7 Common Communication Blunders

7 Common Communication Blunders

Have you ever said something at work you wish you hadn’t? Sometimes the wrong words just blurt out to employees or with the client. The first step in fixing common communication blunders on the job is to know what those blunders are. Then you can say something the smart way and not the dumb way.  Verbal communication expert, Greg Alcorn, CEO of Global Contact Services (GCS) of Salisbury, NC, is the author of 7 Dumb Things We All Say and speaks to thousands of people each year on improving verbal communication at work.

 

BELOW, GREG HAS LISTED THE SEVEN BIGGEST BLUNDERS YOU MAY NOT HAVE USED, BUT HAVE DEFINITELY COME ACROSS!

ONE:  Using Bad Bookends. The biggest blunder is starting and ending what you say with the wrong phrasing. Conversation bookends are the small comments or questions just before or right after a full statement or request for action. Be better with your starting and ending bookends. Pre-sentence bookends as a tool can be engaging, demeaning, or distracting. Names are great bookends. Starting a sentence with the name of the person you are talking to warms that person up. “Mary, may I put you on hold?” Saying your name last in your introduction makes it easy for the person you are talking with remember your name. “This is the help line; my name is Jack.”

TWO:  Starting with Wrong First Words. Are you familiar with the adage, “Getting off on the wrong foot”? Conversations have first impressions, and they begin with your first three words. Hint: one of the words should be the other person’s name. Using names is important when speaking on the phone, especially conference calls. Conference call principle number one is if you’re going to call on somebody, start with the name. Instead of saying, “What were the metrics on our operations yesterday, Frank?” ask the right way: “Frank, what were the metrics on our operation yesterday?” If you don’t start with the name, you might catch the person by surprise. It certainly catches people’s attention when you say their name first.

THREE:  Not Choosing Your Words Well. The words you choose paint a picture for the listener. Your words express your attitude and your personality. Keep it positive. Don’t start a sentence with the word “no.” Even in introductions, you can’t go wrong with saying the person’s name first. A person’s name followed by the four words “I need your help” is a winner. “Rachel, I need your help.” This is especially powerful when it’s in a situation in which you might be the boss and the other person might be a manager, or you might be in a perceived superior position.

FOUR:  Poor Questions and Bad Listening. Meaningful questions always stay on subject, keep a conversation moving forward, and ensure the other person feels heard and understood. Becoming a better listener is easier than you might think. It starts by committing to be a great listener and making an active choice to listen. Ask good questions and really listen. This is the “You have two ears and one mouth” principle.

FIVE:  Focus-on-Me Attitude. Making it all about you is a turn off for them. This is not a technique; this is an attitude. The best way to describe a benefit is to describe the feeling received. “I came by as soon as I heard you lost the sale; I’m sad.” The fellow employee can recognize the extra effort and surely appreciates the sentiment. It’s a powerful sentence. A special visit, a sense of urgency, and a sincere feeling (sad). Empathy shows feelings.

SIX:  Wrong Tone. People feel more comfortable with pleasant, variable tone quality. Voice tone is made up of rate, pitch, and volume. Think tone and don’t drone. The tone of our voice helps others to hear our empathy. The rate, pitch, and volume of our statements of empathy helps express feelings. Usually, but not always, we hear implied empathy when somebody slows down speech and lowers the pitch and volume. Say, “I am sad to hear that you lost the supermarket account,” and I’ll bet you will automatically say it slow and low. The same with excitement at the opposite end of the spectrum. Say “Team, we won the hotel account!” You can’t help but say it fast, high, and loud. Tone expresses empathy.

SEVEN:  Not Diffusing Difficult Drama. Stressful conversations, or drama, can be avoided by mastering word selection, listening, and questioning skills. Drama can be inevitable, however. Most stressful situations can be defused when you apply the three Rs: recognize, restate, and reassure. Ask others: “What would you like to see happen?” Those are seven magic words that can defuse difficult drama: Words are just a tool, like electricity is a tool. And like any tool, they can be used for helping or for harming. Electricity can cook a person’s dinner, or it can burn a person’s dinner. Words can turn people on or turn people off.

Here is the bottom line: Nobody wants to say dumb things. But we all do. The first step towards reducing the number of dumb things you say is to know what the dumb things are. Then don’t say that, say something smarter.

 

7 Steps to Prepare for Your Job Interview

7 Steps to Prepare for Your Job Interview

You have finally secured the coveted job interview, so what happens next?  Here are 7 steps to help you prepare.

 1.  Pick your outfit

What you wear on your interview is an absolutely crucial part of how to prepare for a job interview. After you choose your outfit, make sure it is cleaned and pressed and you have the appropriate accessories and shoes to go with it. It doesn’t hurt to try the outfit on ahead of time, just to make sure everything fits and you look great. Then put your outfit aside for the day of your interview and have it ready to go. Now that you have this crucial step out of the way, you can concentrate on the rest.

2. Practice greeting your interviewer:

You should always greet your interview with a friendly smile and firm handshake. If you do this right, you will set off the right energy and the chances of the interview going well will increase. This is a small and simple step that you should always to do to prepare for your interview

3. Study your resume and know everything about it:

Any work experience or skills you have listed on your resume are fair game to talk about during the interview. Your resume is all the interviewer has to go by in order to get to know you. They may pick things out from it and ask you to elaborate. Even though you may have a previous job listed that was many years ago, the interviewer may ask you to explain what you did at that job and you are responsible for providing an answer. This is one step you absolutely won’t want to skip on how to prepare for a job interview.

4. Practice your answers to the most common interview questions:

If you don’t know what these are, do your research and find out or see one of my other articles. You’ll want to have your answers ready and practice them. You should always be able to answer “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you think you would be great for this job?” The employer doesn’t know, so it’s up to you to sell it.

Don’t completely memorize your answers so they come out rehearsed, but have a clear idea of what you are going to say. When you are asked, you want your answer to come out intelligently and natural. Be open to other questions as well and really know what you can offer to the company.

5. Research the company and the job position you are applying for:

Write down any questions you may have about either so you can ask during the interview. If there any requirement of the job that you are unsure of, you should definitely ask during the interview. It always looks nice when you go into an interview with intelligent questions. It shows you put effort into preparing for the interview. However, never ask questions just to ask questions. The interviewer will see right through that. Your questions should be genuine and relevant.

6. Find out the type of interview you will be going on:

There are several common types of interviews such as one on one, group, and behavioral. You shouldn’t assume you will get a certain one. Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter what kind of interview will have if you don’t know – the interview will be more beneficial to both parties if you are prepared.

7. Print out the directions to the interview and be on time:

Allow enough time to get there and anticipate traffic. It’s ok to be up to 10 minutes early, but no more than that. Otherwise, the interviewer may not be ready for you. Bring the phone number of your interviewer just in case you get lost or are going to be late. If you are going to be late, call to let the interviewer know.

Follow these tips and you will successfully know how to prepare for a job interview. Interviewers can tell whether or not a candidate has prepared for it or not and they will appreciate it if you did.

Preparing for a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

Preparing for a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

.Since June 1 began hurricane season here in Florida, we thought it would be a good idea to share some information regarding preparations for either a hurricane or a tropical storm.

You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect you and your family.

If you live in areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to begin preparing for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year.

Please follow these important hurricane preparedness tips from CDC:

  1. Preparing for a hurricane:  Take basic steps now to ensure your safety should a storm hit.  Discuss the plan with family members so everyone is aware of what to do in an emergency.
  2. Emergency supplies you will need:  Stock your home and car with supplies.  Food should be non-perishable.  Gasoline may be in short supply, so when a storm nears, make sure your tank is full.
  3. Make a plan:  Create a family disaster plan.  Include a phone number that all family members can call to check in after the storm passes.
  4. Avoid flooded areas:  Take precautions before, during, and after a flood.  Storm surge can quickly flood low lying areas and water depth can be misleading.
  5. Prepare to evacuate:  NEVER ignore an evacuation order, especially if you are in a flood zone.  Where to evacuate should be part of your preparation plan so you won’t be scrambling at the last minute trying to decide where to go.  Make reservations in advance if you plan to go to a hotel/motel, as they quickly fill up during an evacuation order.
  6. Protecting older adults:  Understand older adult health and medical concerns, as well as making sure you have a supply of medications on hand.  If you are planning to go to a local shelter, you most likely will need to pre-register to ensure you are able to obtain a space.  Most shelters have special rooms designated for the special needs adults.
  7. Protect pets:  Make sure of your pet’s safety before, during, and after an emergency.  If you are evacuating to either a local shelter or to a hotel/motel, make sure ahead of time that pets are accepted.  Local shelters will require you to provide shot records and pre-registration.
  8. Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning after the storm:  Ensure your CO detector has working batteries.  Place generators outside at least 20 feet from any door, window, or vent.  Make sure you have ample fuel for your generator on hand as gasoline may be in short supply before, during, and after the storm.
  9. After a hurricane:  Learn how to avoid injuries, make sure your food and water are safe, and be sure to clean up any mold safely.  Broken glass and live electrical wires are common after a hurricane, so be sure you use caution when you are out walking and when walking your pets.

CDC strongly recommends that you print all important resources before a hurricane strikes. Power outages during and after a hurricane can prevent you from accessing information online when you most need it. Preparing now can help keep you and your family safe.