Watch me “tear down” students’ social skills

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It’s hard to be creepy as a girl. But IWT readers always rise to the occasion!


Last month, I threw a meetup with my buddy Derek Halpern and hosted about 100 IWT readers at a bar in NYC. At the end of the night, as I walked over near the bar to close my tab, an Indian girl walked up to me. She said, “Do you even remember my name??”

This exact phrase is Indian-girl code for “I like you.” Knowing this, I smiled. “No, I’m pretty sure you didn’t mention your name.”

She did not like that. She actually looked at me and, with a disgusted look on her face, said, “So you DON’T remember my name??”

Again, this is still Indian-girl game — she was testing me even more. I know, it makes no sense to white people.

I shrugged. I’m not into rude people, so I said, “Actually, whenever I introduce myself to someone, I always say ‘Hi, I’m Ramit.’ But you didn’t mention your name at all.” And I turned and closed my tab, leaving a few minutes later.

As I turned away, her jaw dropped. See, it’s not like most Indian guys are swimming in women, so when someone talks to them, they usually immediately supplicate and offer to buy a $300 dinner and two dozen roses. When I didn’t follow the script, this surprised her.

I know this because Derek told me that when she found out I’d left, she was shocked, then went up to him and told him to “get Ramit back.” When Derek laughed, she tried to get my number. And when Derek called her a stalker (correct response), SHE GRABBED HIS PHONE TO TRY TO GET MY PHONE NUMBER.

 The skeptical line of “Do you remember my name??” is actually a classic line my friends and I have heard MANY times.

Notice that this was at a bar, where the stakes are low. Now imagine what happens if you’re using the same untested, mediocre social skills…in your professional life.

Imagine how many doors open because of the way you represent yourself. And imagine how many doors have been closed because of social mistakes you’ve made that you didn’t even realize.

Over the last few days, we’ve had fun with improving our social skills, talking to random people on the street, and even building our Story Toolbox.

Now we’re going to take this fun stuff and APPLY it to one of the highest-potential areas of our lives: our professional lives.

In other words, it’s one thing to chat about dog food with a stranger at the grocery store. It’s another to be able to confidently introduce yourself to a VP at your company, succinctly explain what you’re working on, and show him why you should get to lead this project…or why you deserve a $20,000 raise…or why you should get to work from home on Fridays.

The techniques you employ can mean the difference between being stagnant at a mediocre job…or landing your Dream Job and changing the entire trajectory of your career.

By the way, bad social habits like talking too fast, rambling, being shy, or using an upturned tone at the end of your sentences aren’t mere social “quirks.” As the stakes get higher, these become serious flaws that hold you back — and can determine the difference between living a Rich Life or simply being another guy who goes to a dreary 9-5 job.

The First 10 Seconds: Your invisible message

It’s interesting how much you can tell about someone when they introduce themselves. Let’s say you go up to someone and say, “Hey, I’m ___” and start chatting. Then you ask, “What do you do?” how do they respond?

OPTION 1: “I’m an associate at an online-marketing company. We help companies grow their business using online marketing.” Nice — pretty confident.

OPTION 2: “Uhh” (facial grimace) “I just kinda work at this startup…for now.”

So much conveyed in just 10 seconds. For many of us, our verbal and nonverbal language betrays us.

It comes out when we talk to someone and don’t know how to carry the conversation beyond, “Where are you from?”

It makes us feel awkward when someone asks us something, and we answer with a surprising response — 1-word answers, un-funny jokes, even sarcasm — when we don’t even mean it! It just comes out.

And it hurts us when our social skills cost us opportunities. Like saying the wrong thing in a job interview…or not speaking up when the boss says, “This is an amazing job! Who led this project?”

As I was trying to go from an awkward 127lb dude to a socially skilled man, I got tired of the generic advice telling us useless high-level things like:

  • “Be confident!”
  • “Be yourself!”
  • “If they don’t like you, you wouldn’t want to work for that company anyway!”

Uh…that’s nice, but what am I supposed to say when I can’t think of something interesting to say in a meeting? Why do I constantly freeze up? How do I stop rambling?

So instead of TELLING you, I decided to SHOW you.

Here are actual video critiques of students I did to show you how quickly you can make these changes. You’ll see students overcoming many of the same weaknesses many of you identified in Monday’s challenge.

Notice that these are just small excerpts of my Dream Job course (opening later this month), which has over 50 hours of video material, word-for-word email scripts, and tested techniques you can use right away.

PROBLEM: “I’m not confident / I smile too much”

This problem of over-smiling is almost always found with women (along with chronically under-negotiating, and a few other female-specific challenges).

Although women usually have more sophisticated social skills, this sometimes goes awry, resulting in too much smiling or an upturned voice at the end of every sentence — which instantly conveys low confidence. I call this a “Low Competence Trigger,” similar to looking downward, having nervous facial tics, or fidgeting.

And when hiring managers sense low self confidence, they also sense something else: a way to save thousands on hiring someone. As I’ve told some of my female friends when coaching them on interviewing, each overdone smile cost them $1,000. I personally know hiring managers who cut their job offers by $10,000 on the spot when they sensed a female candidate had low confidence…and the candidate took it. They never knew what their mediocre social skills cost them.

Worse, it’s difficult to change people’s perceptions of you. These same perceptions (“she’s not a leader”) can follow you for your entire tenure at a job, so I want to help you improve the way others perceive you from Day 1.

The funny thing is, people ONLY SEE WHAT’S ON THE OUTSIDE! You could be feeling completely unconfident inside, but if you use High Competence Triggers to convey a confident smile, tell disarming jokes, and charm the other person with engaging stories, they’ll instantly perceive you as a confident, collected candidate.

In fact, using these Competence Triggers can actually turn you into a confident candidate. In other words, fake it until you make it — a throwaway phrase that’s actually backed by solid psychological research.

Let me show you a couple examples related to confidence.

First, check out this teardown I did with one of my Dream Job students who didn’t realized he was upturning at the end of his sentences:


And in this video, a Dream Job student and I discuss the power a smile — or too many or lack thereof — can have on your success:

PROBLEM: “I ramble and have a monotone voice”

Based on my interaction with socially awkward IWT readers, I would estimate that roughly 60% of you have this problem. And I want to kill you for it.

Being boring and rambling is actually quite a crippling problem. I’ve interviewed people with EXCELLENT technical skills, but because they couldn’t stop rambling, I said “thanks for your time” and didn’t hire them. Rambling is one of the pernicious social-skills breakdowns you can have because over time, people stop wanting to hear anything you have to say.

Speaking in a monotone can also be powerfully crippling because of the response it evokes. In short, we love talking to people with high energy, but boring people drain us. For example, last week I called my mom just to say hi, but I was really tired and feeling pretty lethargic (not my normal state). Within 30 seconds of me sounding boring, I could feel my mom’s energy match mine. She was like, “mm hmm…” and “oh really…” — in other words, totally disengaged. With her son!!

Listen up: My mom loves me. I’m the oldest son and I do all the polite things a good Indian boy does. So when she sounded bored on the phone and said, “Ok…well…have a nice day…” I knew I had gone wrong somewhere. And the truth is, boring people make us bored.

In this video, watch me take one of my Dream Job students, Chris, from a boring rambling story to something tight and interesting:

PROBLEM: “I talk too fast”

This is a severe Low Competence Trigger, since high-status people almost never speak quickly. For example, compare the difference between a used-car salesman and the President of the United States.

What are the differences? No, not the suit…not the greasy hair…

That’s right — high-status people speak confidently and slowly. For fun, go to YouTube and study any high-status person: George Clooney. Hillary Clinton. Jean-Luc Picard.

So when you see someone speaking quickly, they’re effectively raising their hands and saying, I’m low-status! This can have a severe effect on your perceived credibility.

The beautiful part is, if you can correct this — and you can, with practice — your perceived credibility will instantly go up. And as you become a top performer, you will actually BE more credible.

In this video, watch me critique one of my students who talks too fast, and watch the dramatic before-and-after change:

PROBLEM: “I come off too aggressive”

Men have their own versions of social skills problems. A while back, my friend wanted to go shopping at Lululemon, a store I’d never been in (what the hell guy shops there)? So when we walked in, she went to the women’s section, and I started browsing around. At one point, I was holding up a jacket to see if it fit me. My friend, who has the same sense of humor as me, saw me from across the store. I swear she had a gleam in her eye when she yelled, “HEY RAMIT. NICE JACKET. YOU KNOW THAT’S FOR WOMEN, RIGHT??”

I have never been back inside a Lululemon store.

Why? Because men hate to be embarrassed.

Men also have other social oddities, such as coming off too aggressively (this rarely happens for women, just as oversmiling rarely happens for men).

In this video, watch me tear down one of my students, who is a nice guy, but came off way too aggressively in his initial negotiation with me. Watch how he rapidly improves:

*     *     *

How to use your social skills to land a Dream Job

Now I want to go even a step further in helping you apply these social skills to live a rich life.

I’m going to show you how to take some of the elements I’ve taught you this year — the Story Toolbox, certain social skills — and help weave them together to land your Dream Job.

Tonight, I’m holding a free webcast — “War Stories: Lessons Learned from Interviewing at the Best Companies in the World”.

No, I’m not selling anything. I just want to take you behind the scenes of interviewing at some of the world’s top companies — companies where I secured jobs (and some where I was brutally rejected…fun times).

Tonight, I’ll share:

  • A word-for-word script you can use to handle critics, naysayers, and hardball interviewers
  • What to do if a company is delaying a hiring decision — but you need an answer NOW
  • Lots of live Q&A so you can get your toughest social-skills and interview questions answered directly from me

When: Wednesday, 1/16, at 9pm EST (time converter)

Where: Get the secret URL by registering here

Excuses that will not be accepted:

  • “Waa…I live in Siberia and it’s 3am here. Can you please record it?” MY RESPONSE: No.
  • “Waa…it already filled up…why didn’t you tell me earlier?” MY RESPONSE: I feel no sympathy for you. I did tell the 160,000+ people on my newsletter yesterday. You, the unwashed masses who have not yet signed up for my newsletter, get to hear about it later. I always post my best material on my newsletter, so if you’re not already subscribed, sign up here.

See you tonight at 9pm EST. Sign up and lock in your spot here:
http://live.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/

* * *

P.S. Leave a quick comment below:
1. What’s one thing you learned from the videos above?
2. What do you want me to cover tonight?


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205 Comments

 
  1. - Try to smile a bit less
    - Learn how to control the higher pitch in the end of sentences
    - Monotone voice (additionally, it is something typical from Portuguese people in “serious” environments)
    - Talk a bit slower wouldn’t hurt.

    And most of these things only happen in professional environments.

  2. It’s great to see stuff about social skills for business. They skills required really are a subtly different subset from meeting people in a social environment.

    I hadn’t really appreciated that difference before, so thanks for making it so clear!

  3. Dude, you properly need to rename your Dream Job course. I’m one of those super annoying people who actually looks forward to going to work I enjoy it that much, but I’m really considering signing up for the course to learn some of these other skills. I thought it was just about getting a great job, but it seems like it covers so much more.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with Stephen’s point. I’m happy with my current job and the freelance work I do on the side. My initial reaction to the name was similar to Stephen’s, largely on the name. Which meant I assumed it was specific to identifying and getting one’s Dream Job. In actuality it seems well suited to identifying and resolving communication inefficiencies in a variety of professional and social settings.

    • Hi Ramit, I also have to agree with Stephen and Casey.
      As always, your information is impeccable, however it seems to apply to so much more than Job interviews as is exemplified by the comments of people who are recognising it’s validity in general conversations in everyday life as an example. Perhaps you will do another course after this one that is based on the same principles, however geared towards social interactions, or maybe your aim is to do that with this course?

    • 3 other people who feel the exact same way as me! I feel an outpouring of love towards these people for making me realize I’m not alone :)

  4. Great reminders about the importance of how we speak. I’ve never had too much problems with my intonation or being ‘lively’ enough, that comes quite naturally. Therefore, I always though I was a good speaker. But these videos reminded me there are other important aspects too, like the pace. The next time I am interviewing or making a presentation, I will definitely keep the president vs 21 year old in the back of my head!

    It also encouraged me again to experiment more. To not be afraid of just trying new techniques :)

    I’d love to learn techniques on how to condense/expand stories to 30 seconds, 5 minutes or 30 minutes. Sadly though I won’t be joining the webinar as I’ll have to be asleep at that time (Europe). I hope I can find some videos another day.

    • Another option for a place to practice and get feedback is Toastmasters. It is more focused on presenting, but getting the feedback from people on how you come across is useful. Otherwise whip out a video recorder and record yourself talking.

  5. Hi Ramit,

    I’ve definitely been guilty of smiling too much.

    Looking back, it’s interesting what an impact this has already had for me. I felt really insecure when I started networking, as I was pretty much the youngest and least experienced person in the room. I felt shy but I made an effort to talk to people. Although my social skills evolved and I got better at small talk, I still know I smiled too much, trying to be friendly and positive.

    Thinking about it, that’s why I probably never felt I never got the real authority when I took on leadership in the group, despite people seeming to appreciate me.

    And considering that it was business networking, I don’t want to think of how much business smiling too much because I was insecure will have cost me. I DO think about it though – that’s why I’ve been practicing not smiling too much in recent business meetings.

  6. 1. What’s one thing you learned from the videos above?
    - It seems I’m one of the few guys that needs to smile less in formal situations. I hold the nickname “Giggles” at work if that gives you any idea.

    2. What do you want me to cover tonight?
    - I have a work party to attend tonight so I will sadly be missing this. It will be a prime opportunity to practice these social skills though.

  7. Good tips. I particularly liked the reminder to be more concise, to smile a wee bit less, to slow down. Love the Clintons, and enjoyed watching the videos, and observing them. Believe telling stories is a very cool way to make a connection, though there is a real art to that, and sometimes I fall on my face. :) It’s all good.

    I think women are horrible at selling their skills and their services. I’d like to learn more how to do that. Thanks for the free teaching!

  8. I noticed right away two weaknesses that a former colleague (female) displays regularly – she ends rambling, slow-paced monotone sentences with a VERY pronounced upturn of the voice. To some extent, I think lack of smiling may be a third issue. What I didn’t know, and have been unable to articulate to her, is how the first two issues I noticed come across to listeners / interviewers as low-confidence triggers. That trigger might very well explain her lack of success in finding her dream job. The kicker is, she’s a former human resources senior manager. I will be sending her a link to IWT today.

    • And I will be expecting your hilarious story of her unanticipated response tomorrow

    • Why pick on a former colleague? It is so easy to pick fault with others, what about thinking of your own possible shortcomings? The upturn is something that has become prominent with the advent of Australian tv programms.
      Even Ramit does it from time to time.

  9. I am guilty for “talking too fast”. Coming from a Caribbean background, I embraced it as part of a trademark, but I realize that this could be the very thing that will hold me back from reaching a position of high influence.

    Ramit, what you said about actors speaking slowly and realizing that people will wait to hear what you have to say spoke volumes. I am now working on my slow speech with other colleagues. I’ll keep you posted!

    Thanks,

    Mevonnie

  10. I love these social tear-downs, because many people believe that you either got it or you don’t. Kudos to Chris for being ballesy, putting himself out there b/c you can tell he’s uncomfortable but what’s to learn.

    I noticed with Allison that talking fast makes you say “umm” and such more, which I’ve been prone to do many times, I’ve never even thought to talk slowly b/c I have such a scatter brain. But that’s the homework I’m going to try.

    I’ve found with storied that if you can “automate yourself” and your mind with the story i.e. Get the story down to a T that you don’t even have to think about it when telling it, you’re able to adjust it on the spot much more easily and add flavor/humor to it. B/c when you tell a story for the first time you’re trying to do so much at once : make it funny, make it interesting, speak slowly etc., but one you automate it, you’re able to adjust on the fly.

    That’s helped me alot in interviews b/c you can add humor in there tailored specifically to each person.

    Love the New Year content Ramit!

  11. Thanks for these videos, Ramit! I used to just skim your newsletter but now that I’m actively looking for my dream job I’ve begun to take your material extremely seriously.

    My question is this: how can I save a story that I can tell has gone downhill from either talking too quickly or rambling, without starting over? How do I get the other person’s attention back? Is that even possible?

    Thanks!

  12. Every time someone asks if a webinar will be recorded

    a kitten dies.

  13. Ramit,

    Your blog posts and emails are always so long, but I always read every sentence because the content is that good.

    In each of the videos/scenarios above, I saw a little bit of myself. I love your advice on how to get around seeming aggressive. I am very results driven and to the point, which I think is unusual for a woman. I just started a new job five months ago, and I hit the ground running when I was hired. The organization was very poorly managed in the past, so a lot of big changes needed to happen quickly, and my attitude was to jump in and get it done! I thought I was leaving an awesome first impression, but it turns out that my coworkers didn’t want to work with me on projects because they found me to be aggressive, pushy, and unfriendly. Over the past few months, I have worked hard to change the way I approach people and situations at work. I remind myself every day to be friendlier (lots of small talk) and much less aggressive (I talk more calmly and try not to get too excited or loud). Sometimes it takes a little longer to get a project going in the right direction, but my coworkers feel it’s a decision we have reached together rather than something that I mandated. This has made all the difference- I am getting the results I want while building more of a ‘team’ environment.

    I love the advice you gave to Rajesh. Asking questions is great alternative being blunt or aggressive when you need to steer a conversation in a different direction. This is definitely something I will be trying more in the future.

    This week I think I will bite the bullet and record myself conducting a mock interview. I know I have a few issues with my social skills that could use fixing- talking too quickly and smiling too much are probably two of them.

    I have learned more from your free material than I did in four years of military college and three years as an Army officer (and we get a lot of training and practice on leadership, public speaking, and giving presentations/interviews!)

    Thanks Ramit, you’re awesome!

  14. Oh, man, I think I might do the upturn voice thing…when you touched on that it just hit me as something I’ve NEVER NOTICED. Once you said it, I listened to the call again, and I think it’s something I can pick up on when other people do it, without actually knowing what’s happening.

    I also talk a little too quickly, but am not sure what the effects of it have been. I know, I know…TEST IT!

    Thanks, Ramit!

  15. Great stuff! I would love to hear more on how to not come off as aggressive, as well as how to handle when someone else is behaving aggressively. Perhaps there’s a mindset that can be helpful? It seems this issue is a bit more complex than the other issues. I’m starting a new job very soon and the last thing I want to do is come off as aggressive or weird!

    Emily

    PS I started reading your book. Really enjoying it!

  16. Personally experienced most, if not all of these faux pas.

    - Beginning of my career : i was so sweet i could give you diabetes. Every guy always thought i was in love with him (ugh, NO u creep!) & every girl thought i had an “agenda”

    - Middle of career : burned by the tons of back biting & the unwarranted advances, i became a social hermit. Meaning i had a very small group of close friends (<10) – for the rest i was a mystery – barely spoke, never smiled, and always talked about work.

    - Later in my career: the backbiting came down drastically, people were actually a bit scared of interacting with me – i was the total 'bitch' in their eyes. Hurt by the paucity of friends, i inadvertently became more supplicating – and that took a serious toll on my own self-confidence. I was always seeking someone's approval. Around the same time i pursued a personal relationship – no prizes for guessing how that turned out.

    The last few years, I've been reading every book i can find & practicing & learning my way around social situations. Loads of hits & misses to learn from.

    But REAL tear downs, of REAL people, with RELATE-ABLE problems are a whole lot better than endless pablum on having "more confidence", "power dressing" & "picture perfect smiles".

    Thank you for all the hard work you're putting in to make my life better.

  17. Definitely talking too fast. Especially in areas where I have a lot of knowledge, I try to cram it all in to bulk up my credibility with clients. But I have to keep them from glazing over!

    I’d like to know more about how to get your stories in 30 seconds, 3 minutes, 9 minutes, as you have mentioned a few times.

    Thanks, Ramit!

  18. Holy sh*t I totally do that whole inflection at the end, but weirdly only in social situations, never in business. And I realized while reading that I do it as a weird way of relating to others, like showing too much confidence will turn people off or something. Old childhood conditioning…

    HUGE thanks for this post Ramit as this is an important awareness for me. Peace!

  19. 1. Even with energy and vocal variation, long stories turn interviewers off–especially phone interviewers. Your advice to Chris about getting rid of extraneous detail is definitely useful.

    2. I like the question Jess asked about saving an answer that you can tell has begun to go downhill due to one of the above social tics–condensing an answer to 30 seconds isn’t something everyone can do, either.

    Thank you for the very helpful postings.

  20. Ugh, I totally smile too much and say thanks! (yes it’s high pitched) both in person and in email. I’m 34, not 19 and need to learn to convey that confidence and poise. I’d love to have poise! Thank you for the videos Ramit, looking forward to this evening.

  21. Rambler. Need to have a better feel for the gamesmanship of conversation

  22. I have a problem with revealing too much in situations where I shouldn’t. This comes in the form of volunteering too much information (often focusing on my weaknesses or giving negative opinions because I assume the positives are obvious when they aren’t – that’s a different issue) and more importantly for this topic, in the form of facial expressions. In middle school jazz band, I was featured as a soloist through an entire song of our 3 song set, and EVERY SINGLE TIME I made a mistake, I rolled my eyes. I got a reputation for it. I believe I’ve improved this issue significantly since the awkward age of 14.

    However, recently, in a company-wide meeting (I work at an energy consulting firm), the CEO and founder was sharing his thoughts and stories from a conference of VIPs from oil and gas companies. Given that all of these VIPs were men, he made several off-putting remarks about keeping “the wives” entertained because “if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” etc etc. I COULD NOT HELP MYSELF. I’m sure I rolled my eyes at the man who started the company that I work for. To be honest I’m not even that sorry about it, but I know that these kinds of facial expressions could cost me.

    How do I prevent myself from being such an open book? It’s not just rolling of eyes, I also laugh, widen my eyes, furrow my brow, generally react to things with my face, often for comic relief to tense situations, too easily.

    • Sarah — THANK YOU for bringing this up!

      I have a fear that if I “curb my face” I will either be self-conscious about the effort it takes, or that I will somehow internalize it as needing to be “not me.”

  23. What is one thing I learned from this today?
    I am a professional with a good career. I believe I have the respect of my peers but, I am realizing as a woman, I do tend to smile too much and talk too fast. Focusing on the belief that what I have to say is important enough and worthy of everyones time really opened my eyes to changing this behavior. I also like the idea of video taping myself to see how I can improve.
    Thanks Ramit!

  24. I learned that my smile could cost me lots of money in an interview. But I feel that people are attracted to my outgoing and positive attitude. I know it’s ok to smile, laugh and be charming because i’ve gotten jobs because of it. I’d like you to cover more specifically how a smile can destroy my paycheck.

  25. Good stuff.
    Heres the question to cover. Lets say you are talking to someone you really want to impress (job, friend) , and you see the social feedback cues that this conversation is going the wrong direction, whats the easiest way to pull it back on course in a valid way? What should I have in my pocket to put in to play as a backup plan?

  26. Great feedback! I would be interested in hearing tonight about scripts or scenarios when you are with VP level executives but not necessarily in a setting where a business related discussions are expected. For example, on an elevator, at a company function or prior to a meeting start time. I think this is overlooked because if you can present yourself as interesting, witty, etc. this will increase your likeability and credibility in a business setting. But there is only so much you can say about the weather and other small talk cliches which frankly are boring in nature. Should we have a rehersed script that conveys intelligence and confidence? Topics? Should this script show that are thinking about our business and bring up business related topics time permitting? Also, for older students, there is a possibility that you may run into the same individual multiple times a month so one script may not be enough. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  27. I need to record myself speak.

    People consistently do not tell me about these sorts of things (with the exception of speaking too quickly) even when I specifically ask about how to improve my presentation skills or social skills…. probably because most people suck at these sorts of things themselves?

    Yet I know I do some if not all of them. In fact I even did the electronic version of the up-turn in the initial form of the sentence above (I left it in spite of this.. the irony kills me) ending in “themselves?”

  28. Hey Rammit,

    You mentioned a script on how to get a hiring decision from a company that is delaying, could you add an adaption for freelancers who are waiting for the go/ no go on projects.

    Thanks.

  29. Oh god, I speak too fast when I’m nervous and never realized what that conveyed until this post. You’re right, when was the last time Jean-Luc Picard rambled?

    Not business-related, Ramit, but I have another awkward flirting story for you. (What can I say, your recent posts have inspired me.) Once again, it happened in a bar.

    A guy was walking around hitting on women by invading their space. He was a jock and actually trying to impress us with his strength I guess, because he’d pick women up. I don’t mean figuratively – he was actually picking women up over his shoulder.

    I’m not down with strangers tossing me around like a beanbag, so as he approached me, this happened:

    Me: don’t pick me up, thanks.
    Him: aw, why not?
    Me: It’ll hurt. I have scoliosis.
    Him: that’s okay! I love a woman with curves!
    Me: ಠ_ಠ

    This happened back in college, but it remains one of the more memorable failed lines I’ve gotten from a pickup artist. In other news, I’ve learned through testing that bars are not the place to find a date.

  30. I am the worst offender of the speaking too quickly thing – seriously, I’ve had multiple people tell me that I talk faster than anyone they’ve ever met (I now feel like an idiot for attributing it to my “quick mind,” ha ha). This post really put it in perspective. I’ve noticed that in the occasional social situation where I feel a little nervous, I speak quickly because I think I’m secretly afraid people won’t want to listen to everything I say unless I say it without taking up too much of their time. This FEELS very different from the times when I’m talking fast with coworkers because I’m excited and my mind is running through something quickly…but in both situations it probably comes off THE SAME WAY to other people. Gah! Mind blown. The thought of talking 50% slower in my daily life feels like picking up crutches and trying to run a marathon or something… but I’m going to make a conscious effort to make a change.

    • Everybody look at this comment. The script of “I just have a quick mind!” is how we deceive ourselves into thinking our faults are actually our strengths — and we avoid doing the hard work of improving ourselves. We ALL do this.

      I talked about this principle in Why won’t anyone be honest with you?

      What scripts do you use to rationalize not improving yourself?

      Jane, thanks for the insightful comment.

    • Hi I can empathise with the comment about trying to say it all quickly so as to not take up too much of peoples time. Low self esteem, unworthiness. People switch off, as if sensing I am of no importance.

  31. Hi

    I am one of the women who actually struggles with being perceived as being too aggressive – even when I am consciously making an effort to be the opposite and especially when I have been working in foreign countries. I have typically resented the concept of “playing the game” and being “fluffy” (by which I define that as engaging in conversations or topics that are not concrete or relevant to the issue at hand).

    I have taken numerous personality/work style/cultural profiles and consistently I am profiled as driven, perfectionistic, intense, don’t tolerate perceived stupidity, direct, highly analytic and introverted (although I am progressing towards the centre on the introversion – extroversion scale). While this aids me in various aspects of my work and I am respected for the accuracy, timeliness and quality of my work, I do identify that I am missing the larger social connections.

    Tonight, I would be interested in how to handle cultural biases and interview processes that are outside of your cultural preferences and, even more challenging, out of your native language.

  32. I absolutely 100% related to Rajesh in his struggle of balancing the “niceties” vs. getting to the point. I’m aware that I struggle with it, and have been making a concerted effort to be a little more lighthearted with my coworkers so that they don’t just hear “this is how this idea could be better” from me. I’ve also started to “speak in questions” although I have hard time phrasing them to be open ended, as opposed to a “yes” or “no”–which I have found still feels a bit “aggressive” sometimes to my coworkers. You gave a GREAT example of not only how to ask a question, but how to make it open ended, so that the people in the room feel like a true collaboration is happening. I can’t wait to take that and run with it!

  33. I tend to speak like a cheetah on crack when I’m put on the spot–fast, hyper, and unpredictable. I just returned from a meeting where a colleague asked an unexpected question, and rather than fall into my default mode I focused on speaking slower. Now I’m a turtle on crack–slower but still chaotic. I imagine it can only get better with practice. I also learned that other people don’t necessarily know that you feel awkward when you’re speaking more vividly or slower. They just hear the result.

    But that leads to what I’d like to learn on tonight’s webinar. How can you approach a question when you’re stumped for an answer? For example, someone asks for input but the question is entirely outside your expertise or you feel like everything that needs to be said has been said. Some things I’ve tried but failed: a version of “I don’t have anything to say,” “I don’t know,” and “I think so-and-so is right” without explanation. Some things that have had moderate success: “I don’t know. Let me think about it and get back to you.” or pointing out trends or patterns in previous responses if applicable, then turning that into a “What do you think about that?” Is there anything else I could try?

  34. Oh my god. I smile too much and I didn’t even know it. It might take me a while to recover from that realization.

  35. Wow! I talk fast. Not insanely fast, but too fast.

    Probably the most striking thing, was the transformation in the girl who slowed down her story. I always got hung up about too many ummmmm’s in my dialogue, but I noticed that when you speak slowly ummmmmm’s don’t come across as bad and there seems to be less umming all around. I even noticed this in the George Clooney video. Bottom line, everything sounds that much better slowed down. Even imperfections … this is counter intuitive as when it comes to visual stuff, the greater the definition the worse imperfections tend to come across.

    The insight that people who talk fast come across as not valuing their own experience is pretty mind blowing. i.e. High calibre people talk slowly because they know you have to / will want to make time for them. It made me reflect that yes! I do speed up because I feel I’m going to get interrupted … and that makes me feel like someone’s doing me a favour my listening to me, even if I’m the one who’s doing the favour!

    It would be great if you could cover some of the pot holes people should be aware of when they decide to disagree with someone’s pt of view either in social or business settings.

    Thanks a lot Ramit, the video on talking fast is a game changer, and setting it against the backdrop of great speakers (like Clooney, Clinton’s and of course Picard) was pretty inspiring.

    Best
    Raj

  36. Hi I’m much better with speaking to strangers, initiating conversations but still working on graceful less ackward endings other than have a good day or enjoy the evening. Ideas appreciated.

  37. 1. Talk slower and pause instead of going “umm” when talking to someone who makes me nervous. That is when I tend to talk too fast and my brain can’t keep up with my mouth!

    2. How often to smile and when. Sometimes I smile too much, other times I don’t smile when having a serious discussion and should smile to diffuse tension. You have a video posted with your friend (Michelle?) who discusses when to smile when negotiating with your boss, which was very helpful.

    3. How to make small talk with someone when you have very little in common or they make you uncomfortable but you are forced to be in each others presence and want to avoid awkward silence. I’m fine talking to people I have a lot in common with, but when I meet someone who is not at all interested in the same things as me that is when I struggle.

    4. How to save a conversation when the other person is the one being socially awkward. I can handle someone who is nerdy socially awkward but makes an effort to talk, but I have trouble carrying a conversation with someone who is either shy or aloof (makes me think they are a snob) and is giving one word answers when I try to draw them into conversation. I would think oh well, it’s them not me, but then shortly after I’ll see another new person come up and successfully engage the quiet person in conversation and the person has no problem talking then! Maybe I am too aggressive with shy people? It drives me nuts when someone refuses to talk and makes me stand with them in awkward silence so I must be doing something to scare them but not sure what. Most ppl find me friendly and approachable.

  38. As in many “applications”, identifying the issues is key, so promoting people to record themselves ( preferably video, but audio would be better than nothing), and then critique their own presentations. This is such a Huge learning tool, thank you for reminding me of it.
    Also, actually rehearsing answers or stories that are likely to come up is another key feature of your session. Polish takes practice, there are some subjects that we can predict and be ready for, yet, we seldom take advantage of these opportunities.
    Thanks Ramit.

  39. I need to improve my confidence, and to get to know more people at my company. I have not done enough networking. In general I need to be less reserved and more outgoing, especially around strangers.

  40. Wah!

    You just mentioned some of the problems I’ve noticed in myself since entering professional work life, have practiced since, and am still on my way to perfecting.

    1. Think fast, talk slow, talk relevant
    2. Look in the eyes but don’t stare
    3. Smile/be super-enthusiastic selectively -> thus achieving both intense and more relaxed periods
    4. Don’t aggressively push the conversation, give it space, guide it with pacing positive reactions and relevant questions

    Now my friends and business partners percieve me as a good, confident speaker – even though I mostly work in foreign languages, like chinese, english and italian, which raises the bar. I was recently asked to present to an audience of 650 people.

    After the first quick fixes, the workload to correct my speaking was immense – I still keep practicing almost daily, from waiters and security guards to friends.

  41. 1–never noticed before how talking too fast doesn’t give you time to plan your next steps. I totally do this all the time, and end up rambling because either a) I don’t know how to transition to my next thought smoothly, or b) I end up stalling for time because I’ve lost my train of thought in the roar of my own voice. vicious circle. I’m trying this 50% slower thing in a meeting later today.

    2–I’m with previous commenters…how do you save a story/conversation that’s gone in a tailspin? or how do you exit that story and move on smoothly?

  42. Dear Ramit,

    First off, I finished reading and watching this post about 15 minutes before my boss wandered by my desk and started chatting with me. While I was watching it, I kept thinking back to my interview here and remembering how I had made almost every error you mentioned for women–smiling too much, talking too fast, turning up my inflection at the end of every sentence–I gave them complete control! Today however, I made a point to slow down my speech, end my sentences evenly, and not smile too much (I know I have the job already, but it’s still good to practice being professional since I work in engineering). I also tried to work in a few subtle brags about myself instead of simply letting my boss do all the talking, which is very difficult for me to do as a woman.

    Second, your advice to Rajesh will be very helpful to me since I am the team leader for a school project and my classmates seem to prefer to chat than get work done during group meetings. While I desperately want to tell them to just shut up, it wouldn’t go over very well, so your advice will be tested tomorrow at our next meeting (and then tweaked and retested and tweaked and retested…).

    Third, these tips will come in handy since I will be graduating from college soon and interviewing with other companies for a full time job. My current employer will most likely give me an offer, but I’d like to have some counter offers for negotiation purposes and these tips will definitely help me. Great timing on this material for soon-to-be grads.

    I have been following your blog for about a year now and love everything you put out. I appreciate that you don’t simply focus on making money for the sake of making money. It’s so refreshing to have a financial blogger focus on the big picture! Thank you so much for all your hard work. It’s fantastic!

    Amanda

  43. Ramit,
    I am hoping you address this:
    In a high stakes meeting (you finally connected with your idol, the boss of your company, super-model) how do you feel like you have something to offer to the conversation?

  44. this line in your email “to be able to confidently introduce yourself to a VP at your company” made me laugh because it reminded me of a recent event at my company.

    My company is mainly based on the east coast so most of the time the SoCal folks feel totally disconnected. Recently the CEO of our company finally visited our office for our holiday party and TWO of my coworkers went up to him at separate times and said “Hi [insert wrong name], it’s very nice to meet you”. Instead of saying the CEO’s name, they said our Executive Chairman’s name. And both times the CEO had to say “Hi. Actually, my name is [insert correct name].” One of the most important introductions they could have ever made at our company and THEY SCREWED IT UP because they were so nervous and thinking about the wrong person.

  45. GENDER SPECIFICS: You caught my eye with gender specifics, Ramit. I always tried to stand my ground when it came to gender differences–I always said the only diff is biological–but now that I’ve hit my 30′s and seen what I’ve seen, I have to admit: it’s Trekkianly futile.

    SMILES: And it was an epiphany for me that smiling could be a bad thing. I’m early to mid-career level, and recently experienced what Eliza in the comments above said: false positives being sent to male colleagues by means of endless smiles. No more smiles for me.

    AGGRO-WEIRD: I feel Raj’s pain: Ain’t nobody got time for that! It’s a difficult dance to learn, but social niceties are what got mankind to where we are today. Evolutionarily speaking, however, I think Ramit is trying to take us to the next place.

  46. Wow! Very impactful videos. Demonstrating the practical side of advice is so much more valuable than just mere words. I am currently looking for a new opportunity and am having issues with networking in a new city. It is pretty scary thing for me as I am introverted. Any advice on how to approach people and begin a conversation would be great in tonight’s session. After all, networking is a huge part of finding your dream job!

    i look forward to the session this evening.

  47. Hi again….also how to end a conversation during networking so you do not spend all your time with one person would be helpful.

  48. 1. I need to put the work in ahead of interviews to create my Story Jar, and identify the important points to bring out for specific interview questions so as not to ramble and sound boring/repetitive.
    2. I interviewed for another position within my company prior to the Holidays (major defense contractor), which they told me would have the hiring decision after the Holidays. It’s been two weeks since the new year started and I haven’t heard from the hiring group. My gut reaction from the interview was that I would not be the top candidate (age differences, different product line than I have been working). How can I structure a follow up conversation to maximize my positioning in the hiring manager’s mind?

  49. Excellent content (as always).

    Would love to hear some ideas on incorporating (really, creating) stories from previous jobs/career that would translate to a new career/direction. For example, I was on Wall St for over 20 years but now I want to work in the digital media world. How do I use/create finance related stories to one’s that would work within this ‘new’ world?

    • I’m interested in this one too… My switch was from Hollywood to Finance. I was in my last industry for 10 years. I have a ton of great stories, but I’m trying to pull meaning out of them. Right now they are excellent for entertaining and displaying like-ability. I try to sneak into the threads of the story some added worth or over coming some huge task that saved the day plus some added comic relief. My issue is toning down the whimsical nature of the story to something that shows I’m serious about finance.

  50. I just realized that I often talk too fast. When I get excited about something, I tend to get ahead of myself and end up repeating what I already said as I think of what to add next. I have really noticed this recently as I coach my basketball team. I notice that the attention of my players clearly fades when I repeat myself in order to think about what to say next. I will begin paying more attention to how fast I talk, so that I can get my point/s across without losing the attention of my players. I will definitely apply the same talking pace throughout my social life, but it is most prominent and identifiable during my coaching.

    I don’t have any specific requests for what you cover tonight. I am confident that it will be incredibly valuable no matter what because your content always is valuable!!! Thanks Ramit!

  51. Soooo Valuable.

    These videos demonstrate the the importance of TAILORING interviewing advice. There’s no way you could have written an article advising the masses about what you showed here. An article would have to be so generic, like “When interviewing, be direct, friendly, and tell your personal stories…”

    But the too smiley gal would read friendly in the generic article and think “Great! keep up the smiling!” The too aggressive guy would think, “Direct – yep that’s me. I’ll keep trying to cut to the chase with these morons who want to do stupid small talk”, and rambler dude would be like “well, it’s a story” and keep telling it in the same slow, dry, non-emotive way.

    Excellent resource. Thanks for posting it.

  52. Wow… SO much material to digest and apply from this post. All of these areas are worth a (re)visit for me. I’m going to spend the next week practicing speaking slower – will go well with the practice I started this week of doing everything slower and more deliberately I’m getting a lot more completed.

    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, fast is lethal.

  53. OMG!! I have been speaking fast since I was 10. I’d better slow down before it becomes permanent

  54. I noticed that there are a lot of people that upturn their voice and increase the pitch in their voice. As some others have stated this is true, especially with those who are in higher position than I.

    Would love to sign up for your webcast. Alas, I work one of those jobs that’s barely above minimum wage and it is a night shift, however I’m extremely interested in the scripts that you will share.

  55. How do you convey confidence in an interview when you have little job experience? As in, I’ve only had one legitimate job and therefore feel slightly inconfident when talking up possible job opportunities.

  56. Ramit,
    Thanks for the videos and great advice! As a kid my dad always told me “If you talk slow enough, and you talk loud enough, I just might understand you.” Still a major problem for me to slow down and speak with focus and clarity. I’ve got to work on the upturn at the end of sentences too. Being credible and not a rambler is super important. Thanks!

  57. Oh man, the video about talking fast is going to be a real lifesaver. I’m ALWAYS talking fast, to the point where sometimes my own friends and family don’t understand what I’m saying -hell even I have to repeat myself because I know I was talking too fast. It’s gonna take work to start talking slowly without sounding like a robot, but I’ll follow your advice and look at some celebrities who have great speaking skills and see if I can mimic them a bit.

  58. I loved the way you demonstrated how to filter out non essential facts of a story to create something richer and compelling. My coworker tells the worst stories and it serves as a daily reminder for me to improve my story telling.

    Tonight, please touch on how to stand out in a room full of top performers!

  59. Ramit,

    Because of you, I just introduced myself to our new Mayor. He was coming into the coffee shop as I was going out. I had (am working in ridding myself of) the “I’m just not that smooth of an operator.”script, you’ve helped me realize that yeah, I may not be – but I can become one!

  60. How do I obtain the social skills not to become the “gay best friend” (even though I’m straight)? I want to pursue someone romantically and not just be their friend. Tired of it.

    Thanks,
    Ray

  61. I liked the observation of the voice upturns at the end of each sentence. I noticed that I have a tendency to let my voice tone slip downward, or end in a sort of interrogative, hesitant tone (even when I’m not asking a question and just making a statement or announcing something!) when I’m not feeling secure enough about what I’m saying. I also liked the way you showed how important it is to finish a story with intention instead of something like “… that’s it!”.

  62. 1. What’s one thing you learned from the videos above?
    - I assumed that what I always thought of as traits of an introvert (skip the small talk, go straight to the heart of the matter, talk directly about those things in which one is expert, etc.) are considered traits of aggression. Interesting…enough to try behavioral changes.

    2. What do you want me to cover tonight?
    - Is there a way to reprogram yourself if you are first generation American and raised in the culture, language, and behaviors of your parents’ home country? I was raised by Scandinavian parents. Co-workers and people I’ve met all assume I’m from Scandinavia, based on how I move, personal “space,” etc. This holds true even if I’m traveling in Europe! Sigh….

    3. I coached a youth group that had to make individual presentations to subject matter experts (all adults). After a couple of years of coaching, I was able to condense last minute advice to: speak slowly, clearly, and loudly. I was surprised by the frequency with which those words (or similar ones) occurred in your examples.

  63. I know I need to slow down my speech and be very intentional about what I say. One of my weaknesses is saying “like” and “um” too much, but I think slowing down would help to process what I’m saying so I can eliminate it. I also end things with, “So…yeah” which is so bad and I’m working on that as well. I definitely learned from watching that I need to record myself and practice speaking!

  64. I am a person who smiles a lot. It better than looking like a sour puss all day. I get what you are saying in this article. Too much can be overkill.

  65. 1.That even one bad habit can really cost you more than you realize.

    2.You talk about getting to know what the company needs and building a relationship beforehand. An outline to keep in mind may be helpful b/c there are many details one can overlook.

  66. EYE CONTACT. I know that wasn’t one of your points (probably because it’s the obvious Rule Number One), but for some reason I was watching closely for it, and it’s terribly clear what a difference it would make if these people were worse at it. It’s something I struggle with, so I definitely need to make it one of my highest priorities.

  67. Coming off too aggro – definitely NOT just a male problem. I know I have always struggled with this (and apparently many of your other female readers do, too. I was not surprised to see.) I know in my mind I think I’m being polite by getting to the point and not wasting people’s time, but clearly I am not being recieved that way! Time to try something different. I’m putting it into affect today.

  68. I have learned that I need to slow down my speech and quit laughing so much in interviews. There is always room for improvement in social skills. Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned.

  69. I think I could really benefit from cutting out the non-essentials in my stories. I’ve actually started doing this with my e-mails — I noticed that many were unnecessarily long, so I’ve been taking extra time to go back over them and find phrases that could be shortened while still conveying the same message.

    In real life conversation, I do tend to talk a little fast, but I think part of this has to do with wanting to include non-essentials in my stories (e.g. “this was about six months ago, maybe seven”, “this is just my personal opinion, you might think differently”, etc.). I think if I were to practice talking slower, I might naturally want to skip over the non-essentials. I’ll give it a shot and see how it goes!

  70. I’m in the middle of job interviews and really want a position quickly. I know that I’m smiling too much and am so happy that you covered this with one of your videos. I am in sales and really didn’t know how fine the line is between smiling and being too smiley. I certainly don’t want to appear weak during interviews (or sales calls)! This morning I had an interview and purposefully worked on smiling less and nodding my head less. Thank you for helping me! Tonight, I’d like for you to touch on how to deflect an illegal question during interviews…how old are you, are you married, do you have kids? I have worked for two companies and, in the interviews for both, was asked an illegal question. I was truthful in both and got both positions. This morning’s group interview had an illegal question directed at my neighbor. I want the job, but don’t know if my answers will cause the interviewer to doubt my capabilities or dedication (thus they’re illegal questions)…

  71. Hi Ramit!

    One thing I learned it’s the importance of watching ourself on video, or recording our voice.
    I don’t have really any problems of that you comment above, but sure I can improve something else of the way I speak.

    I live in Italy and it will be 3am in the morning, so I’m thinking about it … :-)

    Anyway, you’re one of my two favourite blogs!

    Keep giving us great advices

  72. Best thing I learned… which is actually a wonderful reminder… is how I end my stories.

    If I’m telling a story I think about how a comedian tells a joke… there needs to be a punchline at the end or the joke will fail. And when the story is over… its over… don’t drag it out, unless the person you are talking to prompts you do talk about it more, but you have to be careful here… but like a magician, once the trick is over, its over. But there needs to be a good ending… Too often I drag it out since I captivated the person. Leave them wanting more and thinking highly of you.

    Yesterday, thanks to Ramit’s newsletter, I wrote out 10 different stories that are memorable and have gotten great reactions… Then I categorized them based on situations and what I’m hoping to convey. I like referring to my toolbox as my Batman belt, lots of wonderful toys in there that really save the day.

    -Eric

  73. I have learned so much. I am shy and smile way too much. I’ve noticed many times that I end every statement with an up-tone, and have no clue how to end a story. It was really informative to actually see the difference one person could make by adjusting these social inadequacies.

    I will, unfortunately, not be able to attend tonight webcast, as I will be a meeting. However, tonight will be a great time to practice some of these adjustments. Thank you, Ramit.

  74. I never thought about smiling too much, but I might be doing that. I need to make my stories really practiced and good.

  75. Ramit,
    Are these not just the keys to speaking well to prospective employers, but also a list of your pet peeves? Cuz, it’s certainly mine! Great work, especially with the Smiler. I used to think I needed to smile more in interviews or influential situations, until I saw myself…and felt my face begin to give up. When you’re focused on smiling, it’s hard to focus on what truly matters!

    Thanks, as always, for the great content.

  76. Hi Ramit and thanks for awesome advise! Even though it is sometimes hard to follow because of my own stupid excuses.

    I have a full time job in an interesting industry but I also run a company on the side. The last couple of weeks I have been testing who these two different sides of me when I talk to people at parties. Being social and talking to people have always come natural to me but question is how can I make it more efficient and actually pay off. And with pay off I mean both to actually have a more interesting evening and other more long term gains.

    I noticed when I introduced myself as working for this large company in the travel industry we always ended up talking about the benefits of the companies travel product. Which can be fun, but hey, it’s what I talk about most working days, and this is supposed to be a party. However when introduce myself as running my own tour guide company I got much more interesting discussions regarding something that I am really passionate about and it was easier to learn more from other peoples experience. Hopefully it might even pay off with some extra clients for my own company.

    Before testing I usually tried to squeeze in both and then it just ended up sounding like too much.

    My other problem is talking to fast, I have always subconsciously thought that it was a fun part of my personality and only concentrated on speaking slowly when doing public speaking and guiding tours. Maybe I have been missing out a lot because people think I being flaky and low status.

    The task for myself for the next few week will be to work on speaking slower and clearer. Which makes even more sense in the kind of multilingual environment I work and live in. Going to do some tests and see if there are a difference in peoples response to what I say.

    You’re awesome Ramit, and we all too work on fighting poor excuses for doing what we always done!

  77. Hey Ramit, Commenting for the first time and have been blown away by the amount and quality of everything you post. In this post, you are right on the money again. Smiling too much, talking too fast, coming across as agressive etc…
    I can’t help to imagine someone coached by you to smile at the right time, talk slower and come across as less agressive but still INSIDE himself feeling the same lack of confidence, feeling almost an “imposteur”.
    Being aware gives the power to change and power brings self-confidence, that’s true but in your experience, I’m sure it is only the tip of the iceberg right?

  78. Hi Ramit,

    I am a psychology student, not a business person. I think your advice is so valuable because it can be applied to all situations involving human interaction. I have never had a hard time talking to people, but feel like my approach and awareness of the mechanics of interaction could use some fine tuning. It seems so much more manageable when you break it down. I wanted to say thank you, especially for the videos.

    You do your readership a great service, helping us communicate better!

    Kind regards,
    Jessica

  79. One big take-away for me from your videos was how to end a story. I’ve always thought my stories sort of petered off awkwardly in interview situations (not as much with friends, strangely), but never was able to put my finger on what the problem was. The “so…yeah” thing is something I probably did with every single answer in some interviews, I guess as a way to signal that I was done with my answer. But the way you did it, with a down-turned inflection and slowing down your speech, is something I am going to remember.

    One thing I struggle with a lot is that I sometimes have the perfect word, perfect phrase, or perfect next point in mind, and then when I get to it I can’t remember it and so just shut down completely (seriously, sometimes I will pause for 30 seconds or more). I do this way too frequently in both business situations and with friends. I would love to hear you discuss strategies you have for this. I actually noticed in one of the videos above that you seemed to be struggling for a phrase, asked the audience if they knew, and then said something along the lines of “doesn’t matter”. Is that something you consciously do?

  80. I was always that kid in school who answered questions in class, I think this is where my tendency for talking to quickly came from. I had way too much information and my classmates didn’t seem interested so I would release it all in a huge burst of high speed unnecessarily long explanation. Cut to now, whenever I get excited I have a tendency to just go and I’m aware of it but it still happens. My own mother told me once that we’ll have phone calls and she’ll have no idea what I’m talking about for a solid ten minutes but she just rides it out. I like that you specified WHY it’s important to speak slowly, it’s true when people speak slower they sound more thoughtful and competent. The best part was seeing the major improvement in the videos and hearing that people felt ridiculously awkward because watching them you would never know it felt weird for them. It sounded really great.

  81. About to head out to a networking lunch. Plan to work on speaking more slowly there. Be a fun experiment.

  82. I learnt a smile will not always help you in an interview but also makes you look unconfident about yourself, and it’s something that happens to me all the time around social places with people I just met. Thanks for all this information! I hope to read your newsletter soon! Congratulations for all your work!

  83. Ramit, terms you were looking for in discussion for those who want to get to the point quickly are: “Cut to the chase…”; or “Give me the gist of it…”; or “Don’t beat around the bush….”. I am very guilty of this with my spouse, sometimes clients but very rarely as the business I am in if I cut them off…..they will not be clients very much longer. Thus the income will no longer flow.

  84. I’ve been on the newsletter for a while and don’t remember something quite as useful to me as these tips. The “rich” in I Will Teach You To Be Rich has so many more meanings than I initially thought. Thanks!

  85. Ramit, this experience has been a great learning experience. I appreciated the videos about talking too quickly as well. I didn’t originally do the “chatting up someone random experience” because I figured that I don’t have a hard time talking to strangers. However, in the store yesterday I decided to go for it. If i got a good story from the experience I would share it. Well, to say the least, I got a story haha. Unfortunately for me, when I spoke up at the grocery store, I got a lot more than I bargained.
    Conversation:
    Me: Hey! I noticed your shirt. That is really creative and unique. Did you make it?
    Random Woman (RW): Yes. Yes I did. I had to make it.
    Me: I sew too. I love being able to make my own clothes, don’t you?
    RW: Well it’s a long story. No it isn’t. My f***ed up man threw me out of my own motherf****ing house in the middle of the night. What do you think about that? (clearly not waiting for a response) To top it all off, he throws ALL my clothes in a pile in the backyard and BURNS THEM. BURNS THEM. HE F****ING BURNED MY CLOTHES. WHO THE H*** DOES THAT?! WOULD YOU DO THAT?! (just under shouting volume. there are people stopped on the aisle staring hahahaha)
    Me: I’m really sorry to hear that. (all i had time to get out)
    RW: It’s not your fault. You arent the one sleeping with him are you?! You f***ing told him to burn my clothes?!
    Me: No ma’am. (again, all I had time to get out, but she was looking at me like I had to answer)
    RW: Good, you’re a good girl. Stay away from men. All they do is get you pregnant and burn your motherf***ing clothes.

    At this point she started to go on another rant but my phone rang, saving me. I figured this experience was up there near your hitting on a recovering alcoholic and you’d appreciate it. Getting yelled at in Kroger for sleeping with a man I’d never met and making him burn this crazy lady’s clothes. hahaha

  86. Ramit! Thank you for this material. You are the best. I learned that smiling too much can be a bad thing. I know I’ve been guilty of that, but never until now realized the damage it could have been doing to my career. Also, I’m totally a rambler. Looking forward to testing the slow-down technique and not boring my friends the next time I tell a story. So I would like to know how you would approach answering an interview question that you truly cannot answer. For example, I was recently asked “Tell me about a time when you developed a new safety procedure and put it into practice?” while interviewing for a dream job of mine with a major airline carrier that I am definitely qualified for. I’ve never been even remotely in charge of developing or issuing safety procedures! Surly they knew that by looking at my resume and work history. What were they looking to find out by asking me a question unrelated to my past work history? Thank you!

  87. I think I come across as weird because I don’t make a conversation engaging enough for the listener.

  88. I love how Ramit’s voice goes up at the end of sentences when talking to the “upturned sentences” guy… mirroring to the extreme!

  89. Ok I’m just a mess. I’ve always had a problem with being monotone, when I was younger I got compared to Janene Garafalo and Daria (the cartoon haha). I thought it was funny but I didn’t know what to do.
    Until I got older and started drinking in social situations. With a little alcohol I loosened up and became quite animated. I had a much better response from the stories I told. Some friends I made in this period of my life still really like me.
    However I still had the problem of functioning in normal life without a cocktail. Then I learned to speed up so I could include all of the amazing, important things I wanted to say, with LESS risk of boring people with my monotone rambling.

    I came into this wanting to ask what to do when I have problems thinking clearly. I feel like my brain shorts out and I either speed up or go mo-ram-boring. I need to slow down, not try to include the depth of my knowledge on a subject, while maintaining enthusiasm. This is daunting but I think slowing down will help me also think it through as I go.

    Tonight I want you to discuss being attractive and charming in a work appropriate way. Being the type of person that draws others in, that they want to see again… but not for a date.

  90. Hi Ramit,

    So to answer one of your questions:

    2.) What do you want me to cover tonight?

    ~To what extent should we speak slowly before the listener tunes us out? I do understand that we need to speak slower but there are times when I listen to the President or celebrities speak, roll my eyes and think “Just get to the FREAKIN’ POINT! I don’t have time for this.” An HR manager is probably interviewing multiple candidates in the same day, so how do we speak slow and NOT test their patience?

    ~Another thing: what is the trick to telling a story successfully? I’ve noticed that people (including me) tell a story where the punchline or the point is lost in the rest of the context so in the end when I expect the person to laugh “ha ha” or say “Good point”, I get a raised eyebrow instead.

    Thanks for your time and for putting up all this free content!
    ~Priyanka S.

  91. May I add something to your advice on male vs female mistakes? I have observed that the same kind of self-presentation that is perceived as “confident” in men can be perceived as “arrogant” or “aggressive” in women. I think this is important to be aware of, otherwise people can follow sterling advice like in this post and still get penalised.

    I am female but my natural tendency is to be matter of fact, end my sentences firmly etc. I consciously keep this in check and I know that I am pretty successful at it. For example, I was team leader in a negotiation skills course where we competed against others, and my team won, with special accolades. Colleagues also evidently enjoy working with me, and I always make a point of taking their views on board even if I advocate a different position. And still, I have heard back that some people hold me to be arrogant. (The person who told this to me added that perhaps these people just cannot deal with a confident and tall woman.)

    This is not at all to compain (which is not to say it’s right). In fact, I like the challenge of finding the right balance when it is pretty narrow. This is simply to point out that this balance can be much more narrow for the female among us.

  92. Just a quick comment today:

    1) I learned that it’s possible to smile too much.
    2) What are some good ways to keep the lines of communication open with a company after you’ve already been rejected for a position?

  93. Ramit
    Just like the Indian chick example, I have met a lot of Indian dudes. They would rush out of the elevator before you do and hell! one guy I went out on a date with did not even walk me to my car at 10pm!
    Tonight I would love you to focus on how to deal with other people who are aggressive? We can control our social skills but how do we react when others do not?

  94. Born and raised on southern ways, smiling and being friendly is in my DNA. For goodness sake, I even put smiley faces at the end of my emails. I never knew a stranger until I moved to the midwest and discovered a whole new world of people who act like smiling might break their face.

    Ramit, I am always open to self improvement and I’m willing to alter my DNA for an improved perception and career growth.
    Looking forward to tonights webinar.

  95. Your perspective on the importance of speaking slowly was so interesting and something that I feel is a huge indicator of someone’s confidence, especially in the workplace.

    I definitely related to the talking fast video, albeit I don’t talk that fast, but sometimes I feel like I present too much info too fast and then lose my train of thought and end up looking stupid…

    Another thing that happens to me which is really weird and annoying because I don’t feel shy when it happens, is that my face will turn red. It’s almost like I stop breathing while I’m talking or something…so some tips on that would be great!

    Thanks!

  96. Ramit, I would appreciate if you could cover
    a) how to work around cultural issues – I am currently working and living in a conservative country where women are expected to be more seen than heard. While we’re hired, listening to anything out of our mouth is considered more of an indulgement and not taken seriously. There have been many times where either me or my female colleagues have said something only to have it repeated by a male colleague and everyone complimenting him for the idea! I agree this might be hard to work on professionally but personally, this attitude carries over too hence point b).
    b) diplomacy in social or professional interactions – for example socially, regardless of professional success/achivement, my girlfriends and I are always buggered with, “so are you married”? (and the no is followed by pity looks) and then “why not? when are you getting married? Don’t wait too late (followed by unwarranted comments over aging ovaries, cons of having kids later, the men to women ratio so compromising is gold etc – you get the idea). To retaliate is to be considered frustrated because we’re not married vs that its rude to butt in! Face palm.

    Professionally, there are many comments made that are derogatory toward women and I retort with biting comments which aren’t appreciated because most people don’t like admitting they have a problem and asked a rude question or made a rude comment – its easier blaming the other party and calling us bitches :) Note that before, I’d just brush things off or ignore them but after a while, I realized that my not saying anything means I will get the same treatment next time + some other woman will too coz this person isn’t being corrected so now I have this huge smile and sweetly go – wow, don’t you think that’s a rude and intrusive question / comment? Better I get called a bitch and have people be on guard than go through it again + I just spared another girl the rubbish hopefully:)

    Thanks!

  97. 1. I learned that too much smiling can be a sign of fear. This reminds me of research on the facial expression and body language of primates (including humans). For someone in a lower position in the hierarchy, that person usually be afraid when asking a superior for a favor or resources. For the job interview example, if you are in the mindset of being submissive to the interviewer (for example, “I’m so lucky to be interviewed! I really don’t deserve it.”), you will have submissive posture and facial expressions, including smiling too much. Rather you should be confident (by developing the skills Ramit teaches), and be equal with the interviewer. This will help you negotiate better.

    2. I’d like you to talk more about the cultural differences and cultural scripts in the workplace. I work with people from India, China and the Middle East. I’m not sure if I’m committing faux pas around them, and how to get them to effectively persuade them.

  98. I would love to learn how to be more concise. Whenever I’m explaining stuff to people, especially if I’m explaining what I’m working on, I tend to take way too long to tell it to the other person. I feel like the other person won’t understand what I’m saying without all that extra information, but I often just leave the other person bored and disinterested.

  99. Hi Ramit,

    I haven’t got any problem in engaging emotions to my tone but I have this problem of blurting things straight out of my mind. I am a victim of the foot in the mouth disease. It can be contagious!!!

  100. p.s please include in today’s webinar as to how can I circumvent the unwashed masses and get to the job interview even with less than required skills.

  101. 1) I never realized fast talking was a sign of low confidence. Maybe I’m too much of a New Yorker and work with too many finance types, but the smartest people I work with (men and women, although unfortunately finance is still largely male dominated) are normally the most fast talking. Even my naturally fast pace is sometimes too slow for them, and they’ll cut me off mid sentence to ask their next question, forcing me to be very economical in my word choices and speed up my pace even further.

    2) Can you go into meeting dynamics, and the fine line between making sure your point is heard and rudely talking over people? I always make sure my point gets across, but sometimes I feel like I could do it in a more polite way, and I don’t want to inadvertently stifle other people.

  102. I’m way too smiley and I talk too fast. Sometimes I even speed up when I see the listener’s eyes glaze over – now I realise its because subconsciously I care more about getting the story out than I do about giving them something valuable to take away. Will definitely be focusing on improving that this week. Thanks Ramit.

  103. This is very helpful. Especially the over-smiler portion. I have been over exclaiming and smiling my way to discomfort for way too long. Never would have considered it to be an insecurity.

    When I visited France in 2000 a woman stopped me and told me that only foolish girls smile as much as I do. She explained that it meant I was weak and dumb. I mostly wrote her off thinking she was grumpy and old, but now I see what she was getting at.

  104. One thing I learn today is ‘talking fast’ to squeeze a lot of info in small time is nothing unique about me. And that I can really do something about it. That’s a great trigger – (21 year old v/s president analogy) – works like a spell.

    I’ve noticed another problem usually in my non-formal conversations – I tend to think something else (related to or triggered by what I’m speaking) when narrating a story and that spoils my narration. I tend to pause in the middle or say a lot of um-uh-umms. I have realized this quite a few times but don’t know how too improve that systematically.

  105. I was aware that I am someone who speaks really fast but something that struck me in the low competency triggers was that I have the tendency to do the upturn at the completion of the sentences. So I am testing the improvements you’ve suggested in your videos at work right now.

    It would be great if you covered how to turn an informational interview relatonship into a lifelong mentor/colleague who will guide you during your career.

  106. Thanks Ramit, this is wonderful solid information. I realize that I still struggle with speaking too quickly during especially important meetings such as negotaitions or when giving presentations. Ugh! So I’ll be working on that right away. One thing I need to research is how to, as a very white person, control my physical response. I can feel my face heating up and turning red and blotchy sometimes, even when I think I’m doing alright with what I’m saying. I noticed the guy in the first video had the same problem.
    Looking forward to tonight’s webinar!

  107. One thing I noticed was something not described in the video, its that all your videos started with you laughing. I’m guessing thats because:

    - It helps loosen you up
    - Everyone likes humor, so we kind of start the video thinking, “I like this guy and this video, its fun”. Kind of like the kid sitting there that doesn’t get the joke but he is laughing at it because everyone else is…

    Not directly related to getting a dream job, but the concept of finding something to help loosen you up before an interview is applicable. Just don’t make that something booze :P.

  108. Ramit,

    The Story Toolbox has been invaluable — what’s more, what’s been invaluable has been the idea of practicing (that is to say, FLOPPING/TANKING or BOMBING!) a story in order to fine-tune it and workshop it.

    I put this into hardcore practice last weekend at a close friend’s wedding — I told (and retold) the story of how the two of us met to all his friends and family.

    By the fourth telling I had a concise and punchy story that elicited a nice laugh — MUCH different than the first few retellings which fell SUPER flat.

    In the past I might have been discouraged, and just discarded it altogether, but I chose to adopt a “It’s all a test!” attitude.

    I’m glad I did.

    Question: this may be beyond the scope of your Social Skills workshop, but do you have any suggestions for DEALING with friends/co-workers who display these behaviors?

    Do you have tips and techniques if they’re not friends enough to point out their behaviour?

    I’m thinking specifically here of overly aggressive dudes.

    Any judo tips appreciated.

    best,
    jason

  109. Others have told me that I’m nodding a lot and being agreeable WHILE smiling too much!

    Also love the idea of listening some of people I admire that speak well on TV.

    Thanks Ramit, love your stuff!

  110. It is AMAZING to see/hear how quick and dramatic the changes were when applied. Great to see it happen in “real time” as it goes to show how easy it is to make such a marked difference.
    Being a business owner and in a position to soon be conducting interviews, it’ll be interesting (and likely very distracting) to be aware of some of these “quirks”.
    I’d like to hear tonight strategies on how to get better at “ending” my stories or points.
    Thanks again for the valuable content!

  111. WOW. Here are my results after just 4 hours of testing the lessons in these videos. I realized I spoke too fast and upturned my sentences because I was so anxious around people, so I very, very consciously slowed down my speech and made statements instead of questions. This is what happened.

    1) because I allowed myself more time to speak, I no longer stuttered (chronic problem since childhood) or experienced any “car wrecks” (that awful sensation when you screw up mid-sentence because your mouth can’t keep up with your brain).

    2) people started adjusting themselves to listen to me, even my bosses. My bosses. Listening. To me. Holy shit.

    3) my fear of people went away, even superior people like the VP of my company. Slowing down built confidence because I was no longer rushed and could fully breathe and concentrate on my thoughts.

    4) people around me are calmer and organize their own thoughts better, mirroring me. I can tell when in doing this right based on how relaxed other people are.

    Note: I did not feel confident when I started this! I was quaking on the inside because my natural inclination is to speak fast and go hide again. I thought confidence would precede speaking slowly, but quite the opposite. As I changed my speech pattern, only then did the confidence come. My mindset shifted to match my speech and body language, as if I’d turned a key in a lock.

    Try it, guys. See what works for you.

  112. Talk about smiling…
    my former boss must have taken a special course years ago on “Smiling To Make People Comfortable.” Or smile when you don’t know what else to do. However, she would always smile at the wrong time. While in a meeting once, someone spoke about a family member passing away, the boss looked at all of us and gave the biggest smile. She has on her big fake smile no matter the situation. She is known as “smiley” to other people in the same industry. She smiles way to much at the wrong time. It has made me very conscious of when to smile.

    I’m working on speaking deeper, seems I speak from my throat and head. This gives a wrong impression to people. Speaking from the diaphram, I am taking more seriously.

  113. In the recent months, I’ve wanted to be seen as a leader in my community, church and with friends. I think it’s because of a few points you bring up here about invisible messages. I’m confident but I don’t precent that way. I smile too much; my tone goes up on the end of my sentences. Also, I talk fast when I’m passionate about a subject or when I think that I’m losing the persons attention. Then talking fast leads to a difficult time thinking of engaging stories that I could communicate to connect with people. I go blank, my toolbox is empty. Like on the TV show GoOn with Matthew Perry. The episode last week where he host a TV show with Bob Costas and stares blankly into the camera when he doesn’t know what to say. Here’s a link to Bob Costas interview about that episode. Also, Bob Costas has some skills here telling stories. http://youtu.be/QDj9X4wXlu0 I would like you to talk about how to get started with filling my “tool box” with engaging stories. I’ll be using what I’ve learned here today while volunteering for my church tonight during your teaching. Best wishes, on your live event.

  114. This is great, Ramit. I recently interviewed a celebrity. Listening back to the recording, I was mortified. I spoke like the 22-year-old you referenced and it’s been a long time since I was 22. I’m going to work on this – it’s painful to face up to your inadequate social skills but I will do the work.

  115. Okay, Ramit. Here’s one you can cover tonight: How do you improve your social skills if you utterly dread talking to people?

  116. The video with Rajesh was really REALLY applicable to me, I can think back on a couple situations where I should have asked a somewhat leading question rather than voicing my own opinion. This would have been a lot more effective in helping foster communication without making myself the bad guy or the dissenting voice.

  117. As always, Ramit, I learn a lot from your content. It’s good stuff, to put it mildly.

    1) I had never made the connection between talking speed and competence/confidence triggers. It’s something that I will begin applying.

    2) I am preparing for an interview with a group that has rejected me before (in fact, I think that I will be interviewing with the exact same people in the group). Do you have any suggestions for handling an interview like this? Like, should I refer to some things that happened or things I said in my first interview? (It was about a year ago.)

    Thanks again, Ramit, your content is always excellent.

  118. Hey Ramit

    All the things you mentioned today are awesome and I’m really greatful that you’re sharing them for free. Thank you.
    One thing that I think I should work on most is talking slower. I’m really excited about my stories but I get easily carried away and I catch myself going too fast.

    As for a topic today: I had an interview just couple hours ago. I was asked how soon I can start working. I have a three months notice in my contract, so I said that it’s three months from the moment we make a deal. But, I also added that I don’t want to put my current employer against the wall, and that I want to give him a chance to react for me going away.
    I realised this could be received really bad – like I want to see who’s gonna make a bigger bet. But what I ment was that I actually don’t want to abandon my post and just finish my stuff before I leave.
    How should I handle this situation?

    Thanks,
    M.

  119. The videos helped me identify some of the problems I have while interviewing.
    * I speak very fast.
    * I start rambling because I don’t have time to organize my thoughts before I blurt them out.
    * I speak in a monotone voice, I show no enthusiasm. There is no time to show emotion when I am going 1000mph.

    The main take home point for me is Speak Slower, this isn’t a race. Thanks for the great advice.

  120. I really liked the videos about the speed of talking as well as facial expressions. Along with Sarah above I tend to be more of an open book and volunteer information – mostly because we live in a society where giving the right answer scores points and extra answers scores bonus points, right? not really. I think it just make the person appear young and overeager to share.

    Also I’ve gotten feedback that I look upset or mean, so I try to smile more and be less “aloof.” Some colleagues are shocked when they hear this feedback about me since I’m actually really friendly and gregarious by nature. However I really don’t have the luxury of time to be at the water cooler and chatting everyone up every day. So those that I haven’t gotten close to, think I’m “cold and unapproachable.” I’m not sure if there’s a happy medium to this, or how I can correct myself to be more “approachable.” Right now I just try to smile and say hi to everyone who walks by and hopefully that will help the perception. Any ideas would be great!!

  121. Hey Ramit,
    Great tips. I reckon that I probably smile too much and I’m overly friendly. You have discussed the downsides of doing that and I’ll keep an eye on it next time I’m chatting.
    Another quirk, perhaps something you would be willing to discuss is talking too slowly. If I were to analyze my own style I would say I speak slowly, quietly and hold eye contact.
    I would love to join the webnar in 4 hours but I have a 12 hour flight boarding now.
    Thanks and good luck,
    Em

  122. My comment disappeared off my computer! Well, if it never shows up again, I was saying that I was a rambler and spoke sometimes in a monotone, so I appreciated this a lot.
    Crappy computer!

  123. Would love to hear your take on transferring departments within a company. I’m afraid to express interest in a different area, for fear my boss will take that as a sign that I don’t like my current position and/or know I’m looking elsewhere. But yet going straight to HR might come off as going behind my bosses back.

  124. I feel for you. My husband is Indian (I’m white) and since we’ve married I’ve been introduced to a whole new slew of craziness. Believe me, it isn’t only from the ladies.

    But I’ve been treated to plenty of stories where Indian women have called him endlessly for months, bought an entire home in his location in the hopes of a single DATE, and even attempted to frame him for domestic abuse in order to force him to stay in a relationship. Just wow.

    Like I said though, not only the women. My husband’s brother-in-law once walked into our home while dropping off his dad and said he had to leave to pick up my husband’s sister. He didn’t smile, make eye contact or otherwise interact with my mother, who was also there. He later said that he was offended that she didn’t say hello to him, when he practically left the second he came in.

    Crippling confidence issues coupled with a sometimes crazy culture is not a good mix. I love so much of India’s color, the importance of family, rich history, religious creativity, not to mention kickass food. But I truly feel bad for people that get too caught up in it, because the same things that are good can bring it down (god-like importance of family, obsession with money, working hard vs working smart). Thank goodness my husband branched out on his own path and is far from stereotypical. He’s even Amitabh Bachchan sized at 6’4. :)

    It’s interesting how different cultures can feed into some of the particular social problems you’ve mentioned. Being raised in the U.S. I sometimes vacillate between being overly confident and underplaying my abilities. One of the helpful things I do before any business-related conversation is to remind myself to think before I speak. That sounds silly, but really, if you just rely on yourself saying “what comes to mind” you can end up projecting the wrong image. Thinking during a conversation helps you to slow down so that you avoid confusing people. Just remember to focus on the other person as well. I’m naturally more of a listener, so that comes easily, but the more you work on it, the easier it gets.

  125. Ramit, your blog has become my mirror. I kind of want to hate you for it, but your content has been so helpful for me. As for your questions:

    1) I talk too fast and I ramble, but not all the time. I’m actually very well spoken, and learned how to slow down by making about a thousand presentations at my last job. When it comes to one on one conversation with someone “important” though, I forget to pay attention to what I’m trying to convey. As a result, I sometimes talk in circles and lose my train of thought, thereby making myself look like a 19 year old rather than a 27 year old.

    2) I know Earn 1k is the place for freelancers, but I’m not looking to earn money on the side – I am a full-time freelancer/contractor/hiremeforsomethingplease. Since this IS my dream job, I want to learn how to use your techniques to position myself as an authority on the subject at hand. I know that if I go all Obama on my clients, I will win more projects and get paid more fairly. Since a third of the U.S. workforce is self-employed, I think this is at least worth a mention…

    Looking forward to the webinar!

  126. 1. What did I learn from the videos?
    Speaking slowly is very important for coming across as competent. I think I’ve subconsciously noticed this before, but hearing it said really made an impact on me.

    2. What do I want you to cover?
    Once you know the things you should or shouldn’t do, how do you prepare and train yourself to do them so that when you get nervous in an interview it doesn’t all go out the window?

  127. Really enjoyed these videos, especially the one about talking too fast. I know I do this a lot, and it was interesting to see that you have to slow down to the point where you think you sound dumb, but the other person perceives it as confidence. Would love for you to cover a little more about story-telling, and what elements make for a good story to tell in an interview (beyond physical cues like intonation and conspiratorially leaning-in). Thanks for all the great material!

    -Dave

  128. GREAT material today, sir. Kudos.

    1. What did I learn today?
    That I need to video myself. I’ll get back to you with whatever next step that unleashes.

    2. What I’d like to hear covered tonight?
    Maybe a topic for today’s post rather than tonight’s call, but I’ll let you be the judge. The assertive ladyfolk in the interview realm – how to read as assertive but not b!tch or ballbuster, or focused but not “I’m coming for your job.”

    Thanks for what you do.

  129. I am guilty of talking too fast. People told me that numerous times, along with the comment of me being “soft-spoken”, aka my message gets lost, and what I say is not perceived as important. When I’m conscious of it, I slow down my speech, but it’s really hard to consciously think about how you are talking all the time, and I slip back into the fast speech again. It just takes deliberate practice, and thank you for reminding me, as I have a potential freelance client meeting tomorrow, and I want to come across as confident and knowledgeable.

    Another point. Though I’ve been living in the US for the last half of my life (15 years) and speak English as a native language, basically, I still have a bit of a foreign accent (Russian), and I really, really want to get rid of it. I took an accent reduction class last month and learned a whole new structure to the spoken word. Eye-opening, really. What the instructor stressed most was that intonation (pitch and tone, and the melody of your voice) trumps most isolated words, and proper intonation can even hide an accent. His first and most important point – slow down your speech. And lower your pitch. Pause. Catch your breath. It almost felt fake speaking slower on purpose, but after listening to myself before and after on audio (cringe, do I really sound like that?), I couldn’t deny the improvement.

    Thanks, Ramit. I love your practical advice. I admire people with good speaking skills. They seem like they were born great communicators, but now I know It does take a lot of deliberate practice.

  130. Would love to hear your thoughts tonight during the webcast about job-seekers like this:

    “Kid Sends Perfectly Blunt Cover Letter For Wall Street Internship, And Now Tons Of People Are Trying To Hire Him”

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/student-sends-great-cover-letter-for-internship-at-bank-and-its-now-going-viral-on-wall-street-2013-1#ixzz2IBEUHcux

    http://www.businessinsider.com/student-sends-great-cover-letter-for-internship-at-bank-and-its-now-going-viral-on-wall-street-2013-1

  131. One thing I want to see you cover tonight:

    This article is SERIOUSLY going freakin’ VIRAL around my office:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/student-sends-great-cover-letter-for-internship-at-bank-and-its-now-going-viral-on-wall-street-2013-1

    I personally would NEVER send a cover letter like this. But I’d like to know if you recommend it for getting interviews/Dream Job. Maybe it works because it’s different?

  132. I have recently and belatedly come to realize that I have a contradictory, contrary nature. Somehow, somewhere I developed the inner conviction that most people are probably wrong, that conformity is death and that I am doomed to rub people the wrong way. Early on, I began to think of myself as a mutant and a misfit and that sense of alienation has never entirely left me. After conspicuous failures in jobs like customer service and community organizing, I began to think I should learn to make a living somehow altogether avoiding bothering decent people with my odious presence; it never even occurred to me that it might be possible to learn social skills and remedy these deficits. Maybe it seems cliché, but the notion that my problems relating to people, as seemingly all-encompassing and overwhelming as they are, may be correctable traits is the revelation for me. I may never choose to angle for a job in sales, but selling and effective persuasion are aspects of any livelihood: I now have hope that these may not be entirely beyond me.

    I’m a neophyte eager to absorb whatever you think is most important to convey. I’m currently in no shape to interview at the world’s best companies, so I’m just looking forward to seeing what you have to say. But if you find you have some time on your hands particular advice for social retards with underexploited talents, I’d be even more grateful.

  133. A couple of things that I learned today was I should work on portraying a confident smile.The telling disarming jokes part, I have yet to master and in my story telling I should eliminate the non essentials and use more detail. Charm…..

    I would like you to talk more about playing the game and how managers handle situations by asking questions.

  134. At my last job, my boss told me in my review that I talk too fast and needed to work on speaking more slowly. I thought that was a fair criticism and, from then on, I worked SO hard on remembering to speak slowly. And I felt like I was succeeding at it.

    A couple months later, she told me that I was now speaking TOO slowly and that my co-workers felt that I was speaking to them in a condescending way. I was so frustrated at the mixed messages that I gave up on trying to improve this.

    After watching your video, I realized that if I had understood the WHY behind speaking more slowly (as a competence trigger, to appear authoritative), I would have been more successful. My boss told me to work on it, and I did, but thinking back, I probably *did* make my co-workers feel like I thought they were mentally deficient or something. Because I was taking what my boss said at face value and doing literally what she said, but not knowing the reason behind it. (I assumed that I was talking so fast that my co-workers weren’t understanding what I said, but that probably wasn’t it at all.)

    If I’d been told to improve my rate of speech in the same way that you explained it to the woman in your video, I think my results would’ve been much different.

  135. I learned I need to slow down more. I talk to fast- even for my friends. I learned I need more confidence or thought with the ideas I’m presenting. I tend to talk fast when I’m giving ideas or solutions; most of the time I don’t talk to fast but I’m in a different mode of thinking at the point I slow down.
    I’d like you to talk about ending the conversation or getting unstuck gracefully from someone I just met but is going no where.

  136. The coaching session with Ritesh opened my eyes to how critical it is to behave appropriately in meetings even if you know that what’s being shared by a colleague is bad. Many experts tell you to contribute in meetings, or risk being seen as not adding value. No one tells you that the way in which you contribute and interact with others in the meeting is just as, if not more, important.

  137. To speak slower, I know I tend to talk pretty fast but I never realized what a l

  138. 1. I knew the smiling/nervousness connection before. Today I learned that skilled interviewers can detect lack of confidence and take advantage to hire people at much lower salaries — talk about the hidden game! (I used to do hiring at a minimum wage job, I could only get people who would work harder for the same money, not pay them less)

    I sent the “talk too fast” video from this article to a friend who has been a fast talker for years (we told him — at first I couldn’t understand him at all). Despite Ramit’s warnings that people take unsolicited advice in ways we don’t expect, it didn’t occur to me until after I sent it. Recently I have noticed people (in worse shape than me) getting a bit uncomfortable when I talk about some of my hobbies like working out and rock climbing, or my choices of what to eat and experiments in nutrition I do. Even when people ask me for advice, I can’t yet build the credibility and deliver small, actionable amounts to help people whom I care about (family, friends) get in better shape.

    Tonight: (I canceled dinner with friends and rescheduled dates, cockblocked by Ramit)
    I want to know what actions you can take in the moment, and which habits to cultivate over time, to regain composure when you feel yourself getting in your head / losing your momentum in an interview?
    (Initial thoughts: meditation, preparation — both knowledge about the needs of the company/interviewer and anticipation and practice of questions)

    I think the most valuable part of live webcasts is learning high value mindsets — how people like Ramit look at the world and approach problems. My favourite so far was the 2-hour drinking session with Tim and Ramit.

  139. I’m guilty of all of these and will implement these suggestions straight away. Thank you, Ramit, for sharing this stellar material from your live seminars. I would really like to see more material on presentation skills and public speaking, as well. Thanks again!

    • Two other conversation issues that I struggle with are interrupting unintentionally, particularly in group settings (I haven’t yet mastered reading the rhythm of conversation) and difficulty in speaking about myself when asked during conversation or in the course of introductions.

  140. 1. I learned to slow down my speech because in addition to giving myself more time to come up with an answer that makes sense and doesn’t leave me fumbling for words, it also conveys a higher social status.

    If that’s not a win-win, I don’t know what is.

    2. One of the things I notice when talking with one person or a group in any formal setting is that I lose track of what I’m saying when I make direct eye contact with someone–its like our eyes lock and I get hung up on whether to maintain contact, or look away (which could indicate low self-esteem or dishonesty), and next thing I know, I’m fumbling for my next word or worse…I go blank. Any advice on how to handle that?

  141. 1. I didn’t realize that smiling too much was a low-competence trigger. I had a supervisor who told me to not smile so much or else people won’t take me as seriously.
    2. How about for people who talk too slow and drag their words? I have a tendency to talk slowly and drag out my word at the end of a sentence in regular everyday conversations at work and I have seen people’s eye get diverted from me to something else. It also makes me seem like a chill or laid-back person…but I suspect it may also be a low-competence trigger.

  142. I was really moved by the before and after video on speaking with a monotone voice. I even choked up a little bit when he KILLED IT with the coffee shop story.

    I’ve been working on making sure I have the right level of emotion in my voice recently, and now I realize I need to add watching how fast I speak to that list. My company has a corporate meeting tomorrow, and if it goes the way the meetings usually do, the president is going to ask us each to take 2 minutes max and update the company on what’s going on in our departments. He even turns on a timer to make sure we stay on track. That usually equates to about 30 people racing through their lists of projects and department news. I’m going to try my best to speak slowly and intentionally, focusing on only the most important and relevant updates, so my colleagues can absorb the information instead of being supersaturated with nonessential details. I’ll also pay extra attention to how the executives deliver their news.

    In the mean time, I’m really looking forward to the webcast tonight!

  143. 1. Learn to speak a little slower
    2. Add emotion into my speech so I don’t sound monotone.

    I’d like to hear more about adding personal stories into interviews. (Story toolbox stuff.)

  144. One of the big differences I notice between a 22 year old out of college (and you mr ramit) and the president of the united states is the president dosnt use the word “like” all the time.

  145. 1. I’m guilty of not being confident, oversmiling, and having a monotone voice. I smile a lot when I’m just listening. I do not feel confident talking to people because I feel that I bore them so I talk even less. It’s a vicious cycle.

    In class, I’m always told to speak louder. The dean even told me to have more energy when I talk. In a government job oral exam, I was told on the panel interview the first day that I speak too slowly and that I should stop being nervous. That made me feel hopeless and things went downhill for me at the team debate, formal banquet, and extemporaneous speech. I did not get the job.

    2. I hope to see how successful people interview with confidence. I have one year to go in school so I have more time to practice my interviewing skills before I apply to firms. How should I prepare? How should I answer if they ask for something negative about me? How should I follow up? Thanks.

  146. Hey Ramit,
    I learned a lot from all of those videos – but the main take-away for me, was the importance of analysing my OWN skills. I watched your 30min video Social Skills vid, right before I attended a networking event! I made some of my usual mistakes – BUT I was conscious of them and began to dial them back. Instant results! :D

    PLEASE PLEASE talk about the following tonight:
    I have a hugely important panel interview next week in front of 4 people. It’s for a professional training scheme that has the potential to significantly boost my career.

    However – two of the Panel are Freelancers in the exact Job Role/Level in the industry that I am applying for, the other two are Hiring Commissioners in that same industry.

    SO my problem / question is, how do I *shine* as a top performer without making my contemporaries (potential rivals) hate me. AND Deal with any deliberate curve ball questions they might throw in to make themselves look smart in front of the others?

    Basically – how do I balance my responses & story toolbox to fit the FOUR personalities?

    Wish me luck! :D

  147. Ramit,

    As a 28-year old woman from the NYC metro area I can completely relate to the idea that one can, in fact, talk too fast. My friends and I talk extremely fast with each other. When I relocated to Michigan with the Coast Guard my first thought was “Why do all these people talk so damned slow?” I had to learn to slow it down quickly because my entire job right now is radio communications. I’m no good to someone in trouble if they can’t understand me because of my speaking speed.

    And it really does get easier with practice. I still don’t speak quite as slowly as the locals, but I’ve gotten it down to a speed that they can keep up with and understand. I’ll still speed it up when I’m nervous, but I can hear my voice speeding up now and try to adjust it back to my new “normal” speed.

  148. I studied theater in college, and it was pretty much a given that if you were directing inexperienced actors, most of what you’d have to work on with them was to get them to slow down. I always chalked it up to having lines memorized, and I’d always explain that even though they knew their lines inside-out, the audience had never heard them before and needed time to process and understand what they were saying! I bet the same holds true for your Story Toolbox stories – slow down because even though you’ve practiced it over and over, the hiring manager has never heard it before!

    So anyhow, I’ll try to recall my acting training, slow down, and speak clearly and concisely not just when I’m on stage or presenting, but in all my conversations.

    Tonight… well, my biggest dream job quandry – how the hell do you decide what your Dream Job is? – doesn’t really fit in the interviewing/social skills theme. So, instead, could you address how to ask thoughtful questions when you get to the “do you have any questions?” stage? I have been interviewing interns over the past couple of years, and the ones who just say “nope!” at that stage totally lose me!

  149. I am guilty of coming off as not confident when I speak to people whom I’ve just met. I’m also guilty of smiling/cheesing/laughing too much. I want to feel personable, but I think sometimes I overdo it.
    I want to learn what sort of stories I should store in my story toolbox and how long they should be.

  150. 1) Listening to the student who speaks in monotone/rambles… thats me when I get nervous in interviews. I need to make my stories more concise, and use more vocal tones and gestures. I also need to smile a bit more.

    2) How to answer questions behind the question.

  151. I definitely need to work on not talking fast. Actually, I had a phone interview last week (for my dream job) where at the end of the interview, the guy said they were very impressed with me as a candidate but gave one piece of feedback, to slooooow down. Not just in interviews but also when dealing with clients etc. People can get lost really fast.

    I think my problem is I have a lot going on in my mind, and sometimes I feel like it’s a race to get as much of it out as fast as possible. Whether in interviews or daily conversation, I find myself mind-dumping as much and as fast as possible, thinking this will make me more impressive. But you hit on a good point….it’s not just WHAT you say, it’s HOW you deliver it. And it is a sign of low confidence. It basically signals the fact that I don’t believe what I have to say is compelling enough, I have to say MORE, or that I’m afraid someone is going to cut me off so I have to get it out as fast as possible.

    So that’s my problem…talking fast, rambling, and not using enough intonation and energy in my conversation. I will definitely work on it.

    Luckily, I think I will be getting the job after all….fingers crossed :)

  152. The biggest thing I learned was the impact of speaking slowly. I often feel like I’m rambling, but no matter how I try it’s been difficult for me to condense my statements.

    In speaking slowly, it seems the message naturally comes out more clearly and concisely.

    I’m going to start intentionally paying attention to this from hereon :-)

  153. Watching the videos and webinar really made it clear to me that I need to talk slower. It’s definitely a bad habit and I have been called out on it a few times. I’m not entirely sure if I talk that quickly in a professional setting, but now I know to pay attention to myself.

    I also know that I smile too much and use too many exclamations. I started adding exclamations in my writing because ending everything with a period just seemed so emotionless. Though, using 3 at the end of any sentence is probably excessive… oops. I know when I interviewed for my job that I just had a smile plastered to my face. Coming from a performance background, it’s just a hard habit to break. And when I’m nervous, I get a little giggly. I sure hope my interviewers didn’t think I was flirting! <–That exclamation point is acceptable, right?

    Thanks for the webinar. I have a few key things to work on now. For example, you said that if you don't have the skills… get the skills! I'm a great procrastinator. I keep waiting for the "right" time and for everything to be perfect so that I don't set myself up for failure. It's my perfectionist attitude that is actually setting me up for failure. I got some stuff to work on…

  154. Ramit, I love the reminders presented here. They’re definitely simple things we can look at in our own presentation and I’ll be observing my own behaviours and emails more. I think these are definitely great guidelines and I think it’s also important to be on the same wavelength as the people we speak with. For example, if the other person is speaking very quickly, perhaps it may make sense to increase the speed of our speech as well for the moment.
    1. What I learned here was that I need to hone in my use of exclamations or at least be more aware of it. I tend to be a passionate person which can lead to more exclamations.
    2. Unfortunately, I missed the webinar but am sure it was great.

    In the end, the question we should ask ourselves is: “What would James Bond do?”

  155. I really agree with how annoying it is when a colleague is just rambling. Being clear and concise is very powerful, and extremely appreciated by your colleagues who are suffering through another boring meeting.

    I need to be more dynamic with my speech and body language.

  156. Yeah, start talking slower, and this is mostly for work settings.

  157. Interesting comments and what you said is very true. Our body language and speaking styles communicate a lot about us and the last thing we want to do in a social setting is say “I’m low status, ignore me” accidentally all the time.

  158. Ramit,

    I learn so much about the comments people make in conjunction with your posts.

    The biggest thing I realized is that I feel that I don’t want to take up people’s time when I talk. So even if a story is great, I try shorten it, talk faster, try not to go off on tangents… Goal is to keep it short, sweet and simple.

    When I think I should do two things. Remove the gross invicible script and secondly, rather consider the context of my story, think before I speak and speak slower. I used to do toastmasters, and I learnt this there too. But never thought of bringing it to every day flowing conversation.

    Thanks for being enlightening. It is pretty rad to have challenging posts that actively inspire me to move forward and improve.

    Forwards and upwards Ramit. Forwards and Upwards.
    - Ros

  159. Hi Ramit,
    First it all, I must say the webcast was awesome. Thanks so much for all the great advice.

    Second, as I was reading the material in this email. It made me wonder and I can’t figure under what “category” of social skills I am. The reason why I’m saying this, is because it often happens to me that when I’m with a group of people either friends, co-workers, acquaintance even sometimes family members…. They looked like they are listening to me beacuse they do answer me back, but all of the sudden they turned away or leave and we aren not done talking.
    I asked myself many time, WOW am I that boring?………… It doesn’t happend all the time but often enough that honestly it bothers me.

    What do you think?… my husband used to tell me that sometimes I would get into so much detail in conversations specially when it came time of telling stories or events, I worked on it and I know for a fact that I don’t do it anymore.

    I’m frustated, about this particular issue.

    Thanks

  160. Heh. I doubt that all of the 100 million Indian gods together would be able to figure out the Indian girl-game.

    Rambling is definitely my top issue. I have this vision of my ideal self, who listens more, speaks less and speaks perfectly to the point.

    As a software engineer, improving my social and communication skills is a massive 80/20 win for me. Managers love engineers who are able and interested in talking to regular people. I’m planning to leverage that during this year. I’ve already set up a meeting with a VP of sales in my company, offering to help her present our engineering innovations better to our clients. She was so excited when I volunteered!

  161. I take too long to get to the point… although I think I’m storytelling

  162. The info in these videos is so valuable. A similar woman-specific tip I learned from a coach is not laughing too much in professional situations. Similar to smiling, it makes me look uncomfortable and awkward. Once pointed out, I noticed I did this a lot, when there was no reason to be laughing.

    I like in the last video how the guy thought the woman and her metric were the “problem” and he was figuring out how to be nice to her. Then you showed him the woman wasn’t actually the problem and how to improve his skills to get the answers he needed and work better with colleagues. That’s a great example of improving ourselves rather than assuming “something else” is the problem.

  163. While it’s a great idea to rehearse your stories with other people, it could also be beneficial to write it down and weed out the unnecessary details. It was quite impressive how you were able to help someone whose problem was a monotone voice, make them feel like they’re being extreme, but bringing them up to par with their emotional involvement and inflection.

    I won’t be able to attend your webcast tonight, but I’m happy for those who will be able to.

  164. The video with Chris is classic. My fave is when he says he’s been hanging out with the same people for 15 years, and they all think he’s hilarious.

    I have an event this afternoon where I’ll be talking practice, and I am going to very consciously slow down and not over-smile.

  165. Hey Ramit,
    Good to know girls can be creepy too! I’m not quite like that, but I do have some social issues I’d like to work on. One thing is, I’m naturally pretty happy and accepting towards people, so I find myself smiling a lot and coming off super enthusiastic because I’m just so interested in people in general. I feel like this isn’t a bad thing. The thing I’m concerned about is that I might come off really strong to more gentle people, and maybe too intense. Because I’m just really switched on. What do you make of this? I’m genuinely happy to see and talk to people, maybe partly fueled out of social nervousness which makes me super-stimulated in social situations. But I feel like some people aren’t comfortable with this kind of intense attention and intent listening. Is there a way to work with people who prefer a more low-key energy, but still be myself?

    • What happens if you make a conscious effort to talk 50% slower to those people who seem to become uncomfortable from your fast pace?

      I know sometimes I have to slow myself down when talking until it feels like I’m talking at the pace of mud, but for some people who don’t like a lot of stimulation, this slow pace of talking seems to be really comforting to them.

      While younger people tend to be comfortable with fast talk, often times the elderly prefer slower conversation. Also consider that as we get older, we tend to lose our hearing so fast talk seems even more muffled. In addition to age, the speed at which people talk differs regionally. East Coasters tend to talk fast while those is the southern states often speak at a much slower pace.

      Because of all these natural differences, you’ll put yourself at an advantage if you make an effort to match the speaking pace of those whom you’re talking with. People like other people who remind them of themselves.

  166. Ramit, I was unable to make it to the webcast, so I downloaded a few programs and set it to record your stream automatically. It cut out after about 45 minutes (Damn Internet connection disappeared) but what you said in those first 45 minutes is, in my opinion, still more insightful and useful than any of the material I’ve paid for over the years. Thank you!

  167. Sorry I could not attend last night’s Webinar, I had Internet connection issues starting yesterday until mid-morning today. Kind of hard to register online without Internet access.

    Fast talkers do not make their points across: Just hung up the phone with my team leader. I realize I tend to talk fast when he calls, mostly because he calls at really weird times, like 5:02 pm, just before (or during) lunch and breaks or when I’m about to go to the washroom. Even though he called after my work day was done and I was hungry, the moment I realized I was talking faster than a 14 yo, I made a conscious decision to really slow down my speech and be mindful of volume and intonation. He took my points a lot more seriously – the same friggin’ points I made on Monday that he did not agree to then, but agreed to today. Go figure.

    In social interactions and skills, the small things matter a lot! Thanks Ramit. You made me realize I’m a speedy talker.

  168. I have been told a few times that I tend to talk over people’s heads. I talk about concepts in a way that assumes that everyone else already has the base knowledge about the topic. I’ve been thinking about and trying out new ways of explaining things in a way that others will understand to varying degrees of success.

    It occured to me that Neil deGrasse Tyson is a master at taking incredibly complex topics (come on, astrophysics) and discussing it in a way that your average person will understand. It will be worth studying him and the methods he uses to do this.

  169. Ramit, you keep hooking me; I’ve been on your list for years and I always gain a ridiculous amount of value from your free content. Yet even though I’m so interested in what you have to teach, I have zero interest in interviewing for new jobs because I’m happily self-employed, so I never end up buying your course.

    You have to understand why. It seems silly for me to make an investment in a course that will teach me how to get a job from an employer, when I know that’s something I don’t ever want to do. Yet I also realize that the skills you’re teaching (appearing competent, mastering social situations, effective networking, negotiation, controlling the flow of situations, personal finance, and more) are the exact skills I need to get ahead in my business.

    Have you considered offering a I Will Teach You To Be Rich spin-off course for those who want to get mentored by the best, but aren’t interested in interview skills?

    Even years ago, your free content stood out above the rest, and it continually gets better and better. I really want to learn some of your secret mojo and I’m willing to put down money to get it. Please offer me something that claims to teach what you teach, without the focus on interview skills, and I would buy it in a heartbeat.

  170. I learned that I need to speak more slowly and probably smile more. It couldn’t hurt to be a bit more social as I realized from a book that analyzes communication styles that, although I’m a woman, I have a masculine style of communicating in that I just want to get straight to the point. And I’m sometimes a bit too serious and forget to smile. But I’m definitely going to start paying more attention to the way I speak from now on and analyzing myself when I videotape myself.

    • In regard to your 2nd question about the webinar tonight: What’s behind the questions the interviewers ask? Is there a reason they ask certain questions? What are they looking for when they ask specific questions? Or is this totally irrelevant to interviewing? I sometimes feel like there’s something going on in the interview that I’m oblivious to when it comes to the questions they ask. Could you shed some light on this? Thanks!

  171. I tend to smile too much and be too friendly. I get nervous when talking to people in my field because they are more experienced and when asked questions I always have to defer to ‘I’ll get back to you on that.’ I’m getting out of my comfort zone and starting Toastmaster’s next week. I’m afraid of speaking in front of people, but I know this will allow me to grow professionally.

    Looking forward to more of your blog posts! Thanks for the web cast yesterday. :)

  172. I learned to slow it down and don’t ramble.

    I also am loading that Hillary Clinton video because if I was as solid as her, that would be AMAZING.

  173. Talking slow was the biggest takeaway and so was the non-aggressive negotiation. Both of them a big downfall. I always speak like the roadrunner runs and smile a bit too much while trying to seem personable. I can look stern at times so I try to compensate for it by smiling a bit too much because I was trying to figure how people form warm or personal relationships with people. I came off as someone who took myself too seriously even though that is not how I was to myself in my head. Hopefully this helps :)

  174. I need to focus (spelled p-r-a-c-t-i-c-e) when I talk about something or tell a story. My mind goes faster than my mouth, so it’s easy to jump off track to an idea or thought that has entered my mind, then back to story.

  175. Ramit, loved this post. Not normally a big fan of videos but I watched all these. The one thing I learned was the investment strategy when negotiating a pay rise. I hadn’t come across that one before although it’s obviously not new. I like the concept of well, you can hire the cheapest or you can hire the best :)

    • Hey Cathy, sorry I saw all this page and I believe I have somehow missed that “investment strategy”, by your description it sounds awesome, probably Ramith’s is worth a lot, could you please point me out?

      Thanks!

  176. F%&/(% I´m a 34 year old guy, from skandinavia living in brasil. I spaek WAAYY to fast…in 4 languages!!!! i laughft so hard at my self when I saw the video about fast speakers. I have always spoken to fast, and I know it, but know a know the diference. so thx to Ramit and the lady in the video

  177. The “Talking Too Fast” video just changed my life. Really. Everyone always says I talk too fast or that I should slow down. But, they don’t say how. One guy told me to think about my feet while talking. Disaster!
    I loved when you said that people with status talk slower because they know someone will listen as long as it takes. I have often said that I talk fast so people don’t have to listen as long, but now I realize that’s almost exactly like saying, “I don’t think I’m worth listening to.” Wow! I can’t believe I’ve been doing that my whole life.

  178. Hi Ramit!

    I definitely learned that I need to keep my smiling in check! While watching the video with Karen I was like, Oh! I’m the super smiley person and it HAS gotten me into pretty bad situations at work before. I was in the game industry where I was one of few females hired. Even though I became very good friends with all my coworkers there, the first couple of months I had problems with everyone thinking that I was a super ditzy and wasn’t taken seriously during group meetings with my suggestions on improving some of our processes and such. It also lead me to be the center of many jokes because it seemed I wouldn’t get offended too much because I was ALWAYS smiling and cheerful.

    The combination of my input not being taken into consideration (even though the guy right next to me could say the exact same thing and everyone would be on board) and getting picked on more throughout the days was enough for me to talk with my Project Lead and he said the exact same thing that you did, that I gotta tone down that smiling when I mean business. And it worked! And I had forgotten about this problem.

    Seriously, thanks the video and the reminder that I’ve always got to consciously check myself about adjusting the smiling in professional settings.

    P.S. LOVE the Jean Luc reference in this post. I’m a huge Star Trek: The Next Generation fan and he’s my favorite captain because he’s so eloquent when dealing with his crew and aliens. :D

  179. It is interesting about the talking too fast. I will definitely work on slowing down and using the advice given.

  180. I learned quite a few ways to improve my social and speaking skills from your last two newsletters and all the videos. I make many, many of those mistakes…
    I will be recording myself and speaking more slowly, lowering my tone at the end of sentences, and learning to smile more. Too serious!

  181. The fast talker: Can I add, she can also look at her hands in the video. I found it distracting when she was wringing her fingers, it was a “I’m nervous, please like me” gesture that can be improved. Compare with Ramit’s gestures.

    Rajesh: Know your audience. Find the person’s personality type (eg Disc assessment is one of many), and their preferred communication style. Some people are transactional in conversations (direct question direct answer, in and out) and others need a relationship (they will only trust you after you establish a relationship using smalltalk).

    But I’ve got my own crosses too… mostly that I have that flat banker monotone (I’m in capital markets IT)

  182. One thing I learned from the videos above is to control my smiling. I tend to oversmile in order to appear friendly and personable but I worry that this may be causing me to smile at inappropriate times.

  183. [...] Fixing Four Social Skills Problems by Ramit Sethi (with illuminating videos) [...]

  184. Hey Ramit,

    I definitely learned that I speak too quickly. I’ve been making videos of myself telling stories for a promotional project, and usually give myself two or three takes to work from, use the last take, and cut it down from something like 30 minutes to around 3. There’s a lot of dead space as I try to figure out what I’m going to say next, then followed by speaking way too quickly. Apparently I’ve got my upturned sentence problem under control, but certainly not the confident speaking.

    I’d be ignoring your emails about DJ after one of them asked “are you a top performer?” and I answered “no way, I’m a total slacker.” And then we had a nationwide competition and it turned out that what I consider slacking puts me in my company’s top-10, and that I’m being paid less with fewer benefits than everyone else in my region…despite pulling higher revenue than they do. So, with that realization, I’m now playing catch-up, hitting undelete. The notes on conversations here are priceless–I now know what I’d like to create a meetup regarding.