6 Ways to Improve Your Body Language In the Workplace

smiling while workingIn the workplace, communication is essential.

But speaking up isn’t the only way we communicate. Body language also plays an essential role in our perception in the workplace. How you move and carry yourself often says more about you than how you speak.

So, what can you do to keep your body language in check, whether you’re in the workplace as an employee or participating in an interview? Have a look below:

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3 Tips on How to Successfully “Sell” an Idea to Your Team

teamwork

In most creative workplaces, ideas fly around constantly. In those cases, it can be difficult to get your ideas across when there are so many others competing for the same spotlight.

But rather than give up and let your ideas fall to the wayside, there are plenty of ways you can put yourself out there and make your ideas known, which is why today, we are going to talk about just that. 

Whether you are a team leader trying to implement new policies, or a team member looking to add some creative input, here are three tips on how to successfully sell an idea to your team. Take a look below: 

  • Write them down. Ideas come and go, and some of the time, they spring up when we least expect them, making them easy to forget. To prevent this, try writing down your ideas. Whether that means jotting down a few keywords, sketching an outline, or writing out a brief summary, don’t fall prey to forgetfulness and let those great ideas slip away. 
  • Rehearse them. No matter how great an idea sounds in your head, it won’t do much for you or your team if you can’t express it. Avoid expressing your ideas vaguely by taking the time to rehearse what you are going to say out loud and in private. In some cases, you’ll nail on the first try, while other times it might take a big of practice. Getting through those mistakes before you open your idea up to the public will help make things much easier for you, as well as increase the chances that your idea will be properly understood and executed.  
  • Be open to criticism. Last but not least, you need to be open to criticism. While it may not do much for the idea that you just got shot down, it will certainly help you in the future. Not only does taking criticism help you understand what your team wants and does not want, it also shows your team that you are willing to take these criticisms in stride. In turn, they’ll be a lot more honest with you about your input, which will most likely help you cultivate bigger and better ideas in the long run.

Have any tips you would like to add to our list? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

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Soft Skills: What Are They and Why Do Your Employees Need Them? (Part III)

man working on his cell phone

Over the past few days, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of soft skills. In part one, we explained what soft skills entailed and why your employees need them. And in part two, we gave you a few tips on how to screen candidates so you can find those great employees with exceptional soft skills.

To round off our series, we thought it would only be fair to talk about soft skills from the employee’s perspective. So without further adieu, here are a few ways to improve your soft skills, as well as how to properly showcase them during the interview process:

How to improve your soft skills 

Keep your attitude in check. People who possess exceptional soft skills do very well under pressure, so you always need to maintain your composure. Taking a few minutes each day to sit back and reflect on the day, your actions, and others’ responses to your actions help you become more self-aware, making it much easier for you to prevent any unwanted breakdowns.

Network. Networking is also another a great way to hone in on your communication skills. Take the time to branch out and talk with others; having that kind of exposure can help broaden your thinking skills and sense of perspective–an important asset to have when working/leading with a diverse group of peers.

Put yourself out there. Putting yourself out there can help give you a significant confidence boost that is necessary for great decision-making, innovation, and leadership skills. We’re not saying you should take unnecessary risks, but when coupled with a sense self-awareness that allows you to know your limits, you can really push your career in the right direction.

How to showcase your soft skills in an interview

Communicate. Interviews are all about effectively communicating why you’re qualified for the position, so it should come as no surprise that you need to show that you can communicate well.

As such, you need to make sure you come to the interview prepared to answer any questions thrown at you. The best approach is to use concrete examples, and when you do, to make sure they’re concise and to the point. Just because you can ramble on about a subject doesn’t make you an effective communicator, so keep it short and sweet.

Focus on values/work ethic. Though it might not seem obvious, employers do take cultural fit into consideration. Make sure you take the time to emphasize how your values match that of the company you are interviewing for. Showing them how well your work ethic meshes with their own is a great way to stand out amongst your competitors. 

Be confident, positive and focused. Provide specific examples of how you’ve proved yourself to be a leader and decision-maker in your jobs past. Showing that you’re confident can go a long way when it comes to making an impression on employers.

That wraps up our series on soft skills! Are there any tips you’d like to add to our list? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: Stephan Geyer via photopin cc

Soft Skills: What Are They and Why Do Your Employees Need Them? (Part I)

communicating on a project together

When it comes to assessing the qualities and skills of candidates, we tend to usually focus mainly on the technical side of things. Are they proficient in the software we use? Does their education match up? Are they skilled in using/learning new technology/programs?

Once we square those facts away, only then do we start to consider qualities like personality, communication skills, work ethic, and the ability to work with others–though more often than not, this part of the interview is pretty brief and seems more like an afterthought.

In turn, we end up losing out on learning about some pretty important, if not essential, skills that can differentiate between a good employee and a great one.

We are, of course, talking about soft skills. And despite their unassuming name, they happen to make a pretty big impact when it comes to a business’ success.

To get you better acquainted with these skills, we thought we do a little series on them. For today, we’ll be focusing on what soft skills entail.

So, what exactly are soft skills?

“Soft skills” is an all-encompassing term that deals specifically with a person’s personality traits, and soft skills are meant to complement a person’s hard skills (i.e. technical skills). When broken down, soft skills refer to a person’s attitude, communication skills, ability to work with others, critical thinking skills, and work ethic.

Why do my employees need great soft skills? 

Basically, the reason why employers should look into a candidate’s soft skills is so they can judge whether or not that person is a good fit into the company culture. On one hand, while we want our employees to be infinitely qualified for the job on the technical end, we also want them to be able to work with others and be able to perform the tasks that they were hired for efficiently and effectively. 

All in all, soft skills will make your employees better–better communicators, better teammates, better decision makers, and better thinkers. Those who possess soft skills tend to have the ability to manage themselves, making for a more productive work team, and allowing you as a leader to have more time to concentrate on the bigger issues in the company.

Check back with us on Monday when we give you some tips on how to find candidates with exceptional soft skills. In the meantime, how much emphasis do you put on soft skills and why? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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Should Millennials Shoulder the Blame for Poor Social Media Management?

Recently, we posted an article that posed the question “Is Your Brand’s Reputation Safe In Millennial Hands?” on the @AIMCareerlink Twitter feed. In that article, contributor J. Maureen Henderson wondered why some of the biggest social media disasters have been caused by Millennials who are given full control over companies’ social media accounts. 

As the article points outs, one reason Millennials are often seen behind social media accounts is because of their natural comfort level with technology and social media. The drawback to that, however, is that Millennials are more likely to shoulder the blame of a fiasco because they’re the managers of social media accounts.

But as Susie Hall, president of Vitamin T, points out, “when a brand’s social media presence goes awry, it’s more likely to be an issue of lack of maturity and big picture thinking vs. mistakes that can be blamed on youthful indiscretion alone,” a point we certainly agree with.

In some ways, the main question of the article is very misleading. Sure, it’s true that Millennials can lack a sense of maturity, discretion, and big picture thinking. They are, after all, the youngest generation currently making waves in job market, and more often than not, lack experience compared to their older peers.

But anyone can slip up when using social media—especially considering how new of an outlet it is. Just think of how much social media intensifies the exposure of your brand compared to the newspaper ads and print materials of the past. As a result, even the smallest error can quickly escalate, especially if it goes viral.

If you think the solution to this kind of problem is to hire a non-Millennial, then you might want to think again–because in the end, it’s not really about the person’s age.

Rather, effective social media management requires a person with critical thinking skills, effective communication skills, and a clear understanding of a brand’s core values, voice and purpose–all things which any top prospective candidate could possess, Millennial or not.

Another thing brands need to make sure they’re doing is setting boundaries for whoever is managing their accounts. Social media isn’t a one-man show–it requires thoughtful planning and extensive brainstorming to get things right. Simply giving an employee free reign to do as they please can only lead to trouble.

Millennials always seem to get a bad rap, whether it’s because of their perceived bad work ethic, sense of entitlement, or lack of maturity. But the fact of the matter is, Millennials are just as hard working as previous generations—they just have a different set of values. In the end, it’s up to you to hire the right person to do the job.

Your brand can be as safe in a Millennial’s hands as it is in anyone else’s—so long as you make sure that they have the skills needed for effective online communication. Do that, and chances are, you’ll most likely avoid any sort of fiasco like the ones we so often see.

What do you think about Millennials? Do you trust them with your brand’s reputation? Let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!