Accepting Compliments: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

Compliments are lovely.  We all like to hear nice things about ourselves, don’t we?

While most of us like hearing compliments, not many of us feel comfortable receiving them.

Justify a compliment: DON’T DO THAT

Instead of being left with a sense of accomplishment when someone pays us a compliment we find ourselves slightly embarrassed; we stumble for words, look at our feet and probably mutter something self-deprecating.

Often the conversations go something like this:

‘Job well done!’ …‘Oh, I was just doing my job.’

‘You look gorgeous!’ …‘Oh, I, um…in this old thing?’

‘Great presentation.’ …‘Oh, anyone could have done that.’

Not only does this leave us feeling slightly embarrassed but it also leaves the person giving the compliment feeling awkward and takes away from their good intentions. When we make excuses and try to rationalize the compliment we run the risk of turning it into a much bigger ‘event’ than the other person intended.

DO THIS INSTEAD: Say ‘thank you’

Read more

Come and go during conference sessions: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

Come and go during conference sessions: Don't do that. Do this instead.

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

Many of the topics I cover in this series come about because I witness or experience them. This is one of those topics.

This weekend I attended a conference in town. It was a great event. I heard knowledgeable key note speakers, met terrific people and sat in on interesting breakout sessions. However, it was during the breakout sessions that I noticed an unfortunate trend: people who enter and leave, and re-enter, and re-leave (such an annoying act that I’ve had to invent a word for it…) the sessions.

Come and go during a conference session: DON’T DO THAT
No matter how quiet, or unobtrusive, or stealthy you think you’re being. You’re not. Ever.

Now, I appreciate that on occasion we can find yourselves in the wrong session, particularly when there are multiple sessions taking place at once, however, that’s not what was happening in this instance. I went to four sessions on Saturday and in every single one, people wandered in and out, over and over again, and not just at the start but throughout.

People entering and exiting a room is bad enough when you’re in a large space where doors are at the back but Saturday’s sessions where taking place in small boardrooms; there was no way of going unnoticed and yet these repeat offenders seemed oblivious to that fact.

What truly surprised me about this was the number of times people would come in and go out, and come in again, as though they were looking for the best session. This is terrible conference behaviour. It shows an incredible lack courtesy towards everyone in the room, but particularly the speaker.

Read more

Quick Win #2: Who vs. That

Who vs. ThatQuick Win #2: Who vs. That

I’m not even going to bother delving into the whole who vs. whom discussion. Instead, I’m going to focus on who vs. that. 

It’s generally accepted that who refers to a person or people, and that refers to an object or group of objects. Grammatically speaking you are allowed to use that when referring to a person, however, doing so often sounds as though you are reducing a person to an object.

There are many people to whom (see what I did there?) this matters, and when they hear that used in reference to a person, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

For instance, to many people this sounds extremely awkward:

Henry is someone that will achieve his dreams.

Whereas, this sounds warmer and more friendly:

Henry is someone who will achieve his dreams.

So if you would like to be perceived as thoughtful, polished and professional to all those in earshot, start swapping your that for who.

What is our ‘Quick Win’ series?

Quick Wins are very small, straightforward tips that will give you that little bit of extra polish.

Read more

Quick Win #1: Look after your shoes

Look after your shoesQuick Win #1: Look after your shoes

People notice footwear (men’s and women’s), particularly when it looks tired, dirty or old.  So, make sure to:

  • Keep your shoes and boots clean and polished
  • Have them re-soled when needed
  • Replace frayed or broken laces

The added benefit is that if you look after your shoes and boots, not only will you look more polished but your shoes will last much, much longer, and save you money in the long run.

Introducing our new series: ‘Quick Win’

Read more