Do you fear public speaking?

Ever wonder if you are a good speaker? In this topic (and upcoming ones) we will discuss and learn about the importance of effective public speaking and about several skill sets and some tips that will make you a better presenter. I will not cover everything in this post because there are numerous correlated subjects which will be progressively posted.

Honestly, anyone, somehow or rather through out their life, will have to stand-up and speak to an audience of people, regardless if it’s just a hand full or by the thousands. Well, I presume one day, you have to present a speech on your weeding day, right.

Regardless if you are a CEO of a major organisation or the supervisor of a small work team, to remain a leader, you got to speak-up because when you stand-up to speak, you instantly become a voice of authority and sometimes inspirational, moreover your audience is waiting to hear what you have to say. One excellent speaker is Adolf Hitler, by profession an artist, but transformed into a powerful leader because of his ability to strongly speak and influence others. Even though I disagree with his fundamentals, but I admire his ability to speak-up.

Most of us do fear public speaking because we have a more reserved attitude, some of us are afraid to be rejected; moreover most of us lack the confidence to convince others. I have personally experienced all those fears and negative attitudes, but through out time, I have developed my speaking skills, and found out that I was actually a good presenter.

To overcome fear you got to face it. Frankly, I was scared to death when I made my first public speech, but my confidence pick-up and natured when I was accepted by the audience, as a speaker. Subsequently my fear subsides, but I haven’t mastered those feelings. To overcome it, I begin working (mostly practising) on developing my speaking skills. Recalling back, I even once used a mirror and a recorder to practice my speech before presentation, and it turn out to be effective. Subsequently, I became a better presenter through years of speaking to various level of audience. That’s why practice is important. Frankly, nowadays public speaking has become natural for me, but I still get nervous sometimes when I am facing an unfamiliar audience and on unfamiliar grounds. Well I guess that’s natural.

As a young manager or executive, you got to start moving up your organisation. How to do that if you weren’t noticed? Without mastering public speaking and overcoming your fears, you won’t be seen, moreover recognised as a leader by your leaders. If you are ambitious, it’s not a good sign if you sit and listen throughout general meetings. Meetings are all about communication and it only work two ways. Frankly, leaders are sported during presentations or general office meetings. You got to stand up and speak up! I don’t mean literarily stand-up, but sometimes it helps if you want to get the attention of everyone.

Here are some tips to consider, which could turn public speaking into a more positive experience for you. At all times, you got to consider all those positive things you bring to the audience because you probably know more than anyone in the audience about your topic or the area of your responsibilities. Don’t be afraid of leaving something out or forget something because the audience will never know. Remember, they didn’t know what you were planning to say in the first place. Frankly, most listeners would much rather be sitting where they are than standing where you are. So they feel for you and empathise with your situation. The audience usually wants you to succeed; they’re in your corner, not rooting against you (unless you are a politician giving a speech to your opposition), moreover many people in the room probably wish that they could do what you’re doing, so relax and enjoy being a star, moreover proving a point “you are a leader”. I will elaborate more on this subject in my upcoming posts. So please watch out for them.

I got a new road but I need some traffic

Well, I guess I got your attention. Most of us bloggers are hoping to get some extra traffic for their blogs, including myself. So I would appreciate if someone link me up to their heavily loaded traffic. Please donate some traffic to me. Yes, I mean donate, because I am still fresh and got nothing much to offer yet (relating to traffic), but gradually (hopefully) in the near future, I will. Hope to get some assistance. Thanks.

The Telephone Interview Method

Ever conducted a telephone interview and wonder if it’s an efficient method of interviewing? Usually, this method of interviewing is used at the primarily phase in the pre-selection of the selection process, normally known as the screening process. Nowadays, probably the most frequently used pre-screening tool is the telephone. Most organisations use this method to narrow the number of applicants who will be invited to attend a formal face to face interview by eliminating those who don’t have the essential technical knowledge and skills, formal education and years of experience to successfully do the job. Nowadays, new technology (in a way) have influence and replaced the telephone as the premier tool of interviewing, but the fundamentals and principles still remains, regardless if someone uses email, teleconference (internet audio line or video) or even fax.

Telephone interviews are used to obtain quick answers to any questions that may be posed by the applicant’s resume. This method is used to obtain additional information about a candidate’s skills and experience than can be obtain from the application or resume. I favour this method of interviewing because one advantage is that it can be accomplished quickly and economically. Well I guess these two words (quickly and economical) will please any organisation. Without telephone and those new high tech communication tools, organisations would be overwhelmed by the task of interviewing candidates face to face who could have been disqualified much earlier in the process.

In a typical telephone interview, the interviewer spends a few minuets explaining the position and how it fits into the organisation. The interviewer then asks some predetermined questions about the candidate background and education, and attempts to clarify any inconsistencies in the resume. Typically, the interviewer inquires whether the applicant has any questions about the position, and concludes the interview by explaining what the applicant can expect to occur next in the selection process. Telephone interviews are usually highly focused and last about 10 to 15 minutes. The interviewer must also remember that while you are evaluating applicants by phone, good candidates will also be evaluating you. But don’t be afraid to ask hard questions such as reasons for leaving a job, accounting for periods of unemployment, relations with supervisor and specific details about work or educational background. Be sure to represent your organisation well by remaining professional, intact and courteous.

The advantages of telephone interview are fast, easy to accomplish and cost efficient. This method of interviewing is an effective way to narrow the field of applicants to those who will be offered a personal interview. When there are any possible negative factors about the position or your organisation, telephone interview give the prospect a chance to discuss it before extending an invitation for an interview. The surprise element of telephone interview will benefit the interviewer because the applicant is normally not prepared; therefore, not ready to manipulate any answers because the applicant might not have their resume in sight. The disadvantages of telephone interview are that it eliminates the possibility of evaluating an applicant’s nonverbal behaviour, usually known as “body language”. In addition, it’s easy for an interviewer to judge a candidate on the basis of “telephone presence” instead of mandatory success factors. People who would otherwise make excellent candidates may not have good telephone communication skills. Interviewers must never call an applicant at work to conduct job interviews. This is not only unethical; it put the applicant in an awkward position as other people might be nearby who can hear the conversation. I strongly recommend the call to be made to the person’s home in the evening or after their working hours. Telephone interviews are not as good as face-to-face interviews when you are dealing with complex issues, moreover interviews are often conducted at times that are convenient to the applicant, but not for the interviewer (evenings, early mornings, weekends). Telephone interviews at an applicant home can involve many potential distractions like friends stopping by, calls on other lines and background noise. Bottom-line, telephone interview is economical, quick, and create an element of surprise. Always use telephone interviews as part of your tool for “narrowing or winnowing the field”.

What is EWW blog?

Progressively, EWW blog will be a complete-precise reference & discussion electronic space, covering everything today's modern managers / leaders & every modern worker “needs to know” in a commercial working environment. In the future, you would be able to quickly find the precise information you need, to help you deal with an issue at hand or come up to speed on a new area of responsibility. This blog will serve you by enhancing your knowledge, building your skills, moreover be successful. Collectively, we will discuss on specific subjects, provide answers, along with practical guidance and guidelines, helpful how’s to overcome issues, and useful tips.

If we all corporate and work together, this blog will have the best and utmost modern resources for us, just imagine, we will have resources which were collectively obtained, global-wide.

I will also discuss subjects on internal controls & auditing, risk management & corporate governance which will be more focused for managers (operations & audit), directors and stakeholders. Therefore, everyone is welcome to participate.

The Common Traditional Interview

Usually this interview method is focused on the candidate and conducted by one person. The interviewer usually starts the interview with a question like “please tell me about yourself” and follow-up with other common questions like, “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”; “what do you hope to achieve in five years time?” and “why are you interested in working with us?” This interviewing method is commonly used by small-medium size organisations (with no recruiting department), and it’s not uncommon in large organisations and government offices. This traditional method of interviewing is totally outdated and not consistent with the rapid growth of new business methodologies and technologies. Most advance organisations no longer use such method of interviewing.

Here are some characteristics of the traditional interview: usually, the questions are often vague, unfocused and theoretical; candidates are allowed to theorise and generalise about their back-ground and experience; very few questions have follow-up probes to obtain more specific information; candidates who have become skilled at interviewing often gain control of the interview and tend to redirect attention to areas of their choice, which will totally change the purpose of the meeting; the interviewer may take some notes during the interview, but note taking is not tremendously important, furthermore, the interviewer will eventually miss out certain important answers when he/she is taking down notes, moreover if the interviewer uses an electronic recorder, he/she will look unprofessional, and it’s illegal to record the interview without prior permission from the candidate, because some questions or answers could be personal related; and interviews can easily drift into rapport-building sessions where the interviewer could end-up hiring the candidate based on same personal interests.

Have you noticed that there are some employment and placement agencies providing accessible interview guidelines on the internet & books to job hunting candidates, on how to answer common interview questions? That’s why the traditional interview questions are often predictable and most candidates have rehearsed and memorised the answers in advance. To them is just like taking an oral examination test, and personally this method of interviewing have always bothered me. Some managers might disagree with me, but I am convinced that only an expert interviewer is capable and able to detect well rehearsed answers. Frankly, averagely, how frequent does an operational manager conducts interviews. Probably none in a year, this makes him/her an unskilled interviewer. Yes, I agree that there are expert interviewers hired to conduct interviews, but are they rightfully qualified to judge the candidates, moreover ask the most specific questions relating to the job-tasks? Moreover, how can they constructively judge? Do they know whether the answer is acceptable when they have no direct relationship with the job-tasks? I believe the most appropriate person to conduct the interview is the operational manager based on his/her knowledge on the job-tasks, but the down fall is, the manager lacks interviewing skills.

Then, too, there’s the matter of honesty. Using the traditional interview format, there’s absolutely no way of knowing whether a candidate is telling the truth or engaging in pure fantasy. Furthermore, the traditional interview offers the candidate who’s well rehearsed or proficient in the art of interviewing a tailor-made opportunity to eclipse those who are better qualified for the job.

But the worst part of this method is the contribution it makes to poor hiring decisions. Because interview of this type often lack substance, “gut feeling” frequently replaces solid, objective judgements based on the candidate’s strengths and competencies. It’s more like taking a gamble. Personally, I know a person who hires based on the candidate’s looks and his own “gut feeling”. But after a few days, he would come complaining to me that he made the wrong decision and don’t know how to amend his mistake. In some countries, employees are protected by the industry and government agencies. It’s easy to hire, but it’s hard to sack an employee. To overcome this issue, he had to re-hire another more capable person, and now he has two person to do the same job, which will eventually create conflicts, confusions and wastage.

Never confuse the quality of an interview with the quality of a candidate. A good interviewer seeks to match the skills and competencies of an applicant with the mandatory success factors of the job; a good candidate is one who closely matches what is being sought. A candidate with great interviewing skills is not necessarily a great candidate for the job. So beware!

The advantage for this method of interviewing provides an opportunity to engage in a rapport-building exercise that may be enjoyable and the disadvantages are numerous. In my opinion, the traditional interview and the poor hiring decisions that it inspires, is a sure-fire way for an organisation to guarantee itself a high percentage of hiring mistakes. The fact is, the traditional interview no longer works and probably never did. The only tip I can provide is, if you need to conduct such an interview method, make sure you combine another method of interviewing.

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Models for Job Interviews

Frankly as managers, we face a difficult task of hiring people, moreover firing the same candidate we initially hired for the job. If our hiring decisions are wrong; it will look bad on us. Why did we make wrong decisions? Because we didn’t use the right interview models to discover more about the candidate and lack of information causes us to make bad decisions. The bottom-line is, how can we exploit that short-time spend with various candidates to widely gain information.

There are various types of commonly interviews used in the hiring process for the purpose of selecting the most qualified candidate for the job. I will discuss the major types commonly used by major organisations and the advantages and disadvantages of each. I will also provide some tips for success.

Mutual Exploration

We are all aware that the primary purpose of a job interview is mutual exploration. It works both ways for the benefit of the employer and candidate. The employer wants to discover more about an applicant’s qualification for the job and the applicant wants to discover more about the employer, as well as the opportunity that the employer has to offer. The exploration is a learning process for both parties, each of whom develops understandings and expectations.

As an interviewer you can use several interview formats to benefit your interview. Each format is designed to elicit specific information about a candidate’s qualifications for the job while affording the candidate an opportunity to ask pertinent questions of the employer. However, the formats differ significantly in the way we accomplish these goals. As a result, the type and quality of information obtained can vary from format to format. Therefore, as an interviewer it’s very critical to choose the best format because using the right format is crucial to hire the right person for the job. Remember, we don’t want to end up sacking people and most managers would prefer to avoid such situations. I know I would.

I will gradually discuss about the following six major types of job-interviews which are commonly used in my upcoming posts.

The common traditional interview;
Telephone interview method;
Stress interview;
Team interview – which are becoming increasingly popular;
Situational interview – a hypothetical approach; and
Structured behavioural interview – which will be discussed in 2 parts.

Basically, this discussion will benefit both the employer (managers) and in a way create awareness for candidates seeking jobs.

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How to Manage Workplace Stress

Many job conditions within an organisation can lead to stress. Regardless how wary and cautious you are, sooner or later it will eventually creep up. Here are some particular culprits that tend to induce job stress, a difficult boss or co-worker, lack of recognition and support, heavy workload with multiple complex tasks with deadlines, working long hours, unclear expectations, lack of job security, too many “hats to wear”, lack of opportunity for growth, advancement or promotion and unpleasant, moreover a dangerous working environment. A single cause of an individual’s stress is hard to pinpoint, it could be a combination of all from a chain reaction effect.

What about a boss or bosses whom encourage workaholism? Get prepared! it’s quite common. No one should consider themselves super humans. Don’t try to be a superhero and taken on more than you can chew because it could harm your working relationship, integrity and decrease your overall ability to work productively. If you can’t take on additional tasks, try to explain to your boss, with great tact and professionalism, say something along the lines of, “I appreciate your confidence in me, but I am really overcommitted right now, and if I take that on, I can’t do it justice”. This might courteously help you to confront and overcome such situations.

Everything in society has speed up as a result of faster technology and demand for rapid and accurate information. As societies and work environments rev at a faster pace, so do the individuals within them. While once we might have imagined a future full of machines taking over for humans, the present reality is that with greater interconnectivity and more machines populating the working environment, we are expected to do even more.

People are always connected to the office somehow, which has resulted in a lack of escape time. Long gone are the days when you were only reachable when you were physically in the office. Thanks to pagers, cellular phones (with view options), palm & lap-top, voicemail and fax machines, you can no longer hide from the deadlines at work. They ride home with you because we are a prisoner of technology. Deadline pressure is as inevitable as the advent of a computer that is faster than the last, or a cellular phone that has better reception than the current model. Deadline pressure filters down through the hierarchy at the workplace. If extra pressure is being put on your boss, chances are that his/her boss is being pressured. Chances are even greater that you will be pressured. It’s a chain reaction effect and no one would be able to avoid it. Pressure can also come from within. People constantly raise their expectations of their own performance and put themselves under pressure by worrying about whether they are meeting other people’s expectations.

Ways to maintain balance

No matter what the source, it’s important to work toward finding ways to keep the stress level in balance. You can do many simple things to maintain balance. I believe the Japanese workforce have created an effective method of balancing stress. Organising and conducting daily physical exercise for their employees is a compulsory methodology to balance stress. Thus, while at work try to move more. You can relieve tension and soreness in muscles due to stress by flexing and relaxing your muscles periodically. You should spend some time walking. If you tend to spend hours at your desk, stand up and walk around the room or just stretch in place at least every 30 minutes. If you consistently take the elevator, try taking the stairs ever now and then. If your stress levels are controlled, you have a better ability to focus, concentrate and relax.

Try to eliminate unneeded tasks. Most of use never realise that what we do at work is dictated by habit and not by need. Ask yourself this question: “Does this need to be done at all?” This question often leads to greater focus, less time wasted on nonessential tasks and less stress.

When stress affects your concentration at work, a simple solution is to make a schedule. Scheduling not only allows you to plan and control your use of time, but also forces you to consider your priorities and goals. Along with scheduling, try to set your goals. You will use your time more effectively if you not only write down goals, but also write down the steps and activities required to meet those goals.

Take time for yourself each week can also make time spent in the office more productive. Find a way to relax so that you can keep your perspective. Always make sure your lunch break is spend outside and try to engage in whatever it takes to clear your mind. Small breaks will also leave you feeling calmer and focused at your work. If you absolutely can’t get out from the office for a break, take a few minutes for some visualisation. This technique focuses on creating a mental picture of something that cultivates a feeling of calm or simply makes you happy. Another helpful strategy is to take a 5 to 10 minutes break to breathe. Find a quiet place. Close your eyes and focus all of your attention on taking deep, steady breaths. Like visualisation, this technique allows you to pause and recenter yourself in the midst of your work. You will be surprised at what a calming effect this has.

Stay organised. The organisation of your physical environment is as important as the organisation of goals in your planner. Make sure your desk is organised and tidy, the filling cabinets, folders and labelling systems can be wonderful tolls – use it.

Stressful situations often are a matter of interpretation. If you have a hard time finding any positive attributes for a given situations at work, say to yourself, “It could be worse,” and proceed from there. You will be surprised what a difference perception makes.

Adding something living to your office to mingle among the abundance of inanimate objects can help liven up the atmosphere and lift your spirits. A simple source of balance for some people is keeping a plant in their office.

Make the time away from office count by eating a balance diet. Try to avoid heavy, carbohydrate-laden lunches or snacks. Eat more vegetable snacks. You will have more energy and less internal discomfort. Try to exercise frequently cause a little work out can reduce your muscle tension. Try building relationships and never underestimate the importance of time spent with friends. Your good friends have a way of calming you, whether you need someone to talk to, laugh with, or take a break with. Who else would listen to you vent about work? Make sure you get enough sleep because a well rested body and mind are your best tools for higher performance.

Using the above options will increase your balance, allowing you to be more productive and making you an easier co-worker to be around. I hope this helps.

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Help!! Are You Losing Hair?

Hello everyone, thank you for reading. This is my first posting and I would like to share about the stress we experience in the workplace. Do you feel like a jungle in your workplace? Have you been plagued by aching muscles, loss of appetite, restless sleep and a complete sense of exhaustion? Lets put it bluntly, do you hate waking up in the morning for work, moreover wish to run away from your office or superior whenever you have the opportunity. Have you noticed that you have become short-tempered and irritable and need to take a long vacation in a “far far away” land? If you have most of the above symptoms, YOU ARE STRESS!

First of all, what is job stress in today’s workplace? I have come across many different definitions and I believe the most accurate one is this. “Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker”. Please don’t get confuse between the above concepts with challenge, because the both is not the same. I have personally experience some of my work colleagues complaining that they are so stressful because their superior have given them a new challenging project/task, which I believe is wide of the mark. Challenge energises us psychologically and physically and it motivates us to learn new skills and master our job. When a challenge is met, we feel relaxed and satisfied. Thus, challenge is an important ingredient for healthy and productive work. I believe workers like us get stress when our skills can’t meet the job demands and relaxation has turned to exhaustion and a sense of satisfaction has turn into feelings of pressure.

I am sure most of us wish to know why much of the stress we experience in our workplace may be organisationally induced. Globally, the nature of work is changing at whirlwind speed. Everyday, new technology is growing like the speed of a “formula one car” and the demand for us to catch up; moreover build our skills is so exhausting. Sometime I wish we could transform our brain into a computer hard drive, and then we are able to increase our memory space by adding additional bytes and ram for speed, not forgetting the new programs to add on to our new skill. Perhaps now more than ever before, job stress poses a threat to our health, in turn, to our family and the organisation we work for. Frankly, no one can run away from stress but sometime a little bit of stress in good for us. Little stress can help use get going and do all sorts of good things for our body and mind, moreover keep us alive. Stress improves our memory and enhances our immune system, moreover get our heart rate going and get our energy mobilised. But too much can kill us. The only thing we need to fight to survive in a jungle like working environment is to control and manage our stress level. Therefore, we need some tips as workers to crave a saner path and outlines steps that can be taken to prevent and overcome job stress. I will gradually try to highlight most of the culprits that tend to induce job stress and the tips to overcome them, in my upcoming posts. So please stay tune to my next post.

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