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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Become a People Person at Work


The most difficult thing about working in an office is often not the job itself, but dealing with other people. This is the main reason why most job requirements these days have requirements such as

- The ability to relate to people of all levels
- Have a good team spirit and a pleasant personality
- Able to work independently and good people management skills

- Good communication & interpersonal skills
- Able to communicate well and able to work with people from various levels

From these actual sample job requirements above, it is clear good interpersonal communication skills is a essential requirement of the modern day corporate executive.

Here are some helpful tips that might be helpful in the workplace.

• Do treat your co-workers with respect

Treat your coworkers as your equals, no matter what their position within your organization. All people are equal; they just have different jobs. The way you treat other people is important in building interpersonal relationships.

Believe in this and believe in this each and every working day. You will develop a network of co-workers whom like and respect you in turn.

• Do keep your promises

If you say you will do something, then do it. People will need to depend upon you and the deadlines to which you commit. Again, it is a matter of developing trust. Similarly, when working on a project together, always put forth your best effort. Be the person who is willing to go that extra mile to strengthen the collaboration and the outcome or product.

• Do exhibit total professionalism at work

Never participate in the gossip of co-workers behind their backs. People will only trust you and if they know that what they tell you is safe in your hands. Cooporation at work only works when trust is present.

Similarly, never back-stab or blind-side a co-worker. If you have a problem with their actions, talk to that person directly and in private.

If you let your ally down, you could spend years redeveloping the relationship, if trust at the prior level is ever again even possible. Resolve any conflicts or disputes at the earliest opportunity. Unresolved conflict festers just under the surface in organizations. Unresolved conflict undermines alliance-building and mutual, purposeful progress toward accomplishing personal and organizational missions.

• Do your job well

If you do your job well, and with sincerity, you will succeed. You will not need office politics to help you succeed (or at least need it to a much less extent). Therefore, do your job well, and hopefully you will influence other people at your workplace to do likewise.

Effective communication forms the foundation for positive working relationships. Open lines of communication keep information, opinions and support flowing.

Put yourself in the shoes of your colleagues and respect their point of view which may be different from your own. Treat your co-workers with respect and keep your promises. Resolve any conflicts or disputes at the earliest opportunity, and do your job well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Persuasion Tactics Simplified


Interested in using simple tactics to persuade others?

If you were a product development manager who was interested in raising the sales of your product, what would you do? Would you give the consumer more choices to choose from?

Logically, the more choices given to a customer, the better the expected sales. However, do you know that offering people more might make them want it less?

According to research conducted by behavioral scientist Sheena Lyengar, employees of a given company were asked to select mutual funds for a voluntary retirement plan.

The results show that the more mutual funds choices that the employees were given, the lower was the participation rate. When only two funds were offered, the level of participation was about 75%. However, when fifty nine funds were offered, the level of participation dropped down to about 60%.

This counter-intuitive result stems from the fact that when people are offered too many choices, this frustrates the decision making process, resulting in a reduced interest in the product.

This phenomenon transcends itself in supermarkets as well. According to an experiement conducted at a local supermarket, when the number of flavors of jams was reduced from twenty-four to six, the percentage of people who actually made a purchase increased from 3 percent to 30 percent.

This simple persuasion strategy appears in advertisement as well.

In a study conducted by Michaela Wanke, students were asked to compare an ad for BMW that states:

"BMW or Mercedes? There are many reasons to choose a BMW. Can you name 10?"

against a slightly modified ad

"BMW or Mercedes? There are many reasons to choose a BMW. Can you name ONE?"

Afterward, the students were asked to give their opinions about BMW and Mercedes. Surprisingly, the first advertisement that asked for 10 reasons resulted in generally lower evaluations of BMW and higher evaluations of Mercedes compared to the modified ad.

So, what is the reason for this result?

It is speculated that when the students were asked to come up with only a single reason for the BMW, they had an easier task as compared to the more difficult task of naming ten reasons. Hence, rather than using the number of reasons to evaluate the car brands, the participants instead based their judgment on the ease or difficulty of the assigned task to make their selection.

This result reinforces the main idea of this post, which is often times, the most effective persuasion tactic or strategy is the more simpler one. People inherently like easy solutions in life. Simplify your persuasive arguments by leaving out all the unnecessary clutter and just present the clear facts and simple alternatives.