Monthly Archives: May 2011

What Your Body Language Could be Telling Your Boss

BodyLanguage_May2011_web There are countless ways to communicate, yet not all forms require verbal interaction. Body language is an admittedly subjective way to judge what a person is feeling or thinking. Whether you want others to know what you’re thinking or not, we all give signals as to what is going on in our mind with simple gestures throughout the day. Learning to master this unspoken language will improve your communication skills and possibly your relationship with employers and co-workers as well.

Watch Your Arms.
When you fold your arms during a meeting or when talking to a co-worker, you could be demonstrating disinterest or disagreement. While folding your arms may be out of habit rather than disinterest, it could give the wrong impression to whomever you are speaking with. If you fold your arms out of habit, focus on clasping your hands in your lap instead. This small adjustment can improve your poor body language and help you display the right message to your audience.

Watch Your Audience.
Eye contact demonstrates attentiveness and confidence. Holding eye contact during an important discussion will reassure him or her that you are indeed listening and confident in your responses. When focusing on maintaining eye contact, make it as natural as possible. Rather than staring at one member of your audience, allow your eyes to occasionally shift from person to person so everyone feels included and a part of the conversation. Good eye contact is perhaps one of the most difficult traits to practice, but one of the most noticed.

Watch Your Mouth.
Smiling is the simplest nonverbal signal of all. Smiles come in grades from ecstatic to content. Know the importance of smiling, and when to use which smile. Interacting with co-workers is an important time to smile in a friendly, joyful manner. However, during a meeting, displaying a calm, interested smile will confirm your interest in your job and its requirements. Often we become so caught up in our work that we forgot to smile, forcing others to question if we are truly happy while working. Smiling is an easy yet effective way to improve your body language immediately.

Understanding your body language is something that is learned over time. The key is self-awareness and a willingness to change. Understand that despite our mother’s advice, the majority of us initially judge a book by its cover and you are certainly no exception.  Choose wisely when making your next nonverbal statement, and your career will thank you.

The Future of Your Career

Careerfuture_May2011_web Entering the career world is an exciting yet scary time. Numerous unknowns, like job success, meeting deadlines, and understanding your role, can cause new job seekers and new employees to experience doubt, concern, and stress. The better prepared you can be during the on boarding process, the better your end results will be.

Networking is an invaluable skill that comes with time and produces countless benefits. While seeking employment and even after landing your new job, take time to get to know other professionals in your area. Utilize local networking groups, social media, and people you’ve met along the way to make the most of your time. Networking is a fabulous way to learn from others in your desired field, establish contacts that you may work with in the future, and develop confidence in a professional setting.

Set Goals.
The goal setting process allows you to consider all that you want and need in life and requires thought on how to achieve it all. Set goals for your immediate, near, and distant future that can be realistically achieved and maintained. Setting goals will better help you learn how to plan and organize your accomplishments.

Follow the Leaders.
Each industry has established leaders who have paved the way. Look to those leaders in your chosen field and follow their example. These leaders can vary from the CEO of your company to an established co-worker you’ve befriended.  Study their work ethic, relationships with co-workers and clients, and business habits. By adapting similar characteristics you can begin establishing a career path that resembles theirs.

Starting out in your career can be a little scary and intimidating. But, by surrounding yourself with positive leaders and goals, you will be able to focus on what is most important rather than what is most frightening.

It’s Time to Break Up With Your Boss

Quitboss_May2011_web Staying with the same company throughout your entire career may sound idealistic, but is very unlikely. According to the United States Department of Labor, the average American worker has 11 jobs from age 18 to 44. Knowing this, it is important to know when and how to leave a job.

Think Long and Hard.
Making a job change is a big decision and should be done after much consideration and reflection. After determining all your options (i.e.: salary, employers, and job satisfaction) you should be ready to make your decision. Although some job offers are time sensitive, they should be given an equal evaluation. Never accept or terminate a job based on a spontaneous, irrational decision or feeling. You want to move forward knowing you weighed all the options, explored them to the fullest, and made the best decision for your future.

Keep it Classy.
When the time comes to inform your boss of your departure, do so with professionalism. While it is necessary to express your feelings about the job, especially if your feedback can improve the company, you should still approach the situation constructively.  Avoid personal attacks against your boss, co-workers, or the company. By maintaining a professional and positive demeanor when giving your notice, your employer will more likely be receptive to your feedback and could remain a positive business contact.

Press On.
Most businesses expect you to continue working two weeks after giving notice of leaving. If this is the case, work harder during those two weeks than you ever have before. By showing your dedication to your work, despite the fact you will be leaving soon, your employer and co-workers will develop a newfound respect for your work ethic and persistence. This attitude of perserverance is often forgotten during the stressful transition between jobs, but, if practiced, it is something that will gain you respect from peers.

Although leaving a job is oftentimes difficult, it is a part of the working world. By exploring all your options and maintaining a professional behavior, you will be able to transition from one job to the other relatively easy. The break up may come as a surprise to your boss, but your continued dedication and work ethic will leave the right lasting impression.