Problem solving. Crafting business reports. Working with people who are difficult to get along with. Intercultural communications. EI is a skill to employ every day, anywhere.
It’s all about knowing yourself first well so you are better able to connect well with others. In business and personal situations, I have learned the same basic empathy tactics can help us all grow into better humans.
After 30 years as a newspaper journalist, I now realize that listening attentively is my best tactic, even though it remains a challenge for me to realize when it’s time to stop talking.
They are international students pursuing a dream of living and working in Canada. I share tips to help them manage their culture shock after arriving in a place with cold weather, funny food and people who talk funny — like me.
They share cooking recipes, movie recommendations and a career enthusiasm that inspires me. I learn more than I teach.
After graduation, my essential employment advice is the same as I offered in class: use every support service and assistance offered by Conestoga College. Students paid for the services in their tuition. I was consistently impressed with career counsellors’ advice when I invited them to host in-class workshops, so I urge students to book a career support session at this link.
And if you’re looking for career advice and you’re not a Conestoga graduate, I urge you to investigate alumni support services at the school you attended. Or, contact Conestoga to access their government-funded, free career services offered to the general public.
I also share job postings in my social media feeds and job search links for the Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo area.
When was the last time you received a handwritten note in your mailbox?
And, no, I’m not talking about all those “personal” advertising flyers in faux handwriting asking to buy my house. Some of them look like they are written by primary school students. Others have tiny, perfectly printed characters that reminded me of notes left behind by a serial killer in movies.
I’m talking about a genuine, handwritten thank you card. Or a personal note.
Yes, I’m talking about analog communication in a digital world.
It happened to me last month. I donated money to a local charity, and they replied with a handwritten note thanking me. Wow!
It made me feel fantastic on a day when more than 100 new emails stuffed my inbox — most of which I probably won’t read.
I read every word of this thank you, written in flowing script writing that took me back to a time before the internet, when letters, notes and cards were commonplace in my life.
Back to the farmhouse where I grew up, to when my mother with write and mail send letters to her mother in London – Ontario. When she sat at the kitchen table night after night in the first week of December, sending out Christmas cards with thought notes included inside.
Back to a time of writing essays in pencil on foolscap paper in primary school.
Back to when I started writing my class notes in a fountain pen in high school, because I enjoyed the experience.
Back to the late 1980s, when I worked at the Cambridge Reporter newspaper. I vividly remember when readers — occasionally — dropped a thank you note in the mail about a story they liked. Or offered me a story idea on paper. I don’t think I saved any of them when the paper closed in 2003, as I was waded deeper in to my bottomless email inbox.
The study found that people expressing gratitude underestimated how pleased people would be with a handwritten note. And they overestimated the potential awkwardness that someone might feel receiving a heartfelt thank-you note.
The exchange of a handwritten thank you note also brought emotional benefits to both the sender and recipient.
And it’s more than just saying thank you to a neighbours for watering your garden while you are away on holiday.
I found business coaches promoting the power of hand written thankyou cards on the business website Forbes.com. They’re highlighted as glue to build personal networks for career success.
The simple act helps both card creators and recipients, reduce the risk of suicide, because researchers believe it builds a sense of purpose and social connections. At the very least, the cards are enjoyable to create, send and receive.
Thank like you speak
But what to say? Hallmark, the greeting card company, of course, offers advice at hallmark.com. Basically, saying thank you is easy if make it easy. Be yourself.
“Writing tip: If writing a thank-you takes you back to high school and turns your writing awkwardly stiff or formal, then relax and try to write like you speak. If you’re a person who would say, “Thanks so much for watching our dog!” then say, “Thanks so much for watching our dog!” Just exactly like that.”