From Chapter One: "Using Keys to Decode the Workplace"
Gerald has an "uh" problem
A Reading from pages 5-7.
My suggestion is that as you read this book, reflect on how the keys and other concepts relate to your experiences. Do they help explain a situation or others’ behaviors? Do they give you new insights, new ideas about your workplace, about yourself? Do they seem valid in your situation? I do not guarantee that all of the keys will fit your situation exactly. But the keys should help you to develop more accurate hypotheses about your workplace. Your hypotheses may be right or not, but by continuing to observe and reflect on the organizational life around you, there should be new insights. And you can adjust your hypotheses. These new insights then can inform your behavior, help with decisions you make, and in most cases improve your effectiveness. Management scholars and corporate trainers agree that reflecting on one’s workplace experiences can help a person become a more effective performer.
Gerald read this key: “It is important to be aware, as best you can, of the impressions that you create.” Gerald had never given much thought to how he came across to others. He just did his job as well as he could, or at least he thought so. People in his office often had to give PowerPoint presentations about various projects to managers at higher levels. Although Gerald had much experience, he realized he probably gave fewer presentations than anyone else in the office. He even helped others prepare their presentations but he didn’t do the presenting. Why he wondered? He really had not thought about it before. So Gerald talked with his boss.
“I seem to get fewer opportunities to present to senior management. I was wondering if there were a reason why?”
“Gerald, you are one of the best analysts on my team but you have an ‘uh’ problem.”
“An ‘uh’ problem?”
“Yeah, I should have mentioned it to you sooner. I just never got around to it. You keep saying ‘uh’ all the time throughout your talks. It can be annoying.”
“Thanks for telling me. I had no idea. I’ll see what I can do to fix.”
If Gerald had not thought about the impressions he created, he might never have talked with his boss or someone else, and his boss might never have told him, just continued to assign him to less “visible” presentations. Gerald had a friend video one of his presentations. He was stunned. In every free space he inserted an “uh.” The fix was easy. Gerald practiced with a friend. Every time Gerald said “uh”, his friend loudly said “No!” and then “Start over.” It only took a few minutes for Gerald to be aware of what he was doing and to become comfortable with the silence in-between sentences and thoughts. His boss noticed the difference. Gerald got higher level presentations, which led to more opportunities. Within these chapters you will find useful ideas. It is up to you to determine which of these will be of value to you.