tisdag 12 augusti 2014

A word from the coach

As a finance worker and managing director I have had to work with people my whole life. Sometimes to sell research and ideas, sometimes to hire people, sometimes to communicate/negotiate year-end bonuses.

Here are a few of my simple observations about human interactions (N.B. that I am slightly autistic) that can be used in various job situations (daily work, interviews etc) or even when flirting or dating.

Listen more than you talk. I almost only listen, which makes people uncomfortable and say more than they should or planned. If I get nervous or unsecure or not feeling rapport I sometimes fail and talk too much. Fail!

Ask the same question three times (re-phrase or just ask the exact same way). This has the same effect as being quiet, if not even better.

Smart sycophancy is almost never wrong. E.g., mimic your boss, client, parent in their gestures and postures (follow their lead by a couple of seconds but don’t be too obvious about it. research shows we do this automatically when we like somebody). Use their first name and do it often. But pay attention, if they flinch in a negative way. A first name is a bit like oxytocin, it cuts both ways. If you are on the right track, a first name for a flirt, a budding friendship, an employee is like an aphrodisiac. Also it makes you remember the name and can use it the spontaneously the next time you meet, which works like magic for business acquaintances and underlings. Oxytocin bonds people who are about to bond but it can also cause nausea, disgust and hate if wrongly timed. Use touch (and stimulate oxytocin) if the first name “trick” seems to work.
Outright flattery also works, but be careful to keep a straight face and make it seem like you are simply stating a fact and act as if you don’t usually comment on other people’s virtues.

When facing a difficult decision, perhaps after a big mistake: Consider how things could have been even worse. Imagine giving advice to a friend rather than taking the decision for yourself.

Be efficient. If you have problems conforming to social conventions like saying “How do yo do?” or even just “Hi” in the morning or holding doors for laggards or going to useless company meetings etc, at least make sure you are efficient. So, you can be rude, autistic, strange, close yourself off with music at work and so on, as long as you produce.

No professional manager or colleague would criticize you, if you are one of the top doers. More likely, it will make you a role model, an excentric genius, respected. I never wear shoes at the office. I haven’t since 1996. In 1998, my shoeless feet walking along a corridor were featured on the big screen at Sweden’s most famous arena, the Globe.

Be God's own prototype, too weird to live, too rare to die

I was strange but efficient and the bank’s management wanted to inspire others.

The Stockholm Globe Arena
I don't remember where I read this, probably the Economist, but a recent study showed that the worst possible job interview is when the employer is completely quiet for the entire five minute session. That was worse than any type of abusive questions and negative personal comments.

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