Successful Socializing

  How to recover your best mental and emotional state of mind.

Resilience is the physical, mental, and emotional state that allows you to be ready to handle any unexpected things that come your way. When you don't take a break you feel burned out, the quality of your work suffers, or you get sick. That's why we all need to rejuvenate, revitalize, and recharge ourselves to reach our full potential:

1. As often as possible, take breaks at work, even if it's just for five minutes. Listen to some music you enjoy or get up from your desk and stretch a little.

2. Schedule a vacation well in advance so you are sure to take it and don't use the excuse that you're just "too busy" to get away.

3. Identify the saboteurs in your life and avoid them. Saboteurs may be friends that drain you with their negativity, or they could be family members that are too demanding of your time and energy.

4. Keep a positive goal in mind as you tackle those tasks you dislike.

5. Don't be afraid to say "no". If you can't possibly take on any more work, then politely say "no" to the project. Remember, if you say "yes" to everything, you're not going to have the time or the energy to do your best on anything.

6. Eat smart and exercise regularly. The times when we are the most stressed is precisely when we need proper nutrition, so take the time for proper food choices.

Improve your chances to build good relationships

Smart business people understand the value of networking. Put simply, expanding your contacts improves your chances to build good relationships, discover leads, and generate increased sales. Plus, the more people you get to know in your own industry - or in different businesses and functions - the easier it will be for you to find the best sources when you need specialized information or the insights of an experienced professional. 

Here are some known ways to widen your circle of contacts by improving your networking strategy:

1. Offer to help others. End meetings and calls by asking, Is there anything I can do to help you?
2. Communicate your unique knowledge and expertise to others.
3. Share your own personal contacts judiciously.
4. Be approachable.
5. Write personal thank-you notes to people who help you.
6. Follow through on your commitments - always.

And when you're planning to participate in a networking event, increase your chances for success by 
applying these easy ideas:

1. Know who will be attending the event. Arrive early.
2. Dress appropriately.
3. Bring lots of business cards.
4. Have a personal 30-second "commercial" ready.
5. Remember people's names and use them in conversation.
6. Spend most of your time with people you don't know.
7. Learn about other people before you start talking about yourself.
8. Have fun.

2 simple tips to solve your problems.  

We all encounter various problems throughout our day. Here are some easy ways to solve them before they turn in to even larger ordeal.

Figure out the causes To figure out exactly why the problem is occurring we need to do some detective work and look for the 'critical factors' that are the real causes. It is important to look at the problem from different angles and perspectives, and to take other people's opinions into account to apply the most successful solution.  

Develop solutions 
It is beneficial to develop numerous ideas for how to solve a problem. Be sure to keep an open mind and seek suggestions from those people who know more about the issue than you do. Be sure to not place a 'band aid' solution on the problem. Do not try to quickly fix a situation that may in the end cause more trouble that finding a complete solution.

Changes in the Workplace..  Don't Stress ! 

Humans are naturally creatures of habit. When things do not go our way, we usually react with
resistance. We burrow deep into our comfort zones. However, it is important to realize that
everything is changing around us every day. New managers are hired, better technological
systems replace old ones, companies merge, etc. Decisions made by other members in the
company can both directly and indirectly affect us, and our fear can be a major barrier to future
goals. Work, grow, and shine with change instead of being paralyzed by it. Improvements can
only be made with progressive, dynamic change. So here are a few tips to help ease into the

1. Embrace the change.
Realize the fact that while you can't stop the company from merging with another, you can
seize the opportunity to step up to tackle some extra work. Extra efforts and expressing ideas
could get you a promotion. The possibilities are endless. While others are becalmed become

2. Turn negatives into positives.
Stop concentrating on things you have no control over. Instead of complaining about someone
else getting a new promotion over you, take an objective look at your performance to see what
was lacking. There is always something to improve and ways to polish your ideas for next time.
Take negative mistakes and turn them into positive goals for the future. Everyone is looking
for those ready to be accountable and to do that bit extra – be that person.

3. If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got.
Bad habits will get bad results. Lacking room for improvement will frustrate you when you can't
get any closer to your goals. No one wants to take the time to learn the new computer system,
but soon everyone will adjust and will accelerate inter-office communication, and you will still
be grumbling and behind on work if you resist.

4. Take it one step at a time.
Just because you have accepted the fact that your new boss has new expectations from you
doesn't mean you won't get frustrated. Try not to be overwhelmed and take the transition one
small change at a time. Pace yourself so you do not take on too much too fast. Soon you'll find
you've completed an entire puzzle while you were focusing on finding a few missing pieces.Go back to your basic good work habits, prioritize your time, concentrate on the 20% of
activities that produce 80% of the results


Don't forget,small talk does not always have to be unrelated to work topics. It may be semiwork-related as  well. Questions about what kind of work projects the other person has been involved in or their professional specialization are always interesting conversation fodder. The key thing about small talk is to be genuine, and react in a natural manner. Ask questions about the things the other person mentions that are genuinely of interest to you rather than the things you think you are "supposed" to ask about.
  Show interest and enthusiasm. Don't be afraid to digress on seemingly unrelated topics. The aim is to discover common interests and enjoy the interaction. If you and the other person discover that you both are fans of the Isle of Hawaii as a vacation destination, for example, that's a start and surely you will find other things in common too. And above all, avoid being overly earnest be a real person. Be relaxed, smile and be a pleasant person to be spending time talking with. In The American-style socializing the following are some pointers for business lunches and after-work socializing.
Avoid drinking alcohol at lunch (the "three-martini lunch" of past decades has long been out of style!).

Avoid drinking too much alcohol at after work functions. Although in Japan drinking is de rigueur, in an Ameri- can-style social situation, it's better to avoid alcohol, so that you can keep your wits sharp and be a good conversationalist. Probably better to save the drinking for when you are kicking back with personal friends.

The host should pay for the meal as well as other charges such as a tip for the hatcheck. In the U.S., the preferred seat for the guest is the one with the more desirable view. "Ladies first" rules in the U.S. are less strict nowadays than many Japanese have been led to believe but are good to follow to the extent possible, for example, holding doors for women, holding chairs for women, helping women on with their coats, and allowing women to enter and exit elevators first.
  Mingling, there's an art to circulating at a cocktail party-type function. Strike a balance between talking to people long enough to make a connection, but not "glomming onto them" and monopolizing their time.
 The goal at a cocktail party is to meet several people and make connections that can be followed up on later if there appears to be mutual interest. This means that sensing when to end the conversation and move on to the next person is important. The key question to ask yourself is: Is this a meaningful conversation or does it reek of a sense of duty? If you are feeling bored or the other person looks as if they are feeling bored, it's time to say
"if you'll excuse me I must go and mingle" and gracefully break off the conversation and move on to talk to someone else. By following the above suggestions, you are sure to forge many useful business relationship.

Charm and communication skills.

Making a good first impression. The first key to a good impression is good grooming. Clean, neatly pressed clothes appropriate for the occasion are a must, as is good oral hygiene. Be sure to stand up straight, use a firm handshake and look the other person in the eye. And don't forget to smile!

As for your introduction, keep it simple,such as "Roswalle, nice to meet you." More elaborate explanations about yourself or your background can wait until later in the conversation. Don't be afraid to get the ball rolling with a question to the other person. Something as simple as "what brought you here?" "do you often attend these events?" or "what did you think of the presentation?" are sufficient as a conversation starter. Rather than yes/no questions, ask open-ended questions. Pick something relevant to the event you are at, instead of something random or seemingly unrelated.

Small talk is a good way to get to know someone, especially if your venue is a business lunch or dinner, or you are just chatting before or after a meeting. In addition to displaying your overall charm and communication skills, small talk helps you get to know a person better, and discover things that you have in common, which helps build the business relationship. When making small talk, steer clear of personal or sensitive topics such as religion, finances, politics, race, etc. Don't ask someone's age or marital status. For Japanese, it's best to stay away from stereotypical questions like "do you like Japanese food?" or "can you use chopsticks?" Good conversation topics for small talk include the following: Sports. Americans love to talk about sports, particularly baseball, football and basketball. Asking about the local team is sure to get some kind of reaction.
 For example, ask any Chicagoan if they are a Cubs fan or a Sox fan, and you are sure to have plenty to talk about. Hobbies. Find out what the person likes to do in their spare time. This might be a participant sport, such as golfing, tennis, fishing or running. Or it might be some other activity. If you happen to find out that they share an interest with you, that's the perfect bonding opportunity. Note, however, that native English speakers seldom use the word "hobby" in conversation. It's more natural to ask "What do you like to do in your spare time?"
 Local highlights. If you are visiting somewhere, ask about local sightseeing destinations. "What should I be sure to see while I'm here?" or "What restaurants do you recommend around here?" are good gambits. Children. If the other person has mentioned that they have children, this can be a good topic. Ask about their ages and what activities they are involved in. If you have children, you can share about yours.

Recognition, responsibility & reproach. 

Recently I've got to my mind a set of words such as recognition, responsibility & reproach. In Japan there is a great number of phrases in which "credit and blame" are embedded right in to the language to asses who is responsible for what happened as well as how the speaker feels about it. The magic words amount others are "Kureru,ageru,Morau,itadaku,saseru,etc". Tagging on these verbs lets the speaker know who should get credit and who should feel thankful for the beneficial action. In the Japanese language these words are often requisite in a natural-sounding Japanese, but in these peculiar forms of expression there is implicit who might be supposed responsible or who is been benefited for something that has been done or said.
As for me, I've got to tell you that as my Japanese improves I've gotten to use more and more these "beneficial words", nevertheless I don't really feel I'm giving some credit to my interlocutor or I'm getting some kind of favor from him, I guess I've increased the use of these words just because I feel that makes me sound more natural when speaking Japanese. They of course doesn't have a counterpart or matching expression in other languages I know (Spanish and Italian beside English of course), we tend to say things or to praise straightforwardly when the situation requires it. Perhaps in English the nearest approximation is with the use of the preposition "on" for example the translation of "Mr. Tanaka ga ame ni furareta " could be "Mr. Tanaka was rained on" but this is an exceptional situation, besides there are more natural expression in English as it could be "Mr. Tanaka got wet or got soaked", I would recommend to stop trying to translate these "credit and blame"words when speaking English and get hand of a new phrase-vocabulary to clearly express what you want to say.

English may be difficult for some Japanese people but you have not idea of how difficult Japanese language could be when it comes to understand not just its words but the nuance hidden in them.
 Good Luck! See you again Bye!

Dial Up, having a good impression.

「もしもし。 こちらはロスウォールと申します。何時もお世話になっております。」 
“Hello, this is Mr.Roswalle. Thanks always for your kind support.”
In a world where good manners and decorum are vanishing almost as fast as the polar icecap, Japan is one country where proper telephone courtesy is still practiced, especially in the business environment.
Armed with my dog-eared copy of the “Japan Yellow Pages," I've
made several calls to government and corporate offices and obtained the information l needed. Granted,l have a rasping voice and speak with a 外国人のなまり(foreign accent)but l make a point of using proper phrases to put the person l was calling at ease.
 Business-related calls generally demand the use of honorifics, and this requires some rote memorization and probably pronunciation drills. Fortunately,however, learning a dozen or so standard phrases will get you through most situations.
 First, obviously, identify yourself and state the purpose of your call. if you're calling a companys  0120フリーダイヤル (toll-free) number, have your reason rehearsed in advance,e・g・, 
l am calling from Kyoto City, where l just purchased a box of your product and its..etc,etc.”
 If you wish to speak to a certain Mr. Sato that works in a big office,
its better to add his first name -
say Hiroshi - so you would ask,
「佐藤 博様 いらしゃいますか」Is Mr.Hiroshi Sato there?
 Perhaps the section or person you're calling has a 
直接番号」“direct dial number. 
If you go through the main switchboard the operator might ask; 
「お客様は?orどちら様でしょうか?」 May l ask whos calling?
"You reply with your affiliation and surname, followed by;
The response is likely to be;
「今御回し致しますので、少々を待ち下さい」“Please wait, I'll transfer you.
 If you are asked 
「ご用件はなんでしょうか?」“What is the purpose of your call?”
You can explain, or simply say;
「“個人的な事です。」It's a personal matter.”
 Say you get put right through, only to be told;
「大変恐れ入りますが。」“I'm very sorry but .”
followed by explanations like
「まだ会社に来ておりません」“He hasnt come in yet.”
「ただいま電話中です・・.」“He's on the other line.
「今ちょっと席を‥はずしておりますが・・」“Hes not at his desk now.
This means hes come to work but is not visible to the speaker.
「本日はお休みを取っております。・・」“He's off today.”
「今出ておりまして、本日は戻らない予定です。・・」“Hes left and probably won't be coming back to the office.”
「本日はもう帰りました・・」“Hes already left for the day.
 A helpful colleague might offer;
「おりかえし電話をさせましょうか?」“Shall l have him call you back? 
To which you can respond;
「いいえ、のちほど あらためて電話致します。」“No,I'll call back later.
 Or you can request that you be called by saying, 
It's an important matter, so I'd like him to return my call urgently.”
When you give your number, note that zero should be pronounced as either 「レイ」or “ゼロ,and never as “oh. four is always pronounced 「ヨン」 since its
other reading, 「シ,」can easily be mistaken for シチ」“seven”.
 If you didn't get through the first time and are calling back, you can say;
「度々(タビタビ)」“Sorry to keep bothering you,”
and then take it from there. 
If the person has been transferred to a new department and you're informed of his or her new number, read it back to confirm you've heard correctly, by saying;
「くりかえします or ふくしょう します。」”let me repeat that,
Followed by the number. 
A few old-fashioned people might still use the words
「市外番号(しがいばんごう)」“city code, e.g. Tokyo 03”
 Finally, it is very important to also end the conversation politely.
You might say;
 「それでは、よろしく」“Please remember me),
And when you hear the other party say;
 「失礼致します」 “I'm going to hang up now.
(Which in this particular case means that), that’s your cue to repeat the same.
Proper telephone etiquette will win favor with the
「電話当番(でんわとうばん)」“the person in charge of answering the phone and relay calls.”
 This in turn can help you cut through red tape to get things done faster and with
Less confusion and frustration.
See you. Bye!

How to Make the Most of Your Voice 
Persuasive people, be they leaders, teachers, managers, or sales people, use their voices masterfully to make strong impressions on their listeners. The Oscar winning movie "The King's Speech" really captured how pivotal our ability to speak persuasively can be for our careers. Here are five practices that can help improve your speech and speaking communication.

1. Articulate, articulate, articulate.
If you mumble or slur words, the important points you're trying to make can get lost. Worse, people will simply tune you out.  Mumbling may be a habit, may be something you are just not aware of, or it may be from being nervous.  These factors can be overcome.  The first step is to check - are you a mumbler!  Ask people who you can trust to give you some honest feedback.  The next step is to practice saying things more slowly and more clearly than usual.  At first this will be painful, because it is not your habit.  You must make a new habit though, so please stick with it.  As you become clearer you can speak a little faster than during the transition stage.

2. Vary your tone.
Nothing numbs listeners more than somebody who speaks in a monotone. Project your voice clearly and strongly. Learn to use pitch for variation and accent your power words. This helps keep the audience involved.  Pick out some key words you are going to use, and make a point of hitting those words with emphasis.  This could be done by adding or subtracting volume.  Contrast is what you are searching for.  Using pauses is also effective in breaking up your content, as the silence creates a contrast between pieces of information, and your audience has some thinking time and so a greater chance of following what you are saying.

3. Use the right tempo.
Don't speak in a slow, drawn-out manner and don't talk so quickly, that no one can follow the flow. The speed of speech affects how both you personally and your message are interpreted. Too slow - maybe you don't sound smart, too fast - maybe you don't sound trustworthy.  Talk fast when you wish to convey excitement or urgency. Slow down when you want your words to sink in.  The key is variety by choice for emphasis.

4. Control your volume.
Project your voice so people can hear you easily. Raise and lower your voice when you want to underline certain words or concepts.  Think of a classical music piece you may recall or have heard lately - lots of highs and lows, grabbing our attention.

5. Get rid of speaking "crutches".

Avoid starting or punctuating sentences with um, ah, you know, like, uh, really, kind of and other fillers. (This is usage not voice but it's closely related.) The pattern becomes tiresome to listeners and makes the speaker seem nervous or lazy. Break this habit if you have it. 
Usually, fillers are our poor choice of covering ourselves, while we think what it is we want to say.  There is a much better solution - silence.  Use a pause, to allow you thinking time.  No audience will mind a few seconds of time while you gather your thoughts.  They much prefer that to endless ums and ahs.  Practice getting the first word and first sentence out of your mouth without any fillers.  Just keep doing that and you will break the habit.
It's hard to know how you sound to other people. Try using a voice recorder to record yourself for a few hours. Record conversations in the office and on the phone. Play the recorder, listen to how you sound, and apply the ideas here to make positive changes!  You will sound different on playback to what you actually think you sound like, but that is the same for everyone, so ignore that element and concentrate on what you are saying and how you are saying it - this is the main game.

Learning the art of small talk!

It's often said that in business, "it's not what you know, it's who you know." Getting to know people depends on the ability to network, including making a good impression at cocktail parties, meals and other such venues. Yet, many business professionals who are confident about their work skills turn into a mass of insecurities when confronted with such social situations. This is particularly true for Japanese, who face not only the language barrier but the fact that business socializing customs are quite different between Japan and other countries. Business social situations can also be a particular challenge for non-Japanese who have spent a long time in Japan, and have adapted themselves to Japanese culture more than we have realized.
Here I will discuss some of the fundamentals of success full socializing in the American business context as a primer for Japanese readers and a refresher for non-Japanese readers.
American communication style.
First, a few words about American communication style in general. Americans expect others to engage in self-disclosure, self-expression and an exchange of opinions. This means that it's important to take an active role in conversations by speaking up. Unlike the Japanese who communicate things through subtle facial expressions and tone of voice, for Americans, if it's not clearly set out in words, it won't get across. Americans tend to feel that not trying to talk means you are uninterested in the other person or you're not making an effort. Don't be hesitant to introduce yourself first or to start a conversation. And during the conversation, be sure to say your share. Many Japanese tend to hold back in conversations in English because they are afraid of making a mistake. However, looking at Japanese conversations with Americans, more problems occur when something that should have been said wasn't, rather than something said incorrectly caused a problem. In other words, it's better to try and talk than to say nothing at all, which is sure to be perceived negatively.