“Works Well With Others” by Ross McCammon tackles some of the thorny issues in our professional lives, such as job interviews, day to day workings relationships with colleagues, superiors and clients.
Humorous, quick to read, and an all around fun experience, “Works Well With Others” is a go-to book for those who want to learn the ropes of the office environment, and offers quite a few actionable tips and tricks to help you survive.
Mind you, a 1000 word summary can only tell you so much about the book, so if you’d like to learn a bit more, be sure to purchase a full copy.
Getting past the job interview
Your first interaction with a new workplace will often be carried out through a recruiter. They are an intermediary step between you and the interview with the manager who will ultimately approve your application.
What you should keep in mind however, is that recruiters run their own business, and aren’t employees for the company you’re applying for. They’ve got different clients and businesses, all looking to fill vacant positions.
To this end, a recruiter will build a relationship with you in order to find out what exactly are your skills, abilities, temperament and needs. By communicating and being open with him, you’ll help him figure out if you are right kind of employee for the job you’re applying at, or if you are a better fit at a different company.
So you even if you “don’t pass” the interview for this job, you might just get an offer from him for a different one.
Here are a few tips that might increase your hiring chances, while also leaving a good impression:
- Don’t be late. Punctuality is the first thing people will use to make an initial impression of you.
- Don’t lie through the interview. Some recruiters can see through the ruse. But even if they don’t, you might end up at a job you weren’t a good match for.
- Ask questions. Find out what exactly the recruiter is seeking. He might be looking for a certain skill or ability you have, but didn’t put into the resume. Or you might have a certain life experience or values that would be a great fit with the respective. You can never know if you don’t ask the questions.
A final courtesy, that also leaves a good impression, is to give the recruiter a thank you note at the end of the interview.
The imp0rtance of eye contact
Good eye contact is an important element in working well with others and immediately leaves a good impression when first meeting someone.
Making eye contact tells the others person you’re confident, emotionally stable, friendly, and socially in tune.
Fight off the urge to look away at random objects, and whatever you do, don’t look down at the floor. If more than one person is in the room, try to find each one’s eye. It’s been proven more than once that good eye contact makes a strong difference in candidates are perceived, and ultimately recruited.
Don’t think it matters? Then try this experiment: make eye contact with yourself in a mirror for 1 second. Now do it again, but this time hold contact for 5 seconds. Chances are, you’ll find yourself warmer and more trustworthy in the second version.
The more you keep steady eye contact, the more competent and trustworthy you’ll come across, but the reverse is also true. If you can’t look others in the eye, then you can be pretty sure they will perceive you as lacking confidence.
Of course, you don’t need to go overboard, after all, nobody likes a staring contest.
Keep your language professional
Being a professional means you have to walk the walk, but also talk the talk. Certain phrases and expressions are inappropriate in high brow settings.
For one, be sure to delete the words “I’m sorry” from your vocabulary. They come with a negative charge, that are uncomfortable for others to deal with. Instead, use phrases and expressions that make it clear you assume responsibility for your actions, and eventual mistakes.
Also, do your best to be as clear and explicit as possible. Phrases such as “does this make sense”, transfers the responsibility of understanding what you actually said over from you, to the other person. And nobody wants to do your intellectual work for you. On top of that, you come across as clueless, and this doesn’t inspire confidence in you.
Switching from friends to family, and back to work again can leave us with a language drag, where the way we speak hasn’t yet readjusted to office life.
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How to make a toast
Regardless of its context, a good toast has to be memorable. How you do that is up to you. It can be poignant, funny, cathartic even. Few, if any external limitations are imposed on you, but do try to keep it short, and to the point. Nobody likes a rambling speech, and few people will stick to one.
What you shouldn’t do however, is to forget mentioning an important name such as the groom or bride at a wedding. In professional settings, this could mean forgetting the name of an important business partner, client or other associate.
To avoid this, try to stay away from improvisation, and write down notes and other ideas that can help you keep track of what needs to be said, and who needs to be honored.
And besides the important names, do include a tribute for the team as a whole. Make sure their efforts are noticed, cherished and respected. Include them in the success, and make them feel like a part of it. Even simple phrases such as “Here’s to you all” can help you achieve this end.
Wear the right clothes
Clothes communicate who you are, and can signal certain qualities about you. Bright bold colors for instance paint you as bold, confident and friendly.
On top of that, they tell others whether you belong in their “tribe” or not. A “Game of Thrones” or “Star Trek” shirt will make you feel right at home in a start-up, but applying and working at other jobs, such as banks, almost always require you wear confidence inspiring clothing, such as suits.
But there’s more to clothing than this. For instance, researchers at Columbia University discovered that clothes can influence how you think and behave. Subjects that wore lab coats for instance, showed a higher attention to detail than the control group dressed in plain clothes.
Which brings us to another important point: it’s not just about what your clothes communicate to others, but also how they make you feel.
This book covers just a small part of what proper work social skills are. But depending on where you work, these can make a difference between a smooth sailing at the office, or an abrasive work experience.
An 1100 word summary of a book can only tell you so much, so if you’re interested in the full story, be sure to check out the authors original book.