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The latest news on Careers from Business Insider

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    young professionals

    Who should be in your professional network?

    If you were to ask friends, a lot of the same types would come up over and over again: the listener, the connector, the mentor.

    And while all of these contacts are important, there are a couple of lesser-known people you might be missing who could be vital to your success. (And give you an advantage — since most people don’t seek them out.)

    Who are these crucial elements? I’m giving you the lowdown right here:

    1. The ambitious young kid

    In the world of careers, it’s easy to always look upward: What’s the next big project? The next big promotion? The next big contact? After a while, it gets harder to start looking down. But that’s where having an ambitious young kid in your network comes in handy.

    By having someone in your circle who isn’t as far along in his or her career as you, you’ll have an inside look at how the industry’s changing from the ground up. Plus, if you’re jaded and stuck in a rut, seeing someone who’s excited and passionate about your field’s wildly refreshing. 

    On a different, even more selfish note, it never hurts to know someone who could be the next big thing. You’d better grab that ironic beanie, because you’ll be the hipster who knows about a hidden gem before everyone else.

    Not sure where to find one of these types? If there aren’t any awesome interns or entry-level employees at your own company, the best place to start is your college alma mater. Are there any students or recent grads doing stellar work? Reach out.

    2. The trusted insider

    Yes, people talk all the time about the importance of not gossiping in your professional life and how it always comes back to bite you. However, in my experience, having someone who always knows the industry dirt — and is willing to share it — is a great person to keep in your arsenal. Enter: the insider.

    For example, I told my own insider that I was debating taking a freelance position at another publication.

    “Oh, [Publication X] never pays people on time. And the editor is really rude, apparently.”

    It was the first I’d ever heard of this site having issues, but upon gathering more intel from a couple of other sources, sure enough, the insider was totally right. And that made my decision to send that “Thanks, but no thanks” email much easier.

    Finding a trusted insider can be tricky. After all, most people won’t just give you the scoop because you ask for it. Instead, it’s about building relationships with people who are not only well-connected, but also known for their observation and listening skills.

    Meeting this person’s surprisingly easy — because, hey, he or she loves knowing everyone. However getting introduced is only the first step, gaining enough trust to start getting the good behind-the-scenes info takes time and effort. 

    Another important distinction: While you want someone who knows all the dirt, you definitely don’t want to befriend a gossip, a.k.a., that person who spreads rumors (and drama) around. 

    3. The little-known genius

    While it’s crucial to connect with people who seem to know everyone in your industry (and can recite every contact’s birthday, favorite TV show, and Chipotle order), it’s also incredibly important to befriend hard workers who love what they do and don’t sweat the recognition stuff.

    Freelancer Paul Jarvis recently wrote a fantastic piece about the difference between being successful and being known, and it’s an important distinction. There are so many people out there creating amazing things — and just because they aren’t verified on Twitter (or even tweeting to begin with) doesn’t mean you can’t learn a lot from them.

    There’s something to be said for learning the secrets of people who just grind away at their craft without needing tons of press or accolades. And for that reason, these are the people who can make you better at your job — and help you (re)discover your own passion.

    So, if someone isn’t shouting about his or her greatness from the rooftops, how are you supposed to know that this person exists? Finding a little-known genius does take some research. The best place to start is by asking your network who they think is doing great (unappreciated) work in the field—and then, go from there.

    SEE ALSO: 11 simple things you can do to become a master networker

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    laptop outside new york cityLinkedIn Influencer John A. Byrne published this post originally on LinkedIn

    With September just around the corner, students everywhere are packing their bags and moving into their dorms for the start of another academic year.

    And so it is with the “optional” student, too, when universities offer up the largest number of online MOOC courses to start in any month of the year.

    Last September, for example, Class Central reported that 328 MOOC courses started in the month – an all-time high.

    With student interest in MOOCs surging – and schools using MOOCs to introduce themselves – you can bet that students will have even more options than they did a year ago. After all, the coming of fall not only signals the end of the summer; it kicks off the back-to-work seriousness of life.

    And that’s particularly true with business MOOCs. This September, leading business schools such as Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, MIT, and Michigan are back either with new courses or additional sections of old favorites.

    Indeed, there is something for everyone this month, with students able to choose from areas like corporate finance, investing, digital marketing, social entrepreneurship, product design and development, leadership, networking, nonprofit management, and decision-making.

    As always, these courses are free and they are open to all. If you want a certificate of completion for a taken course, there’s usually a nominal charge of $49. So registering for a MOOC course is a free and painless way to gain specialized knowhow, bone up on basics in your field, or simply expand your intellectual horizons.

    Lots of courses to sharpen your finance and investing skills

    One of our favorites on this month’s list is the University of Michigan’s “Principles of Valuation: Time Value of Money.” This course is being co-taught by Gautam Kaul, whose “Introduction to Finance” was a MOOC pioneer and remains among the standards for any professor looking to launch an massive open online set of classes.

    Even better, this course is just the first of a four-part series that Kaul will be teaching online with his protégé, Qin Lei, an award-winning teacher in his own right. This series, which will run through March, provides students with the opportunity to earn a specialization in valuation and investing, which will provide an in-depth introduction to bonds, stocks, risk, and CAPM (capital asset pricing model)–a particularly appropriate time to gain a deeper understanding of the markets, given the recent jitters of late.

    If you’re looking to sharpen your finance or investment skills, you won’t find a better month than this September. The Wharton School is back with their “Introduction to Corporate Finance” and “Introduction to Financial Accounting” MOOCs, whose brick-and-mortar cousins are part of the school’s vaunted MBA program’s core coursework.

    IESE Business School in Spain is also running another section of “Corporate Finance Essentials,” taught by Javier Estrada, one of the world’s most acclaimed finance instructors. And the University of Illinois – one of the leading finance and accounting schools – is poised to launch a new MOOC, “Financial Evaluation and Strategy: Corporate Finance.” This online offering is being taught by Heitor Almeida, who has been named “Professor of the Year” by the school’s Executive MBA students for the past two years running.

    Looking to start a business or grow it? This month’s offerings cover nearly angle. If you’re focused on maximizing your existing resources, take “Scaling Operations: Linking Strategy and Execution,” a MOOC from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management that helps firms run their supply chain with greater speed, lower cost, and higher impact.

    At Columbia Business School, Jack McGourty will take you from idea to launch – and point out all the best practices and pitfalls in between – in “New Venture Discovery: From Idea to Minimal Viable Product.” And Stanford’s Chuck Eesley, a serial entrepreneurial, will examine this same process from a high tech context in “Technology Entrepreneurship.”

    Online Class

    For entrepreneurs, a slew of offerings to help fix social challenges

    Would you like to use business tools to fix social problems? Check out Philanthropy University’s “Essentials of Nonprofit Strategy.” Taught by a former Stanford Law dean, this course provides the framework for helping managers squeeze the most impact from their precious dollars.

    Wharton returns with another section of “Social Entrepreneurship,” to help students develop and scale organizations that serve the neediest populations.

    And Philanthropy University is also teaming up with consulting powerhouse McKinsey & Co. to offer “Organizational Capacity: Assessment to Action,” designed to help entrepreneurs better shape, scale, and replicate their social enterprises.

    To learn more about courses like these – and register for them – click on the links below.

    SEE ALSO: I took Harvard Business School's new pre-MBA course online — and it is definitely worth the 150 hours and $1,500

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    angela ahrendts

    As senior vice president of Apple’s retail arm, Angela Ahrendts needs to do a lot of hiring, often for mission-critical positions.

    That places a lot of pressure on her interviewing technique: If she asks the wrong questions, she might end up with employees who don’t fit well within an organization that prides itself on operating like a well-oiled machine.

    In a new LinkedIn posting, Ahrendts walks the reader through a typical job interview, in which she tries to judge the candidate’s personality across three axes:

    • Me vs. We
    • IQ vs. EQ
    • Left Brain vs. Right Brain

    The first axis, “Me vs. We,” involves Ahrendts judging the candidate’s aptitude for collaboration with colleagues. “I ask simple questions about their family, friends, peers, personal interests, sports, spirituality, and community to glean a better understanding of their true motivation and leadership attributes,” she wrote. “This is usually the easy part, because people love to talk about themselves.”

    The next, “IQ vs. EQ,” involves a series of questions designed to evaluate the candidate’s emotional and intellectual balance, and if they “truly care about the impact they make on people.”

    The last part, “Left Brain vs. Right Brain,” delves into whether the candidate prefers to rely on intellect or instinct when making decisions. Questions about how the candidate uses his or her spare time, and what they studied in school, are particularly helpful in this context.

    The posting also features some of the specific questions that Ahrendts likes to ask. If you’re interested in seeing how one of the tech world’s most prominent executives judges potential hires, it’s well worth the read.

    SEE ALSO: Apple's HR chief: Working with Tim Cook 'actually helps you to be a better human being'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    chalkboard

    If you’re looking to make a career out of doing good, a position in which you “thrive and drive” is ideal: In addition to making a difference, you want to feel that your needs are being nurtured and that the position allows you to steer your career and mission in the direction you desire.

    But how do you identify whether the job you found fits the bill?

    Consider the “Confidence Factor” (CF), a mathematical yet simple way to evaluate that job opportunity you’ve been eyeing.

    CF = .2x(Compensation) + .15x(Satisfaction) + .15x(Opportunity) + .1x(Commitment) + .1x(Culture) + .1x(Health) + .05x(Location) + .05x(Teamwork) + .05x(Number of hats) + .05x(Business or retail)

    Note: “Business or retail” is a variable you would see in a for-profit organization, so let’s rename it to “Internal or external” when using the formula.

    I discovered this formula via a Forbes article by Brett Nelson. Like many nonprofit job seekers, I’ve found it pretty easy to get caught up in the cause without thinking about organizational fit and the core aspects of the job functions.

    The formula is a great reminder to evaluate important factors to job satisfaction and gain clarity for identifying how well any job in question measures up.

    According to Nelson, the variables listed (compensation, satisfaction, etc) were selected because they exist in almost any type of work. The decimal figures before each “x” in the equation indicate that particular variable’s importance in the career search. In his equation, he gives compensation the highest value (.2), with lower values given to teamwork (.05) and number of hats (.05).

    Each “x” in the equation is a satisfaction level that you assign the variable (you will be doing this for each of the 10 variables). You may assign a level from 0 to 100 for each. This value should be reflective of your satisfaction level regarding the organization’s performance on that particular variable. For example, if there is little opportunity for teamwork at an organization but you prefer to work solo, you might assign a value of 90 for that variable.

    The variables address the following:

    • Compensation: Is the compensation and benefits package enough to meet your needs?
    • Satisfaction: What is your satisfaction level with the work (respecting/enjoying it taking priority over your ability to do it)?
    • Opportunity: If you are not as satisfied with the job functions, how likely will it lead to where you want to go next?
    • Commitment: does the opportunity allow you enough time to pursue outside interests?
    • Culture: Is the organizational culture in line with your own values and viewpoints?
    • Health: Does the health (of the organization and its industry) allow it to thrive or cause it to stagnate? What is your comfort level with the organization’s health?
    • Location: do you like the location of the job? (consider travel times, urban/suburban/rural environment, etc)
    • Teamwork: how much work is done in teams vs independently, and how comfortable are you with that level?
    • Number of hats: will your responsibilities be varied and if so, how comfortable are you with that as opposed to clearly delineated and specific responsibilities?
    • Internal/external (formerly Business or retail): will your job involve interaction with the public, or mainly other employees (or both)? how comfortable are you with that type of interaction?
      For a complete description of all 10 variables, please review the original article.

    teacher, preschool, kindergarten

    Using the formula

    Take note that by adding the decimal values, they add up to 1.

    You might decide that the variables carry different weights of importance for you.

    You might value location at higher than .05 if you are looking for work only in a specific city, and lower the importance of commitment or teamwork.

    That being the case, change the values to better reflect your priorities, just be sure that the values for those variables still add up to 1.

    For example, using this equation to evaluate a job opportunity, I wanted to increase the “commitment” value and decrease the “compensation” to better reflect my priorities:

    CF = .15x(Compensation) + .15x(Satisfaction) + .15x(Opportunity) + .15x(Commitment) + .1x(Culture) + .1x(Health) + .05x(Location) + .05x(Teamwork) + .05x(Number of hats) + .05x(Internal/External)

    Notice that if we add up the decimal figures I assigned to each variable, (.15+.15+.15+.15+.1+.1+.05+.05+.05+.05), they still add up to 1.

    Next, equip yourself with the following:

    • A listing for a specific job opportunity
    • Your research on the organization
    • Any mental notes taken during your interview (if applicable – this exercise is best completed when you have a fair amount of information about the organization)

    This information will help you assign your satisfaction level with the organization’s performance on each variable.

    For the opportunity I was evaluating, I assigned the values in the following manner (based on how satisfied I was on the organization’s performance on each variable):

    • Compensation: 90
    • Satisfaction: 92
    • Opportunity: 85
    • Commitment: 90
    • Culture: 95
    • Health: 90
    • Location: 80
    • Teamwork: 80
    • Number of hats: 70
    • Internal/External: 75

    I plugged those numbers into the equation:

    CF= .15(90) + .15(92) + .15(85) + .15(90) + .1(95) + .1(90) + .05(80) + .05(80) + .05(70) + .05(75)

    which resulted in CF= 83.3%.

    When your CF is 75% or higher, you’re on the right track to a great fit. I find that assigning numerical values to opportunities allows you to make more logical decisions in selecting a “good fit” job. Once you’ve computed the CF of several jobs, you can evaluate them based on concrete figures.

    If you’re still unsure about using the Confidence Factor, consider this: When you are confident the job you are pursuing meets these important variables, you will be more confident during your interview. You will be able to make better informed decisions about accepting an offer once you’ve assessed the variables and your satisfaction level with each.

    SEE ALSO: A mathematical formula reveals the secret to lasting relationships

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    apple iphone apple store

    September is an exciting month for bargain hunters.

    Not only does it bring us one step closer to the holiday season — which is the best time of year for many big-ticket items — but this month is also a great time to stock up on a variety of items, thanks to a small overlap in Labor Day, summer clearance, and back-to-school sales.

    So while the end of summer may be upon us, the best deals of the year are only now just beginning.

    For more deals every single day of the month, consider signing up for the DealNews Select Newsletter to get the best deals of the day delivered to your inbox.

    1. Summer apparel

    Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. That means all summer-related goods from swimwear to patio furniture will be at their lowest prices of the year.

    Expect to see sales from all major retailers such as GapREI, and Puma. Last year, the most notable sales (i.e. sales marked Editors' Choice) came from Abercrombie and The Children's Place, which took 60% and 65% off sitewide, respectively.

    Last September we also saw a surprising amount of deals on designer clothes. Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, and Calvin Klein were just a few of the name-brand designers that took between 20% to 86% off their apparel.

    For suits and work clothes, you can expect high-end retailers like Brooks Brothers and Club Monaco to discount up to 60% off sitewide. Club Monaco went so far as to take an extra 40% off sale items. For a closer look at Labor Day sales, check out our Labor Day buying guide.

    2. iPhones

    September wouldn't be the same without Apple's fall keynote. This year, rumors indicate Apple could unveil its new iPhones and iPads simultaneously. In either case, if you want to take advantage of the best bargains, look for sales that discount the previous generation iPhone or iPad— since that's where you'll find the deepest price cuts — rather than the just-released model.

    For instance, on the day of the keynote, Apple will shave $100 off the subsidized cost of an iPhone 6. In the weeks that follow, you can expect retailers (such as eBay, Walmart, and Best Buy) to offer iPhone 6 deals with prices around $50 (with a 2-year contract). For unlocked models, you'll find the best deals on eBay where prices for an unlocked iPhone 6 could hit $500 (it's been around $610 all summer). Remember, you can always sell your old iPhone to help offset the cost of a new unlocked model or you can check out our full list of iPhone 6 buying strategies to find the best deals.

    However, don't expect to see deals on the unlocked "iPhone 6s" until November. Even then, you can expect to see only modest discounts that take $10 off the full price of the phone, or discounts that bundle a free $50 Apple Gift Card with the purchase of an "unlocked iPhone 6s" at full price.

    3. iPad Air 2

    The iPad Air 2 has been the most aggressively-discounted iPad to date, dropping as low as $359 this summer. Should Apple name a successor to this tablet, you can expect retailers to drop prices below $359. As for the alleged upcoming iPad Air 3, it could see discounts of $40 off within its first few weeks in the market.

    Deals on the iPad mini Retina 3, should there be one, will be harder to find. Nevertheless, based on last year's price cuts, you can expect the old iPad mini 3 to sell for around $275 on the week of the Retina 4's announcement. Meanwhile, the new Retina 4 could see a modest $20 price cut from retailers within days of its release.

    Barbeque, grilling, meat

    4. Grills and BBQ equipment

    September offers the best deals on grills and BBQ-related utensils. Although BBQs are generally associated with the summer, the less humid autumn weather may actually provide a more ideal climate for your backyard soirees, so rest assured that any investment you make this month you'll still be able to use in the coming weeks.

    Look for sitewide sales from Sears and Target that take 25% to 60% off various charcoal- and gas-based grills. Discounted brands will include Kenmore, Weber, Char-Broil, and La Hacienda. To compliment your new grill, also look for accessory sales from Target and Sur La Table, which last year slashed prices on grilling equipment by up to 75%.

    While you're at it, September is also a great month to upgrade your patio furniture. You'll find major sales from department stores like Target and Pier 1 Imports with discounts ranging from 25% to 50% off. Stores such as Home Depot will also discount outdoor tools and appliances, such as leaf blowers, with deals starting as low as $28. And while you may see a few air conditioner deals in the $250 range, you're better off buying your AC unit in May or July when you'll see a bigger variety of deals and prices starting from $180.

    5. 32" TVs

    September is traditionally a stellar month for deals on 32" 1080p HDTVs. Not only will deals be abundant for this category, but they'll be at the lowest prices of the year. Last year, they hit $162, but considering we've already seen prices as low as $160 this year, it's likely this month they'll drop comfortably under the $160 threshold. Outside of 32" TVs, off-brand 55" 1080p LCD HDTVs have been holding steady at $400 since the start of the summer. Otherwise, we'd recommend waiting until November for all other TV purchases.

    6. Mattresses

    Mattress deals are generally at their best during the months of April and May, when retailers add stackable coupons to their already-existing sales. However, we've noticed an uptick in mattress deals last month. US-Mattress, Overstock, and Sears in particular had noteworthy sales taking 50% off select mattresses with an extra 10% to 40% off via a stackable coupon. That's on par with the best mattress deals we see in April and May.

    7. Laptops

    If you're in the market for a new laptop, make your purchase early in the month to take advantage of lingering back-to-school sales. Our deal data shows that for the past two summers, laptop prices typically drop an extra 8% to 25% in early September. It's likely the Microsoft Store will again offer the most aggressive deals on Windows laptops, with prices ranging from $350 to $400 for a mainstream 15" laptop with Intel's latest Core i5 Broadwell CPU, at least 4GB of RAM, and at least a 500GB hard drive.

    For Apple users, we recommend bypassing the Apple Store's back-to-school sale, which this year offers a free pair of Beats Solo2 On-Ear headphones to qualifying students, and looking for Mac deals at Best Buy or eBay. There you'll find the 2015 MacBook Air 11" Laptop for around $749. Otherwise, Micro Center typically slashes the 2014 model to $700 with in-store pickup.

    A woman shops for refrigerators at a store in New York July 28, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

    8. Now is a great time for appliance purchases, but November will be better

    Labor Day tends to offer excellent deals on large appliances with sales that take up to 54% off items such as dishwashers and refrigerators. However, if you can wait until November, Black Friday will offer better sales with discounts that take up to 75% off the same items. On average, about 35% of Black Friday appliance deals are marked Editors' Choice — only 15% of deals see that distinction throughout the rest of the year.

    9. Back-to-school items

    Many students will head to college for the first time this September, and while it may be too late to apply for new scholarships, there are still many ways you can cut down your college expenses. For instance, these days students can find cheap college textbooks online, by either comparison shopping or using social media to trade/borrow books from other students in their college.

    The earlier you begin your search, the greater your chances of scoring a deal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook prices have increased 9% in the past year alone, so any discount you're able to find can impact your budget.

    10. Coffee freebies and discounts

    Coffee is one of the most beloved morning beverages, so it's no surprise that it has its own holiday. September 29 is National Coffee Day and to celebrate food chains across the country will offer free or discounted cups of coffee to their customers.

    Last year, we saw freebies (no purchase required) from major chains like McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme, and Wawa. Most of the freebie deals will last all day, so you can have your morning and evening coffee fix on the house. Alternatively, Tim Horton's and Starbucks will offer discounts on their premium roasts with prices as low as $1.

    SEE ALSO: 5 signs your spending is getting out of control

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    personality 3x4

    Your level of job satisfaction may have something to do with how well your role fits your personality.

    The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test, which measures preferences like introversion and extroversion, has been part of business culture for decades.

    Today about 80% of the Fortune 500 and 89 of Fortune 100 companies use it in an attempt to get employees into the right roles and help teams work well together.

    To determine five of the best jobs for every personality, we consulted one of the most popular personality guides based on the Myers-Briggs system, "Do What You Are," which is now in its fifth edition and has sold more than 1 million copies. The book is not affiliated with CPP, the company that is the exclusive publisher of the MBTI instrument.

    We also spoke with one of its authors, Paul Tieger. As CEO of SpeedReading People LLC, Tieger has spent 30 years advising companies and people on how personality types can help teams work together.

    Of course, the job lists aren't meant to be definitive, but rather serve as a fun way to see how certain occupations attract a particular kind of person.

    Figure out which type suits you best, and then check out the charts below.

    SEE ALSO: 14 habits of the most likable people

    DON'T MISS: People with this personality type are more likely to become entrepreneurs

    According to this system, every person falls into one of two options in four categories.







    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    NOW WATCH: More trouble for Subway's Jared Fogle...


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    women talking at work

    You're at work, and you just can't seem to focus. Maybe it's because you didn't get enough sleep the night before (read: you spent way too much time watching Humans), or because you skipped breakfast this morning. Or maybe it's neither: maybe, just maybe, you're wasting time at work doing things other than . . . work (we get it; it's easy to get off-track!). That said, here are the eight biggest time-sucks when you're in the office, plus solutions for increasing productivity so you can do your best job ever. 

    1. Texting

    How much time do you spend texting your roommate about what to make for dinner tonight? "Turn off your phone during peak work hours!" says Hallie Crawford, career coach and founder of HallieCrawford.com. And if you really must know if he's cooking shrimp scampi or chicken parmesan, wait till lunch to hound him.

    2. Leaving your office door open

    "Shut it when you have an important project to focus on," Crawford says simply. Leaving your door open invites coworkers to come in and chat, which is OK . . . once in a while.

    3. Talkative coworkers

    And speaking of chatty colleagues, sometimes you just have to shut 'em down (politely!). "It's amazing to have friends at the office, but keep in mind you're at the office," says Jill Jacinto, a millennial career expert for WORKS. "Don't let personal conversations with your work BFF go on and on." Her easy fix? "Make plans for an after-work happy-hour to get the lowdown."

    4. Checking your email

    You'd rather be doing anything but totaling those sales reports, so you refresh your email sixteen times in a row (maybe you got a new one that requires your urgent response!). "Log out so it doesn't beat you," Crawford says. Seriously! Exit out of the tab. Give yourself a fifteen minute timer for the next time you can check it — and only allow yourself three minutes once you're logged on.

    5. Going out for lunch

    lunch

    Taking your sweet time at Chili's so you can delay that task your boss has been bugging you about? Not your best idea. "If [your lunch breaks] last too long, bring your lunch a couple of days a week," Crawford says. It'll take you twenty minutes to polish off your peanut butter sandwich, and then you can jump back into your work with minimal time wasted.

    6. Long meetings

    "Make sure there's an agenda and someone to keep time and lead the meeting," Crawford says. "Have everyone prep in advance." Your team should be striving for quick, concise, and to-the-point meetings, so you have more of your day to work on projects. 

    7. Online chats

    Those work chatrooms the company set up are great for when you need a quick response from your coworker about the upcoming marketing campaign. However, they're notintended to be used for discussion about your cat's latest antics. "Ween yourself off of [IM chat]," Jacinto says. "Don't be the first to IM. Know that you can share and chat on your personal time!" Jacinto also recommends you schedule a specific period of time in your day to log on and chat — during your afternoon slump is best, because it'll pick you up. 

    8. Not prioritizing

    We're all guilty of it: working on the stuff that isn't time-sensitive simply because it's easier. "Create your to-do list for the next day the day before so you don't waste time in the morning," Crawford says. Around 4:30 each afternoon, create a quick doc on the things you're going to take on tomorrow. Look at that — you're well on your way to a higher, better performance at work!

    SEE ALSO: 11 productivity tricks small-business owners can use to get more done every day

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The sleep habits all successful people share


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    Dietrich Mateschitz

    We all know Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos.

    Other billionaires, though, are less well known and even secretive.

    Despite their business exploits and the famous brands that made them rich, many of these icons try to avoid the limelight.

    Most will know the 10 companies and famous products below, but many people have never heard of the ultra-billionaires behind them.

    These wealth estimates are based on Forbes listings as of August 8, 2015.

    1. John, Jacqueline, and Forrest (Jr.) Mars ($76.8 billion)

    The three siblings — grandchildren of founder Frank Mars — serve on the board of directors of Mars. This iconic brand includes world-recognized chocolates such as Snickers bars and M&Ms.

    Referred to as a "fortress of silence" and compared to the CIA, Mars continues to keep most dealings close to the vest, and the siblings relish privacy, with the brothers avoiding public photos.

    2. Amancio Ortega ($73.3 billion)

    The founder of Inditex, Ortega is the world's second-wealthiest person. He obtained much of his wealth from Zara, which he started in 1975. He has since grown the clothing company into one of the largest fashion retailers in the world. He keeps such a low profile that despite being born in 1936, it wasn't until 1999 that the first photograph of him was published. It is believed that he has granted only three interviews ever to journalists.

    3. Bernard Arnault ($40.4 billion)

    As the CEO of Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), he leads one of the largest luxury companies in the world. LVMH includes 70 brands, including notable labels such as Christian Dior, Dom Perignon, and Bulgari. While well known is France, he has significantly less name recognition in the U.S.

    4. Jorge Paulo Lemann ($24.8 billion)

    As a co-founder of 3G Capital, Lemann has acquired an interest in a trove of instantly recognizable brands, including Budweiser, Burger King, and Heinz. The five-time Brazilian national tennis champion is largely unknown in the U.S. Despite often remaining behind the scenes, his business exploits and bold moves are legendary.

    5. Stephan Persson ($23.7 billion)

    Sweden's richest person, Persson is chairman of the clothing chain H&M. He ran the company, which his father founded, from 1982 until 1998. His son is the current CEO. Persson has many large properties throughout the world, but he continues to live in his native Sweden and largely remain out of the spotlight.

    6. Maria Franca Fissolo ($23.3 billion)

    Fissolo is the widow of Michele Ferrero, who passed away earlier this year. He led the Ferrero Group, which is perhaps most famous for Nutella and Tic Tac. Like her husband, who avoided interviews and prized secrecy, she avoids being in the limelight.

    7. Alain and Gerard Wertheimer ($20 billion)

    The brothers, who own the French luxury brand Chanel, keep a low profile in an industry that is dominated by outsize personalities. They keep their personal and financial profiles so low that at one point, industry observers underestimated their wealth by nearly $10 billion.

    8. Dietrich Mateschitz ($11.5 billion)

    For millions of people looking for a burst of energy, Mateschitz's Red Bull is the answer. Described as one of the successful entrepreneurs of our generation, Mateschitz created a whole new category for energy drinks when he released Red Bull in 1987. Though he has a flair for adventure, he keeps an exceedingly low profile and has even been described as reclusive.

    9. Johann Rupert ($7.1 billion)

    Most have not heard of Compagnie Financière Richemont, but the company counts well-known brands such as Cartier and Montblanc as part of its portfolio. More headlines go to Rupert's fellow South African countryman Elon Musk, but Rupert is the most powerful businessman there, and has recently used his platform to raise concern about income inequality.

    10. Les Wexner ($7 billion)

    If you're looking for something sexy to wear (or give), odds are that at some point your attire has been influenced by Wexner. He has been the driving force behind famous brands including Victoria's Secret, Express, and Abercrombie & Fitch. He is presently the longest-serving Fortune 500 CEO.

    He is well known in his home state of Ohio, but remains low key. For instance, his office is across the street from a garbage dump, he rarely speaks to the press, and he keeps many aspects of his life private, including not allowing interior photos of his 315-foot yacht.

    SEE ALSO: The 15 most billionaire-dense countries

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    Cat in the hat

    Over the past few months, I've provided the recommended reading lists from Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and Richard Branson.

    Most of those books, however, are what might be called "heavy" in the sense that they take a few hours to read and absorb.

    Since time is money, here are some important business lessons gleaned from books we might remember from our childhood:

    SEE ALSO: The 15 most influential business books of 2015

    Alice Through the Looking Glass

    Author: Lewis Carroll

    Summary: A young girl slips through a mirror into a land where time moves backwards.

    What It Teaches: A single quote (from the Red Queen) neatly summarizes the entrepreneurial experience: "Here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that."



    Everyone Poops

    Author: Taro Gomi

    Summary: Pointing out that every animal excretes makes potty training more palatable for toddlers.

    What It Teaches: No matter where you work, there's going to be poop and, by extension, that poop is destined to roll downhill.



    Goodnight Moon

    Author: Margaret Rice Brown

    Summary: The repetition of "goodnight" to the objects in a fictional room creates a feeling of safety.

    What It Teaches: Rituals create patterns of thought that become more powerful with each repetition. Your personal rituals — what you do and say each day — mold your experience and creates success or failure. For example, ending each day by writing down everything good that happened that day gradually makes you experience life more optimistically.



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    google glass

    You don't have to have superpowers to read people's minds.

    In fact, one executive says getting an accurate read on people is crucial to getting ahead in your career. 

    Loren Miner, COO of recruitment services company Decision Toolbox, has become "an expert on reading minds," she says. For her, it's all about perception.

    "Being perceptive leads to being more successful, both in life and in business," she says. "A gap in perception could be a deal's greatest vulnerability."

    Miner shared some tips to help anyone improve their mind-reading abilities.

    Become a better listener.

    "You have to go in with big ears and a small mouth," Miner says. "Otherwise, you'll miss the subtle cues that a person gives."

    Her strategy is to create an open-ended dialogue, which sparks a nice discussion and allows her to really listen to the other person. "You can so, so easily perceive an engaged and passionate voice," she says.

    Be aware of the person's background and preferences.

    "People come to any situation with a different set of lenses based on their experiences and their culture," Miner says. Prior to any meeting, consider who you're dealing with and try to create an environment that fits their comfort zone. 

    Millennials, for example, may be less comfortable in face-to-face meetings and more familiar with video calls, she says. Baby boomers, on the other hand, tend to thrive in face-to-face environments and might prefer that.

    Focus on nonverbal cues.

    Awareness is the number-one skill managers should have, Miner says. Picking up on someone's body language — whether it's poor eye contact, bad posture, crossed arms, or something else — seems easy and obvious, but Miner says it's very easily missed.

    Top employees aren't necessarily smarter, she says, but they're often emotionally intelligent and highly perceptive. 

    SEE ALSO: 5 nonverbal communication cues all great speakers have mastered

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    conversation at work young professionals

    It's important to appear trustworthy when interviewing for a new job or building relationships with potential clients.

    In fact, in business, helping others realize that they can rely on you and that you operate with integrity is crucial.

    But, building trust can be tricky. And if you're not careful, your body language could work against you. 

    Here are some tips to ensure your body language supports the trust you're working so hard to build through your actions and words.

    1. Concentrate on being "open."

    Open body language is a whole category of movement that helps you appear to be the opposite of "closed." Sit and stand with open arms, never crossed ones. This will let other people know that you are flexible, not rigid, and that you're ready to listen. Hold your palms open rather than in fists, which can make you seem tense. And, keep your facial expressions "open" as well. Your countenance should be easy, relaxed, and positive. 

    2. Use sincere, easy eye contact.

    Communicating with the right amount of eye contact is super important. It's something people take note of, subconsciously, to determine whether or not they feel comfortable with you. Sporadic eye contact (or excessive blinking) can feel suspicious, as if you have something to hide.

    If you want to appear truthful and invested, make consistent eye contact during conversation, but don't hold it for too long either. Research shows that ideal eye contact lasts between seven to 10 seconds, and that it's maintained during conversation between 70 and 80 percent of the time.

    3. Watch your tone.

    Technically, tone of voice isn't exactly body language – but, it is one of the most important ways we subtly communicate trustworthiness or lack thereof. Your tone can make you seem rushed or bored, but it can also help you come off as patient, kind, and energetic when done right.

    A soothing, calm voice is most appealing, whereas a high-pitched, fast-paced manner of speaking is less desirable. So much work is done without face-to-face contact these days, so minding your tone is more important than ever. Slow down and keep your pitch low – you'd be surprised what a difference it can make.

    4. Don't forget to smile.

    Nothing shows trustworthiness like warmth. And, what better way to show your softer side than through a sincere and genuine smile. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in being professional that we can forget to smile, but this is a big mistake.

    Yes, you want to show you're capable and that you take the work seriously, but if you really want to put others at ease – a smile is the key. If you appear relaxed, others will follow your lead and relax a little too. Genuine, easy, frequent smiling goes a long way toward helping others to view you as kind and trustworthy.

    SEE ALSO: 10 proven tactics for reading people's body language

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    emma stone

    Some people, regardless of what they lack — money, looks, or social connections — always radiate energy and confidence.

    Even the most skeptical individuals find themselves enamored with these charming personalities.

    These people are the life of every party. They're the ones you turn to for help, advice, and companionship.

    You just can't get enough of them, and they leave you asking yourself, "What do they have that I don't? What makes them so irresistible?"

    The difference? Their sense of self-worth comes from within.

    Irresistible people aren't constantly searching for validation, because they're confident enough to find it in themselves. There are certain habits they pursue every day to maintain this healthy perspective.

    Since being irresistible isn't the result of dumb luck, it's time to study the habits of irresistible people so that you can use them to your benefit.

    Get ready to say "hello" to a new, more irresistible you.

    1. They treat EVERYONE with respect.

    Whether interacting with their biggest client or a server taking their drink order, irresistible people are unfailingly polite and respectful. They understand that — no matter how nice they are to the person they're having lunch with — it's all for naught if that person witnesses them behaving badly toward someone else.

    Irresistible people treat everyone with respect because they believe they're no better than anyone else.

    2. They follow the platinum rule.

    The golden rule — treat others as you want to be treated — has a fatal flaw: It assumes that all people want to be treated the same way. It ignores that people are motivated by vastly different things. One person loves public recognition, while another loathes being the center of attention.

    The platinum rule — treat others as they want to be treated — corrects that flaw. Irresistible people are great at reading other people, and they adjust their behavior and style to make others feel comfortable.

    3. They ditch the small talk.

    There's no surer way to prevent an emotional connection from forming during a conversation than by sticking to small talk. When you robotically approach people with small talk, this puts their brains on autopilot and prevents them from having any real affinity for you.

    Irresistible people create connection and find depth even in short, everyday conversations. Their genuine interest in other people makes it easy for them to ask good questions and relate what they're told to other important facets of the speaker's life.

    conversation

    4. They focus on people more than anything else.

    Irresistible people possess an authentic interest in those around them. As a result, they don't spend much time thinking about themselves. They don't obsess over how well they're liked, because they're too busy focusing on the people they're with. It's what makes their irresistibility seem so effortless.

    To put this habit to work for you, try putting down the smartphone and focusing on the people you're with. Focus on what they're saying, not what your response will be, or how what they're saying will affect you. When people tell you something about themselves, follow up with open-ended questions to draw them out even more.

    5. They don't try too hard.

    Irresistible people don't dominate the conversation with stories about how smart and successful they are. It's not that they're resisting the urge to brag. The thought doesn't even occur to them because they know how unlikable people are who try too hard to get others to like them.

    6. They recognize the difference between fact and opinion.

    Irresistible people handle controversial topics and touchy subjects with grace and poise. They don't shrink from sharing their opinions, but they make it clear that they're opinions, not facts. Whether discussing global warming, politics, vaccine schedules, or GMO foods, irresistible people recognize that many people who are just as intelligent as they are see things differently.

    7. They are authentic.

    Irresistible people are who they are. Nobody has to burn up energy or brainpower trying to guess their agenda or predict what they'll do next. They do this because they know that no one likes a fake.

    People gravitate toward authentic individuals because they know they can trust them. It's easy to resist someone when you don't know who they really are and how they really feel.

    Jennifer Lawrence

    8. They have integrity.

    People with high integrity are irresistible because they walk their talk, plain and simple. Integrity is a simple concept but a difficult thing to practice. To demonstrate integrity every day, irresistible people follow through, they avoid talking bad about other people, and they do the right thing, even when it hurts.

    9. They smile.

    People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they're talking to. If you want people to find you irresistible, smile at them during conversations and they will unconsciously return the favor and feel good as a result.

    10. They make an effort to look their best (just not too much of an effort).

    There's a massive difference between being presentable and being vain. Irresistible people understand that making an effort to look your best is comparable to cleaning your house before company comes — it's a sign of respect for others. But once they've made themselves presentable, they stop thinking about it.

    11. They find reasons to love life.

    Irresistible people are positive and passionate. They're never bored, because they see life as an amazing adventure and approach it with a joy that other people want to be a part of.

    It's not that irresistible people don't have problems — even big ones — but they approach problems as temporary obstacles, not inescapable fate. When things go wrong, they remind themselves that a bad day is just one day, and they keep hoping that tomorrow or next week or next month will be better.

    Bringing it all together.

    Irresistible people did not have fairy godmothers hovering over their cribs. They've simply perfected certain appealing qualities and habits that anyone can adopt as his or her own.

    They think about other people more than they think about themselves, and they make other people feel liked, respected, understood, and seen. Just remember: The more you focus on others, the more irresistible you'll be.

    Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0,and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests, emotional intelligence training, and emotional intelligence certification, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

    SEE ALSO: 14 habits of the most likable people

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    Larry Page

    Creating a seven-figure business online was improbable 10 or even just five years ago, but as technology improves globally, there are more seven-figure earners than ever before.

    The total number of millionaire households reached 9.6 million in 2013, but has topped 10.2 million already in 2015.

    With the technology, resources, mentorship, research, and information available, it’s becoming easier than it has in the past. Sadly, most still won’t reach the seven-figure annual mark.

    Why? Learning is not the problem for most people, and lack of information surely isn’t the problem, as there is more than ever before.

    It’s the lack of real awareness and consistent study of the right information, mixed with inconsistent execution and implementation, that holds back most back.

    You don’t just listen to something then remember it. You must put those ideas and strategies into consistent practice and repeat those actions until they are habitual and automatic. You must summarize the key ideas, sharpen your perspective, and then take more intelligent action.

    There are a lot of reasons why most won’t reach seven figures, but here are the top five.

    1. Most focus on perfection, not experiments

    Seeking perfection has lost me more than $100,000 the last couple years. By the time a millionaire has tried and tested eight different experiments without focusing on perfection, most people haven’t even gone to market yet. Maybe only two of their experiments worked and were deemed profitable. The point is they weren’t paralyzed by perfection, but were driven by testing.

    Test all your crazy ideas. No matter how crazy they sound, try them out. Find out which ones work, and then optimize how effective they are. Test all variations of that idea. Find out which variation works best. Ideas are nothing until executed and proven.

    Related: 4 Smart Money Habits to Help You Earn Your First Million Dollars

    2. Few thoroughly think things through

    “The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war”

    One of the biggest missed opportunities for entrepreneurs is not preparing for, or predetermining, what they want. Truly productive people know the result they are after and maintain acute clarity on it.

    Armed with this awareness, they reverse engineer this big goal into a series of small and actionable steps that they then put into a one- or two-page plan of execution.

    organized man with post its

    Strategically thinking through your future will prevent mistakes, while increasing your ability to predict. When you’re intentional in all you do, you mitigate against risk and can make more educated decisions.

    Plan your long-term strategies before you plan your tactics. Strategy shows where you plan on going, who you want to be, and what types of clients you want to attract. Tactics show how to get all of your strategy accomplished. You don't have a real strategy if it doesn't pass these two tests: What you're planning to do really matters to your existing and potential customers; and second, it differentiates you from your competition.

    3. Most never learn intelligent delegation

    Getting others to do something as well or better than yourself is one of the hardest aspects of leadership, but necessary if you're going to grow the business past the six-figure mark. Before you strategically delegate and build a team you must understand who you are, and what’s most important to you. Once you determine your most important values, put them into writing and operationalize them into company standards. Consistently systemize and internalize those values.

    Your team must be value-based. If somebody can do something 80% as well as you, they should be doing it. When you delegate a task, make sure the person you’ve hired has clear and defined roles. Most entrepreneurs hire very fast, but fire very slow. It should be the opposite. Hire slow, fire fast.

    Related: The Critical Lesson of Letting Bad Employees Go

    4. Most are making the wrong trades

    Millionaires realize they will never become wealthy trading time for money. It’s OK for a while when you start, but at some point you have to focus on scaling and leverage. You're fighting an uphill battle if you’re trying to make seven figures trading time for money. You won’t get to seven figures only doing more of what made you six figures.

    Focus on the power of leverage and how to create consistent income without trading time for money. There are many possibilities — investment properties, membership sites, angel investing, building an online empire, partnerships, affiliate marketing, different types of programs, etc.

    Take some time to really analyze if you're maximizing your time. If you are trading time for money, make 100% sure it's an intelligent trade. If you want to make more money, become more valuable. It's as simple as that. Entrepreneurs who understand the power of leveraging and scaling their businesses become millionaires by bringing more value to the marketplace than their competitors.

    Tooth brushing

    5. Most are ego focused instead of customer centric

    “How do we decide what’s really important to work on? I like to call it the ‘toothbrush test’: do our customers use it as often as you use your toothbrush? I guess that’s twice a day. We use Gmail and YouTube much more than twice a day. Those things are amazing.”

     — Larry Page, CEO Google

    People care about what your business can do for them. Most entrepreneurs try to sell their experience and expertise. They believe that people want to pay them for what they know, but people don’t. They want to buy a solution or outcome to their problems and desires. They want results. They want to solve their problem and reduce whatever suffering they are going through. They don’t care about you.

    Do you really understand at a deep level what your customers want? Those at the seven-figure mark have a monomaniacal focus on this. You must realize that the likelihood of the marketplace responding because you want something is nonexistent. It's about them, not you.

    Your customers are marketing geniuses, so make sure you do your due diligence. Find ways to survey them, or talk to them about their needs, wants, desires, passions, concerns etc. Customers want a fun and personal journey through all points of engagement. Do you deliver?

    I’ve had several opportunities to get inside the minds of the richest people on the planet. There are timeless lessons we can learn from. A simple statement, quote, or perspective shift can change the game for you. Become aware of what’s holding you back from elevating your business to the next level. Adjust your thinking, actions, and strategy in accordance to your new vision.

    Lastly, execute flawlessly on tactics above and make sure you’re in it for the long haul. I’m confident that by doing these things you’ll soon see your prospects for a seven-figure business become clearer than they ever have.

    SEE ALSO: How much money you need to save each day to become a millionaire by age 65

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    We’re all commitment phobes. We scan, we skim, we browse, but rarely do we read.

    Our eyes pingpong back and forth from Facebook posts to open chat boxes, unclicked emails to GIFs of dancing cats, scanning for keywords but barely digesting what we see. Average time spent on an online article is 15 seconds.

    In 2014, the Pew Research Center revealed that one-quarter of American adults hadn’t read a single book in the previous year.

    And that’s a shame because those who read consistently exhibit significantly greater memory and mental abilities at all stages in life. They’re also better public speakers, thinkers and, according to some studies, better people in general.

    Cracking open a book before you go to bed could help combat insomnia, too: A 2009 study from researchers at University of Sussex showed that six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68% (more relaxing than either music or a cup of tea), thus clearing the mind and readying the body for sleep.

    The reasoning, per psychologist and study author Dr. David Lewis is that a book is “more than merely a distraction, but an active engaging of the imagination,” one that “causes you to enter an altered state of consciousness.”

    It doesn't matter if your book of choice is by James Patterson or James Joyce, fiction or fact, so long as it you find it fully absorbing.

    Because when the mind is engaged in a world constructed by words, tension evaporates and the body relaxes, paving the way for sleep.

    SEE ALSO: What 17 successful people read before bed

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    violinist

    For a long time, it was believed that people are born with a given level of intelligence, and the best we could do in life was to live up to our potential.

    Scientists have now proven that we can actually increase our potential and enjoy ourselves in the process.

    We now know that by learning new skills the brain creates new neural pathways that make it work faster and better.

    Here is a list of seven hobbies that make you smarter and why.

    1. Play a musical instrument

    Playing music helps with creativity, analytical skills, language, math, fine motor skills, and more. While these are all great advantages, some people argue that playing team sports might do as many things. What playing musical instruments does that other activities don’t is strengthen the corpus callosum that links the hemispheres of the brain by creating new connections.

    An improved corpus callosum helps with executive skills, memory, problem solving, and overall brain function, regardless of how old you are.

    2. Read anything

    The benefits of reading are the same whether you are enjoying "Game of Thrones,""Harry Potter," or the latest issue of The Wall Street Journal. Reading reduces stress, which makes you feel better about yourself, and increases all three types of intelligence — crystallised, fluid, and emotional.

    That helps with problem solving, putting different pieces of knowledge together to better navigate everyday life, detecting patterns, understanding processes, and accurately interpreting and responding to other people’s feelings.

    At work, this translates into better understanding how to make things happen and better managerial skills.

    3. Exercise regularly

    Occasional exercise alone doesn’t do the trick. Regular exercise is much more effective than hard workouts every now and then. When exercising regularly, the cells are flooded with BDNF, a protein that helps with memory, learning, focus, concentration, and understanding. This is also often referred to as mental acuity.

    yoga class

    Some scientists speculate that sitting down for prolonged periods of time has the opposite affect and actually hinders our brain from working as well as it could.

    Related: Don't Let Too Much Sitting at Your Desk Harm Your Health

    4. Learn a new language

    Forget solving puzzles to improve your memory and learn a foreign language instead. Research has shown that people who are bilingual are better at solving puzzles than people who speak only one language. Successfully learning new languages enables your brain to better perform any mentally demanding tasks. This includes the typical executive skills such as planning and problem-solving.

    Additionally, speaking at least two languages positively affects your ability to monitor your environment and to better direct your attention to processes.

    Many people are told that because executives speak languages, they should learn Spanish or French if they want to move up the ranks. Based on how the brain reacts to learning languages, it might be the other way around. Learning another language might be the last, missing link people need to get their brain ready to take on C-level jobs.

    5. Test your cumulative learning

    Many intelligent students in high school and college "cram'' for finals and seem to have mastered the topic the day of the big test. The trouble with that is we tend to forget these things quickly because we are rarely, if ever, required to repeat that knowledge in that same way.

    One reason studying a new language makes us smarter is because it requires cumulative learning. Because we need them over and over again, the grammar and vocabulary we learn is repeated countless times as we improve our foreign-language skills.

    Apply the concept of cumulative learning to everyday life and your workplace by keeping track of noteworthy bits of knowledge you acquire. Go through takeaways from recent books, observations during an important negotiation, or keep a small journal with anything that strikes your attention. Start integrating cumulative learning into your self-improvement program.

    Related: You Have the Power to Rewire Your Brain for More Joy

    6. Work out your brain

    Sudoku, puzzles, riddles, board games, video games, card games, and similar activities increase neuroplasticity. This encompasses a wide variety of changes in neural pathways and synapses that is basically the ability of the brain to reorganize itself.

    When nerve cells respond in new ways, that increases neuroplasticity, which allows us more ability to see things from different points of view and understand the causes and effects of behaviors and emotions. We become aware of new patterns and our cognitive abilities are improved.

    Considering that neuroplasticity is involved in impairments such as tinnitus, an increased amount of it can help prevent certain conditions. For instance, people with high neurplasticity are less prone to anxiety and depression while learning faster and memorizing more.

    meditate

    7. Meditate

    In 1992 the Dalai Lama invited scientist Richard Davidson to study his brain waves during meditation to find out whether he could generate specific brain waves on command. Turns out that when the Dalai Lama and other monks were told to meditate and focus on compassion, their brain waves showed that they were in a deeply compassionate state of mind.

    The full research results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004 and then in The Wall Street Journal, where they received an enormous amount of attention.

    Meditation became interesting to ambitious people because the study implied that we could control our own brain waves and feel whatever we want to feel whenever we want to. This means we can feel more powerful right before a negotiation, more confident when asking for a raise and more convincing during a sales call.

    The general idea is that the brain can develop further, and you can do it on purpose. Different activities stimulate different areas of your brain, so you can work on becoming unbeatable at your strengths as well as improving your weaknesses.

    Focusing self-improvement on the brain is a good idea for anyone who feels they are at their professional peak (or maybe just have stopped getting better), ambitious professionals, and, of course, entrepreneurs who are looking to maximize their potential.

    SEE ALSO: Researchers discovered a linguistic trick that will help you negotiate anything

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    google

    I’ve long believed that speed is the ultimate weapon in business. All else being equal, the fastest company in any market will win.

    Speed is a defining characteristic — if not the defining characteristic — of the leader in virtually every industry you look at.

    In tech, speed is seen primarily as an asset in product development. Hence the “move fast and break things” mentality, the commitment to minimum viable products and agile development.

    Many people would agree that speed and agility are how you win when it comes to product.

    What they fail to grasp is that speed matters to the rest of the business too — not just product. Google is fast. General Motors is slow. Startups are fast. Big companies are slow. It’s pretty clear that fast equals good, but there’s relatively little written about how to develop the institutional and employee muscle necessary to make speed a serious competitive advantage.

    "I believe that speed, like exercise and eating healthy, can be habitual."

    Through a prolonged, proactive effort to develop these good habits, we can convert ourselves as founders, executives and employees to be faster, more efficient company-building machines. And, when enough members of a team exhibit this set of habits, and are rewarded with reinforcement, compensation, and promotions, the organization itself will gain velocity.

    This is how category killers are made.

    So let’s break this down. What are the building blocks of speed? When you think about it, all business activity really comes down to two simple things: Making decisions and executing on decisions. Your success depends on your ability to develop speed as a habit in both.

    Making decisions

    "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week."

    General George Patton said that, and I definitely subscribe to it. Do you remember the last time you were in a meeting and someone said, “We’re going to make this decision before we leave the room”? How great did that feel? Didn’t you just want to hug that person?

    The process of making and remaking decisions wastes an insane amount of time at companies. The key takeaway: WHEN a decision is made is much more important than WHAT decision is made.

    If, by way of habit, you consistently begin every decision-making process by considering how much time and effort that decision is worth, who needs to have input, and when you’ll have an answer, you'll have developed the first important muscle for speed.

    This isn’t to say all decisions should be made quickly. Some decisions are more complicated or critical than others. It might behoove you to wait for more information. Some decisions can’t be easily reversed or would be too damaging if you choose poorly. Most importantly, some decisions don’t need to be made immediately to maintain downstream velocity.

    "Deciding on when a decision will be made from the start is a profound, powerful change that will speed everything up."

    In my many years at Google, I saw Eric Schmidt use this approach to decision-making on a regular basis — probably without even thinking about it. Because founders Larry and Sergey were (and are) very strong-minded leaders involved in every major decision, Eric knew he couldn’t make huge unilateral choices. This could have stalled a lot of things, but Eric made sure that decisions were made on a specific timeframe — a realistic one — but a firm one. He made this a habit for himself and it made a world of difference for Google.

    Larry Page

    Today at Upstart, we’re a much smaller company, and we’re making decisions that matter several times a day. We’re deeply driven by the belief that fast decisions are far better than slow ones and radically better than no decisions. From day to day, hour to hour, we think about how important each decision is and how much time it’s worth taking. There are decisions that deserve days of debate and analysis, but the vast majority aren’t worth more than 10 minutes.

    "It's important to internalize how irreversible, fatal or non-fatal a decision may be. Very few can't be undone."

    Note that speed doesn’t require one leader to make all the calls top-down. The art of good decision making requires that you gather input and perspective from your team, and then push toward a final decision in a way that makes it clear that all voices were heard.

    As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve moved away from telling people I had the right answer upfront to shaping and steering the discussion toward a conclusion. I wouldn’t call it consensus building — you don’t want consensus to hold you hostage — but input from others will help you get to the right decision faster, and with buy-in from the team.

    This isn’t a vote for rash decisions. I can be a little too “pedal to the metal” at times, and sometimes my co-founder Anna will say, “This is a big decision. Even though we think we know what to do, let’s give it 24 hours.” She’s saved us multiple times with that wisdom.

    There's an art to knowing when to end debate and make a decision. Many leaders are reluctant to make the final call when there are good arguments and a lot of emotions on both sides. We intuitively want the team to come to the right decision on their own. But I’ve found that people are enormously relieved when they hear that you’re grabbing the baton and accepting responsibility for a decision.

    Using the “CEO prerogative” — to make the final call — isn’t something you ought to need every day. As long as you do it sparingly, you can actually make your employees more comfortable, and engender more trust by pulling the trigger, logically explaining your choice and sticking with it.

    In fact, gauging comfort on your team is a really helpful measure of whether you’re going fast enough or not.

    "You know you're going fast enough if there's a low-level discomfort, people feeling stretched. But if you're going too fast, you'll see it on their faces, and that's important to spot too."

    While I was at Google, Larry Page was extremely good at forcing decisions so fast that people were worried the team was about to drive the car off a cliff. He’d push it as far as he could go without people crossing that line of discomfort. It was just his fundamental nature to ask, “Why not? Why can’t we do it faster than this?” and then wait to see if people started screaming. He really rallied everyone around this theory that fast decisions, unless they’re fatal, are always better.

    Executing decisions

    A lot of people spend a whole lot of time refining their productivity systems and to-do lists. But within the context of a team and a business, executing a plan as quickly as possible is an entirely different concept. Here’s how I’ve learned to execute with momentum.

    Challenge the when.

    I’m always shocked by how many plans and action items come out of meetings without being assigned due dates. Even when dates are assigned, they’re often based on half-baked intuition about how long the task should take. Completion dates and times follow a tribal notion of the sun setting and rising, and too often “tomorrow” is the default answer.

    It’s not that everything needs to be done NOW, but for items on your critical path, it’s always useful to challenge the due date. All it takes is asking the simplest question: “Why can't this be done sooner?” Asking it methodically, reliably and habitually can have a profound impact on the speed of your organization.

    This is definitely a tactic that starts with individual employees first — ideally those in senior positions who can influence others’ behavior. As a leader, you want them to make “things I like to do” become “things we like to do.” This is how ideas get ingrained. I’ve seen too many people never question when something will be delivered and assume it will happen immediately. This rarely happens. I’ve also seen ideas float into the ether because they were never anchored in time.

    You don’t have to be militant about it, just consistently respond that today is better that tomorrow, that right now is better than six hours from now.

    There’s a funny story about my old pal Sabih Khan, who worked in Operations at Apple when I was a product manager there. In 2008, he was meeting with Tim Cook about a production snafu in China. Tim said, “This is bad. Someone ought to get over there.” Thirty minutes went by and the conversation moved to other topics. Suddenly Tim looked back at Sabih and asked, 'Why are you still here?' Sabih left the meeting immediately, drove directly to San Francisco Airport, got on the next flight to China without even a change of clothes. But you can bet that problem was resolved fast.

    "The candle is always burning. You need leadership to feel and infuse every discussion with that kind of urgency."

    tim cook

    Recognize and remove dependencies.

    Just as important as assigning a deadline, you need to tease out any dependencies around an action item. This might be obvious, but mission critical items should be absolutely gang tackled by your team in order to accelerate all downstream activities. Things that can wait till later need to wait. Ultimately, you can’t have team members slow-rolling on non-vital tasks when they could be hacking away at the due date for something that is make or break.

    A big part of this is making sure people aren’t waiting on one another to take next steps. The untrained mind has a weird way of defaulting to serial activities — i.e. I’ll do this after you do that after X, Y, Z happens. You want people working in parallel instead.

    "A lot of people assume dependencies where they don't even exist."

    How can you turn serial dependencies into parallel action? As a CEO, I insert myself at different points in a process to radically accelerate things. For example, if we’re coming up on an announcement and time is of the essence, I might jump in and just write the blog post myself. It’s not that my team couldn’t do it. I just know it would be faster since I’m the one who’s picky about the content anyway. As a leader, it’s your job to recognize the dependencies and non-dependencies, and take action depending on how critical the thing is and when it’s due.

    Ten times a day I’ll find myself sitting in a meeting saying, “We don’t need to wait for that thing, we can do this now.” That thought is so common. It’s just that people need to say it out loud more often.

    Eliminate cognitive overhead.

    Remember when you used to download lots of songs on iTunes? It was so painfully slow if you wanted to buy a whole album at once. You’d have to wait for one to finish downloading so they could all speed up. Projects are like this. Sometimes a project is so complicated that it feels like you’re downloading six albums at once so everything else grinds to a halt too.

    I can’t even count the number of meetings I had at Google related to enterprise app identities versus normal consumer Google IDs. We launched a project to fix this, but it was so complicated that the first 30 minutes of every meeting were dedicated to restating what had happened in the last meeting. The cognitive overhead was mind boggling.

    This is how I learned that if you can knock out big chunks of a project early, you can reduce the overhead of the remaining parts by 90%. You should always be on the lookout for these opportunities.

    Often, it will be one tiny element of a project that’s adding all of the complexity. For example, our business at Upstart has to comply with a lot of regulations. There’s not a lot we can do until we know we’ll have legal approval, so we used to spend a lot of time dancing around whether something was going to be legal or not. Then we thought, why don’t we just get a brain dump from our lawyers saying, “Do this, this and this and not this, and you’ll be fine.” Having that type of simple understanding of the problem drastically reduced the cognitive overhead of every decision we made.

    If you can assess, pull out and stomp on the complicating pieces of the puzzle, everyone’s life gets easier. The one I see the most — and this includes at Google too — is that people hem and haw over what the founder or CEO will think every step of the way. Just get their input first. Don’t get your work reversed later on. What a founder might think is classic cognitive overhead.

    Use competition the right way.

    Talking about your competition is a good way to add urgency. But you have to be careful. As a leader, your role is to determine whether your team is going fast because they're panicked, or if they don’t seem to be paranoid enough. Based on the answer, competition is a helpful tool.

    At Upstart, we constantly say that while we’re working hard on this one thing, our competitors are probably working just as hard on something we don’t even know about. So we have to be vigilant. A lot of people say you should ignore competition, but by acknowledging it, you’re incentivizing yourself to set the pace in your market.

    "You can either set the pace of the market or be the one to react. Whoever is fastest out of the gate is the one everyone else has to react to."

    When we were launching Google Apps, we were coming out against Microsoft Office, which had this dominant, monopolistic ownership of the business. We thought about what we could do differently and better, and the simplicity of our pricing was part of it.

    We offered one price of $50 per employee per year — compared to the wacky 20-page price list Microsoft would drop on you. We didn’t agonize over whether it should be $45, $50 or $55 — I think we decided that in a half hour. We just wanted to be able to tell people, “We may not be free, but we’ll be the simplest decision you ever made.” That was us re-setting the bar for the market and pushing it hard so everyone else would have to react to it.

    Rally support for decisions.

    Almost nothing in tech can be done in a vacuum. Basically, once you’ve made a decision, you’ll need to convince others that you’re right and get them to prioritize what you need from them over the other things on their plate.

    Influencing a decision starts with recognizing that you’re really just dealing with other people. Even if it’s a vendor or another company you need to rally, it boils down to one person first. Given this view, you need to make a point of understanding this person, what their job is, how their success is measured, what they care about, what all of their other priorities are, etc. Then ask: “How can you help them get what they want while helping you get what you want?”

    I’ve seen this done by appealing to people’s pride. Maybe you tell them that you used to work with a competitor who was quite speedy so that they have incentive to go even faster. I’ve also seen this done by appealing to human decency and being honest. You might say something like, "Hey we’re really betting heavily on this, and we really need you guys to deliver."

    Whichever route you choose, you want to back up your argument with logic. You should gently seek to understand what’s happening. I tend to ask a lot of questions like: “Can you help me understand why something would take so long? Is there any way we can help or make it go faster?” Really try to get to the heart of the actions they're taking and the time they’ve carved out to do it. And if this works, be sure to commend them to their boss.

    I highly recommend this over a brute force method of escalating things to the person’s manager or throwing competition in their face. That doesn’t serve them, and they’ll be much less likely to serve you as a result.

    "How can you make other people look good? How can you make meeting your needs a win for them inside their company?"

    All of this comes back to making things go as fast and smoothly as possible. When you feel things start to slow down, you have to keep asking questions. Questions are your best weapon against inertia.

    To keep things moving along at Upstart, I ask a lot of hard questions very quickly, and most of them are time related. I know that we execute well and are generally working on the right things at the right time, but I will always challenge why something takes a certain amount of time. Are we working as smartly as we can?

    Too many people believe that speed is the enemy of quality. To an extent they’re right — you can’t force innovation and sometimes genius needs time and freedom to bloom. But in my experience, that’s the rare case. There’s not always a stark tradeoff between something done fast and done well. Don’t let you or your organization use that as a false shield or excuse to lose momentum. The moment you do, you lose your competitive advantage.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how Google employees are reacting to the huge changes at their company

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    job interview

    There's lots of advice for job-seekers out there, but not all of it is worth heeding.

    Whether you're a recent graduate, in between jobs or just casually browsing to see what's out there, you've probably gotten no shortage of advice from all sides on how best to find a job.

    With so many pieces of advice out there, it can be difficult to determine what's worth listening to and what isn't.

    To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, here are five common job search tips that you may want to avoid.

    1. Use lots of buzzwords

    One of the biggest challenges in writing a resume is to find a way to get employers to actually notice it. A common suggestion to achieve this is to use attention-grabbing buzzwords — but this can actually have the opposite effect.

    "Job seekers are often told to pack 'buzzwords' into their resume. Unfortunately, words that soundgreat like 'results,' 'optimized,' 'detail-oriented,' etc. often don't actually mean anything," says Brette Rowley, CEO and founder of personal branding agency Top Seed. "It's more important to demonstrate the effect you had on your previous workplaces through metrics and plain language that anyone can understand."

    2. Plan it all out

    Every year we hear about candidates who came into an interview and didn't know something as basic as what the company does or even the company's name. It's clear that doing some prep work beforehand is a good idea — but did you know it's also possible to have too much of a good thing?

    "My greatest piece of advice would be to lose the over-preparation and instead arrive with self-worth, a listening ear and a candid approach," says Julieanne O'Connor, author of "Spelling It Out for Your Career."

    "What employers care about is hiring someone who is malleable and willing to give their personal assets/value. So the more a person can arrive to an interview grounded in self-worth, and the more they can listen, the better. Listening is the No. 1 greatest skill."

    3. Apply to as many jobs as possible

    Most people are familiar with the phrase "quality over quantity," but many forget to apply it to their job search. "While there can be strength in numbers, this is faulty logic," says Andrea Berkman-Donlon, founder, The Constant Professional. "Over-applying may get you an increased number of interviews, but what percent of those meetings will be worth your time? Make sure you read the job descriptions before you send your resume."

    4. Take a day off 

    While sending out resumes and applications willy-nilly may be inadvisable, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be constantly putting effort into your job search. Whether you're making calls to recruiters, keeping up with industry news, researching top companies in your field, attending industry events, or exercising your skills with online courses, the important thing is to stay active.

    "When you are not working, your primary job is to get a job. Therefore, wake up each day with a goal and stick to it," says Berkman-Donlon. "Staying with a routine will also ensure you are proactive about the search and will keep you abreast of changes to your industry."

    5. Make your biggest weakness a backdoor positive

    It should go without saying that giving a straight answer in a job interview is typically a good idea. Still, many people ignore this when it comes to the dreaded "biggest weakness" question, instead trying to paint a positive attribute as a negative.

    "This is a terrible suggestion, as the interviewer is looking for you to honestly appraise your faults and talk about how you've worked to overcome them," says James Rice, head of digital marketing at WikiJob. "Saying that you too often work late, or that you're too much of a perfectionist, fails to demonstrate any real self-awareness and makes you come across as fake."

    Seeking out advice and adapting your search habits can be enormously beneficial to your job hunt. But it's just as important not to blindly accept any old advice as gospel.

    SEE ALSO: 8 signs you just nailed that job interview

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    presentation confident

    We’ve heard it a million times before: “90% of communication is nonverbal.”

    But what does that really mean? And how can you use that information? We asked the experts.

    When we talk about language, we almost always are referring to words and sentences, nouns, verbs, dependent clauses, and all the various things that we can write down.

    However, human communication is much broader than that — it includes variations in tone, emphasis, and entirely nonverbal signals like facial expressions, eye contact (or lack thereof), and hand gestures.

    Even the direction you’re facing communicates something to your conversation partner, regardless of whether or not they’re totally aware of it.

    Clearly, there is a benefit to being able to reliably read (and project) nonverbal signals. So what’s a person to do? We consulted industry experts on nonverbal communication for their best tips. Read on.

    1. Understanding the Foundations of Nonverbal Communication

    Human communication is like a puzzle, and the words we speak are just a single piece of it. If you ask Joe Navarro, each movement (or non-movement) a person makes in a conversation communicates something.

    Body language is the key to understanding people’s real thoughts and feelings. Things like facial expressions, gestures, touching, body movements, and voice tone and volume make up our nonverbal communication.

    According to Joe Navarro, nonverbal communication is so important that two complete strangers who don’t share a language can still become friends. He himself experienced this: when he first migrated from Cuba to the US at the age of 8, he could only understand his classmates by reading their body language. He eventually learned English, but he made friends before that.

    Nonverbal cues can be more reliable than the spoken word. People aren’t always aware of the nonverbal signals they send, so if they’re lying, the truth might be hidden in their nonverbal cues.

    Emotional intelligence is key to navigating the social world

    Some people are uncommonly good at reading body language, able to judge at a glance what someone is thinking – and respond accordingly. They can calm a coworker who’s angry, or reassure a friend who’s anxious.

    Why are certain people so good at this? If you ask Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, the answer has to do with emotional intelligence, or EQ. They wrote a book about it called Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

    In Emotional Intelligence 2.0,the authors explain that emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand your own feelings and the feelings of others, and influence those feelings to your advantage. A person who’s good at “reading” people has high emotional intelligence.

    EQ is made up of four different elements:

    • Self-awareness, the ability to understand your own feelings and behaviors.
    • Self-management, the ability to keep yourself in situations in which you know you’ll be able to behave correctly.
    • Social Awareness, the ability to understand what makes people feel angry, sad or excited, and read it in their body language.
    • Relationship management, that is, understanding how your own behavior affects and determines the behavior of others around you. This is also called empathy.

    By focusing on developing these four aspects of EQ, you will become a more sensitive, empathetic, and enjoyable person to work with. Developing your EQ will lead to direct benefits in your career: according to the authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “the link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $1,300 to an annual salary.”

    Read in 10 minutes: Emotional Intelligence — Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.

    man laptop listening woman speaking explaining

    2. Winning People Over With Nonverbal Cues

    In The Like Switch, Jack Schafer and Marvin Karlins break down the universal nonverbal signals used by humans and tell you how to use them to your advantage.

    If you ask them, humans have a lot in common with an unlikely animal: the humble firefly. Like fireflies, humans use a special signal to attract positive attention. It’s obvious what fireflies use, but if you know what to look for, it’s not so hard to see in humans either — they call it the “eyebrow flash.”

    This nonverbal cue is a rapid up-and-down movement of the eyebrows, lasting for around one-sixth of a second. Even from quite far away, an eyebrow flash sends a signal that you don’t pose a threat to the person you’re approaching.

    A second primary nonverbal cue is the head tilt. This is a nonthreatening gesture, since tilting your head to the left or the right exposes one of your carotid arteries, which provides oxygenated blood to the brain.

    We unconsciously expose these arteries only to people who are harmless. Conversely, we tuck our neck into our shoulders to protect ourselves when we feel threatened.

    A third powerful nonverbal signal is a genuine smile. We judge those with smiling faces to be more likable, attractive and less dominant, as well as friendly.

    As an added bonus, a smile releases endorphins, giving us a sense of well-being. It’s also difficult not to smile back at a person who is smiling at you; a reciprocated smile makes your target feel good.

    3. 3 Tricks for Gauging Rapport

    It can be hard to know what someone thinks of you. But, contrary to what people say out loud, body language might broadcast someone’s real feelings loud and clear. If you ask Jack Schafer and Marvin Karlins, authors of The Like Switch, all you have to do is learn how to listen.

    Body language, like any form of language, is a means of communication, which means others read your body language too. Although some involuntary physical responses can only be controlled with rigorous training, in some situations we can consciously emphasize certain movements to our advantage.

    For Jack Schafer and Marvin Karlins, it’s all about rapport. Rapport is the name for the psychological bridge between people. It’s a name for the set of phenomenon that we see as characteristic of two good friends, the unspoken bond and understanding.

    But all people are different. Some people are shy, and can’t express themselves well. It can be hard to read these people, hard to find out how they feel about you. But most people are still broadcasting volumes about their feelings and emotional state: with their body language.

    first date couple smiling laughing

    So how do you gauge rapport? The Like Switch outlines these 3 ways.

    1. Eye contact is a tried and true way to test for rapport. If a person refuses to lock eyes with you, the relationship might need some more maintenance before advancing to the stage of prolonged eye contact.
    2. Note instances of physical touch. While we typically only briefly touch each other below the shoulders or shake hands when we don’t know someone, touching that occurs outside this area signifies a closer relationship. A light touch on the forearm or knee when you are both seated will show whether rapport has been established or not.
    3. Use mirroring, also called isopraxism, to test for rapport. People who are psychologically connected will often mirror each other’s body language in conversation. Try the “lead and follow” approach by changing your body position, like crossing or uncrossing your arms. If the other person mirrors you, it’s a good sign that rapport has been established.

    By knowing what to look for, you can better judge a person’s opinion of you, or even other people. It also goes the other way: utilizing these tests in reverse, by maintaining eye contact, touching, or mirroring your conversation partner, can also serve to subconsciously indicate your affection or respect for them.

    These behaviors and the insight they provide can be invaluable when judging potential employees or business partners, but can also be useful in your personal life.

    Read in 10 minutes:The Like Switch — Jack Schafer and Marvin Karlins

    Nonverbal communication is an indispensable workplace tool

    You’ve heard it from the experts: if you’re relying only on spoken and written language to communicate, you’re missing out. In fact, there’s a broad spectrum of communication tools available to humans, a spectrum that goes far beyond simple spoken language.

    So the next time you’re struggling to relate to someone (or to get them to relate to you), remember what our panel of experts said, and take a moment to observe their body language. It does a body good.

    SEE ALSO: 5 nonverbal communication cues all great speakers have mastered

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    Whether you're asking for a raise or negotiating your salary at a new job, one thing is certain: it's incredibly nerve-racking, but also necessary. Not negotiating your salary could potentially cost you millions of dollars over the course of your career.

    We combed through research to collect some of the simplest — and most surprising — strategies that will help you get the pay you want.

    BI_graphics_15 surprising negotiating tricks to boost your salary

    Rachel Sugar and Max Nisen contributed to an earlier version of this article.

    SEE ALSO: 26 CEOs who earn at least 500x what their median employee makes

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    Larry Page, google, sv100 2015

    The secret is in the search.

    Feed Google the right search keywords in the right order at the right moment and you just might land a job at the tech giant. Max Rosett did.

    Earlier this week the Yale-educated mathematician, only one month into his new gig as a Googler, told the tale of how he snagged a coveted software engineer position at Google in a revealing blog post on The Hustle.

    His unexpected journey to the Googleplex started three months ago, split seconds after he Googled “python lambda function list comprehension,” or so he says.

    Rosett’s brainy search terms yielded a peculiar result. They “split and folded back to reveal a box that said ‘You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?’”

    Related: Google's Recruiter on How to Build a Superstar Team

    At first the former ApartmentList.com data scientist thought he was the “the victim of an elaborate prank.” Still, he was curious. So he took up the geeky gauntlet and clicked on a little turquoise box that read “I want to play.” Up popped google.com/foobar, a programming quiz that Re/code reports Google has deployed before to source talent.

    Game on. Google challenged Rosett to solve an elaborate programming puzzle. He had 48 hours to figure it out, but he didn’t need that much time. He unraveled the riddle in just “a couple of hours.” The puzzles kept coming and Rosett kept slaying them, five in two weeks, he says. Not too shabby.  

    Finally, the sixth successfully solved problem was the charm, triggering a request for Rosett to submit his contact info. Then came an email from a Google recruiter. Then an introductory phone call. Then, heavens to Murgatroyd, he did it — he scored an interview.

    Related: 5 Tactics for Checking for That Elusive Cultural Fit

    Soon Rosett was deep inside Google headquarters, cracking problems like peanuts on a whiteboard. Three months later, he was officially an employee there and apparently still is, despite blabbing his employer’s “Secret Interview Process” online. (We doubt he got Google PR’s approval to do, so we’re interested to see if his tell-all, screenshots included, results in a pink slip.)

    Re/code, doing its due diligence, reached out to Google to verify Rosett’s story. A spokeswoman responded to the publication’s inquiry with — surprise, surprise — a puzzle. Re/code humored Google and decoded the alphanumeric hex code, which it says reads: “Puzzles are fun. Search on.”

    Puzzles aren’t just fun to Rosett, and Foo.bar isn’t FUBAR. They’re life-changing career catapults. “Foo.bar is a brilliant recruiting tactic,” he says. “Google used it to identify me before I had even applied anywhere else, and they made me feel important while doing so.” Good on you, Rosett, but, now that the cat’s out of the bag and making the rounds in Google search results, let’s hope the feeling lasts — and the new gig, too.

    SEE ALSO: A startup CEO and Google alum shares what he thinks is the 'ultimate weapon' in business

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