Written by Mai Bar who is part of Fueled– an award winning Mobile App and Design Development Company
People often don’t know how to give or receive criticism, both of these crucial skills you’ll want to have in your arsenal when working in a place where you have to work with others. To be honest, you’ll want both these skills if you interact with people at all in your day-to-day life, regardless of the nature of your work environment. Lets start by figuring out what criticisms (although they are not always given kindly) have enormous value behind them, because lets face it, they might be true.
1: “You have a weak handshake.”
I can’t tell you how unpleasant it is to meet someone for the first time and have them hand met his limp-fish of a hand. Do you already not like me? Why are you giving me this limp hand, slacked at the wrist and sparsely placed in my hand? Whether its a lack of confidence or whatever the reason, I am relatively certain I’m not the only person who is off-put by this first impression. Give a firm handshake, it’s not just some archaic father-son advice, all genders and age-groups should take heed! Scientists have gone as far as proving a firm handshake to be key subconscious deciding factor during interviews. It’s a small simple improvement that makes an immense difference.
2: “You interrupt.”
This one does not really need to be explained too much, it’s pretty obvious as to why interrupting is socially unacceptable. It’s rude, and it’s rude for a number of reasons but it’s just plain abrasive in conversation and people do not like to be cut off — regardless of how relevant or important you think your interjection is, it’s not more important than manners. Just wait, even if the other person is on the longest tangent in history, I promise it’s worth it.
3: “You don’t maintain eye-contact.”
Another physical manifestation of a lack of confidence, it’s a give-away that you’re uncomfortable and other people take notice. The ability to maintain contact is a skill that has been shown to boost interactions in numerous ways. Several studies have shown that people who make higher-levels of eye contact with others are perceived as being: more personable and likeable, more qualified and sincere, and even more confident and emotionally stable. Eye contact is a huge indicator of how engaged you are. Think of how irritating it is when you’re talking with someone and he or she is looking all around the room or checking his or her phone. Just make sure when maintaining eye-contact to gauge the situation and not make the other participants too uncomfortable, if you’re not sure what that means — take a look at some eye-contact techniques here.
4: “You mumble.”
I’m definitely guilty of it when I’m tired or not fully engaged in the conversation at hand, but some struggle with chronic mumbling, which is again linked to self-confidence issues. When someone does not feel comfortable doing something or saying something they may mumble in front of other people, your jaw is literally more tense because of your discomfort and so your words do not get delivered with clarity. Some people recommend jaw relaxation exercises, by repeating words and phrases such as “fad”, “father’s spa”, “jazz lab”, making sure that you maintain a certain amount of space between your teeth, a slowness in your speech, a looseness in your jaw, and annunciate. Other people recommend speaking slowly in front of a mirror in order to get yourself comfortable with the idea of speaking, as well as speaking in front of an audience, and since you supposedly are your own worst critic it’s not a bad place to start.
5: “You need a piece of humble pie”
Maybe your grandma has said it to you, or someone equally sweet and well-intentioned (if your grandmother has those qualities), or maybe you have no idea what that means. There is a figurative pie made of humbleness, and eating it reminds you that you are no better than your fellow man or woman. You can eat it a la mode or you can eat it plain, but I seriously recommend eating it daily. This phrase comes from the same lineage as “check yourself before you wreck yourself”, we are not always interacting with others on an equal playing field, sometimes we have trouble staying off our self-fabricated pedestal — which is exactly why you need to eat humble pie, regularly.