Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Soft Skills - 2 - Body Language and Dress

Essential skills/abilities for employees

1. Math.

2. Safety.

3. Courtesy.

4. Honesty.

5. Grammar.
Grammar is supplement to communication skill.

6. Reliability.

7. Flexibility.

8. Team skills.
Ability to be a part of team and ability to be a team leader

9. Eye contact.
Skill to maintain adequate eye contact during talking as well as listening.

10. Cooperation.

11. Adaptability.

12. Follow rules.

13. Self-directed.

14 Good attitude.

15. Writing skills.

16. Driver's license.

17. Dependability.

18. Advanced math.

19. Self-supervising.

20. Good references.

21. Being drug free.

22. Good attendance.

23. Personal energy.

24. Work experience.

25. Ability to measure.

26. Personal integrity.

27. Good work history.

28. Positive work ethic.

29. Interpersonal skills.

30. Motivational skills.

31. Valuing education.

32. Personal chemistry.

33. Willingness to learn.

34. Common sense.

35. Critical thinking skills.

36. Knowledge of fractions.

37. Reporting to work on time.

38. Use of rulers and calculators.

39. Good personal appearance.

40. Wanting to do a good job.

41. Basic spelling and grammar.

42. Reading and comprehension.

43. Ability to follow regulations.

44. Willingness to be accountable.

45. Ability to fill out a job application.

46. Ability to make production quotas.

47. Basic manufacturing skills training.

48. Awareness of how business works.

49. Staying on the job until it is finished.

50. Ability to read and follow instructions.

51. Willingness to work second and third shifts.

52. Caring about seeing the company succeed.

53. Understanding what the world is all about.

54. Ability to listen and document what you have heard.

55. Commitment to continued training and learning.

56. Willingness to take instruction and responsibility.

57. Ability to relate to coworkers in a close environment.

58. Not expecting to become a supervisor in the first six months.

59. Willingness to be a good worker and go beyond the traditional eight-hour day.

60. Communication skills with public, fellow employees, supervisors, and customers.



The Good Body Language

Stand up straight.
Imagine your head is being suspended or even pulled up. Then relax your body down. This way your body makes a straight line. You might even feel slight, stretchy tension in your back. This will make you look taller.

Some people say to tuck your tail bone so your butt won’t stick out. I just say keep your body relaxed and your tail bone loose. But you can experiment with a mirror or a video camera to see which way you look better.

Pull your shoulders back—squeeze your shoulder blades together.
This lifts your chest. Some people don’t pull them back far enough—so they look slouched over. Or they pull back too much and look like they’re trying too hard.

The correct position is pulling them back so your shoulder blades flatten into your back. Another way to know is when your earlobes align with the middle of your shoulders.

Also what you can do is put your back on the wall and flatten your shoulder to on the wall. Walk away from the wall and keep your shoulders in that position as long as possible. But remember what I mentioned before, err in side of exaggeration.

Relax your shoulders.
This may seem contradictory to pulling your shoulders back. This just means your shoulders should be down, not up at your ears. In fact, the only part suspended should be your head.

If you’re having trouble with relaxing your shoulders, shrug your shoulders up high as possible. Then drop them. Also, try relaxing your elbows down. That helps in keeping your shoulders relaxed.

Look straight ahead.
Don’t look up because you’ll look arrogant. Don’t look down because you’ll look shy and insecure. Just look straight ahead.

If worst comes to worst, err in looking up than looking down. Do not look down at any costs, unless you’re watching your step. If you catch yourself looking down, immediately look up to the horizon. This is crucial for confidence.

When you look straight ahead, you’ll look much more confident. Then when you’re interacting with someone, you can…

Give good eye contact.
What’s good eye contact? First, look at something. Later, when you talk to someone, pick an eye, and look at their eye the same way. Don’t open your eyes wide and give them the death stare. It should be done normal—not psychotic. If looking at other people’s eyes is too much for you, then look at the space between their eyes.

If you’re a man, when standing, spread your legs to shoulder width and distribute the weight evenly on both legs.
If your legs are close together, or worse, intertwined when standing, you look timid. If it’s too wide, you look too arrogant and macho. Just stand shoulder width apart.

What’s shoulder width? You can measure by looking down and see if your shoulders are above you feet. You can also check by measuring the space between your feet to about 1.5 foot-length apart.

What if you’re a woman? I know that spreading your legs apart is not very womanly. But one piece of advice I heard for women is to put one leg slightly in front of the other. Then bend one of the legs slightly. This should stick the hips out a little bit and make you look more feminine.

Distribute the weight on your whole foot
If you lean too much forward on your toes, it tenses up your toes too much. At worse, put your weight on your heels. Just don’t fall backwards.

Try not to cross your arms too much.
If you do this, you’ll look like you’re judging someone. Or you’ll look like you’re not comfortable with the situation. Just let the arms hang down. You can put them on your hips, hang them on your pockets (not in them), rest them on your body, or just let them hang by the side.

Many people cross their arms because it’s comfortable. It’s comfortable because they’ve been doing it too much. It’s okay to cross the arms sometimes, but not all the time. When being conscious of your body language, just don’t do it.

Don’t put your hands in your pocket.
Same thing as above. You’ll just look timid and insecure.

Smile a bit more
Don’t give the psychotic, Joker smile. Just give a genuine smile. And do it more often.

When sitting, sit back.
We all heard the advice to lean forward to give attention to the person. But I think sitting back and looking relaxed is better. As you start talking, you’ll naturally be drawn forward when things get interesting.

If you’re meeting someone new, don’t lean in or back.
Stay neutral. If you can’t hear them, step towards them. Leaning in can be very creepy and too intrusive to some people—especially when meeting someone new.

What if they lean back away from you? You stand put. Don’t lean in to follow them. Same thing if they lean in towards you, just stay firm. Note that this is only for the first meet. If you have rapport with the person, you can do whatever you want.

Take up space.
Remember your arms? If you need to put them somewhere, rest them on an object. If you’re sitting down, put them on the table. If you’re standing, you can rest them on a chair besides you, on the wall, the table, etc.

Try to look relaxed at all times.
The final point is to stay relaxed at all times. When being conscious of all these things it’s probably hard to stay relaxed. But once good body language become second nature, you’ll look more natural and relaxed. If you stay relaxed, especially at a tense situtation, it will help other people to be relaxed.

A common mistake is looking fatigued or tired instead of relaxed. What’s the difference? Keeping all the points I mentioned above but relaxed. If you let your posture sag, frown, or whatever; you’ll look tired.

Practice the Language

In the beginning, you need to imbue these concepts constantly into you. At first it will feel weird since you’re consciously adjusting yourself. But it will become second nature and your body language will make you look more confident.

If you need more practice just take yoga, tai chi, or dance classes. If the instructor is decent, she’ll enforce good body language concepts to you. Not to mention they’re good exercise.

Dressing for CEO Interview
This might be an important issue. Mint a daily in India that is published in collaboration with Wall Street Journal included an article on the topic written by Christina Binkley in the paper dated 2 Feb, 2009 in page L9 (Supplement Lounge).

Some important points made in the article are mentioned in this post.

The article identifies that some men are sloppy in having untucked and wrinkled shirts and wearing beeping sports watches to staid business events. sagging socks seems to be also a fairly common thing. I remember having read that even president of world bank had bad socks at some place.

Sometimes the company culture may be different from the norm, and the candidate may call the hiring manager's assistant or ask a recruiter about appropriate looks before showing up for the interview. The example given is that of google where people wear coloured shirts and dressing down is the norm.

Boards of directors do size up executive level candidates by inspecting the clues in their clothes.

Unshined shoes, rubber soles and acrylic socks are noticed.Ann Marie Sabath is author of One Minute Manners and a business etiquette consultant. She says interviews do not miss much. Sabath provided her consultancy services for Citigroup and Fidelity Investments. Her company is named At Ease Inc.

Sabath advises men to have their dresses professionally laundered and also to button one or two jacket buttons when standing. That will give a neat and well assembled look. She is very particular and relentless about wearing proper dress for the interview.

Teleconferencing Etiquette

If you are to facilitate a teleconference, do some tasks ahead. Prepare the venue and the equipment. Venue has to be a quiet place because background noise can be picked up by the speakerphones. Check the speakerphones at the proposed venue, so these can be fixed or replaced days before the teleconference.

Inform through email the date and time of the teleconference to all the participants. An omission is a costly mistake, and is a slip of teleconferencing etiquette.

The information sent should include the agenda of the meeting. This will give the participants the time to arrange their schedules. Before the date, you need to call each of them reminding them of the meeting, as well as to give them the dial-in number and password.

On the Day of the Conference

Be an hour ahead of the appointed hour, and give the venue facilities a check. You can also review your brief. The brief, pre-approved by the chairman, should contain instructions for all participants before the meeting is called to order.

Greet participants that come on line and when everybody is ready, read the instructions or announcements. Request the participants to mute their speakerphones until it is their turn to speak because a speakerphone can pick up noises from the tapping of a pencil and paper shuffling. Such background noise can be distractive and a violation of teleconferencing etiquette.

During the Teleconference

During a conference call, do not interrupt unless the speaker is done talking. There are no visual prompters in a teleconference, so this teleconferencing etiquette must be observed.

Teleconferencing etiquette demands that those taking part in the teleconference should avoid making distracting noises, especially if their speakerphones are not on mute mode, and no calls should be put on hold while a discussion is going on.

Before the meeting ends, the Chairman should ask if there are other businesses to be taken up. This is your cue, as facilitator, that the agenda was already taken up. As a facilitator, you should be all ears during the conference.

End of Teleconference

Announce that the meeting is over, so people will not linger waiting for further notice. Extra billing is charged if people still linger on their speaker phones; hence, your announcement that the meeting is closed. As facilitator, you must always be the last person to hang up because this is also part of your teleconferencing etiquette.

For more detail


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