If someone doesn't like your work, don't take offence. Even if you feel the criticism is unfair, don't react negatively as you can irreparably damage your reputation.

A good professional can take criticism and not respond as if it's an attack. At the very least, they can leave with their reputation intact.

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Listening and acting on honest feedback will give you insight into what's good and what can improve.

Make use of that information to improve your performance, service, or event.

How you respond to criticism is vital. Try to avoid getting into an argument. Instead, lead the exchange into a discussion on how to solve the issue. You'll waste less time guessing how to fix things. "So, you'd like to change the design - what would you say is the main thing that ought to be different?"

Turn your words into action to demonstrate that you can listen to feedback.

Criticism means someone wants to tell you what you're doing for them. It is an opportunity to learn more about the person and change them into satisfied customers or audience members.

Take some time before you respond. Someone who can take and act on criticism means they can work towards a better outcome.

If a customer tells only you how to give them a great service, that's information that only you've got.

That puts you at an advantage over others in your sector. Find ways to draw that information from your clients or audiences.

Criticism as a competitive edge

Taking criticism can be a hard thing. At some point, you will find someone who wants to tell you how to do things better.

But feedback can also be a good thing as you can use the criticism to give you a competitive edge.

Constructive criticism can steer you from bad practices towards better ones.

Try to distance yourself from what you're providing and look at it objectively. If you can take a step back, you might see how you can improve.

When we hear a name, our belief patterns, assumptions, biases and prejudices provide us with cues that can affect our judgement, and may or may not be factually correct.

This even leads to gender bias, as female names tend to have softer, timid sounds, indicating smallness.

Various studies prove that the unconscious judgments based on the name sound have no consistency when factually checked, and only exist in our minds.

Names like Molly tend to sound agreeable and empathic, whereas names like Kate sound harsh and spiky, while also being perceived as someone who is an extrovert. Toddlers instinctively associate ‘round’ sounds with round shapes.

We see patterns and connections based on the sounds we hear and how they make us feel. Example: The smooth sound of an ‘m’ contrasts with the jarring sound of a ‘t’ and subtly alters our perception of the subject.

The Shape Of The Name

Almost universally, our minds link sounds with certain shapes or visuals. The sound of B, M, L and O being associated with round shapes and the sound of K, T, P and I giving a picture of a spiky, thin shape.

People tend to perceive names as round or spiky and imagine these personalities on people they haven’t met or seen. Example: Names like Bob or Molly are perceived as round.

This unconscious association is known as the Bouba-Kiki Effect.

How the word "scientist" came into being

During an 1833 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, a spirited discussion took place to determine what to call those who worked in the different branches of their profession.

William Whewell suggested the word scientist, an obviously superficial suggestion that could not be considered seriously for a moment. Six decades later, it is still used.

Many useful words and phrases start as a quip, wisecrack, or throwaway line. Andy Warhol once said that eventually "everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes," but it inspired a useful and lasting expression. Today, the key words "fifteen minutes" refer to a short period in the public eye.

A playful spirit can promote word creation. Hoosegow is more fun to say than jail, and flimflam feels better than swindle. OK began as an inside journalists joke, an abbreviation for the misspelling "oll korrect."

During the Sixteenth Congress, representative Felix Walker of Buncombe County, North Carolina, often said that he was "only talking for Buncombe." His earnestness amused his colleagues, who began to use it themselves.

"Talking for Buncombe" morphed into "talking Bunkum" and was shortened to bunk, a synonym for "nonsense." In 1923, William Woodward published a farcical takedown of American business practices as Bunk. A protagonist of Woodward's novel determined to "take the bunk out of things." He became a professional de-bunker.

Lewis Carroll and Dr Seuss have contributed many new words to the adult lexicon, such as snark, nerd, and grinch because they had an awareness of the fun-hunger surrounding readers.

In Seuss's book The Tooth Book, Pam the Clam craves "Pizza! Popcorn! Spam!" Spam owes its popularity to Monty Python's Flying Circus that features it in a skit involving Vikings who sit in a cafe singing "Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, lovely Spam, lovely Spam," making it impossible for anyone else to talk. Spam became the go-to term for online junk mail.

  • "Software" began as an unserious programmers' antonym of "hardware."
  • "Bluetooth" was a funny name for a wireless system. Bluetooth was a nickname of a tenth-century Scandinavian king with a tooth so decayed it looked blue.
  • "Blog" is a contraction of "web log."
  • Many other words that started as cyber slang are included in the Oxford English Dictionary - for example, "crowdsourcing."
  • Jeff Howe introduced "wired" as a name for online consultation among larger groups.

Empathy is the ability to feel and relate to another being. It's natural to experience this towards our friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers. When we empathize with someone, our good intentions often get lost in translation when we communicate.

Oftentimes, when we try to comfort the other person, we are quick to give unsolicited advice and offer solutions to try and fix their problems when what they really need is someone who will listen with no judgments or commentary.

  1. Show them that you notice their change in behaviour. We must acknowledge the other person's unhappiness and let them know that we want to know more about what they're experiencing without trying to cheer them up.
  2. Ask them: "Can you help me understand?" This phrase sends out the message that you're not trying to fix their life but you're curious and that you care.
  3. Share an observation. Reminding people about their positive attributes can be helpful but be sure to keep it short and simple.

“Every conversation is an opportunity for us to listen, to hold space and to offer an empathetic response.”

First impressions are now increasingly the Google/Facebook/Instagram search results. Our Linkedin profile, for instance, is a place hundreds of would-be recruiters make snap judgements, even before meeting us.

Their own preset notions and expectations cloud their decision, and our online profiles become the place where we have to be extremely careful.

A mundane, I’m Fine, Thank you! Isn’t going to be a great thing to say on a date, as it sounds superficial, artificial and robotic. A deep, interesting person will add something natural and creative to any conversation.

One can also start with a deeper question to form a real connection, like instead of asking the standard “How are you?”, one can say, “How are you, really?”

Typical, standard interactions put anyone to sleep. It is good to be a ‘purple cow’, and stand out from the crowd. Even while being interviewed virtually, you can say something polite that stands out from the rest of the crowd saying the same old things.

While talking to colleagues, insert a fun joke in meeting invites, or have a little contest with a small prize. Just don’t be boring!

Most of us know that we should not frown or keep our arms crossed on a first date (or pick our nose, for that matter), but there are other things that help in non-verbal communication on a Zoom call:

  1. Lean forward by placing your elbow on your desk, showing that you are interested.
  2. Instead of looking at the screen, you can make eye-contact virtually by looking at the camera on your laptop.
  3. If looking at the camera is not intuitive, then you can stick a picture of someone who you are fond of, above the camera, and look into the eyes of that photograph.
  1. In your LinkedIn profile, add a slightly humorous line that makes you less of a larger-than-life person and more of a vulnerable human being.
  2. Your Profile Picture matters a lot, so you can conduct a test among your colleagues and acquaintances, giving them a few choices and asking for feedback.
First Impressions

While trying to get hired, moving up the organization, or impressing clients, first impressions really become the last ones. However, many people who apparently make a great first impression on a date, meeting or party complain about being ‘ghosted’.

The devil is in the details here, as there are many small cues, the little things that create a lasting impression or make the other person create a negative impression of someone.

  • A great first impression isn’t made by saying stuff, or by stating facts, or by answering each question impeccably. It is made by how you make the other person feel.
  • If you are interested in what they say and listen actively, they will start to form a connection, as they will feel good talking to you, even though they are doing most of the talking.
  • One can be genuinely interested and can ask an open-ended question, but don’t start to interrogate or start to brag.

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