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Showing posts with label English for WORK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label English for WORK. Show all posts

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Are you an insecure overachiever? By Laura Empson (From BBC CAPITAL)

πŸ‘‰ Listen to Insecure Overachievers on BBC Radio 4 here. Presented by Laura Empson and produced by Jonathan Brunert.

Decades of research into elite firms identified a particular type of worker: exceptionally capable and fiercely ambitious, but driven by a profound belief in their own inadequacy.

"It feels like a constant need to prove you should be where you are, and a constant concern, before every meeting that I go to… am I going to make an idiot of myself here and are people going to see through a faΓ§ade and think actually there’s no real substance to this?"

This is Jeremy Newman. Until recently, Jeremy was the global CEO of BDO, one of the world’s largest accounting firms. He currently chairs important government bodies and a range of other institutions. By any measure he is hugely successful in his professional life, and yet here he is, telling me that he privately worries constantly that he is not good enough.

He is not alone. In my 25 years of researching leadership and professional service firms (such as law and accountancy firms, consultancies and investment banks) I have heard numerous brilliant, successful, and apparently confident people describe themselves as insecure. They are ‘insecure overachievers’: exceptionally capable and fiercely ambitious, but driven by a profound belief in their own inadequacy.

When I wrote about insecure overachievers in my recent book, Leading Professionals: Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas, I got a phenomenal response from people worldwide, in a range of sectors, saying that they identified with the term. Insecure overachievers are made, not born, and typically in childhood, through experiencing psychological, financial, or physical insecurity. [...]

[…] People know that they are being directly measured against their colleagues. But because they don’t actually know how their colleagues are doing, they set themselves incredibly high standards, just to be sure. And because everyone in the system is doing this, the standards just get higher and higher, requiring everyone to work harder and harder.

For insecure overachievers, this pattern persists. During my research, a senior executive in a consulting firm described two colleagues, who “feel that I will say to them, ‘Sorry. You’re not performing. You have to leave’… So I say, ‘Are you crazy? Why don’t you go home earlier and think about your family?’ And they say, ‘No, no, no, no, I have to work.’” More junior employees see their leaders behaving in this way and assume that this is what will get them ahead. And so, the pattern is repeated and constantly reinforced.

[... Sometimes, it] can be positive. David Morley, until recently the global senior partner at leading global law firm Allen and Overy, likens the senior lawyer on a transaction to the ringmaster of a giant circus that’s going on around them. “And if you’re good at it and you enjoy it, that’s very stimulating,” he says. “You can render a large bill at the end which is paid by a grateful client, and so you’ve got a very tangible number on the page illustrating the value that you’ve added. And then the phone rings and you’re on to the next one... It’s almost like a drug... this flow of excitement… and if you are good at it there are a lot of positive rewards that come from that."

However, taken to extremes, the long hours and being constantly driven to excel can lead to serious physical and mental health problems, ranging from simple exhaustion to chronic pain, addictions, eating disorders, depression and worse.

So, if you are an insecure overachiever, what can you do about it? […]
  1. Recognise your triggers […]
  2. Define success in your own terms, not others'.  […]
  3. Respect the evidence of and celebrate your success.  […]
πŸ”— GO TO FULL ARTICLE πŸ‘‰Are you an insecure overachiever?

πŸ”Ž Laura Empson is professor in the management of professional service firms at Cass Business School, London, and a senior research fellow at Harvard Law School's Center on the Legal Profession. Her most recent book is Leading Professionals: Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas (Oxford University Press).

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

10 Common Communication Mistakes, (from Mind Tools)

πŸ‘‰ By the Mind Tools Content Team
Avoiding Communication Blunders and Misunderstandings

© iStockphoto Pinopic / From: Mind Tools
It can be embarrassing to make mistakes with communication. For example, if you send an email without checking it, and later realize that it contained an error, you can end up looking sloppy and unprofessional.

But
other communication mistakes can have more serious consequences. They can tarnish your reputation, upset clients or even lead to lost revenue.

This article describes 10 common communication mistakes, and discusses what you can do to avoid them. (GO TO FULL ARTICLE)

  • 1: Not Editing Your Work
  • 2: Delivering Bad News by Email
  • 3: Avoiding Difficult Conversations
  • 4: Not Being Assertive
  • 5: Reacting, Not Responding
  • 6: Not Preparing Thoroughly
  • 7: Using a "One-Size-Fits-All" Approach to Communication
  • 8: Not Keeping an Open Mind When Meeting New People
  • 9: Assuming That Your Message Has Been Understood
  • 10: Accidentally Violating Others' Privacy
πŸ’‘ KEY POINTS

Everyone makes communication mistakes from time to time. However, you'll protect your reputation if you avoid the most common errors. These include not editing your work, accidentally violating people's privacy when forwarding emails, and not being assertive.

The key to good communication is to think about your audience's needs. Prepare each email, document, and presentation carefully, and give yourself time to check it.

Above all, remember that communication is a two-way process. Be ready for questions, and listen to what your audience has to say.

Over time, you'll find that avoiding these common communication mistakes will greatly enhance the quality of your messages, your reputation, your working relationships, and your job satisfaction.


πŸ”— READ FULL ARTICLE ⇒
 10 COMMON COMMUNICATION MISTAKES

Business skills tutorial: Effective communication | lynda.com (4:41 minutes)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

How Approachable Are You? (from Mind Tools)

Building Relationships with Your Team

Being approachable is key to building relationships with your colleagues, and to creating a strong team in which trust, confidence and ideas can flow. When you're approachable, team members do not sit on or cover up problems. This means that they are able to bring issues to you before they become full-blown crises because they know that you won't react badly.

© iStockphoto MaggyMeyer / From: Mind Tools
Team members who have approachable managers feel able to contribute ideas and find the workplace a safe environment in which to do so. They're not scared about being knocked back because they know their manager is open to their suggestions and will consider them fairly.

[…] Approachability is about being accessible, consciously breaking down perceived barriers, having appropriate body language, and using the right verbal communication and listening skills. Take the quiz to find out just how approachable you are, and discover strategies for becoming more approachable in areas that are holding you back.

DO THE QUIZ ⇒ How Approachable Are You?

πŸ’‘ You may also be interested in the quizzes below:

Thursday, September 06, 2018

A BRIEF HISTORY OF SINGULAR 'THEY' (From Oxford English Dictionary Blog)

πŸ‘‰ An excerpt from "A brief history of singular they", by Dennis Baron

Singular ‘they’ has become the pronoun of choice to replace ‘he and she’ in cases where the gender of the antecedent – the word the pronoun refers to – is unknown, irrelevant, or nonbinary, or where gender needs to be concealed. It’s the word we use for sentences like ‘Everyone loves his mother’.
Since forms may exist in speech long before they’re written down, it’s likely that singular 'they' was common even before the late fourteenth century. That makes an old form even older.

In the eighteenth century, grammarians began warning that singular 'they' was an error because a plural pronoun can’t take a singular antecedent. They clearly forgot that singular 'you' was a plural pronoun that had become singular as well. You functioned as a polite singular for centuries, but in the seventeenth century singular 'you' replaced 'thou', 'thee', and 'thy', except for some dialect use. That change met with some resistance. […]

Singular 'you' has become normal and unremarkable. […] And singular 'they' is well on its way to being normal and unremarkable as well. Toward the end of the twentieth century, language authorities began to approve the form. The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) not only accepts singular they, they also use the form in their definitions. And the New Oxford American Dictionary (Third Edition, 2010), calls singular 'they' ‘generally accepted’ with indefinites, and ‘now common but less widely accepted’ with definite nouns, especially in formal contexts.

Not everyone is down with singular 'they'. The well-respected Chicago Manual of Style still rejects singular 'they' for formal writing, and just the other day a teacher told me that he still corrects students who use ‘everyone … their’ in their papers, though he probably uses singular 'they' when his students aren’t looking. […]

πŸ’‘ GO TO FULL ARTICLE

πŸ‘‰ Dennis Baron – Professor of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Read Dennis’s blog, The Web of Language, and follow him on Twitter as @DrGrammar.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

TOP TIPS for WRITING a SUCCESSFUL SPEECH (From OXFORD Living Dictionaries)


At some point in your life, you will probably have to make a speech. There are many kinds of speeches, including those intended to inform, persuade, instruct, motivate, and entertain. They all share the same goal, however: to communicate clearly and effectively to an audience.

πŸ’‘ Here are some guidelines to make it easier to talk to a room full of people you don’t know.
  1. Know your audience
  2. Narrow your topic
  3. Outline your speech
  4. Get the attention of the room
  5. Organize your speech
  6. Offer examples, statistics, and quotations
  7. Craft a powerful conclusion
  8. Use presentation aids if appropriate
  9. Write for the ear, not for the eye
  10. Time yourself

1. Know your audience

Understand what your listeners care about. Tailor your speech to their knowledge and their interests. If you are an expert speaking to a general audience, be sure to define your terms. If you’re a manager talking to a staff that has recently experienced lay-offs, acknowledge that you understand their concerns.

2. Narrow your topic

A good speech makes a claim. And a good speech is about one thing only. Even if your speech is a wedding toast, your point is that the bride and the groom were meant for each other. Have a specific focus and make sure everything you say supports it.

3. Outline your speech

A conventional organization usually works best. Tell the audience what you’re going to say (introduction), say it (body), and then tell them what you said (conclusion) ⇒ Repetition is a powerful tool, especially in a speech. Audiences tend to absorb only a small portion of what they hear, so it’s good to make your point several times.

4. Get the attention of the room

Your opening should engage listeners immediately. Engage them with a unique personal story that is relevant to your topic. Or try a specific reference to the location. Most people will appreciate a speaker who says she’s glad to be in Australia in January.

Other good ways to begin:
  • ask a question;
  • report a surprising statistic related to your topic;
  • find an apposite quotation.

5. Organize your speech

Structure your speech according to your purpose. If your goal is to inform, try a chronological or alphabetical organization. When your goal is to convince your audience to take a stand, introduce the problem and then propose a solution. Use transitions between your examples, so people can follow your logic.

6. Offer examples, statistics, and quotations

You need evidence to support what you’re saying. Try examples from history, current events, and your own life. Consult government sources for statistics. Use quotations from experts in the field. Don’t overdo quotations, though: most of the words in your speech should be your own. Check your facts—inaccuracies will undermine your credibility.

7. Craft a powerful conclusion

Keep it short, memorable, and to the point. Consider ending with a concrete, vivid image or anecdote that illustrates your topic. Or ask people to take an action, such as promise to write to a decision-maker or to contribute to a cause.

8. Use presentation aids if appropriate

Charts and tables quickly convey data, and photographs can offer compelling support. Incorporate visuals into your speech if they’ll make it more powerful. Know what technology will be available for you to share these visuals. And be prepared to do without them, in case something goes wrong with the equipment.

9. Write for the ear, not for the eye

Once you’ve finished a draft of your speech, practice reading it out loud. You’ll hear anything that sounds awkward. Revise so you are more comfortable giving your speech. You want to sound natural, no matter what the occasion.

10. Time yourself

Have someone else run the stopwatch, so you won’t be distracted. Read slowly and clearly. Include pauses for emphasis or for audience reaction if you’re saying something that might cause listeners to laugh or gasp. If you’re over your time limit, you’ll need to edit to shorten your speech.


πŸ’‘ Go to Oxford Dictionaries for more Top writing tips.

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Saturday, July 07, 2018

HOW SELF-CONFIDENT ARE YOU? (from Mind Tools)

QUIZ ⇒ How Self-Confident Are You?

πŸ’‘ Improving Self-Confidence by Building Self-Efficacy

How self-confident do you feel? Are you full of it, or do you wish you had more of it?

A good place to start answering these questions is to look at how effective you believe you are in handling and performing specific tasks. This is termed 'self-efficacy,' and it plays an important part in determining your general levels of self-confidence.

Albert Bandura is one of the leading researchers into self-efficacy. His self-efficacy theory explains the relationship between the belief in one’s abilities and how well a person actually performs a task or a range of actions. Bandura says that 'self-efficacy' and 'confidence' are not quite the same thing. Confidence is a general, not a specific, strength of belief. On the other hand, self-efficacy is the belief in one's capabilities to achieve something specific.

If people have high self-efficacy in an area, then they think, feel, and behave in a way that contributes to and reinforces their success, and improves their personal satisfaction. They're more likely to view obstacles as challenges to overcome, so they aren't afraid to face new things. They recover quickly from setbacks, because they view failure more as a result of external circumstances than internal weaknesses. In general, believing in your abilities affects your motivation, your choices, your toughness, and your determination.

Therefore, self-confidence – by way of self-efficacy – often affects how well you perform, and how satisfied you are with the choices you make. This is why it's important to understand your current level of self-efficacy, particularly in the context of your belief in your ability to perform in a variety of situations.

Does your self-confidence affect your ability to perform? Take this short quiz and find out.

πŸ’‘ You may also be interested in the quizzes below:

Friday, July 06, 2018

INTERVIEWS: How to answer the "TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF" interview question

Interviewers will sometimes start an interview with an open-ended question like, "Tell me about yourself." The question is a way to break the ice and make you feel more comfortable during the interview process. It's also a way for the hiring manager to get insight into your personality to help determine if you're a good fit for the job. This is one of several interview questions about you that you might hear during your interview.

Sharing too much or too little information isn't a good idea. The interviewer doesn't want to know everything about you, but disclosing too little can make him or her wonder why you aren't more open. Read on for advice on how to respond to this question — and, perhaps more importantly, what not to say in your answer. (GO TO FULL ARTICLE, by ALISON DOYLE)


(More on YouTube ⇒ Linda Raynier)

πŸ’‘ Similar question ⇒ "Tell me something about yourself that's not on your resume"

Your resume states the facts, but the interviewer wants to know about the person behind the work history to determine whether you’re a good match for the job and the organization.

To uncover this information, interviewers ask different questions to get an in-depth view of your qualifications for the job, as well as of your personality. Ultimately, they want to know that you’re not only able to carry out the duties of the job, but that you’ll fit in well with the team and the corporate culture. (GO TO FULL ARTICLE, by ALISON DOYLE)

(Related videos on YouTube ⇒ Work It Daily)

πŸ’‘ How to Nail “Tell Me About Yourself” (by Pamela Skillings)

Think of it as your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or business and its value proposition. It answers the question: “Why should I buy/invest?” It should be concise enough to be delivered during a short elevator ride (to the 5th floor, not to the 105th floor).

You need an elevator pitch for yourself as a job candidate — and it should be customized for different opportunities. Keep it focused and short, ideally less than a minute, and no more than 2 minutes.

You won’t be able to fit all of your great qualities and resume high points into 2 minutes, so you’ll have to spend some time thinking about how to present yourself in a way that starts the interview on the right note.

A great answer will address the following:
  • What are your primary selling points for this job? This could be number of years of experience in a particular industry or area of specialization. You might also highlight special training and technical skills here. Focus on the qualifications in the job description and how you meet and exceed the requirements.
  • Why are you interested in this position right now? You can wrap up your answer by indicating why you are looking for a new challenge and why you feel this role is the best next step. (GO TO FULL ARTICLE)

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

πŸ”— Tell Me About Yourself Internship Interview Question (Students who are in the final stages of their summer internship interviews face one dreaded question: Tell me about yourself. Here is how to answer it.)

πŸ”— How to Answer Interview Questions About You (Here are common questions an interviewer will ask you about you; including, sample answers, and tips for the best way to respond.)

πŸ”— How to Introduce Yourself at a Job Interview (How to introduce yourself at a job interview, including how to greet the receptionist, and what to say and what to do when you meet the interviewer.)

πŸ”— Avoid These Worst Interview Answers (Answers you should not give at a job interview, along with tips on what you can say instead to impress the interviewer.)


Monday, July 02, 2018

10 Common Time Management Mistakes (from Mind Tools)

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

How well do you manage your time? If you're like many people, your answer may not be completely positive. Perhaps you feel overloaded, and you often have to work late to hit your deadlines. Or maybe your days seem to go from one crisis to another, and this is stressful and demoralizing.

Many of us know that we could be managing our time more effectively; but it can be difficult to identify the mistakes that we're making, and to know how we could improve. When we do manage our time well, however, we're exceptionally productive at work, and our stress levels drop. We can devote time to the interesting, high-reward projects that can make a real difference to a career. In short, we're happier!

In this article and in the video, below, we'll look at 10 of the most common time management mistakes, as well as identifying strategies and tips that you can use to overcome them. (Go to full article)


 QUIZ from Mind Tools ⇒ How Good Is Your Time Management?Discover Time Management Tools That can Help you Excel


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Types of Job Interview Questions, by Alison Doyle (from The Balance Careers)

By ALISON DOYLE (Updated May 25, 2018) From The Balance Careers 


When you go on a job interview there are a variety of different types of interview questions you'll be asked. You'll be asked about your employment history, your ability to work on a team, your leadership skills, your motivation, as well as other interview questions related to your skills and abilities.

Your responses need to be targeted for the job you are interviewing for. Your responses should show the employer why you're a qualified candidate and why you are a fit for the job and the company.

Take the time to prepare for a job interview, in advance, by reviewing the different types of interview questions you'll be asked, as well as by taking a look at sample answers for each type of question.


During a job interview, you'll be asked questions about your abilities. The key to successfully responding is to focus on your abilities as they relate to the qualifications required for the job. Review common interview questions about your abilities and sample answers.


When you're interviewing, you will be asked why you left or are going to leave your job. Here are interview questions, along with sample answers, related to leaving your job, getting fired, and what you have been doing if you're not currently employed.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Leadership Motivation Assessment (from Mind Tools)


The first and most basic prerequisite for leadership is the desire to lead.

After all, it takes hard work to become an effective leader and, if you are not prepared to put this work in or if, deep down, you're not sure whether you really want to lead, you'll struggle to convince people that you are worth following.

Leaders create the vision and set the direction for their organizations. But it is their ability to motivate and inspire people that allows them to deliver that vision.

So, how much do you want to lead? This quiz will help you find out.

πŸ’‘ You may also be interested in the quizzes below: 

Friday, June 01, 2018

How Good Are Your Communication Skills? (from Mind Tools)

Communication skills are some of the most important skills that you need to succeed in the workplace.

If you want to be an expert communicator, you need to be effective at all points in the communication process – from "sender" through to "receiver" – and you must be comfortable with the different channels of communication – face to face, voice to voice, written, and so on. Poor communicators usually struggle to develop their careers beyond a certain point.

So, are you communicating effectively? Take this short quiz to find out!

πŸ’‘ You may also be interested in the quizzes below:

Monday, May 21, 2018

The secret to working overseas, by Maddy Savage (from BBC CAPITAL)

Is cultural knowledge more important than language skills?

Does cultural knowledge trump language ability in international companies and start-ups where English is dominating?

Learning the local language might seem an obvious goal for anyone moving abroad. But in an increasingly globalised world, whether this is an effective use of time is increasingly up for debate.

Growing numbers of multinationals and start-ups are adopting English as their official company language, even if they’re not based in an English-speaking nation. And internationally, millennials seem to have a much higher tolerance for using the global language than older generations, meaning it’s potentially easier to socialise with young locals by speaking English than in the past. The British Council estimates that by 2020, two billion people will be using it, well over a quarter of the world’s population.

Plus, while the idea that millennials are job-hopping much more than their parents is something of a myth, being able to work flexibly in different locations remains a core goal for many. In 2017, the Global Shapers Annual Survey, funded by the World Economic Forum, showed that 81% of respondents aged 18 to 35 from over 180 countries said they were willing to work abroad. The “ability to work and live anywhere” was one of the most important factors they identified in terms of making them feel freer in their society. (Continue reading)