Make No Bones About It; Communication Is Hard

Kirk Spock and McCoy

The Freudian Trio consists of three characters: one who acts emotionally and instinctively, one who acts with cold, passionless logic and one who reconciles the two conflicting ideals.

No TV show that I’ve watched applied this trio better than the original Star Trek series.

Bones was the emotional one. Spock the logical one. Kirk was the character that brought the two together.

Some of us, especially men, struggle communicating thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

This is an area that Leonard “Bones” McCoy excelled in.

At least on television. I can’t say how he was in real life – though I heard he was a gentleman.

I attended a seminar 15 years ago where I learned that I process ideas rapidly in my mind. So when I come out with a statement, people were often confused by what I said, and normally discounted my ideas.

I was normally left wondering why they rejected m y idea and I’d internalize the emotions.

At the seminar, I was shown that I needed to connect the dots for my audience so they could understand how I arrived at my idea.

Once I implemented this knowledge, conversations went MUCH more smoothly.

My ideas were accepted.

My confidence level took off.

We all communicate differently. We all expect certain to receive communication a certain way, and to deliver communication a certain way.

Communication styles affect our work life, friendships, parenting, and marriages.

Communicating well is crucial for relationships to survive.

I cover communication extensively in my group program being launched soon.

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A BIG NO-NO For Interviews

A man sleeping

The other day I was on Reddit, or as I like to call it “the goldmine for article ideas”, reading about interview experiences from around the world.

I found one that reminded me of something I witnessed a few years ago:

“Candidate brought his mom in with him – who proceeded to answer all the questions I was asking him until I asked her wait outside.

His only work experience was a paper route he kept for less than 2 months and mowing his neighbor’s lawn.

It was clearly an enormous effort for this poor guy to communicate in anything but one-word answers. In fact, he looked genuinely relieved when the interview was over.

Dude was 22 years old.”

Taking your mom (or dad – as I witnessed) into an interview is not a great strategy. If you’re considering doing that, I’m not the guy to help you.

My advice to you is: Go get a job and hold it down for at least 6 months and BEFORE YOU QUIT…have another job lined up.

As a hiring manager it tells me that if I invest time into training you, I’ll get some return on investment. It also tells me that I won’t have to go through the hiring process again anytime soon.

IF you can’t get a job…go volunteer somewhere to build “job credit”. Work hard so you’ll have a good reference for the next job interview.

I work with people who can’t seem to crack that next level of management. They’ve tried a few times but seem to keep striking out.

My approach is simple – I get a clear understanding of where you want to go, and then together, we plan out how you can get there.

In my program, I provide you with tools related to project management, people management, and communication strategies so you can put these new skills to work for you right away – on the job or in your next interview!

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Three Things NOT To Do In An Interview

A few years ago, I went to an interview for a director’s position that I wanted and felt I qualified for.

I knew the interviewers. We had a good rapport in the workplace.

It was the first time I’d interviewed for this level of management and I was nervous.

I solicited the help of a consultant who we had been working with us for the past year and a half to aid my preparation.

He guided me to put together a nice presentation for the interview.

When the interview day arrived, I picked out my favorite suit, put my “lucky tie” that my son made me when he was in pre-school, and brought in my Toronto Maple Leafs coffee mug with water to keep my throat moist and hopefully loosen the mood with banter about my favorite team.

The interview started poorly right from the beginning. I was told the presentation I had prepared could not be handed out because they had to score me based on what was said inside the interview.

Nervousness level 1000. Not the start I was hoping for.

Regardless, the questions began and I soon settled into a groove.

Everything was going fairly smoothly until I answered a question that caused one of the most important interviewers to shake their head in disagreement.

I blew it…and I knew it.

When the news came out of the winning candidate, I setup a meeting with one of the interviewers to get feedback about my interview performance.

Here’s some of what was said:

1) ALWAYS dress professionally. Regardless of whether you know the interviewers or not, dress for success. I had a suit on, but the tie my son made me gave the interviewers an impression that I was soft and unprofessional.

2) Don’t bring anything into the interview that indicated an affiliation with a team or organization. The comment to me was “You’re a Leafs fan. What if I was a Canadiens fan? I may not have hired you just because of that.”

3) Understand the interview process of the organization you’re interviewing with PRIOR to preparing for it. By attempting to hand out the presentation, I ended up looking amateurish and unprepared. I should have known that I couldn’t hand out a presentation to the interview board before going in there.

There are more tips I learned from this one experience, but I’ll save those for another day.

Well….maybe one more bonus tip:

Remember how I noticed the interviewer shaking their head after one of my answers?

To this day I feel my answer was the correct one and actually proved to be true in the end…HOWEVER…it wasn’t the answer they were looking for at the time.

The tip? Have as much organizational awareness going into the interview as you can. Know the company’s strategy as best as you can so the answers you give can be tailored to fit their strategic direction.

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