Saturday, July 25, 2009

Body Language

People are either communicating an openness and receptiveness with what is happening or are closing themselves off. Watch what other people are saying with their bodies and what you are telling them with yours. If words and body language clash, what the body is saying will be believed. Use appropriate body language to create credibility and congruence.

Negative Messages
• Fold arms and cross legs to reject what you hear.
• Lean back, doodle or look at the ceiling to show boredom.
• Sit back and join your fingers like a church steeple to show indifference.
• Slump to convey uncertainty and uneasiness.
• Slouch and walk slowly to show reluctance and lack of enthusiasm.

Positive Messages
• Open hands and postures to signal acceptance.
• Lean forward to show active involvement with what you are saying.
• Tilt the head to one side and nod occasionally to show understanding.
• Relax the face and smile to show acceptance and agreement.
• Sit or stand with an upright, but relaxed posture to show command and certainty.
• Walk with a quick gait and swing your arms to show confidence and enthusiasm.
• Stand and sit with an erect, yet comfortable and relaxed posture to communicate openness and a readiness to talk or listen.

Appropriate Eye contact
Eye contact can be tricky. Looking directly into someone’s eyes can be seen as hostile and even rude in some cultures. However, avoiding contact indicates sneakiness and the need to avoid disclosure. The solution is “soft eye contact.” Look at the person’s cheek, forehead, nose, chin or mouth. They think that you are looking directly at them but you avoid direct eye contact.

When addressing a group, regularly look around the room and make eye contact with someone for a few moments, then move on. Use short, frequent glances, but don’t stare. Everyone will think you are paying attention to them and you will seem to be in control of the room.
No Touch
Except for the handshake, avoid touching, which can misunderstood.

If you are summoned for jury duty, how do you communicate you don’t want to be there with just your body language? How do you communicate you want to be there with just your body language?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Compassion for people with ToXic Tendencies! Why bother?

The real question here is Why Bother? I mean, who wants to have compassion for a nasty, inappropriate or intimidating person? It’s hard enough to deal with day-to-day work priorities let alone with day-to-day work personalities. Don’t you just want to do your work and go home?

Here is my answer to Why Bother?
My pal Kenda Swartz has this interesting and valuable blog post. Check it out.

Purging Information

Purging files means either archiving files or discarding them. Inactive files that need to be kept should be archived. Archiving is usually determined by usage. To determine an appropriate archive strategy, consider the following:

• How often the files are referred to.
• The retention requirements.
• What the files are used for.

If possible, convert paper files to electronic files for archiving. If electronic conversion is not possible, store archival paper files in a storage room or basement and make sure storage boxes are clearly labeled. Electronic files should be archived on disk, CD, or flash drive. Make sure you create a directory. Once electronic files have been archived, delete them from your computer.

Some people have a hard time discarding things. Make it easy to throw things away by keeping your wastebasket, recycle bin, or shredder handy. Use them daily.

How do you know what needs to be trashed? Here are some questions to help identify documents that may be disposed of:

• Are there legal or other requirements for retention? If so, what are they? Post the retention requirements where you can easily refer to them.
• Will anyone use this document again? If so, how will it be used?
• Is an original required or will a copy due?
• Is this a rare, one-of-a-kind document or can duplicates be obtained?
• Can you retain an electronic version rather than a paper version?
• How difficult would it be to get a copy?
• Is this document required for documentation?

You can probably toss these documents:

• Working drafts after you have a final approved draft.
• Duplicate copies of documents if the original has been saved.
• Routine documents.
• Hardcopies of electronic files.
• Publications available in libraries or online.
• Notices and memos not needed for documentation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Use a Positive Tone

Your writing will be more successful if you focus on positive wording rather than negative since words that affect your reader positively are likely to produce the response you want. A positive emphasis helps persuade the reader and creates goodwill. In contrast, negative words may generate resistance.

- Avoid judgmental words such as “you claim,” “failed to, “neglected to,” and “lack of.”

- Avoid words with negative connotations such as no, do not, refuse, and stop and words that convey unhappy or unpleasant associations such as unfortunately, unable to, cannot, mistake, problem, error, damage, loss, and failure.

In a few cases, you may want to use the negative for emphasis. There is a difference in tone between the contracted form and the two-word form--“can’t” and “cannot” or “don't” and “do not.”

Negative: In response to your question about how many units are needed to meet minimum graduation requirements, I regret to report that you are two short of the requirement.

Positive: In response to your question about how many units are need for graduation, students need 48 units to qualify for graduation. Our records show that you have earned 46 units. Two additional units will be required to for graduation. If you have any questions or want to discuss this, please contact me.