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Communication

92 STASHED IDEAS

Daily Gratitude: A Simple Thank You Note

Gratitude is a seed that produces many new things to be grateful for.

Sending regular thank you notes to our loved ones, peers, service partners, employees and clients is priceless, especially if they are personally handwritten with love.

A few lines of gratitude can go miles, meaning a lot to the recipient. It may even become a lifetime memory for them.

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@vanessaw752

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Communication

  1. Focus on the person you are grateful to, understanding their contribution to your life. It may be a gift you got, or the excellent service of your doctor, or even that good guy who found your smartphone and returned it to you.
  2. Mention the reason you are grateful so that they know you have got their gift.
  3. Mention how the gift is improving your life. If you didn’t like it, don’t mention that or ask for something in exchange!
  4. If you have failed to thank the person in the past, mention how important they are to your life.
  5. Try not to make jokes if you don’t know the person very well, as the written word can be misinterpreted.
  6. Keep it short and simple.
  7. Try making a spreadsheet of people you want to thank, along with the reasons you want to do so.
  8. Write as many thank you notes as possible, and see how your life changes.

A daily thank you note to people we are grateful to may seem like a chore, but if done sincerely, it can be a magic wand of our lives.

Sending a quick thank you on a Whatsapp message will be read and forgotten, but if it is handwritten on a beautiful greeting card, it will be cherished forever, and become a part of them.

  1. Take a few seconds to think, not feeling awkward at the slight pause. You can also ask the interviewer to repeat the question, while you think of a good answer.
  2. It is okay to let the interviewer know you are thinking about the answer, taking a minute to think of a suitable response can showcase your honesty and desire to give a quality response.
  3. Be confident when you do answer.

Tell me about a professional experience where your integrity or moral code was challenged?

This behavioural interview question asks for a quick case study, and the answer depends on the role you are interviewing for. An HR manager, who is judging you for your past behaviour, maybe looking for an honest and open candidate who can tell a story about their past experience professionally.

Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a challenging or difficult personality at work?

Here the hiring manager is checking your communication/interpersonal skills, and how you navigate a relationship with a difficult coworker in a respectful manner. Even if you didn’t handle it well in the past, you can add that you are wiser now and would tackle such people in a different way in the present. It demonstrates that you are a learner.

If you are able to create change in the world over the next 10 years, what will that impact look like?

This future-oriented question checks if the candidate is selfish or able to think about the organization in the long run. The candidate's goals and aspirations are valid, but they must be in sync with the vision of the company they would be associated with for such a long time.

Tough Interview Questions

Many candidates going for an interview need to prepare for common questions that may be difficult or tricky, just to present themselves as an ideal person for the job.

It is good to know what is a strong, favourable response which the hiring managers and HR professionals might be expecting to hear.

Contradicting others does not build good relations, because as soon as people hear contradicting information that is proving them wrong, their logical instincts get shut down and they slide into a fight-or-flight response.

While it does feel good to one-up someone with a clever story as a reply to theirs or to correct someone, just don’t do it. Suspend your ego and ignore the desire to be always correct, or to be emotionally hijacked by a situation in which we are not in agreement with someone else's thoughts and actions.

Asking people to talk and simply listening to them makes you a better conversationalist and extremely likeable.

The basics of active listening are:

  1. Do not interrupt, disagree or evaluate the other person’s words.
  2. Nod your head or make appropriate acknowledgement.
  3. Repeat back a short summary of what you heard.
  4. Inquire and ask questions, showing real interest.
  • When you meet someone don’t judge, but listen attentively. Validate your thoughts without colouring them with prejudice or judgement.
  • Take your time to understand the person’s needs, wants, dreams and aspirations.
  • If during listening you come across stuff you don’t understand or agree with, act curious and dig deeper.

Most people want to talk about themselves, as it provides their mind with a pleasurable sensation. Let them do so.

Stop thinking about what you are going to say next when someone else stops talking.

Simply be curious and hear out what the other person is saying, even if you are listening but not shutting up mentally, you are not really listening, but are thinking about what you want to say. Ignore that instinct and just explore what the other person is talking about.

Everyone has struggles, obstacles and challenges in life. Asking about what kind of challenges the other person is going through is an ideal path to a great conversation. The challenges they may have could be at work, or at home.

Seeking advice is one of the best ways to influence peers, superiors and team members. It is a soft, persuasive approach that is effective, provided you are sincere.

If we encounter manipulative people using psychology to gain an unfair advantage, be upfront and honest without being hostile. Seek further clarity in their motives and goals and the underlying reasons.

We need to focus on trust, not the various tricks in the book, to earn respect. Trust is the single most character trait that any person will look up to.

Just like our words need to be positive, vibrant and free of ego, your body language has to match, and a smile is the best way to portray it quickly. A gentle smile with a palms-up gesture suggests openness and comfort. Smile slowly, not in a hurry, and don't grin.

Smiling also makes us happier and provides the brain with the same amount of pleasure as 2000 bars of chocolate.

If you tell someone you are leaving in a minute, they are relaxed and open to listening to you, but if you are at a bar and offer a drink to someone, their shields go up. Tell them when you are leaving, upfront.

If the approach is preceded by inquiring politely if they have a minute, the compliance rate among strangers is higher. People need to feel safe, in control and not trapped in talking to some weird person they don’t know.

The former head of the FBI’s behavioural analysis program, Robin Dreeke has studied human interpersonal relations for about three decades.

He has some expert advice on how to put strangers at ease, and how to use your body language like a pro, among other things.

Technology (physical and digital) makes it possible, so we do it. But also, we do because both the technology and our culture expect us to.

The selfie is not a new form of expression. Artists have created self-portraits for ages, from cave to classical paintings, to early photography and modern art. What's new about today's selfie is its commonplace nature and its ubiquity. Technological advancement liberated the self-portrait from the art world and gave it to the masses.

Criticizing and justifying selfies

An assumption that sharing selfies is or should be embarrassing runs throughout the journalistic and scholarly coverage on the topic.

When discussing about this practice, descriptors like "vain" and "narcissistic" inevitably become a part of the conversation. Qualifiers like "special occasion," "beautiful location," and "ironic" are used to justify them.

This term refers to the idea that we have a notion of what others expect of us, or what others would consider a good impression of us, and that this shapes how we present ourselves.

Memes are cultural entities that encourage their own replication. Memes pack a powerful communicative punch with a combination of repetitious imagery and phrases. They are full of symbolic meaning. As such, they compel their replication. If they were meaningless, if they had no cultural currency, they would never become a meme.

In this sense, the selfie is very much a meme - a normative thing that we do that results in a patterned and repetitious way of representing ourselves.

As photos meant to be shared, selfies are not individual acts - they are social acts. Selfies and our presence on social media are a part of an "identity work".

This is the work that we do on a daily basis to ensure that we are seen by others as we wish to be seen. The selfies we take and share are designed to present a particular image of us, and thus, to shape the impression of us held by others.

Circumlocution: Too Many Words

People often say something using more words than required, usually to be vague or misleading. This phenomenon, known as circumlocution, is often intentional and a ploy used by politicians and salesmen to be evasive or to confuse the listener(or buyer).

A lengthy, wordy response is often used to hide the fact that they don’t really want to answer the question directly, or don’t have the answer for it in the first place.

The act of saying a lot but in essence saying nothing at all is also described as ‘beating around the bush’ by many.

People use too many words intentionally in order to:

  1. Hiding their stance.
  2. Shifting attention away from the current topic.
  3. Avoiding answering personal questions.
  4. Avoid sharing the truth.

If the other person is using more words than required, we need to understand how much of a misleading act it is, and how much of it is genuine or unavoidable. We also need to see if the use of too many words has some valid reason or not.

We can use Hanlon's Razor, which would mean that we don’t need to assume that the intentions of the person using too many words is negative, provided there is a good explanation.

  1. Simply call out the use of extensive words, and demonstrate to the other person that they are in fact saying nothing.
  2. When a direct question is being non-answered, directly point out the problematic behaviour in the person, by stating that the question hasn’t been answered.
  3. Observe and take note of the behaviour but do not say anything.
  1. Think and form sentences before you start to speak.
  2. Try to make your words concise and simplified.
  3. Learn new words and phrases to create better expressions.
  • Equivocation is a relatively similar rhetorical technique, which involves using fancy, ambiguous language to avoid clarity, like the ones we see when we read the terms and conditions.
  • Gish Gallop is like a DDOS attack, where a whole lot of rhetorical and circumlocutions are sent to the opponent with the intention of overwhelming the person, even if the arguments carry no accuracy or relevance.

Many of us use circumlocution unintentionally or in situations that are harmless, using way too many words when we:

  1. Don’t know the exact phrase or word.
  2. Are speaking and thinking at the same time.
  3. Are avoiding using technical jargon.
  4. Are feeling awkward discussing something.
  5. Are being polite to the other person by using familiar phrases.
  6. Are creating a rhyme or a literary effect.
  7. Are learning to communicate in a foreign language.

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