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  #1  
Old 06-06-2018, 10:10 AM
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Default Work Place Lessons from TDA: Lesson 1 - How to be Intimidating

I've decided to bestow some of the wisdom I've gained over the years upon you youngins in a series up upcoming threads. Kind of like a pod cast, but different. You're welcome.

The first lesson is how to be intimidating. You want people to know you mean business and are there to kick ass and not be kicked in the ass. Now this doesn't mean you need to act like a bully or a jerk; but you don't want to be a pushover either. So here are some tips on manning up so you don't get taken advantage of:

1. Body language is very important so stand up straight at all times when standing.

2. When sitting, use power positions. One is to lean back with your hands behind your head. Google other power positions and use them regularly.

3. When passing other people in the hall, stare at them until they make eye contact then give them a curt nod even if you have no idea who they are. Especially if you have no clue who they are in fact. You may be tempted to smile. Don't. A curt nod of recognition is all that's needed; If they never make eye contact with you, you just won so smile in victory after they pass.

4. Last point of body language. Take up as much space as possible in all settings. Even just chatting in the hall. Hand on hips, legs spread. If someone walks by, make them walk around you.

5. Speaking of eye contact, do it always and with everyone. If you can manage to make eye contact with everyone always in a room with more than one other person, do it. Otherwise always with the speaker. When you are speaking, make eye contact with the most powerful person in the room as though you are speaking only to him. Ignore the others. There's a lot I could say about how to conduct oneself in meetings but I'll save that for a later thread. This one is only on intimidation.

6. Show up to meetings on time and act disgusted at those who are late. No matter who they are. The level of disgust can vary depending on who they are, but the basic reaction needs to be there. You are sickened by people who are late or any other behavior that indicates they don't take their commitments seriously.

7. Keep the chit chat to a minimum. If you are chatty, you will be approachable. If you are approachable you are, by definition, not intimidating to anyone. Silence is key. No one cares about the weather or your personal life anyway.

8. So if you google this topic you'll get a bunch of generic advice around how NOT to be intimidating. Do not follow this advice. Further, you'll also get examples of intimidating behavior like 'say what you mean and mean what you say'. This is meaningless nonsense and not intimidating anyway. In fact, most people I know will say that they say what they mean and mean what they say as though it's such a great attribute. It's not and most people don't do it anyway. And it's not intimidating. You want to say intimidating things whether you mean them or not.

Let me give you an example. Someone makes an error on a pension valuation that cost the firm a client or at a minimum causes some embarrassment and additional work. This is your cue to begin talking about "work quality improvement measures" at every opportunity. Don't specifically mention the error, just talk about how you have implemented some quality improvements and have an error rate of less than 0. That's right, you have negative errors in your work. Everyone makes errors whether they are caught or not. And everyone knows that they make errors. If you're work has negative errors everyone will be intimidated by your work quality.

OK, that's it for now. I may follow up with a few more tid bits on this topic but I have to go make my hourly walk through the office and make sure everyone who has facebook or personal email up notices that I notice.

Let me know if there's a topic you would like me to cover. Some future topic ideas I have are: how to conduct yourself in internal meetings; how to recover from making errors and other embarrassing stuff; business lunch and dinner etiquette; working with boomers, Xers, and Millenialz; Optimizing AO time; Managing morons and also people who are smart; Running a client meeting; Dealing with sexual tension' Dealing with a bad boss; how to ask for - and get - a raise; When to, and not to, change jobs.

Warning: Use this advice at your own risk. If you are an entry level donkey and want to stay a donkey forever this advice could be damaging to such career aspirations.


ETA: OK, totally forgot to mention something: Speak with confidence. If you have naturally whiney or nasaly voice, make a conscious effort to reduce those qualities. But more important, tone of voice: confidence in everything you say. If you aren't sure, just say you don't know with confidence so it comes across like, how the frick would I know that you dumbass? Never apologize for not knowing, or really anything else for that matter. But especially not something like, "I'm sorry I don't have that figure with me". Two choices: (1) make something up you know it reasonable and no one is going to check anyway (again, say it with confidence, don't give a range, don't say "i think it's about 10%". Say, with your strongest voice, "it's 9%". Then stop talking.) (2) other option - "I don't know" then silence. Say it with confidence. That's right, you are confident that you don't know. And why would you know? Even if it's something you should know you don't care right now. You don't even know your own birthday and it will be fine if you are confident about it. Hopefully your're not that much of a dumbass because eventually you will be fired if you are that clueless though.

This brings me to another piece of golden advice if you want to be a baller. Silence is golden. Do not be tempted to fill the silence, especially in any kind of negotiation. People have a natural tendency to do this so let the other person do it. The more they talk and the less you do the more power you have. Trust me on this, it works.

PLEASE NOTE, SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT YOU (THE READER) ARE NOT SMART ENOUGH TO REALIZE SOME OF THIS ADVICE IS TONGUE IN CHEEK AND WILL BE UNABLE TO PULL OUT THE TID BITS OF QUALITY THAT WILL WORK FOR YOU AND AS A CONSEQUENCE YOU MAY GET FIRED FOR FOLLOWING THIS ADVICE TO A TEE. IF YOU ARE ACTUALLY THAT STUPID THEN PLEASE GO BACK TO WHATEVER MEEK ATTITUDE HAS BEEN WORKING FOR YOU UP TO THIS POINT IN YOUR LIFE AND DO NOT ATTEMPT TO IMPLEMENT THE STRATEGIES OUTLINED HERE.
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Last edited by The Drunken Actuary; 06-07-2018 at 10:26 AM..
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2018, 10:29 AM
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My question:
How can you avoid being sexist when taking all this "intimidation" advice?
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:41 AM
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My question:
How can you avoid being sexist when taking all this "intimidation" advice?
TDA's advice is not gender specific. Just intimidate everyone equally.
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:43 AM
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My question:
How can you avoid being sexist when taking all this "intimidation" advice?
Can you be more specific? Which part is sexist in your mind?
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:45 AM
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Corollary to the not smiling thing:

You can, with equal effectiveness, go the opposite direction. Literally smile all the time at everyone and no one in every situation. People will wonder wtf you are always smiling about and it will make them nervous. Don't have a goofy smile, btw, that will make them nervous in a school shooter kind of way. That's not what you're going for. If you can't pull off a non-goofy smile, stick with the previous advice.

Note to women: I am not telling you to smile because I know you don't like that and I am always sensitive to your frail feminine egos because that's the kind of modern man I am.
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:49 AM
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by The Drunken Actuary View Post
Can you be more specific? Which part is sexist in your mind?
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Drunken Actuary View Post
Note to women: I am not telling you to smile because I know you don't like that and I am always sensitive to your frail feminine egos because that's the kind of modern man I am.
Does this answer your question?

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Originally Posted by The Drunken Actuary View Post
4. Last point of body language. Take up as much space as possible in all settings. Even just chatting in the hall. Hand on hips, legs spread. If someone walks by, make them walk around you.

OK, seriously. This paragraph reminded me so much of a speculative fiction story in which a woman had a sex change operation, and his/her advisor was instructing him/her on how to move like a man.

Oh, well, maybe the fiction author was being sexist.
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My latest favorite quotes, updated Apr 5, 2018.

Spoiler:
I should keep these four permanently.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rekrap View Post
JMO is right
Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
I agree with JMO.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westley View Post
And def agree w/ JMO.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MG View Post
This. And everything else JMO wrote.
And this all purpose permanent quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
Yup, it is always someone else's fault.
MORE:
All purpose response for careers forum:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorNo View Post
Depends upon the employer and the situation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sredni Vashtar View Post
I feel like ERM is 90% buzzwords, and that the underlying agenda is to make sure at least one of your Corporate Officers is not dumb.
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMO View Post
Does this answer your question?
no because I posted that after your question and specifically because you asked just to be funny.
Quote:


OK, seriously. This paragraph reminded me so much of a speculative fiction story in which a woman had a sex change operation, and his/her advisor was instructing him/her on how to move like a man.

Oh, well, maybe the fiction author was being sexist.
If the specific position isn't right for you for any reason (ie women don't typically stand like that i guess is what you are saying) then stand in whatever position you are comfortable with that allows you to take up space. That's the most important part, along with not moving out of the way.
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:10 AM
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Tory women understand the power stance, TDA's advise is spot on.


https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/618336...ry-power-pose/
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:12 AM
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What would you say is the main benefit from behaving this way?
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