Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 13th 2015 Contents modesty are the norm. It s important to
understand how different cultures show
emotion. Observe whether people express
their emotions readily or downplay them
or whether it varies by the situation.
Treat emotions as a language you need
to gain fluency in. And learn how to respond
constructively when you encounter emotions
that are different from your own. If you
suggest an idea to your boss and are met
with a blank stare instead of a smile, ask
a follow-up question to make sure you
understand what she thinks.
(Adapted from "Emotional Intelligence
Doesn t Translate Across Borders," by Andy
meetings more effective
One-on-one meetings with your direct
reports often feel more stressful and disor-
ganised than they need to be. A few simple
steps can make them more productive and
• Pay attention. Turn off your phone and
email, and focus on the person in front of
you. Not doing this will make your employee
• Form an authentic connection. Show
your employee that you care about her well-
being. Ask about family or weekend plans,
or share an anecdote from your own week-
• Create positivity. Compliment the
employee on something he did well, and
explain why you value that contribution.
Focus on his strengths.
• Ask for objectives. What does the
employee want to get out of the meeting?
Asking her to articulate it will lead to a more
• Keep it light. Don t be afraid to smile
or laugh. Most of us take work far too seri-
(Adapted from "Turn Coaching Into Col-
laboration," by Margaret Moore.)
Get the credit
There s nothing more infuriating than when some-
one takes credit for your work or introduces your
idea in a meeting. But it s important to avoid making
a scene. Not every piece of work has to have your
name on it. Ask yourself: How much does this really
matter? Will it harm my career?
And, instead of making accusations, ask your col-
league why he took ownership. Maybe the person
will acknowledge his mistake and make things right
by emailing the group to give you credit. But if you
feel like you re being systematically undermined, talk
to your boss.
Rather than complaining, frame it as an effort to
create a better working relationship. And next time,
Lay out who will present ideas to co-workers, who
will field questions and who will email the senior
team. Clearly outlining your duties will make sure
you get the credit you deserve.
(Adapted from "How to Respond When Someone
Takes Credit for Your Work," by Amy Gallo.)
Coaching isn t easy, but it s especially difficult
when you re coaching a remote employee. When
people share an office, they have more context with
which to interpret each other s actions. Without that,
it s harder to help someone understand how her suc-
cesses and failures fit into the larger whole. In addition,
coaching requires trust, which is harder to build over
phone calls and video conferences. To make coaching
a remote employee easier:
• Have an honest discussion about the relationship s
challenges. Acknowledging the problem gets you both
on the same page and helps to set expectations.
• Use structure to compensate for context. Set a
schedule for regular meetings, and spend time dis-
cussing the employee s co-workers, office politics
and life outside work.
• If possible, find a trusted adviser in the employee s
location. Having a local sounding board will help you
make more relevant recommendations.
(Adapted from "When You Have to Coach Remotely,"
by Mark Mortensen.)
Make the audience a priority
during your next presentation
When preparing a presentation, we think about
what to say, the data we need and which visuals to
include. But what about the audience? Your pres-
entation has to be tailored to their goals and concerns
in order to make an effective case. To learn what
makes them tick, consider:
• What roles do audience members play in the
organisation? Knowing where they fall on the organ-
isation chart helps you understand their responsibilities
and how you can help make their work easier.
• Will some attendees goals conflict with others ?
If so, acknowledge that upfront and explain how
what you have to offer may help.
• What do people already know? You want to give
people just enough background to understand what
you re saying and how it affects them.
• How well does the audience know you? If you
don t have strong relationships with them, establish
a rapport by opening with an amusing personal anec-
(Adapted from "The Best Presentations Are Tailored
to the Audience," by Harvard Business Review.)
Learn how to read emotions
We learn to "read" people s emotions by evaluating
their facial expressions, tone of voice and overall
demeanor. But these things often don t translate
across cultures. For example, someone from the US,
where enthusiasm is admired, may have trouble read-
ing someone from China, where self-control and
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 13 • 2015
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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