Build Your Leaders

Archive for April, 2011

Become a Stronger Communicator

April 25th, 2011

Get in the rhythm. It’s simple physics: everything and every being has its own rhythm. Your world is a cornucopia of rhythms. “Entrainment” is the process by which these rhythms fall into synchronization with each other. Put two out-of-sync pendulum clocks next to each other and by the next day they’ll be keeping time together. Entrainment works with people, too. Think of a shared smile, a strong sports team, or a frenzied boss who frazzles the entire office. Also look at great speakers such as Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, or even Adolf Hitler. They all had a rhythm that audiences followed in lock-step fashion.

When you are aware of the rhythms that surround you, you can shift them. One of the best strategies for shifting I have found is breath. Our breath is the most obvious manifestation of our inner state, and like a mirror it reflects our rhythm. When I match another person’s breathing, I get in their rhythm.

We shift rhythms by modeling. I read about a psychologist who specializes in crisis situations. When he first enters a crisis scene, he meets with rescue workers. He stands before them, pauses, and then talks very slowly and calmly to them. He gets them entrained by his rhythm.

You can do the same thing in your work setting or at home. At a heated meeting, change the rhythm by speaking more calmly and slower.

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Twelve Connection Breakers

April 11th, 2011

Keep communications flowing. Here are twelve practices that can break almost any connection.

  1. Why questions. “Why did you. . .?”
  2. One-upping. “That’s nothing. I. . .”
  3. Prescribing, counseling, or fixing. “Have you tried. . . ?”
  4. Grabbing the spotlight. “That reminds me of the time…”
  5. Sarcasm. “I didn’t realize you were an expert on the topic.”
  6. Defending. “I only did it because…”
  7. Blaming. “The devil made me do it.”
  8. Self-Reproach. “Darn, I should have. . .”
  9. Psychoanalyzing. “You were probably reacting to….”
  10. Reframing. “Well, it all worked out in the end. There was no need to worry.”
  11. Shoulding.  “You should go…”
  12. Absolutes. “That music sucks.” Versus “I prefer other types of music.”

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Body Language and Interviewing

April 3rd, 2011

Make a strong first impression. Body language can account for as much as 90 percent of first impressions. When you’re looking for a job, your body language can make or break that first interview. Here are some tips for making a winning first impression and getting asked back.

First, don’t sit down while you wait for your interviewer to come and greet you. Instead, stand and wait or sit on the arm of a chair. That way you won’t be in an awkward position where you have to stand and gather yourself and your belongings in an odd sort of shuffle.

When your interviewer arrives, make eye contact, raise your eyebrows slightly in acknowledgment, smile, and then shake hands firmly.

During the interview, make eye contact when listening to show your interest, but don’t stare. Sit up straight in your chair instead of slouching, and when you’re done, leave strong by giving a good, palm-to-palm handshake.

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