Everyone has those days at work when they just don’t really want to… be sociable, be happy, be friendly, be interested…(fill in your term), but you have to. This is especially true in HR. People come seeking advice and you have to be interested or show concern. You have to attend a meeting and you have to look attentive. You have to interview a candidate and you just don’t really care, but you need the employee. Ever feel that way or is that just me? My guess is that I am not alone in this. What do you do? One author offers some advice to help get us over these hurdles.
Writer Ross McCammon, in his article in Entrepreneur, tells us that if we don’t fake it a bit at work we are likely to cause more problems. He says that each of us has to engage in what is called “self-presentation.” I think in some situations we could also call it “self-preservation. According to McCammon “Self-presentation is the behavior and information we offer to others, almost always so that we can show ourselves in a favorable light. It’s how we shake a hand, smile, make eye contact. It’s the information we provide — and don’t provide.”
McCammon says there are tactics that go alone with the “lies” we tell, which by the way are honorable lies since we are trying. There are ways to fake confidence at a meeting, to seem happy for someone when you are not, to do it even when you can’t and how to smile when you don’t feel like it.
To fake confidence you need to sit up straight, like a news anchor, smile, and maintain eye contact, what McCammon calls “the gaze.” If you feel slightly uncomfortable you know you are doing it right.
To seem happy when you are not, you have to act. This does not mean you are pretending, rather you have to genuinely take on the role, according to Sean Kavanagh, an acting coach McCammon checked with on this subject. Kavanagh says you need to focus on what is needed of you then step into the role like you mean it. He says “Now you know what your purpose is, and you can deliver news that might feel uncomfortable to you with a level of confidence, warning, inspiration, support or whatever it is you need to convey.”
For those times where you just “can’t even” just fix your gaze on something eye level and turn the corners of your mouth up slightly. This will get you through the event.
Lastly, sometimes you have to smile, even when you don’t want to. McCammon suggests you think about something that is pleasant to you, something that will bring a smile to your lips. I have read before many studies that show if you force yourself to smile it will actually improve your mood. In other words “fake it until you make it.”
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