How To Ratchet Up Your IQ Before Your Next Meeting, Interview Or Negotiation
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The common advice is to apply for as many jobs as possible, but the strategyâs often a time-suck that spreads you too thin. Itâs more important for job-seekers to focus on opportunities that will be a good fit for them.
We all get lazy with our language, especially in this texting age. But thereâs no point in denying that it can hurt our prospects for success.To maximize your own intellectual and personal presence at your next meeting or
job interview, here are four words, phrases or burps that you need to eliminate gradually from your repertoireâlisted in increasing order of difficulty to master:1. Um or uh
2. You know
4. LikeWe all sense that, if we go to our next meeting or job interview and resist these terms, weâll come across as more poised, more professional and even more intelligent than we would otherwise.John Quincy Adams is identified by some as our smartest president, with an
IQ in the ballpark of 170. I suspect that, if heâd peppered his speeches with uh, ya know and his texts with omg, heâd have come across as a person with a mere IQ of, oh, 145.So the good news is that, with a few adjustments, you might hope to gain 25 points in othersâ perception of your IQ. The sobering news is that, if you have an
IQ of about 125, itâs not as if itâll suddenly seem like youâre lugging around 150 brainiac points; rather, it means that youâll finally stop being perceived as someone whoâs just average. But itâs a start.Let me be unsnobbishly clear that
IQ is hardly the only thing that matters (as Daniel Goleman has noted in his work on âemotional intelligenceâ). Social skills, attitude and personal presence ultimately count for more in life than raw intellect, even if thereâs no quantifiable score attached to them. But we get further good news by realizing that, as we cut back on the unnecessary clutter and clanging in our language, we stand to gain in these areas too.While I listed the terms above in order of difficulty, Iâm not saying that any of them is easy to eliminate. In fact, youâll feel as if youâre going crazy for a few months. But if you can survive bouts of impatience, OCD, cold sweats and any number of other traumas, you can develop a more commanding persona that will serve you well in your career and in life.All four of these speech blobs tend to serve as place-holding mumbles while you frantically scour your mental landscape for the right word or thought. Theyâre audible versions of the annoying buffering icon on your desktop. And you simply donât need them.First, Take a Deep Breath: Language ZenItâs crucial to drill into your head that itâs better to remain calmly silent while you mentally connect dots, retrieve information or plan your next comment.The best speakers give themselves permission to pause in mid-sentence, sometimes for surprisingly long periods, before starting up again. To calmly say nothing, instead of sputtering out a placeholder, shows that you are in command. It draws the listener in.This silent, confident pause is a zen moment, which can give birth to the wittiest and most clever improvisations. By contrast, the place-holding mumble is just a fruitless dissipation of nervous energy, the lingual equivalent of fidgeting or pacing in circles.Letâs examine the classic uh or um. While President Obama is known as a gifted orator, in unscripted conversation he uses uh with the frequency of a semi-automatic.But donât beat yourself up if you find yourself using placeholders, even after youâve promised to cut back on them. If you hear yourself using one, simply accept that as a sign that you need to take a deep breath and become more present to the moment. That is what will give you a more impressive aura in any personal encounter.Most people begin their sentences with well, as in, âWell, I donât care what you thinkââ even on TV or film. To do so actually sounds natural. For that reason, you donât have to eliminate every last well from your lingo; you just have to remember that using it is too frequently is another sign that you may be on auto-pilot and not fully present. You know falls into a similar category, and Well, ya know is a placeholder on steroids.Whatâs Not To Like?Like is the toughest placeholder to conquer, and yet itâs the dangerous one that most effectively can make a Kennedy sound like a Kardashian.As with the other placeholders, like can sometimes be replaced with silence. But like is trickier, because it oftentimes is a form of verbal and intellectual shorthand.Here are some examples:âI was like, no wayâ might mean âI told her, no wayâ; orâ¦
âI was like, no wayâ might mean âI was thinking to myself, no wayâ
And âHe was, like, 8 feet tallâ usually means âHe stood approximately 8 feet tallâ (usually said with a flip sense of exaggeration).
In other words, youâll have to put some more thought into what youâre saying if youâre not going to say like.That may seem hard. It is, because it involves moving your mental muscles in a way theyâre not accustomed to. But the pain is worth the gain. Youâll come across as more commanding and impressive to that person who can hire or promote you. Youâll gradually begin to feel better about yourself.And, by staying in moment and collecting and assembling your thoughts in a calm manner, you might actually become smarter or more creative in your personal interactions.
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