workplace rules

eww...verbal diarrhea is so not cool (seriously dude, it's not a good look)

I should start this post by coming clean. I am so guilty of this that my picture should probably be next to the definition in Webster's Dictionary. 

It is because of the fact that I am basically an expert in this that I can give advice on why it is just not cool. First, let me explain. Verbal diarrhea sounds pretty gross. It is supposed to. You have experienced it before I'm sure. It is when someone feels they have to speak about everything and they just keep talking and adding so much information that it causes a mental overload in the people who are listening. Once they are done talking, you actually feel like they just threw up (their words) all over you and now you want to take a shower because you just feel gross.

One of my motto's has always been to stand up, speak up; stand out, speak out. so you can imagine why this one might be a struggle for me. In the workplace there are generally three types of people in a conference room.

  • the person who diligently takes notes and nods their head from time to time but says very little

  • the person who participates sparingly and calculated, waiting first for what the boss and everyone is going to say

  • then there are the people that have to speak so bad that they sometimes have to sit on their hands to stop themselves from jumping in

that's me

yes I like to talk and yes I have a perspective and opinion and I suppose I just feel like if I don't say anything nobody will know that. This by the way is perfectly normal and acceptable. When it gets to be too much is when it starts to backfire against you. I am also very fond of the saying

You don't have to tell everyone, everything.

I am fond of it because it is something I need to be reminded of constantly. When you tell everyone everything some interesting stuff starts to come to the surface

  • you start to become the white noise in the room

  • they stop thinking what you have to say is important or valuable to the discussion because you couldn't possibly have an opinion on everything and be right

  • people start to get antagonistic just to see if they can get you rattled

  • it doesn't create a collaborative environment

  • other group members will back up, not wanting to delve in to the discussion that you may be so passionate about for fear of getting cut off

  • you may go one step too far in what you say and kill your whole case

How does a serial verbal up-chucker move past their tendencies? 

Like most things in life, this has a simple solve. Let me explain.  Most people enter a meeting room with some sort of agenda. You want the other people in the room to buy into your idea, appreciate the work you put into something or help you get something off the ground. When you have verbal diarrhea, you come in hot, guns blazing for battle. This is before you even know if a battle is necessary, it puts people on edge.

If you prepare for the battle, however, things go differently. Understand what your goals are going to be before you head in to your next meeting, ask yourself one or more of the following questions:

have i eaten yet?

I know you're laughing at this but it's like the Snickers commercial says; "you're not yourself when you're hungry". If you're going to get people to collaborate with you then you need to be on your A game, so get something in your belly. Besides, food is amazing so why wouldn't you want to be eating all the time? 

It is also good to be well hydrated and have used the restroom, this might take a while.


who do i expect will be in the room & who do i expect will object to what i am bringing to the table?

This is sort of a "know your allies", "know your enemies" kind of approach. There is nothing worse than going to battle in the boardroom and watching someone switch sides in the middle. It throws you off you game and is often difficult to recover from so know who you are going up against. Know their arguments, position and where they are vulnerable or open to suggestion.


what is your point? what is your ultimate takeaway?

the things that almost always accompanies verbal diarrhea is panic, fear, a bad feeling in your stomach that you aren't being heard or not being understood. What if that is your own fault? What if you didn't come in with a clear idea and path to explain your position? You think that you are prepared but are you really? I will admit, I am an extremely passionate person. I will fight to the death for what I believe in with high emotions and vigor. That being said I have been in situations where someone came back with some good counterpoints and I was there with my mouth open and nothing coming out because they stumped me. I under estimated the objections to what I was bringing to the table and then wasn't prepared to argue against them. Rookie Mistake.

I guess what I am really trying to say here in WAY TOO MANY WORDS...(hard habit to break), is be aware and keep the following in mind...

  • be aware of your surroundings

  • know who you are going after

  • know what you really want to happen

  • know when you have lost your audience

  • know that sometimes silence is best

I realize I am trying to blog for the masses, but I will readily admit that this one is for me. Everyone has a journey and if you're lucky it takes a long time to get to the end. Make sure you are enjoying the view and course correcting along the way.

sorry not sorry...i'm here for a reason get over it

I have talked a lot about my own personal experiences to set the stage, today I want to switch it up a little bit and provide you with some tangible tips to push past the biases you may experience in the work place.

The 5 tenants I want to focus on are listed below and I am going to try and post each day this week so we can get them all covered and start climbing those ladders so that we can shatter those glass ceilings. It's a lot of work, so let's get started. First the topics...

  • Sorry not sorry
    • I"m here for a reason, get over it
  • A lil' swag goes a long way
    • Just ask Kanye
  • Eww, verbal diarrhea is so not cool
    • Seriously, dude, it's not a good look
  • I got shot gun, I called it
    • (and other ridiculous game you should learn to play)
  • Let em' hear you roar
    • (it's okay, we promise)

Ever notice how women are always apologizing for the strangest things?  How many times have you heard someone say the following or, if you're being honest have said them yourself?

  • "Sorry, can I ask a stupid question?"
  • "Sorry, do you have a minute"
  • "Sorry" when someone else bumps into you
  • "Sorry" as you hand your child to their father
  • "Sorry" when someone sits too close to you
  • "Sorry" when someone else was the wrongdoer

What's the big deal? I mean I know I probably did one of these this week alone. We are just being polite, right? But are we doing that or is it something else? 

Saying I'm sorry is one of those annoying quirks and peccadilloes that seem to come in like an alien and body snatch every bit of what makes us us and for some reason we let it. Probably because we were taught to have manners and be the "bigger" (better) person. So we say sorry again and again. It is almost like when you great someone with "hi, how are you?" The whole concept is there as a rhetorical question because if anybody actually stopped and told you ow they were feeling, you would be running for cover because let's face, for most people that we present that question to, we don't really care.

I know, sometimes I'm a bit of a jerk. but I'm a truthful jerk and I am only saying what most of us are thinking. We say "sorry" as a formality. We don't really mean it and if you asked us "why" we apologized, we probably wouldn't know what to say. In the small cases we would be able to give you a reason, it will sound just as ridiculous in our head as it did when you heard it out loud. Then we go home and curse ourselves for doing something so "stupid" and never once giving ourselves the luxury of an apology.


in the workplace

When we are interviewed and hired for a job the assumption is that we impressed the boss. We said or did something that let them know we would be an asset to the team. Imagine the bosses surprise when we show up and start apologizing for all of the things they hired us to do. That's doesn't make any sense, it also doesn't help you out at all because it is not what they wanted. It may seem seem like they do but they don't.

how do i know that? well, do you see men do it?

I realize men and women are different but that doesn't mean one is superior over the other or that one's ideas, questions, space or responsibility is any more valuable than the other. It just means different. So while I ask if you see men do this, it is not to tell you that you should copy what they are doing but comparing our reaction to a situation at work with that of a man does gives some good insight into confidence and at the end of the day confidence is key. Now for the million dollar question Alex...

i apologize.jpg

how do we stop saying i'm sorry all the time?

 

 

I'm glad you asked. It is NOT easy. I still catch myself doing it from time to time, especially when I just don't want to bothered. What I have found to be effective though is do one or more of the following:

know you surroundings

a lot of times, sorry comes from feeling inadequate. When you take the time to REALLY evaluate a room, you will realize two things.

  1. They are all just people, like you
  2. Some of them are definitely smarter than you but some are definitely not.

This means that 99% of the time you are sitting with people who are probably saying sorry in their head too, especially if they are women. Know what the men are thinking that you don't hear or see? 

Fake it till you make it

Yup, that age old saying is so true. You are smart. You are capable. You are strong. You're basically amazing. THEY hired you, not the other way around so if you don't know something, learn it. If you're confused, ask questions (with out apologizing for them). If you need to get up to speed, then work a little extra to get there. Despite what some may think, hard work, knowledge, dedication, passion and commitment do still mean something in the world and people will recognize your efforts. Nobody knows everything and very few people are experts. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. How many of the people in that office have put in that work? So relax, and fake it till you make it. I mean hello, you know what will happen, the saying tells you. You will make it!

get passionate about your work

If you wanna be a shark, be a shark This one is not so easy for a couple of reasons. 

  1. What happens if your job isn't exactly sexy and not what you dreamed of?
  2. Once you do it, people will use passionate to describe you in BOTH positive AND negative ways when you are a woman. Sorry, but it is true, there are studies all over to prove it.

Passion comes from within. You have to learn to harness it. I believe passion and drive are intimately connected. You have to WANT something to feel passion. Now, that might only be money. It might be respect or recognition or the knowledge of a job well done. If you are lucky, it is all of those things PLUS getting to do something that actually knocks your socks off. When I speak to kids, I always tell them that passion and creativity manifest themselves differently in everyone. It is up to us to figure out how. Stop complaining about not knowing your purpose and go find it. Easier said than done yes but NOTHING gets done until you want it bad enough.

So, how bad do you want it? If you want it that bad, why are you apologizing? You've made it this far, so you're doing something right, all it takes to move ahead, is one little step.

Okay, the first tenant is done, come back tomorrow when we talk about swagger in the workplace. YUP, I typed "SWAGGER". Deal with it. 

share with me

If you are feeling especially engaged today, tell me what you're "NOT SORRY" about in the comments below or on social media with the hashtags

  • #sorrynotsorrydawne
  • #dawnehanksdotcom

P.S.

I just want to thank everyone who emailed, texted, wrote and called me last week and told me about your experiences. I was in awe and truly humbled that you read my words but that you also chose to share yours with me. Just Keep Swimming. 

 

Unwritten Rules of the Workplace

Today we are talking about those "unwritten laws" of the workplace. The ones that everyone knows about but nobody admits to. The silent annoyance of cubicle row. Modern office culture has changed quite a bit in the last 10-15 years. In most cases, gone are "casual Friday's", standard benefits, and real perks. It is also the age of political correctness. Some might argue that this is a bad thing, but in the case of workplace courtesies I actually think it can be an asset. 

We have all been there. You are having a perfectly decent day. Maybe you are even getting a ton of stuff done. You are on a roll. Then it happens, someone in the general vicinity of you does something that to you seems like UMM...are they really doing that? To which you realize, YES, Yes they are doing that.

While thank goodness we don't have to live in the day's of Mad Men style offices with cigarette smoke swirling through the halls and sexual innuendo at every turn. There are still a ton of things that happen in modern day offices that are pretty...well, they're annoying to many. Rather than create my own list (keeps me safe from the line of fire) I will actually take my list from the book "Stop Tweeting Boring Sh*t, The New Rules of Work" By Division of Labor.


Never trust a man in pleated khaki’s!
Never trust a man in a shiny shirt!”
— Stop Tweeting Boring Sh*t, The New Rules of Work - Division of Labor & My Mother

 

WHY? You might ask. Well, it's simple, when I read the back of the book and noticed the line "Never Trust A Man in Pleated Khaki's", I knew this was a book I had to get behind. I have often told people of a rule my Mother taught me, "Never Trust a Man in a Shiny Shirt", so this fit in with that and it just felt like KISMET!

So what are the rules? They aren't really rules per se, as much as they are little "dear co-worker" thoughts. So here we go...


"please stop showing up to work reeking of perfume."

YES...as an allergy girl who, granted, should probably be in a bubble, this is awful. This should also be a "Dear People on Airplanes" note.  PLUS YOU KNOW WHAT? Soap smells amazing all on it's own. Nothing smells better than clean, especially no White Diamonds or Drakar Noir.

"please stop making cc's on speakerphone from your cubicle."

LOOK...we know there is a lack of conference rooms, or maybe someone stole your conference room, we get it. But pick up the receiver or plug in a headset because between the barking dogs, myriad of musical tastes and the call, who can get anything done? Remember, you are not the only one that can hear the call.

"please stop sighing really loudly."

 

PERSONALLY...I'm not sure if I have ever heard this one in the office but I totally get it. Deep sighs are hard to handle regardless of where you are. If it is THAT bad, then tell me about it, make the sighing stop.

 

Obviously this is a lighthearted way to look at the little quirks and peccadilloes that are completely ridiculous to get upset about but we all get annoyed by them, EVEN if we are the guilty party, so we could probably all lighten up a bit and maybe think before we do something in our cubicle.

If you want to get a little laugh about this type of stuff, make sure and check out the book. Not only is it funny, it also has a lot of good points.