How To Have Better Conversations Oct20

How To Have Better Conversations

We’ve heard enough about the weather already. Clouds can only be so exciting and blue sky is, well, always blue. It’s time to charter into new and unknown topics – into conversations  that are memorable, intellectually stimulating, and unforgettable. So how exactly do you walk away from an interaction feeling like you’re the Oprah of conversation? There are a few unspoken rules that need to be in place for you to begin.   1. A little give, a little take Conversations are two-way, like a see saw. They are about asking questions and about sharing information – back and forth. They are an opportunity for someone to get to know you and you to know them so don’t just answer the question – elaborate a little then ask a question back. After a good conversation you should know something about the person and they should know something about you. If you don’t, you’ve either been interrogating the person (too may questions) or you’ve been talking all about yourself (which fails to impress).   2. Love the small talk Drop the old “I hate small talk” adage. No you don’t. I mean, do you really want to jump into a deeply personal discussion with a complete stranger? Bring up your personal philosophies, your religio-politico thoughts, your marriage troubles? Didn’t think so. Small talk is an essential part of a conversation, it’s how you break the ice. It’s the diving board to jump off and jump in. It helps you find common ground and gives you clues and cues about the person you’re speaking to. Think current events, sports finals, the US Election (okay, that one might be a little dangerous) and what you do for work.   3. Find commonalities As soon as you find...

The 5 Components Of Corporate Culture That Employees Want

Fitting the job to a person is important enough, but fitting a person to a corporate culture is where the real matchmaking in recruitment occurs. Do they allow dogs in the office? Are leaders the ones who run meetings, or is there a conch so everyone gets their say? Are there casual Fridays or is every day suit and tie day? Here at Smart Savvy, we’ve asked thousands of candidates what they want from a corporate culture, and I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised to find that some consistent themes emerged from the data. The people want five major things from a corporate culture, and leaders should focus on building and shaping these areas of their internal brand:   Vision People don’t respond to tasks or to-do lists, they respond to purpose. They like to know where the company is going and why and how they fit and contribute. A corporate culture that has a shared and purposeful vision fuels motivation and gives an understanding of the desired state or destination. With a clear vision your staff will work hard to make it happen.  Keep your company people-centric, and keep your people vision-centric.   Communication Despite it being overused, we’re going to say it anyway: communication is key and you can’t overcommunicate.  It’s always relevant. Employees want a corporate culture that listens but also cheers loudly; one that gives feedback and gives room for autonomy; one that is honest but not defeating. Employees crave honest, valuable, empowering communication from both their colleagues as well as their leaders. The days of painting a rosy picture are long gone; people would rather face issues (both good and bad) head on, in the open, and with immediacy. As Career Cast says, “Show me a company with great communication, and I’ll...

Information interviews are a gift – don’t blow it!

I’m often asked for information interviews from new grads just breaking into communications or junior to mid-level communicators looking to expand and accelerate their careers. I’m happy to pay it forward but have to be selective because as an entrepreneur, info interviews aren’t billable and time is a precious commodity. All I ask is when you get an info interview with anyone, treat it like the precious gift it is. Here’s a few tips on how not to blow it from the perspective of someone who’s agreeing to be interviewed. Know what you want An information interview is not a potential job interview, it’s expanding your network by one. It’s an opportunity to learn and make an impression. Be clear on why you want to meet with me in particular, and what you want to get out of the interview. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked “how can I help you?” only to be met with a blank stare or an “I’m not sure” answer. If you don’t know what you want, then I can’t help you. Do your research and prepare Don’t come to the interview expecting me to recite my resume. I’m happy to add the colour commentary but check me out online prior to meeting so you can prepare your questions. And come armed with intelligent, thoughtful questions that will get you the answers you need. Offer to send them in advance of the interview. Make it easy to meet You are requesting the meeting. I’m doing you the favour. Make it easy for me to meet with you. Offer to meet in my area at a mutually convenient time.  Start with a 30 minute time request. Coffee meetings are good but make sure you get there a few minutes ahead...