategy

We fake it in meetings. We fake it over email. We fake it when we’re envious of someone else’s success. We fake it in the elevator when we ask Kyle if he has any weekend plans. The professional world’s a stage, and we’re all actors pretending to care about how Kyle spends his free time.

The question is: How much do the roles in which you cast yourself differ from who you actually are? Because if they differ a lot, you’re going to cause more problems for yourself than if you’d just behave authentically. But if they differ just a little — if you can fake it in a way that tempers your real feelings and allows you to present yourself as calm or deliberate or enthusiastic or charged up or any other situationally virtuous behavior (SVB, as no one but me refers to it) — then you are giving yourself time to let the negative feelings pass. And they will pass.

A few words on self-presentation
You think that’s you going to work? Heading into a meeting with a client? That’s not you. That’s you, plus your self-presentation tactics.

Click here to read the rest on Entrepreneur >>

Why do Employers Expect More of Entry-Level Employees than Ever Before?

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Career Advice, Communication, Hiring, Societal Shifts

When Grinnell College senior Ham Serunjogi began his first internship at an environmental technology accelerator in 2013, he was shocked by how much was expected of him in his first days on the job, and how little school had prepared him for entering the workforce.

“In my first meeting with the executive director, he was asking me about what classes I had taken, and he asked if I had taken a database class in college, and I did, and he said, ‘Okay, good, then you can oversee this project of designing and implementing a new communication database for us,” he says. “That was the first time I was ever brought into a project I had little or no knowledge about, and was expected to deliver results.”

Serunjogi soon realized that there was an expectation for him to learn on the fly, and to make a meaningful contribution early on in his internship. And this past summer, Serunjogi began an internship at Facebook, where expectations were even higher.

“Facebook is a very fast moving culture,” he says. “There’s an expectation that you come in and you learn how to catch up with everyone else, otherwise you slow down the entire organization.”

According to a recent study by Harris Poll, commissioned by education-technology company Fullbridge, 27% of the 319 executives surveyed said they form an opinion of entry-level employees in less than two weeks, and 78% decide in less than three months whether or not that employee will be successful.

Click here to read the rest on Fast Company >>

10 Reasons Why Your Feedback Falls on Deaf Ears

Filed under: Communication, Feedback, Relationships

Leadership is about developing people, and that includes giving difficult feedback to employees about their performance. Leaders who see corrective feedback as a partnership with their employees and an opportunity to encourage their growth and development reap great rewards in employee engagement and productivity. Yet many leaders avoid the opportunity to give developmental feedback or complain that when they do, the feedback falls on deaf ears.

Here are 10 ways to avoid a “deafening” approach when giving developmental feedback.

Go for the Goal – In many organizations where we consult, employees often tell us their goals are not clear. The manager knows the goals, but it’s as if they are guarding the goal from the employees. No wonder employees ignore feedback or become frustrated with it; if employees don’t know what you expect, it’s difficult to meet your expectations.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

5 Phrases That Can Ruin Your Reputation with Your Boss

Filed under: Career Advice, Communication, Strategy, Success

If you want to get ahead at work, there are certain things you should steer clear of saying in the office. Even if what you’re saying is true (and everyone knows it!). Every time you want to lash out at an irritating manager or co-worker, take a breath and watch your words. Finding productive ways to work through your frustrations will put you that much closer to landing that promotion. Sometimes it’s as easy as walking away from the situation and taking a deep breath, other times it’s as hard as confronting the person professionally. (And sometimes it’s as fun as taking a coloring break.)

However, the answer is never to let your boss overhear you say these five things in your moments of frustration:

1. “That’s Not my Job”
Here’s the thing about your company—it’s (hopefully) always growing, expanding, and revising its goals as needed. And that means that you’re going to be asked to take on assignments that fall outside of your exact job description. Especially if you’re competent and able to handle everything that’s currently on your plate.

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>

7 Tips to Improve Your Memory

Filed under: Cognitive Ability, Communication, Focus, Psychology, Strategy

Answer before you have an answer

Learning ability is probably the most important skill you can have.

Take it from Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel, authors of Make It Stick: The Science Of Successful Learning.

“We need to keep learning and remembering all our lives,” they write. “Getting ahead at work takes mastery of job skills and difficult colleagues … If you’re good at learning, you have an advantage in life.”

And to learn something is to be able to remember it, say the authors, two of whom are psychology professors at Washington University in St. Louis.

Unfortunately, lots of the techniques for learning that we pick up in school don’t help with long-term recall — like cramming or highlighting.

To get over these bad habits, we scoured “Make It Stick” for learning tips.

Click here to read the rest on TIME >>

10 Job Interview Questions You Should Ask

Filed under: Communication, Confidence, Interviews, Strategy

Many job seekers focus so hard on answering interview questions well that they forget something very important: You are there to ask questions, too.

Asking the right questions at an interview is important for two reasons:

First, when done correctly, the questions you ask confirm your qualifications as a candidate for the position.

Second, you are interviewing the employer just as much as the employer is interviewing you. This is your opportunity to find out if this is an organization where you want to work.

3 Things You Want to Achieve

When you ask the right questions, you want to achieve three things:

  • Make sure the interviewer has no reservations about you.
  • Demonstrate your interest in the employer.

Click here to read the rest on Forbes >>