Presenting well? It is not so easy

We often think that a great presenter is the one who always uses specialised and technical language. On the contrary, when we use simple words we think that we are showing a lack of knowledge.

In order to impress the audience, we tend to overcomplicate our way of presenting. I did it too, of course. We want to impress the audience and we want to be perceived as subject matter experts. Are we sure that it is the right approach?

When we feel that we are losing the attention of the audience, we change our strategy. Completely. How? We try to simplify our messages using examples and speaking slowly. We need to keep in mind that when we explain a process, we present slides or when we are just telling a story we are appreciated only if understood.

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When I interview candidates, it often happens that they try to impress. However, the result is not always great.  Being specific and giving details is clearly good. Extremely good.  Unfortunately, when we are under emotional and time pressure, we risk losing our focus.  In these cases, the answers result too complicated and full of not relevant details. Answering in a simple way is often much more effective.

It is often said: less is more.

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This is not another post about time management!

Our behaviour at work is the result of the perceptions of the reality around us. For example,  the perceptions related to a particular work environment are different amongst the employees of the same organization. There are employees who find the work environment very enjoyable and other ones who hate it.

One important perception is the one related to “time”. Let’s start with a simple example. We usually feel that the time is flying while we’re doing something that we like. On the contrary, we have a completely different experience when we are part of something (task, project, activity) that does not stimulate us and/or does not boost our creativity. As a consequence,  it is difficult for a manager to interpret the individuals’ perception of time. Why? We interpret our roles/task/activities in a complete different ways.

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However, the managerial role is not tricky as for what I am going to describe now. Specifically, what is the perception of time with respect to success or failure?

Well, the whole thing becomes even more complicated and less generalizable than what said about the interesting (or not) tasks . The reaction towards the time spent to a complete an activity can be positive if you have completed something quickly; however, it can be perceived also positive if you have finally completed a task after a lot of time; why? you feel relieved.

 

Moreover, how much time we dedicate to the celebration of success or thinking about failures? Again, another perception and interpretation which depends on personality, attitude and also the work environment.

Yes. lt is very complicated. There are cases, such as in sales departments, where the achievements ( for example new deals) are celebrated. But, as the group celebrates, what is the achiever thinking? Is that celebration perceived as enough? Or is it needed more time for an individual (personal) self-reflection?  

Yes. It is complicated.  Your perception of the time is simply a fundamental dimension of your relationship with your job.

 

What’s the simplest thing to do for creating a collaborative team?

What’s the simplest thing to do for creating a collaborative team? I will tell you in a minute.

It happens often to read several articles about team building and collaboration; the fundamental elements which are usually presented as fundamental to create the “chemistry” are:trust, clear communication , clear goals and having an inspiring manager. In order to achieve this framework, organisations usually invest money for programs or specific initiatives. I imagine that it is happened to most of us to participate in offsites, social events or simple team meetings where your manager defines (or redefines) the team goals and/or the way of working.

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But, are these official occasions enough? Do they really create that needed chemistry? Probably they do, but not completely. The first reason is due to the fact that not all the organisations invest in this kind of initiatives . Secondly, even if they do,  there is a lack of continuous development which follows these events; in other words, there are not initiatives which follows the official event.
So, which is the simplest thing to do? Creating a culture of gratitude. Saying “thank you” when someone is working with you, saying “thanks” to your boss for the opportunities and supports are just few example. Recognition is fundamental in order to creating a good teamwork atmosphere and a needed collaboration…

Do you usually thanks people only when they have done something for you? Better to open up your horizon to create a better work framework.

Being pessimistic is not helping you, trust me!

In our work life we ​​face many challenges that see us as “winner or loser” ; therefore, our emotions  are triggered depending on how the successes and failures are balanced (if they are). The particular thing is that our reactions are often the result of interpretations of such situations and not directly related to the result of that; in other words, even in the case we do not know yet the outcome of our action/project/delivery we guess the possible outcome. One thing often mentioned in this blog is that usually the positive outcomes are seen as normal/expected achievements; on the contrary, the negative ones become the only ones which have an impact on our self evaluation and self confidence. This is also why organizations should celebrate more their successes with the aim of improving the organizational culture and performances. Celebrate!

 

Diapositiva1 Recently I started working on changing my point of view about successes and what is the real impact of mental anticipation of work outcomes. When we expect to see the result of what we’ve done, we may incur in anxiety and a “complaining mode”. But why complaining? Is this helping us in what we are doing? Absolutely not; firstly, a complain creates only negative thoughts and emotional overload; secondly, it is true that complaining can help release the tension but the results are only in the short term; what actually happens in the long run is that our negative thoughts create a mental framework based on pessimism. Consequence? We waste part of our cognitive energies.

So why not leave the space to positive thinking? It is an important (mental) framework change;  it does not mean that we will able to change the output of our work thanks to positive thinking; but actually complaining is not helping either. Positive thinking allows you to wait the outcome of your work with less anxiety.  Why would you think that something is necessarily going to be wrong? There are cognitive studies which speak about of self-fulfilling prophecies. Essentially these authors think that our thoughts modify our behaviors and attitudes which consequently impact our outcomes (others speak about faith). You could be skeptic about this , but trust me you will be less stressed.

Personal and employer branding on social media… how?

Being present on social media is clearly not a new trend for companies and for who want to be a brand ambassador. There are companies or people that are doing better than others, but the common trend is the need of being part of this world full of opportunities. Let’s say that nowadays having a LinkedIn corporate page dramatically increases the opportunities to be followed as employer of choice; it is not only attempt to engage already interested professionals but also improve company’s positioning in the labor market in terms of employer’s awareness and appeal.

Diapositiva1As true for all strategies and action plans, there are companies which launch long-term or short term strategies. Regarding the second case, increasing postings and activities dramatically enhance your online presence (especially if it is the beginning of a social implementation) and which is your awareness. The real difference which defines the success or failure of online strategies it is determined exactly by this; when your first online “boom” is not supported by a constant engagement and a long term strategy, you will see the boom decreasing with time. Professionals who work in social media in advertising know how important is the community management for example; for the fact that we are moving more and more on the idea of ​​personal branding which supports official employer branding strategies, it happens that becoming a brand ambassador implies the improvement and implementation of a long-term strategy. Multiplying posts to being visible on Linkedin or social media it is an example of improving quantity (short term), but just because everyone does it, you must do something different to stand out, unique content and better than others (long term goal). Personalization of the content is just one of the central aspects of success. Another? Creativity

Are you sure that you want to write a cover letter for your application?

For those who are not familiar with HR matters, recruitment processes or human resources subjects are seen as mysterious and complicated topics; it is common thought that there is always something hidden, very difficult to understand. HR professionals are also seen as untold secrets’ holders!

Diapositiva1One of this mystery is related to the fact if when we apply for a job, a part from the CV, we have to add a cover letter. Many would respond with a “definitely, without any doubts, you have to do it”; and at question “why?”, what do they say? The answer comes from the idea that you can introduce yourself to a company in a personal manner, demonstrating motivation and will to join them (assumption more than true).  A part from that, in my opinion, preparing an interesting, well written, concise cover letter is quite complicated. As just said, your presentation has to be reliable but concise; in 10 lines is not exactly easy. In addition to this, the cover letter should be an added value to the curriculum and not a summary of that. Repeating many times helps, but in this case it is superfluous. It’s not over; it is important to underline that we need to be original to making a good impression and stand out from the crowd. A curriculum created with a personal style could easily replace a cover letter. The contact with a company is an opportunity and for this we must try to catch attention in the best way, without doing something “classic”. Now, are you sure to write a cover letter?

Your mind and your work attitude are not on the same page

One of constant activity of our mind is creating and recreating life events; in short, the basic activity of information storage enables us to recall, show and present data and events at a distance of time or to our needs. A classic and familiar example is given by memories that are stored, built and rebuilt. I would focus precisely on the latter, as our memory often attributes elements and activities that perhaps never happened, simply give coherence to itself. This not only involves our memories, but also the image of ourselves; in fact, our image is revived outwards with  a reconstruction, more or less true . In other words our mind leads us to attribute and represent ourselves in certain ways, depending on the situation, which is precisely not, as said, the reality. Going on concrete examples, attribution and positive assessment of behavior depends on simple elements/events as how we are dressed or with a simple handshake. Of course, as usual, our mind tries to attribute to us positive aspects in order to give relief.

Diapositiva1In essence, as said many times, we are looking for a situation of comfort and our mind helps us with this (unfortunately this also happens in total opposite situation, when you enter a process of attributing negative elements, our mind satisfy us). Same process is activated when we think or we are called to define attributes of our work, our tasks and our attitudes. Often risk is that the stronger we go in attributing activities or characteristics that maybe we go more wrong. The mechanism is quite perverse, because it often leads to exaggerating and “mythologizing” of what we can do; then if this process is not checked or limited, it  leads to a real job detachment from reality that you are experiencing. We say that sometimes we should be able to postpone our own judgment on ourselves, trying to deliver mental processes  and the specification (also on paper) to better understand the coherence or the too consistency of our reasoning.

First person to listen? yourself!

It is often said that everyone has to know how to listen; why? it is fundamental to understand better what pieces of information are core aiming to get hints to interpret external environment. This clearly helps to make everything simpler and  schematic. Regarding our jobs, having more information helps to simplify our tasks.  Organizations try to help further creating programs that allow to improve our listening skills and focus. Among various initiatives there are : mentoring, coaching and  training that will certainly help to improve our skills in terms of  information’s collection.

Diapositiva1A part from the fact that all just said is definitely true, it is better to specify that without the ability to listen we have less chances to learn, correct and improve. It is also true that it is not always possible to understand something from others or from our environment; therefore, the only resource available is just ourselves. Actually I think that we are the first resource and our real power. In essence first person you have to listen is yourself; why? you should understand yourself, aiming to get a clearer view of how/what energy, time and resources’ investment you need to do and in which moment; changing jobs, career, organizations, work attitudes are only examples of what this sensemaking activity can provide you.
It is clearly not easy, but it is a starting point if you want to improve, do smart moves and finally analysing what are your capabilities, limitations and possibilities; it  does help you to not being too critical and setting real expectations.

An order does not boost motivation

It is often been thought that being obliged to do something, as in the simplest case executing an order, boosts motivation. It clearly seems true after a superficial analysis, but in the end being motivated is really far from executing an order. In other words, the result of execution may look the same, but the causes, cognitive process and the long-term effects are very different.

Diapositiva1Starting with the discussion about causes, being forced to do something triggers a reaction more than an action. In this case, action is due to a response of “doing” but it has birth in a passive situation. Motivation is more than waiting for an input that becomes an answer; motivation is the push toward actions, it is an internal drive. Obviously when you are not forced to do something, emotions linked to this  are positive ones; in fact also emotions cognitive process leads to opposite poles in two situations because motivation is linked with positive attitude and mood that are not present in case of being subject to an order. Many times cognitive answers  trigger negative reactions and they are accompanied with lot of stress. As previously mentioned, emotions and  reactions are not visible by external observers, but clearly are different.  Even long term effects of obligation and motivation are different; in this case are more visible also by an external observer. Specifically, we say that being motivated allows to maintain a constant level of performance and reliability; at the contrary responses to external inputs not ensure same level of readiness and performance;  at the contrary  are characterized by more fluctuations.

This post has been only a sketch and situation is far more complicate, but here’s what it’s like the difference between being motivated and  waiting passively for actions.

Dream job? Be focused on something else!

You always hear about the famous dream job, the one that makes you feel you did not really work at the end of your day. Well, do not want to hurt you, but it does not exist! .
Diapositiva1First aspect that leads to creation of this utopia is job advertising; many times companies depict also repetitive activities as most wonderful ones than presenting real work. Obviously it is attractive, as marketing claims, but we (as HR) are not selling a product, we have to present 8 hours of everyday life.  Job advertising is first psychological link between company and individuals that have to be based on concrete basis; then, if there is a mismatch between expectations and reality, you will have huge issues. Second aspect is related to the fact that the world speaks about dream job and you are “contaminated” with this idea. Clearly, even the most amazing job contains tasks that are not a proper dream. I’d like to advice to be focused more on other aspects such as quality of work, career opportunities and passions. The mentioned above “psychological link” is the so- called psychological contract, which is the cognitive structure that goes to model relationship between you and the organization; psychological contract modifies work attitudes of a person in short and long run.  In order to avoid any kind of disillusion, environment where a person grows should give awareness about distortion of dream job idea; in other terms academic world, friends and families should suggest to follow passions and dreams more than a dream job. It is fundamental also to underline that even if you follow your passions and dreams your work includes boring or stressful partsLet’s face it and let’s face also sacrifice aspect in cultivating passions more than following something that doesn’t exist. Dreams exist and help to motivate people; but dream job doesn’t exist and does not motivate people.