You never get a second chance at a first impression. We’ve all heard this statement over and over. It reminds us that appearances are important, to always be on our guard, and to never forget that we are constantly being judged. Aside from a first date, this is never truer than during an interview. Résumés lead to interviews 31% of the time. Applications lead to interviews 25% of the time. And networking and contacts lead to interviews 44% of the time (2010 SHRM survey). Interviews land jobs 100% of the time! From the way you’re dressed to how you shake someone’s hand, it all plays a pivotal role in the interview process. Whether it’s conducted via phone or in person never forget that what you say is just as important as how you answer.
So, what’s the difference? The difference between how and what are very stark. How your answer is expressed through your intonation, your facial expression, and your body language. What you’re answering comes across through the vernacular chosen, the order in which your sentences are formed and what you choose to preface and end your statement with. When answering interview questions, it’s important to keep in mind not only the words but also the tone. Watch how you’re sitting as well as where your body is turned. All of this plays a key role in whether or not you’re getting the job. Communication and messages come through without our control. So why not take extra caution in what we are aware of?
I’ve oftentimes heard people say, “What you do isn’t who you are.” To that I say,” Well it kinda is.” I understand that your job doesn’t define you because you, as a person, could “do” many things, but from my experience I’ve found that what people do for a living says much more about them than they think. One aspect in particular is their communication style. I suppose this goes hand-in-hand with their learning style as well. People within specific industries communicate a certain way, not just with others within those industries but with everyone. This can be pretty frustrating when it comes to building, maintain and sustaining relationships with people different than you.
For example, I noticed people in sales are extremely personable. They get into details, care about personalizing each conversation and they’re wonderful at bullshit. On the other end of the spectrum are engineers, they’re matter-of-fact, to-the-point and would rather have facts than fluff. Depending on who you’re asking, one style is definitely better than the other but the important thing is being able to tailor your style to those around you. It’s not beneficial to or for anyone to simply choose one communication style and stick to it because you’re neglecting to consider the handfuls of people who aren’t the exact same as you are. Being open to speaking and adapting to others will greatly increase your chances at being effective communicators .
Why do we always believe the worst about ourselves? No matter how good you know you are or what amazing things you know you’re capable of, why is it that the criticisms always win out? Whenever compliments are given or kind words are exchanged why do we usually have the knee-jerk reaction to reject them? Surely it can’t be because the majority of us have low self-esteem, so what makes us automatically believe the bad things but think the good things are fallacies?
It’s so easy to understand the negative things about ourselves because we are our own worst critic. I think we each strive to be better with each day and continual improvement is a never-ending process, so when people acknowledge positive things about you your automatic reaction is to reject it. We continually think that we can be smarter, kinder, more generous, more attractive, etc. When in reality maybe we’re fine the way that we are. Sometimes changes aren’t necessary. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, I know, but perhaps who we are is pretty freakin’ great. Not everyone is going to appreciate everything about you, but when you come across those that do revel in it and belive it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better, but there’s also nothing wrong with acknowledging that there are things about you that are good, aspects that should remain unchanged and traits that deserved to be recognized.
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I’m not sure if it’s just me or people in general, but I tend to over analyze what’s said to me. Instead of reading between the lines I often read what’s not even there. I’ve deduced that this is because we often choose to hear what we want to hear regardless of how wrong it is. Instead of taking things at face value, the constant thought of “there must be more” or “there’s something they’re not saying” runs through my jumbled head.
Perhaps this is because, so often people say what you want to hear without realizing the consequences or repercussions of their words. This occurs all the time. Words are spoken without second thought to avoid inevitable letdowns or impending conflicts. How do we decipher between what’s being said and what is really meant? It’s commonly said that people should say what they mean and mean what they say, but that’s not often executed.
I wish it could all be so simple and words could be easy to understand, but the older I get the more I realize that it’s not always like that. Words aren’t just words. They’re much more. They can hide the truth or reveal it. Words are a powerful concoction with the ability to stir up human emotion unlike anything. Yet despite how many times you analyze what was said or might have been said or could have been said it gets to an exhaustive point of realization that words are anything but solid. At the end of the day they’re like emotions, they’re tangible. Regardless of what you heard or what was said all you can do is accept it and move on.
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I was reading an article today on www.thefrisky.com that stated the key to winning any argument is to simply state, “You just really hurt my feelings.” Now, I love this website. I frequently retweet their articles and check the site daily for new info, but I am going to have to severely disagree with this particular article and this notion of simply saying, “You hurt my feelings” and having the other person immediately feel horrible and apologizing. From my experience this doesn’t happen. This is more likely to work with women, but I really don’t remember this ever ending well with males. I would like to use the word “men”, but oftentimes I’ve come to realize that most men I argue with turn into children once any dispute becomes too much for them to handle (this includes staring at the wall, plugging their ears, walking away, etc.)
I consider myself to be understanding, empathetic and sympathetic (all around the perfect specimen of a human being, kidding). I think for the most part arguing or rather disagreeing usually ends well. I am a firm believer in, “let’s just agree to disagree” and know that sometimes there just isn’t a win/win scenario. I also believe that it is always pertinent to state your point (even if it’s not well received) and to make it known that what the other person did/said affected you in a hurtful/negative/careless/immature/etc. way. Not just so they can feel bad about it, but so they can avoid doing/saying it again. Whether they are wise enough to avoid the same scenario is up to them. However, simply stating, “you hurt my feelings” for the sake of making someone feel shitty and apologize is not constructive for either party.
I don’t believe in making someone feel bad for the sake of making them feel bad. They should feel bad because they did something terrible that made you feel bad. In order to achieve this, state exactly what they did/said that resulted in your damaged feelings. How they feel about that is their problem. If they choose to apologize based on what you said, that’s fantastic and you know they aren’t solely saying it because they feel guilty. What do you do if they don’t apologize? Cry. That usually works.*
*I’m kidding. Don’t cry. This doesn’t usually end well.
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I know I’m not alone when I feel that somedays simply suck. Not that today is one of those days, but sometimes things just do go your way or at times you simply don’t want to go to work and you’re left in a crappy mood because you’re forced to do all these things you don’t want to do. No one likes feeling like this and no one likes having to come in contact with people who are feeling like this because it brings down everyone else. Negativity spreads rapidly and easily, so the best thing to do when you’re in a foul mood is to quickly locate the source and end it. I know it sounds a lot easier than it is to do, but what I find inspiring is this video:
I’ve watched it a handful of times and each time it makes me smile. Daily positive affirmations can do wonders for your mood and self-esteem. No need to jump on top of your counters, but positive reinforcement of what is good in your life will remind you that the negativity you currently feel isn’t worth it. If a little 5-year-old has so much to love about her life just think about how much you’ve accomplished and all you have to enjoy. Doing this and feeling better about yourself is beneficial for you, but it’s also beneficial for those around you. No one enjoys being around a Negative Nancy or a Bitchy Betty.
Here’s another video that makes me feel better, not only about myself but about little girls everywhere:
Whenever anyone tells me they’re going out of the country for a while I always think the same things:
- How’s the food?
- Is the beach close?
- What language do they speak?
The third one isn’t the most important, but important nonetheless. It never fails to impress me when people travel on their own to places where English isn’t spoken. I can never grasp how they manage to get around, order food or ask for directions. You can only point to so many things with wide-eyes and large gestures until you run into something that’s not within eye-sight to point at. So to all those travelers who have gone to non-english speaking destinations, I am both envious and amazed.
I spent most of last week visiting my parents with Mr. Kelley. It was similar to witnessing what I would be like in say, Brazil. My parents speak English, but it’s limited. They know basic words and can hold a conversation about day-to-day things, but if you ever want to discuss the meaning of life or topics of the existential, esoteric nature you’re barking up the wrong Asian tree. It was interesting to watch and listen to my boyfriend interact with my parents. Both parties worked very hard to understand the other and it mostly worked, but sometimes all one could do was smile and nod. Depending on what was being discussed, there are some words that aren’t translatable. For example, my parents differentiate Mr. Kelley’s two dads, not as “dad” and “step-dad”, but rather “real dad” and “fake dad” despite the fact that both matter immensely to him and he considers them both his dad. The fact that there was no accurate word for step parent in Cantonese simply meant they had to use the next best thing. This goes to show that no matter how loud you speak, how large the gestures or how many adjectives are thrown in some words are simply lost in translation.
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