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November 2nd, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in Career Advice, In the Workplace

Think Better on Your Feet - Part 2When you’re put on the spot and under pressure to answer an unanticipated tough question or respond to a pointed remark, it’s useful and important to be able to “think on your feet.”

Once you master this skill set, you’ll find it far easier not only to come up with something worthwhile to say, but to say it quite effectively. As a result, others will feel more confidence in you, and respect you as smarter and more trustworthy than someone who seems to babble and bumble under pressure.

Last time we talked about speaking from a place of confidence, and mentally preparing in advance. Here are four other, equally valuable techniques to help you think better and faster on your feet:

Relax First, Speak Second

When you’re put on the spot, your first reaction might be to take action. Since you probably can’t run away, you’ll often feel the urge to start babbling. Resist it. Whenever a spotlight hits you, adrenalin immediately tenses your muscles, which in turn tends to impair your performance. The better response is to take a few slow breaths and consciously relax before you open your mouth.

It’s easy to develop a few facial expressions and hints of body language that convey: “Fascinating question. Give me a second to think about it before I answer.” Get in the habit of using them while you prepare to dazzle the crowd.

You can even use silence to improve how others perceive you. A brief pause before you speak, or between a few of your key sentences, can convey the idea that you are in control of the situation, and can also add impact and layers of meaning to relatively simple ideas.

Observe in Depth

It’s a big mistake to shoot from the hip in unanticipated situations. You might respond to a less important part of the whole situation, or overlook the largest opportunity. Instead, get in the habit of observing the people around you in depth: not just their words, but their tone of voice, the expression in their eyes, their behavior, body language, and the words they don’t say as well as those they do.

By processing all this information you’ll come to a deeper understanding of the unanticipated situation that confronts you, and you’ll automatically have a basis to formulate a smarter response.
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October 17th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in In the Workplace

istock_000018695015xsmallWhether you have a cubicle or an office, sometimes your workspace just doesn’t seem big enough. Papers end up cluttered everywhere, you accumulate bits and pieces of old projects, and you can never find the document you need when you need it. But even if you have a small space, there are ways you can maximize it, making you a more efficient and effective employee.

Get rid of your CRT monitor. It’s taking up a ton of room on your desk, and LCDs are so inexpensive nowadays that there’s just no excuse. That extra space can be put to use with organizational systems that will help keep your paperwork in order. Put in a request to your IT department to find out if it’s possible.

Make use of your walls. They can be used for more than just hanging up artwork. You can also use them to organize documents with hanging wall files. You can create wall shelves for additional storage space. And if your desk is facing a wall, it may even be possible to mount a flat-screen monitor there to give you a little more desk space. Of course, one of the most common ways to use an office wall is the bulletin board. It can help keep papers off of your desk and in your line of sight.
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October 15th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in Resumark News

Male Executive With Severe Headache - IsolatedWe all report to someone, and eventually - perhaps often - that very same someone will put us on the spot by asking an unanticipated tough question or making a pointed remark that requires an immediate response.

Some people are born with the ability to think on their feet and come up with a good answer to such a challenge. The rest of us need help in developing this useful and important ability. Once we master it, we will not only be able to come up with something worthwhile to say, we will have the ability to say it effectively. Those are valuable personal attributes, because people involuntarily tend to feel confidence in these kinds of remarks, and respect as smart and trustworthy the person who makes them.

Here are some suggestions to help you improve your ability to think better and faster on your feet:

Speak From a Place of Confidence

If you have inner doubts in unanticipated situations, as soon as you open your mouth they will come pouring out for everyone to see. So the first rule of learning to think on your feet is to follow that old saw: “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Of course, NOT speaking because you’re NOT thinking is NOT going to get you very far. So the second rule of learning to think on your feet is to steadily build your knowledge of the various situations in which are likely to you find yourself, and do some thinking about them before you ever get to that unanticipated situation.
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October 12th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in Career Advice

istock_000012525712xsmallMore than people in most other countries, as Americans, we identify ourselves by our jobs - “I’m a doctor,” “a plumber,” “a librarian,” “a cashier at Kroger.” What we do for a living defines us - both to others and internally - and sometimes our jobs can come to take over our lives in an unhealthy way.

So how do you know if you’re working too much? Read on.

Your friends stop inviting you to things. No one should make you feel bad for missing things once in a while - friends have to understand that life gets in the way sometimes. But when you’ve done it so much and for such a long time that your friends no longer call or email, you might need to rethink your work-life balance a bit.

You grab for your smartphone the second you wake up. Technically, this could also be an internet or technology addiction, but if you’re checking work emails in the shower, it’s a problem.

You can’t focus. Multitasking is often considered a good thing, but there comes a point when everyone reaches diminishing returns. If you have so much going on that you can’t seem to focus on anything, chances are that you are working too much and need to engage in that most important workplace skill: delegating.

You toss and turn at night. If your brain is so focused on work that you’re counting emails instead of sheep when you go to bed, something is going to give. Try keeping work and home life separate and getting into a relaxing routine before bed.

You put off work. Wait, huh? How does putting off work mean you’re working too much? Because often procrastination is our subconscious way of telling ourselves that we need a little rest and relaxation.
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September 26th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in Career Advice

How to Help Others ImproveOne of the best ways to make yourself more valuable on your job, and in your life, is to learn some of the basic skills involved with helping others to get what they want.

You don’t have to make a career of coaching to offer other people significant help in dealing with a crisis, making tough choices, or gearing up to improve themselves.

First Steps

The start of any helpful encounter with another person is to work together to establish both the problem to be addressed, and the details of what a solution would look like.

Is the person out of shape? What would being “in shape” look like? Does the person face a difficult decision? How can he or she know they’ve made a satisfactory choice? Is the person having difficulties at work? What’s the standard for knowing those “difficulties” are over?

In setting these criteria for monitoring improvement, remember to make them as specific as possible. That way, they’re more likely to stay fixed and achievable as the situation improves.

These standards should also be measurable in some way.

You also want to make sure, as a helpful person, that these performance standards are realistic, so there’s a fair chance of achieving - and recognizing - success.

Second Steps

With the problem defined and the goals or standards for success established, it’s important to take some time and clarify the problem situation. Try to identify the important actions the person is taking, as well as the people and the forces in play. Any or all of these may be contributing to the problem or become a pathway to a solution.

The more details that are explicitly itemized about what’s going on in the person’s life and work, the more likely you’ll find the best path to an acceptable solution.
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