Did anyone notice how uncomfortable Anne Hathaway looked while hosting the Academy Awards? Maybe it was nerves, or maybe it’s because her co-host was wooden. But whether she was anxious or not, her body language did little to help. If there was an Oscar for using T-Rex arms, she would have won the hardware. Take a look at her performance:
See how her lower arms, wrists and hands are often caught between her waist and shoulders? This is colorfully called T-Rex arms. Uncomfortable or novice presenters share these traits: A) they don’t know what to do with their hands, and B) they want to hide behind something for security. This results in T-Rex arms, when the arms and hands are used, or sort-of played with, in front of the torso in a manner that does not pertain to the presentation.
Anne clearly doesn’t know what to do with her hands. And when she does have a germane gesture, she goes way overboard–another sign of discomfort. Watch at 00:46, when she proclaims that it’s “Hollywood’s Biggest Night!” It looks like her arms finally release all the potential energy she built fiddling around her waist. Could you imagine Meryl Streep doing that with her arms? No. Not just because she’s more mature and reserved, but because she’s more comfortable and confident. T-Rex arms are a clear differentiator between confident and nervous presenters. Continue reading
I like some people right away. Others take a while, though I may end up liking them more in the end. Why is that? And how do others react to me when we first meet? I did a little research on how to get people to like you, and here are ten of the top tips, in no particular order:
1. Give sincere compliments and thanks. Everyone knows a suck-up, but it’s pretty easy to give honest compliments even if you’ve just met someone. Clothing and accessories are a sure bet. “Hey–that’s a great bag.” Personal traits or characteristics work, too. “I admire the team you’ve built. They work together so well.” “Thanks for introducing yourself. I appreciate that you went out of your way.”
2. Ask lots of questions. Most people love to talk about themselves. It’s their favorite topic. And one of the first lessons in sales is that the person asking the questions is the one in control of the conversation. Asking questions to get to know someone you just met is a sign that you’re interested in them, and we’re all more apt to like people who take a shine to us, right? Continue reading
In recent months I’ve flown US Airways a few different times, and learned a valuable lesson about pestering people.
Unless I go out of my way to make it so, there are few places in my day-to-day world where I have complete, quiet alone time, largely without interruption. Airplanes are one such place, which is why, when I fly, I enjoy my alone time to the fullest, and I prefer not to be pestered. So that I don’t get in the way of a row-mate’s bathroom excursions, I always select the window seat even though, at a leggy 6′ 4″, the aisle would be far more accommodating. Before longer flights, I cut my water intake so I don’t have to get up myself, and I generally don’t take a beverage from the service cart when it makes the rounds. I use my time to escape into a book, catch up on my magazines, or work. US Air, however, isn’t on board with my plan. Continue reading
Few promotions and even fewer raises have been doled out in the last two years. But if you find yourself watching other people get promoted while you toil in the same position for what seems like far too long, one or more of these reasons may apply to you.
1. You’re not doing more than your job. When promotions are scarce, you have to work even harder to get ahead. That doesn’t just mean being the best at your job–it means doing more than what’s asked of you. You’ve heard of “exceeding expectations,” right? A common phrase when giving performance appraisals, it’s a step above “meets expectations.” The problem is that expectations are set based on the job description. So if you’re expected to achieve an 85% accuracy rate, and you hit 92%, you’re exceeding expectations. But that just means you’re really good at your current job–it doesn’t mean you’d be good in a new position. You need to do something that isn’t even remotely expected of you. Continue reading
Not this kind of boss
Building a rapport with the big cheese is an integral part of success–it never hurts to have friends in high places, and leadership is in the best position to provide performance appraisals and suggest options for career development. Here are ten questions to help on both fronts:
- What are two or three important things for me to focus on learning or improving in the next 3 months?
- How do you define success for this position?
- What can I do to make your job easier?
- (If the boss held your position in the past) What did you think was the best part of this position? What was the hardest part?
- Do other companies have this position? How do they implement it?
- Why do you like working here?
- What’s the hardest part about your job?
- What is something you know now that you wish you’d known at my age?
- What do you do when you want to get completely away from work?
- Is there any additional training I can take, or particular topics I could educate myself on?
Demonstrating commitment to the job and a personal interest in your team is a great way to get a leg up, and these questions are an easy start.
It’s Friday afternoon, and much of the nation is on the tail-end of a nice little heat wave. Feels like spring, doesn’t it? The tendency is to knock-off early and head on home. But how about ending the week on a high note? Here are three easy ways to support career growth that take less than one hour combined.
- Invite 5 people to coffee or lunch next week. Don’t include people from your immediate network, though (friends, current coworkers, family). Reach out only to past coworkers, people you met at conferences/happy hours/online, or twice-removed current coworkers. Using LinkedIn, this shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Just send a quick note saying “We haven’t talked in a while so I thought I’d check-in and see what’s new with you. Have time for coffee Tuesday morning?” Invite 5, because only one or two will have time. Building and maintaining these relationships will pay dividends later, when you least expect it.
- Write down, on paper, three skills you want to learn or improve in the next month, and pin it to your cube wall. Written words form a permanent record. Once you have these three things on paper, you’re almost half way there. If you’re feeling saucy, take the next step and write down two or three things you can do on Monday to jump-start the process.
- Ask your leader if there’s anything else you could be doing to make the team more effective. The mere act of asking puts you in the top percentile of employees. You’ll improve your standing in the eyes of leadership, and hopefully you’ll get something new to master. Guaranteed win.
Actually, these three things should take under 30 minutes, and you’ll end the week feeling like you accomplished something positive, different, and new.