ONE OF the biggest problems we find is our lamentable ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We know our subjects backwards. Technically, there is no one to rival us, but when it comes to telling people about it, we fizzle out like a damp cracker on Deepawali. Why we never talk coherently about ourselves can probably be put down to the fact that we've always been told from childhood up not to show off. Good advice. Except that when asked a direct question about our abilities we are tongue tied and hopelessly inept. With the result that the person asking us, unless he is remarkably perceptive, ends up with the impression that we are a bunch of ill-groomed Hoolock gibbons with all the loquacity of a particularly taciturn snail.
For those of my fellow prisoners, chained as we are, by acute attacks of galloping diffidence and retiring shyness, remember it's not all about talking about oneself, it's about how we walk, stand, speak and, yes smell too.
Stand tall even if you are a giant of 5'3". I once knew a person of this height that stood as if he was a basketball player. He actually stood back and looked down his nose at people a foot taller than he was! He stood straight with his shoulders thrown back and leaned slightly backwards so that he could achieve this downward look. People took him seriously
Reek of confidence and carry yourself with aplomb. If you feel (and look) confident (even if you are not), people are more likely to repose confidence in you. When you walk into a room before an interview or a meeting with your boss or a seminar room, how you walk sends strong messages to the others that you have something significant to add to their knowledge. Even if you don't say anything, the image will always remain. I've found that if I make myself feel that people are always watching me, I tend to be more alert, and believe me, alert is good!
Smiles transform a face and actually make them look good, so if you look anything like me, trust me; a smile can make you look a great deal better. People tend to avoid me when they see me coming up against them on a dark street, but this process is arrested when I smile (though there are some purists who suggest that these faint hearted pedestrians are fascinated by the ghoulish contours they see)
When seated in front of the boss, or a panel or a group of peers don't keep fidgeting about as if your dhobi has starched your underwear. People find this both distracting and uncomfortable and they begin to wait for your next fidget with the result that they stop listening to you completely. In consequence, they feel as if you haven't said a thing
When you do speak, try to speak clearly. Mumbling and whispering is great in kindergarten or prison but certainly not in Career Street. My mother, who bays nightly at the moon, used always to tell me to open my mouth and speak and she hated it when I mumbled. While bosses won't be that cruel, they'll feel you're hiding something from them and act accordingly. (By the way my mother spends most of her time now telling me to keep quiet - there's no pleasing her)
A rather well known journalist came to see me the other day because for some inexplicable reason he thought I could give a better job than he had. He never looked directly at me for more than a split second every two or three minutes. (True, he may have found me totally repulsive, but at least he could have been kind) I found this evasive and untrustworthy. He didn't get the job
Look intelligent and make notes. People are very impressed when you do. I know I am, because I never took (or take notes now) when I was gambolling in the spring of my life. It somehow makes you look focused and interested. Giving rise to the concept; anyone that's interested in me should work with me. (This probably explains why I run an office of one and a half people - me and a half-wit)
I'm too old and cross-grained now for any right thinking person to employ me, but try getting the tips above right and make a favourable impression on others. My projection spells rejection - infection even; let yours lead to selection.
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