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  • feedwordpress 18:06:58 on 2021/09/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Education, , , , , ,   

    Five Ways to Deal with Dismissiveness 


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    My meeting with two women I had never met was all set. Yet, when I arrived at the designated spot, introduced myself with a smile and said nice to meet you, one of the women turned her back toward me and ignored my greeting. I asked her if something was wrong, to which she waived the back of her hand at me as if she was waiving me away. So, I asked again.

    “I’ve never met you before, yet it seems you have an issue with me, have I done something to offend you?” This time she looked right past me, walked away and over her shoulder said, “let’s just begin.”

    Not sure what she was irritated about, I looked at the other woman who shrugged and then silently mouthed, “she didn’t like your text, but she’s always like this.”

    Ah, the text! When we were trying to schedule the meeting at a time of her choice, I explained that the owners of the facility where we were meeting didn’t want us to arrive as early as she wanted to be there. She responded that she knows the hours of operation, doesn’t need me to tell her what to do and furthermore, she had gotten permission to arrive whenever she wants. I asked who gave her that permission and she curtly replied, “will you be there at this time or not?” Irritated and a little confused at her condescending dismissive tone, I simply said “okay” and stopped texting.

    While some people are unintentionally dismissive, others very knowingly dismiss what you say. They are patronizing and uninterested in your thoughts or feelings. Perhaps trying to make you appear inferior makes them feel superior especially if they can do it in front of other people like a lion leading the pack.

    I’m sure you’ve met these people at work. They can be hurtful, embarrassing and make you feel irrelevant. If you’re like me, your natural instinct might be to lash out and let them have it, but then you are stooping to their level. Furthermore, if you do that, they will find a way to blame you and tell others what a jerk you are.

    Instead, consider the following five approaches:

    • Don’t take it personally

           While easier said than done, take a breath to stay calm. Remain friendly and nice. Even if they continue to dismiss you, you can take comfort knowing that you remained professional.

    • Call out

                Calling someone out on their behavior is not the same thing as blasting them. If this type of behavior continues, consider telling them what is offensive and calmly ask them to stop. If it remains a problem, you may need to seek help from a manager or human resources.    

    • Culture clash

                  Sometimes, what seems rude to you might be a cultural difference. The person I interacted with was from another country. Perhaps she thinks she is being direct and  doesn’t realize how her words are perceived. The same is true when Americans travel to other countries. For example, we are used to requesting adjustments when we order meals. In some countries, that is considered an insult to the chef.

    • Walk away

           If you’ve tried to de-escalate a situation and find out what is bugging this person without success, then it may be best to just walk away. A dismissive person has no ammunition if there is no one to aim it at.

    • Body language

           Remember that nonverbal communication is as important as what you actually say. If you do call someone out or walk away, be careful not to use negative or disapproving gestures such as rolling your eyes, crossing your arms or leaning too far into someone’s space. It’s also important to look them in the eye.

    While you can’t always change someone’s behavior, you can change  the way you react to it. It’s so easy to let a dismissive person put you on the defensive. However, if you handle their inappropriate actions appropriately, you will come across as professional and self-assured. They may not notice, but others will and respect you for it.

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  • feedwordpress 10:15:19 on 2021/07/27 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Education, , , , , , , , , ,   

    How to strike a balance between confident and cocky in the workplace 


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    If you read my column, you know I’m an avid Pickleball player. That’s the paddleball-like sport that combines parts of badminton, ping pong and tennis on a small sized tennis court.

    This summer I’m in a league where each division is made up of teams with players of the same skill level. I recently ran into someone whose team we were scheduled to play. This person who we’ll call Sarah told me she is more skilled than us is only playing in our division because the organizer needed to fill the spot. She said her team is better than us and the other teams in our division, but she didn’t mind playing down.

    Other than my initial disbelief at how someone could be so arrogant and condescending, it made me think about the difference between cockiness and confidence. It also made me want to obliterate her team on the court when we played them.

    The official definition of cocky is “conceited or arrogant, especially in a bold or impudent way”. Similarly, the definition of confident is “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities”.

    At work, one can mistakenly be confused with the other, which can lead to incorrect judgements and misperceptions about people. For example, I have a client who is perceived as cocky. He is very handsome, well-spoken and impeccably dressed. Often when people meet him, they quickly size him up as a “pretty boy” with no substance. Because he is the highest performer at his company which comes with envied perks, he is sometimes seen as arrogant and conceited by those who are perhaps jealous or don’t know him.

    I have gotten to know him, and he is anything but cocky. He is kind, funny, smart and even a bit insecure. If anything, he sometimes doubts himself because he’s always striving to improve. He is confident about his abilities, yet always craves coaching and honest feedback to help him continually enhance his skills.

    In my experience, cocky people tend to brag or show off even when they don’t have the skills or know how to back it up. Confident people like my client recognize their strengths but are also keenly aware of their challenges and vulnerabilities.

    So, what about the girl on the pickleball court? Cocky or confident? My judgement says both.

    She’s cocky because she knows she’s good. She’s confident she has the skills to back up her words and she’s not shy about singing her own praises. Traits that are not always unattractive unless you don’t know how to display them which in her case came off as cocky.

    Yet, here is where cockiness and confidence differ on the court or in the workplace. Unlike a confident self-assured person who can admit a mistake, seek help and strive to improve, a cocky person often rationalizes, passes the buck and rarely apologizes.

    At first her team was winning but as the match progressed, we began to take the lead. That’s when she started blaming her missed shots on high winds of the day. When we began to amass points, she started correcting her teammate’s approach, not her own. Good players know to aim put away shots at their opponent’s feet. Sarah slammed one directly at my upper body and when it hit me, she didn’t apologize. I had been looking forward to this match because I wanted to make her eat her words. Unfortunately, we lost.

    Striking a balance between cocky and confident is a delicate form of communication that requires a certain level of finesse. Here’s how to achieve it:

    Use facts, not sweeping statements

    Instead of declaring her team is better and they don’t mind playing down, if Sarah had said her team is undefeated and they hope their winning streak continues, that would have sounded less boisterous and more factual.

    Offer praise, not sour grapes

    Telling someone they did a great job or complimenting their work doesn’t detract from your skills. It actually makes you appear more self-assured and confident. Studies show when people compliment others, it makes them feel better about themselves. Research says at work, praise increases morale and makes people feel more valued.

    Have something to learn

    If you are a know it all, you may alienate people, loose opportunities and damage your reputation. Perhaps Sarah doesn’t care what her opponents think of her, but just as business colleagues talk to other colleagues, players talk to other players and Sarah’s arrogant behavior is spreading throughout the league. There are people who have told the league organizer they don’t want to play with her again.

    Admit mistakes

    No one is always right regardless of skill or expertise. If you make a mistake, apologize or own up to it. Admitting wrongdoing makes you look confident, not weak.

    At the end of our match, my team congratulated Sarah’s team and said nice playing with you. She responded, “maybe we’ll run into you again sometime” to which I replied, “maybe we’ll see you at the playoffs.” Cocky? Not really. Admittedly, I was just trying to get under her skin. Yet, at this point in the season, we are right behind Sarah’s first place team in league standings. That means we may face them again if we get into the playoffs.

    If that happens, we’ll play with confidence because we have worked hard at becoming skilled players. However, win or lose, we’ll leave arrogance and egos at home. Poor behavior in any environment doesn’t look attractive on anyone.

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  • feedwordpress 04:07:31 on 2021/06/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Education, , , , , , screen presence, , stage presence,   

    Quick Tip #106: Up Your Stage Presence in Person and on Screen 


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    In this month’s interview with Dr. Jennifer Caudle, I outline how to up your presence in person and across a screen.

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  • feedwordpress 22:36:15 on 2021/05/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Education, , , , , , ,   

    Quick Tip #105: Storytelling Secrets 


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    Storytelling is a big business buzzword but what does that really mean and how do you tell a story when time is short? Karen Friedman reveals game-changing secrets in this interview.

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  • feedwordpress 13:12:35 on 2021/05/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , driving, Education, Florida, , ,   

    How to Apply 4 Rules of the Road as Workplace Lessons 


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    On a recent trip to Florida, I observed three types of drivers.

    • Older adults. Many appear to struggle seeing clearly and have decreased reflexes which results in slow driving and slower reaction time.
    • Younger adults. Often, they speed, cutting off other drivers as they weave in and out of multiple lanes without using turn signals.
    • Out-of-towners. These people are driving unfamiliar rental cars on unfamiliar roads .Taking their eyes off the road to fiddle with their navigation apps equals a lot of distracted drivers.

    Adding these behaviors together is akin to navigating a minefield. Stressful. Frightening. Hazardous. It made me wonder if driving styles and personalities are related. According to numerous published studies, they are, and people are genuinely interested in why. Tom Vanderbilt’s book Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do and What It Says About Us, examines the psychology of human beings behind the steering wheel is a best seller. Vanderbilt observes driving is one of the most complex things we do in our lives and when we forget that it’s not as easy as it seems, we get into trouble.

    Wanting to learn more, I came across a quiz at LittleThings.com asking readers to determine which driving style best matches their personality. For example, the quiz positions an “Adventurer” as a risk taker who enjoys thrilling activities like bungee jumping and skydiving. I imagine that means this person is a more aggressive driver who will grab the road with gusto.

    Then there is the opposite labeled “Nervous Nellie”, an anxious person who shies away from high-risk activities. On the road, Nellies probably takes it slow and plays it safe and may take longer to make decisions.

    Then I began to wonder how this translates to the workplace. If someone who is a perfectionist was taught to keep their hands at “10 and 2” on the wheel and always does, does that mean they are more likely to be as exacting at work? If so, how does their pursuit of perfection affect their ability to interact with others? Are they more likely to decide their way is the right way?

    While there is a good amount of literature on how personality affects driving behaviors, statistics vary according to age groups and countries. However, in my experience working closely with leaders and their employees, I believe habits of all drivers regardless of age or location can also offer us valuable lessons when handling life’s lanes.

    Don’t take it personally

    While you might be horrified by the driver who pulls in front of you with very little room to make a left-hand turn from a right-hand lane, even though their behavior puts you in danger, their aggression may not be directed toward you. At work, you also can’t control what others say and do. You can only control what you say and do and that should be your focus.

    Set an example

    If someone is tailgating you and blaring their horn, it’s imperative to stay calm and if you can, move out of the way. On the road and at work, you may prevent the situation from escalating. You are also setting an example and taking responsibility for your own actions. Attitude matters.

    Adapt and adjust

    If traffic is backed up for miles and you are going to be late to an appointment, do you sit for hours or do you look for alternative routes? Probably the latter. Developing problem solving skills and the ability to change lanes is not something that comes easy to everyone. Improving these skills can build confidence and improve credibility at work.

    Be present

    It’s normal to check our rear-view mirror or glance at a billboard because most of the time our gaze is on the road in front of us. When we fidget with our phones and other technology, accidents are more prone to happen. At work, it’s also important to focus and be present when others are speaking to us.

    Finally, while older, younger and out-of-town drivers are not limited to Florida, regardless of where the road takes you, it’s important to remember the rules of the road apply to everyone regardless of title or position. Having your own unique style is great as long as expressing it doesn’t put others in harm’s way.

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