News and Information

Promoting the Economy of the City of San Diego, CA

City of San Diego, CA – Protocol in International Affairs

January 7, 2016

International Protocol Institute of California Provides Training Program on Professional Presence, Protocol & International Affairs for the City of San Diego, CA 

On September 10, 2015, over eighty officials and representatives from various departments of  the City of San Diego attended an international protocol training course led by Marie Betts-Johnson, Director of the International Protocol Institute of California.  Participants learnt essential skills for hosting international delegations as well as important guidelines for representing the region when travelling internationally.

Course attendees benefitted from Ms. Betts-Johnson’s expertise in international business and protocol and included Lydia Moreno, Government Incentives Program Manager, Mayor’s Office of Economic Growth services, Adrienne Turner, Foreign Trade Zones Progam Administrator, Economic Development Department, Economic development, Denice Garcia, Directora De Asuntos Binacionales, Clcalde Kevin L. Faulconer and Don Giaquinto, Director of Protocol, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer.

The program’s strong turnout shows the City of San Diego’s level of commitment to welcoming international delegations to the region, thereby increasing investment in the area, as well as a desire to build overseas business links.

“San Diego has seen a tremendous increase in interest and business possibilities from visiting international dignitaries and delegations, who see the possibilities of investing in our City’s economy.  It makes sense that we, as a City, must be aware of all aspects of protocol and cultural understanding to make this a productive experience for all concerned.  Marie Betts-Johnson gave us more than expected and the City really benefited from learning how to navigate the sensitivities of all aspects of protocol and international relations… thank you!” Don Giaquinto, Director of Protocol, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, City of San Diego, California

Overview of the Two-Day Program



Program Overview – 4-Part Series                                                  

  1. Professional Presence – What is it and why is it important in business and international relations?
  2. Communication & leadership dramatically influence productivity in a diverse workplace and when communicating with international partners
  3. Let’s do business! – Set the stage for productive business meetings with international clients and visiting delegations. Understand the role of culture in successful negotiations
  4. Build the relationship! In the global arena, no business will be conducted without first building a strong relationship of trust and establishing rapport.  How to do this?  By ensuring that we host our clients, dignitaries and delegations in a manner that shows respect and a sincere desire to get to know who they are.  This can be achieved using the protocol skill set that will be demonstrated and assimilated in this 4-part series.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Global opportunity to enhance the image of the United States!


downloadI, like everyone in the United States of America, swelled with pride on learning about the selfless acts of heroism carried out by these brave young men. However, am I the only one who wanted to run to the closest French clothing store to “speed shop” and get those heroes a dapper outfit so they would be more comfortable on stage?  I can’t imagine what they must have been thinking as they peered out at the audience in a “sea of suits” and business attire.

Since I am intimately aware of how young men think (I have a son myself) and how they could care less about how they look, it would have been so much more powerful, if someone on the homefront, had Fed Ex’d a suit, or at least a Sports Jacket to these boys especially, since they were going to meet with the President of France!  Better yet, knowing that they were about to receive France’s most prestigious honor of the “Legion of Honour,” a call to the American Embassy in Paris would have been in order to provide suitable clothes for the boys and in the circumstances, take care of the cost.

That being said,  everyone on that train owes those boys their lives and will, no doubt, be in their debt for the rest of their lives, this was an ideal opportunity for the U.S. to “put its best foot forward.”  I understand that there will be two schools of thought on this one, the first being that the boys just got to Paris (one of them recently released from the hospital) and a wrinkled Polo Shirt and Khakis was all they had in their suitcases and to heck with it, it displayed a picture of the “rugged American” who didn’t care for such trivialities and just got the job done.  Or, would it have been better for them, when they look back on their fearless act of heroism and the great honor bestowed upon them by the President of France, that they looked their best?  Or, was that part of what made them so real?  That being said, those three heroes have a lot to be proud of.



Now that’s more like it!

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

How far does diplomacy go?

The Washington Diplomat


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Afghanistan Expert Says Corruption Breeds Violence, Steals Stability

By Michael Coleman
Uploaded on July 29, 2015

Sarah Chayes went to Afghanistan in 2001 as a National Public Radio reporter to chronicle the fall of the Taliban and George W. Bush’s war on terrorism after Sept. 11.

She did her job well, winning international acclaim and awards for her compelling, vivid stories from the dangerous war zone. But a year or so into the assignment, Chayes decided that simply being a bystander wasn’t enough.

Photo: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Sarah Chayes

  Sarah Chayes

Fluent in Pashto, the New Hampshire native and Harvard graduate traded in her notebook and microphones for local garb and a new mission: owner of a Kandahar co-op that   taught Afghan women how to produce and sell all-natural skin-care products from fruit, instead of toiling in the illicit opium poppy industry. Chayes won the locals’ respect, but slept   with a Kalashnikov rifle by her side anyway.

Along her unusual journey from award-winning international war correspondent to soap saleswoman, Chayes became something else: one of the world’s foremost experts on the insidious and destabilizing nature of corruption. In a wide-ranging interview, Chayes told The Diplomat that she not only witnessed it in her reporting and in her dealings with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his brothers, but also in her quest to obtain permits and supplies for her small soap business. In fact, she saw corruption everywhere she looked.

Chayes’s unwillingness to accept official explanations for Afghan bribery and theft under the guise of nation building led the American military in 2009 to bring her into the fold. She was tapped to serve as special adviser to Gens. David McKiernan and Stanley McChrystal, commanders of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and also helped the U.S. embassy develop an integrated approach to dealing with Afghan corruption, which was squandering huge amounts of U.S. tax dollars.

“In Afghanistan, corruption was in fact driving precisely the security crisis that we were ignoring corruption to address,” Chayes recalled, explaining how Afghan rage at financial and political corruption, and the seeming U.S. indifference to it, triggered seething hatred that created more violence. “It was driving me crazy because it kept being discussed as either-or — either we would focus on security or we would focus on corruption, and since security is more important, we would focus on security.

“It was so obvious to me in the Afghan context that the security crisis was due to people’s indignation at the abusively corrupt practices of the Karzai government and the perfectly reasonable perception of Afghans that we were in cahoots with it,” she added.

As an example, Chayes, whose current work examines the correlation between kleptocracy and the rise of militant extremism, cited U.S. efforts to support Karzai and his brothers. (Chayes herself ran a nongovernmental organization founded by Karzai’s older brother, Qayum, after leaving NPR but grew disillusioned with what she saw and left the group before starting her skin-care venture.)

“We kept serving as their air force, directing our drug raids against their [the Karzais’] rivals and kept paying them money — everything we did gave the indication that we were perfectly on board and enabling and facilitating it,” Chayes explained. “It’s no wonder the Afghans became indignant at us. It was far more because of that than civilian casualties or some guy burning a Koran in Florida.”

In January, Chayes’ second book, “Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security,” was published to positive reviews. The New York Times wrote that the book “makes a strong case that acute corruption causes not only social breakdown but also violent extremism.” In addition to Afghanistan, the book puts Tunisia, Uzbekistan and Nigeria under the microscope and finds dispiriting versions of corruption in each place.

Chayes argues that the link between dysfunction in these disparate countries can often be traced to endemic corruption, which has soared to such levels that “governments resemble glorified criminal gangs, bent solely on their own enrichment,” according to “Thieves of State.” Whether it’s a policeman demanding a bribe at a traffic stop, vote-rigging at the ballot box or a high-level official receiving kickbacks in a business contract, corruption pervades all levels of society. This in turn, Chayes contends, drives average citizens — fed up with the daily humiliation of propping up a mafia-like system — to revolution (as was the case in Egypt) or puritanical religion, often in the form of radicalism.

Now a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, Chayes said she’s gratified by the recognition of her groundbreaking work. She also said recent high-profile cases such as the FIFA soccer corruption scandal that led to a 47-count indictment in the United States against top FIFA officials and executives, as well as massive protests against the Brazilian government’s malfeasance, have helped raise international consciousness of the issue. Violence erupting in corruption hotbeds such as Ukraine and Iraq has also shone a spotlight on the far-reaching effects of graft.

“The international context has confirmed a lot of what I suggest in the book,” Chayes said, adding that she decided to write the tome to “change the mentality” about corruption as an inevitable and unstoppable phenomenon. “My objective was to reframe the causal logic and cost-benefit analysis that applies to basic policymaking on corruption,” Chayes said.

She also pinpointed diplomats as a large part of the problem, even in the U.S. government, because they often overlook corruption among their hosts.

“I think there is a real problem here on the diplomatic side,” Chayes said. “By culture diplomats are diplomatic — they are in the business of maintaining relationships. It’s extremely uncomfortable for them [to confront corruption]. I found this not just in Afghanistan but everywhere I looked. The embassy tends to be in the business of cultivating a relationship with the government, so it becomes very uncomfortable about a lot of the activities.”

In Afghanistan, where she lived among the locals for nearly a decade, Chayes said she also noticed that diplomats were somewhat unlikely to interact with the general population.

“Part of it is structural,” she explained. “They are kind of set up to interact with their counterparts. Diplomats tend to interact with government officials, and in the case of Afghanistan they were pretty constrained from going outside of the compound.

“There was also, at least for most of the time, the additional problem that their mission was kind of [described] in terms of supporting the democratically elected government of Afghanistan. That meant they were reluctant — military and civilian — to interact with ordinary Afghans without some member of the Afghan government present. That meant they couldn’t really hear people’s grievances, and that meant the people couldn’t complain without being retaliated against afterward.”

She added: “I was out in the economy and I spoke Pashto and that gave me much more access to the Afghan people.”

Chayes said diplomats are often aware of government and private-sector corruption, but don’t seem to feel empowered to tackle it.

“Both structurally and culturally, they are extremely resistant to addressing this problem,” she told us. “I don’t think diplomats are less informed than other officials, but I do think all of them are under-informed because we are not looking at the phenomenon systemically.”

Chayes also said the Departments of State and Justice don’t seem to have an effective mechanism for dealing with widespread corruption in countries around the world, especially in conflict zones.

“If there is a security issue, corruption gets pushed to the backburner,” she said. “It’s almost always farmed out to specialized, little marginalized structures within bureaucracies. It’s incredibly stove piped.”

Some of those who work in the realm of fighting corruption have suggested that the very word “corruption” contributes to the problem because it encompasses so many different things — from nepotism to large-scale theft — without being specific. Chayes doesn’t share that view.

“I happen to like the word because when you stop and dwell on it for a minute, it does carry this very powerful meaning: abuse of public office for personal gain on the one hand, and the other a kind of moral turpitude,” she said.

“Clearly, I am focused on particularly acute manifestations of corruption,” she continued. “Corruption is pervasive and it is not just an activity that is indulged in in an ad-hoc way by individual officials. In fact, when you look at it closely, the governments I’ve looked at — and there are a lot of them — they have become essentially structured criminal organizations that are masquerading as governments.”

Chayes suggests that policymakers interested in thwarting corruption work harder to understand exactly how governments and the private sector collude to enable networks of venality.

“Very often these networks are government officials, but they also have private-sector members in their networks — banks, contracting companies, logistics companies that are actually part of the network, too,” she said. “They also have bona fide criminals in their network like drug traffickers and weapons traffickers,” she added, citing as an example the Kabul Bank scandal, said to be one of the world’s largest cases of banking fraud. The bank collapsed in 2010 after losing nearly $1 billion; Karzai’s brothers have been implicated in the stolen assets.

Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher T. Sneed

U.S. Army soldiers meet with leaders in Shabow-Kheyl, Afghanistan, in 2009. Sarah Chayes, who in 2009 was tapped to serve as special adviser to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, says tackling the country’s endemic corruption took a backseat to the security situation, even though graft was often driving the insecurity.

“In the case of the Afghans, Karzai was ransoming the Taliban hand over fist with money basically pillaged from the Kabul Bank,” Chayes charged. “We in the West have a tendency to kind of see licit actors such as government and the private sector, and we’ll fight about which is acting in the public good more, and we consider criminals and terrorists to be illicit actors.

“What I have found is that in too many of these countries, in fact, you have horizontally integrated networks and they are also vertically integrated,” she said. “There is no such thing as petty corruption because that is a part of the revenue stream for the klepto network going all the way to the top. The cop pays a part of his take to the precinct captain, who pays part to the district chief, who pays part to the provincial chief, and it goes all the way to the interior minister or quite high. And in Afghanistan that amounts to $2 [billion] to $5 billion a year.”

Chayes, who also served as a special adviser to then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, tells diplomats and others working in foreign countries to be wary of those who act as go-betweens for government and private-sector actors.

“Beware of the intermediary,” she said. “In a lot of these countries, people set themselves up as the reliable intermediary between the foreign intervener and the local population and that’s really dangerous. You tend to rely on that person for everything you need and then excuse whatever he or she does with the kind of power you have bestowed on them with your proximity and money.”

Chayes cheered recent news that 14 soccer officials, including seven high-ranking FIFA executives, were charged with corruption and bribery allegations involving soccer tournaments over the past 20 years. In July, former FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb was extradited from Switzerland, where the FIFA board had been meeting at the time of the arrests, to the United States.

“I know a lot of Europeans who are delighted and say why did it take the Americans to do it?” Chayes said, referring to longstanding suspicions that the soccer federation was essentially running a bribery racket.

But Chayes said she also finds it curious that the U.S. Justice Department seems keen to investigate and indict foreigners for corruption, but those involved in the banking crisis and financial meltdown than began in the United States in 2008 have largely escaped scrutiny. Former Attorney General Eric Holder has been intensely criticized in recent weeks for accepting a job at his former corporate law firm of Covington & Burling. The firm’s corporate client list reads like a who’s who of firms involved in the meltdown: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Bank of America and more.

“Isn’t it interesting that we keep going after foreign institutions like FIFA, and look at the banks that have been subjected to civil lawsuits … look at the financial crisis,” Chayes said. “I haven’t seen very many Anglo-Saxon sons of the American Revolution get chucked in jail.”

Chayes pointed out that if U.S. officials wanted to target more domestic or foreign officials, it wouldn’t be hard under existing statutes.

“Every one of the legal instruments used against FIFA officials can also be used against foreign government officials,” she said. “That includes RICO [the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act], money laundering laws and a statute called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that prevents U.S companies from bribing foreign officials in order to gain access to markets.”

Chayes also wondered why — if the U.S. government is as opposed to corruption as it claims — President Obama and the White House recently invited Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to Washington for a coveted and prestigious state dinner. Brazilian opposition lawmakers are considering impeaching Rousseff in connection with a massive embezzlement scheme at the state oil company that has ensnared dozens of politicians. Meanwhile, the Brazilian currency is in shambles, inflation is rising and the economy is entering what may be its worst recession in 25 years. Public anger over rising corruption also fueled widespread protests earlier this year.

“Compare the FIFA arrest to the warm welcome extended to Dilma Rousseff, the embattled president of Brazil, who is believed to be shoulders deep in an oil money scandal,” Chayes said. “Why that kind of a disparity in treatment? I’m not saying we should cut off relations with Dilma Rousseff, but I am saying why roll out the red carpet for her when millions of Brazilians have taken to the streets in protest of egregiously corrupt behavior in her government? This point hasn’t been made yet, particularly not in the diplomatic community.

“It’s never suggested, why don’t we not have a state visit right now?”

About the Author

Michael Coleman (@michaelcoleman) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.


Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

15 Eating Customs Every Traveler Should Know Before Digging in

15 Eating Customs

15 Eating Customs Every Traveler Should Know Before Digging In

Have you ever sat down to a meal in another country and realized that all the locals are staring at you? Not sure what you did to warrant this unnerving attention? Something as little as using the wrong hand to pick up your food or ordering the wrong thing can draw attention, and brand you as a clueless tourist in the eyes of the locals. I’ve found myself in this situation more than a few times, and having learned the hard way, I now try to avoid such awkwardness by checking food customs before traveling to a new country. To help you avoid being labeled a clueless tourist, here are 15 eating customs every traveler should know before digging in.

Utensil Madness

Who knew there were so many rules about where to place your utensils while eating? The generally accepted practice is to place your fork and knife either straight up and down or in a 10 & 4 o’clock position with the fork facing up. But if you’re dining in England or Argentina, you should set your fork face down on the plate.

You might also want to know that setting your utensils in an inverted V or alongside your plate means you’re just resting. If that’s not the case and you’re actually done eating, don’t be surprised if the waiter asks why you didn’t like your meal.

eating customs around the world

What Time Is Dinner?

In both Spain and Argentina, eating takes place much later than in the rest of the world. Lunch is generally served between 2-3pm, and don’t expect restaurants to open any earlier than 9pm for dinner. We arrived at 9pm for dinner once and were the only people in the restaurant for at least an hour. The waiter was less than thrilled. If you don’t want to embarrass yourself, show up no earlier than 10pm.

What Should I Do With My Hands?

We’ve been taught that it’s rude to put our elbows on the table, but in Spain, Russia and Mexico it’s frowned upon to put your hands below the table. They should be kept where everyone can see them, so resting your arms (not your elbows) on the table is fully acceptable.

In India and many Middle Eastern countries, you should never place your left hand on the table or touch your plate with it. Nor should you eat with your left hand, which is reserved for other functions that shouldn’t be mentioned at the dinner table.

In Chile and Brazil, it’s not acceptable to touch your food with your hands. In Brazil, even pizza and burgers are eaten with a fork. However, in Ethiopia and India, everything is eaten by hand.

indian food

Wine Pouring Technique

In Argentina and Bolivia, there are very specific rules for how wine should be poured. Pouring wine backwards into the glass or pouring with your left hand indicates that you dislike the person for which you are pouring.

Would You Like Coffee With That?

In Italy, ordering a cappuccino in the afternoon or – gasp – after dinner will surely elicit stares from the locals, who never drink cappuccino after midday. Similarly, in Spain, espresso is only drank after a meal. In Turkey, coffee is not drank first thing in the morning. A cup of traditional Turkish coffee is to be consumed only after a meal, never before breakfast. To be safe, wherever you’re headed, you should study up on your coffee-ordering etiquette.

eating customs worldwide

Eating With a Fork

Thailand is not a place where chopsticks are frequently used, but you shouldn’t plan to eat with a fork either. You will be given a fork and a spoon, but the fork should only be used as a means of pushing food onto the spoon. Never put the fork in your mouth.

In Europe and Argentina, you’ll always eat with a fork in your left hand and a knife in your right. If you’re doing it right, there’s no need to put either of them down, unlike in the United States where we often switch between fork and knife in the right hand. The European method is really much more efficient.

May I Get You a Drink?

If you’ve ever drank with friends in Japan or Korea, you already know that it’s a sign of respect and admiration to pour drinks for one another. It would just be sad if you poured your own. You should also be sure your drinking partner’s cup never goes empty.

In Russia, it’s considered rude to turn down a drink when offered. And once you’ve been handed that shot glass of Vodka, it’s bottoms up! There’s no sipping allowed. You can throw that rule out the window when you’re in Greece, where the national spirit, Ouzo, is meant to be sipped slowly.

drinking in russia


The Clean Plate Club

In Japan and France, cleaning your plate signifies you’ve had enough to eat and enjoyed the meal, while in other cultures like the Philippines, Cambodia and Egypt, it signifies the opposite and you will either have greatly offended the chef or be served more. In China, always leave a bite on the plate to signify that you are finished.

The (Dubious) Use of Chopsticks

Who knew there could be so many rules wrapped around two little sticks, especially in Japan. But if you plan to eat in an Asian country without branding yourself a helpless tourists, you should learn these basics.

Never plant your chopsticks into a bowl of rice vertically. This is how rice is offered to the spirit of a dead person, and no one wants that reminder while eating.

Likewise, at a Buddhist funeral ritual, the bones of the deceased are passed from person to person using chopsticks, so you don’t want to be caught passing your food that way.

When eating from shared plates, use the back-end of the chopsticks to dish up food.

Never point your chopsticks directly at someone or use them to point at a dish.

Don’t spear food with your chopstick.

chopstick etiquette

Show Some Respect

In Korea, the eldest person at the table should take the first bite before anyone else digs in, and when you’re drinking with someone older you should always turn your head or back away from them as a sign of respect.

Right of Refusal

Most of us know that it’s impolite to turn down a drink in Russia. This also applies in Japan and Korea, where refusing at least the first drink is antisocial.

But what about when you’re served foods that are questionable or are downright gag-worthy to your unaccustomed palate like fish eyeballs, deep-fried spiders and intestines? It is an insult in countries like China and Denmark, to refuse food, so the best course of action is to at least try a bite. You might also consider telling your host that you are allergic or unable to eat it due to dietary restrictions, to avoid insulting them.

drinking customs around the world

Asking for Condiments

It may be acceptable in the United States to ask for ketchup or an extra side of sauce or dressing, but in some countries like Egypt and France, asking for condiments or salt is akin to telling the chef he hasn’t seasoned the food properly. If you still decide to ask for a condiment, make sure it’s one they’ve heard of. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve overheard asking for Ranch dressing outside the United States. You are guaranteed to be scoffed at or given a blank stare when asking for Ranch.

Bread Service

In many countries, you’ll be served bread with your meal, but do you know what to do with it? French bread is always served with a meal in France, but it’s not meant as an appetizer. It’s meant to be used as a sort of utensil to scoop up and transport food, much like a knife would be used.

In Ethiopia and India, bread in the form of Injera and naan, is always served with a meal and it, too, should be used to scoop and shovel food into your mouth. Just remember never to stick your fingers in your mouth as you eat it.

Throwing Garbage on the Floor

In Spain, we were surprised to find a trashy mess strewn over the floor of bars while participating in a traditional pinchos crawl, and were flummoxed when we couldn’t find a trash can for our napkins. Turns out you are expected, even encouraged, to toss your trash on the floor (olive pits included). The messier a bar gets, the better it must be!


With all the different views on tipping around the world, it is imperative that you check tipping customs before heading to a new country. In the United States, you’ll offend the waiter if you leave anything less than 15% (20% is expected), but in Japan or Korea, you’ll equally offend the waiter if you leave any tip at all. Many countries call for leaving your extra change or rounding up the bill, but you don’t want to be that person who violates the tipping customs.

Got It?!

These 15 eating customs barely scrape the surface of what is acceptable in one country and completely insulting in another, but you’ll certainly spare yourself some embarrassment by taking note of these basics. Always check the etiquette before your next International trip.

Have you encountered an eating custom that you had to learn the hard way in your travels? We want to hear about it. Share your experiences in the comments!

Author’s Bio

laura-250aLaura Lynch is the writer and creator of the travel blog, Savored Journeys. She caught the travel bug over 20 years ago and has been traveling the world ever since. She has an insatiable appetite for culinary travel and she tells of the food and wine adventures she and her husband Nick have had around the world on her blog.

You can follow her adventures on Twitter, Facebook,Pinterest and Instagram!

Did You Like This Article?

Sign up now and receive a free travel wallpaper each week! Plus we will send you our best articles to help inspire you to live a life of freedom, travel and adventure.

Any bookings, orders or services paid for through Goats On The Road won’t cost our readers extra, but do help to keep the Goats On The Road through affiliate sales. Some articles are supplied by third-party writers and don’t necessarily reflect our personal views or opinions.

Nick & Dariece started this website to encourage others to do what they love. For some it’s travel, but happiness comes in many forms. It’s all about lifestyle design.


Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Johanna Afshani, Attorney at Law

 Welcome our Vice President of Training!

Protocol is a two-pronged process:

1.In the legal sense, it is defined as an international agreement that supplements or amends a treaty. 

2.In the diplomatic sense, the term refers to the set of rules, procedures, conventions and ceremonies that relate to relations between states.

Ms. Afshani’s  experience as an attorney brings an invaluable component that enhances and compliments our protocol programs from a legal perspective.  She shares her knowledge on critical conflict resolution strategies and mediation, deciphering of multilateral / bilateral agreements, signing ceremonies, the intricacies of diplomatic immunity and the emergence of cyber diplomacy, modern diplomacy and diplomatic protocol.

  Johanna Afshani

After graduating from the University of Southern California, where she served as a Research Fellow at the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, Johanna Afshani worked as Special Assistant to then-former President Ronald Reagan in Century City, California.

Johanna trained at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and Earned her Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University School of Law.

After practicing law for two years in Hawaii, Johanna relocated to Massachusetts and served as a courthouse mediator under the auspices of Mediation Works Incorporated. During her time in Boston, Johanna augmented her dispute resolution skills by attending the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.

Johanna serves as a Trainer for the National Conflict Resolution Center’s (NCRC), The Exchange and the ART of Intercultural Communication courses, where she teaches strategies for managing conflict within the education, community, and corporate sectors.

She also serves on the Board of Directors for NCRC, which provides dispute resolution through client services, training and education.

Johanna served as a Lead Mediator at the Kearny Mesa Small Claims courthouse, where she mediated a wide range of civil matters and mentored University of San Diego law students.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Diplomacy Council.

She has been credited in several publications.  Johanna attributes her passion for world affairs to her multicultural French, Iranian and American background, as well as her travels around the globe.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Alternatives to “Let me finish”

The phrase “Let me finish,” although sometimes warranted when someone interrupts you during a meeting is, in my opinion, most offensive and rude.  There are times, however,  (such as in a heated debate, when a colleague continues to interrupt you and you know that being polite is not going to work), that you have no recourse but to use that phrase.  Read on about  much more effective strategies on how to deal with this issue:



Rebecca Knight

APRIL 16, 2015


How to Refocus a Meeting After Someone Interrupts


You did everything you were supposed to do: Invited all the right people, sent out an agenda in advance, and got everyone’s agreement on the process. Despite your diligence, your meeting is being hijacked. How should you handle a persistent interrupter? Will it work to just ignore the person? And how can you get the meeting back on track?

What the Experts Say
Whether it’s a team member who disagrees with your approach, an employee from another department who brings up irrelevant information, or a colleague who wants to use your meeting as a soapbox for his own personal agenda, dealing with interrupters during a meeting is challenging. “It’s the workplace equivalent of having someone steal the parking spot you were aiming for or jumping ahead of you in the line at the grocery store,” says Judith White, visiting associate professor at the Tuck School of Business. “When someone interrupts you, blocks you, or otherwise thwarts your intended action, it’s natural to feel upset,” she says. “This is a basic instinct and you will always have a flash of annoyance.” The key to successfully dealing with interrupters is to quash your frustration and instead “operate from a mindset of curiosity,” says Roger Schwarz, an organizational psychologist and the author of Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams. Here’s how to handle this often frustrating situation.

Go in prepared
A “well-designed agenda” provides both “a structure for the meeting and serves as a point of reference,” according to Schwarz. People are less likely to disrupt a meeting if they feel like they had a hand in shaping it. Send out a proposed agenda ahead of time and ask your team for input. Give them a time frame within which to make recommendations and ask that they include a reason why they think the item is worthy of discussion. Everyone should have a say but “the team leader gets the final decision about what to include.” While an agenda does not entirely prevent interruptions, “it becomes the basis of your intervention,” says Schwarz. Once you’re in the meeting, if someone interrupts with an off-topic remark, Schwarz suggests saying something like, ‘I don’t see how your comment connects to the issue we’re talking about now. Help me understand how the two relate.’ If he can’t do that, “then you use the agenda to pick up where you left off,” he says.

Stay calm
When someone interrupts or challenges you in a meeting, it’s important to respond in “a leaderly way,” says White. “Don’t get emotional — if you look threatened or angry, you will lose the trust of everyone in the room.” Rather, your goal is to “react with humor, kindness, inclusion, and assertiveness.” Modulate your tone of voice and inflection, too. When you respond to the person who is interrupting, Schwarz says, “You should talk in a genuinely curious, not frustrated way.”

Listen, validate, redirect
Don’t be tempted to ignore the interruption and move on. At the point of interruption, “you need to stop talking and listen to what the person has to say,” says White. Then summarize his points “to let him know he’s been heard.” Let’s say, for instance, you’re leading a meeting about new corporate initiatives, and your colleague, Bob, interjects with, “Why are we bothering to discuss this? We don’t have money in the budget to execute these ideas.” You should then say, “Bob, your point is that we don’t have money in the budget for this. And that’s a good point.” After “validating his comments,” one strategy for moving on is to “redirect the discussion.” The people around the table — even the interrupter — “are counting on you to lead the meeting in a productive direction.” Start by “restating the purpose of the meeting.” In this instance, you could say something along the lines of, “We have great minds in this room and the president of our company asked us to work together to come up with cost-efficient ideas; I am confident we can do it.”

Probe further
Don’t always rush to redirect the conversation, however, warns Schwarz. Your goal is not necessarily to move through the meeting agenda as quickly as possible. Rather, your aim is to “address issues efficiently, but also in a way that leads to a sustainable solution,” he says “When a colleague interrupts you with a comment you think is off-topic, that’s not a fact; it’s an inference,” he says. Ask your colleague to elaborate on his point; if you’re still unsure how his point relates to the topic at hand, ask others at the meeting for help. Frame the interruption as “an opportunity for learning a new perspective,” he says. “Think: What does he know that I don’t know?” It may be that he has a point you haven’t thought of. “Take time to address legitimate issues because they’re not going away,” says Schwarz.

Be resolute and direct
When a colleague persists in interrupting, is off on a tangent, or keeps on making the same point over and over, be direct and firm, says White. She suggests saying something like: “Rich, you’ve brought this issue up before and we heard you. If you would like to stay after the meeting and talk with me, I’d be happy to discuss the matter further, but now we need to get back on track.” Or you could directly address the colleague who keeps on interrupting. Schwarz recommends a script like this: “Bob, I’m seeing a pattern, and I’m trying to figure out what’s happening here. Is there something going on that’s leading you to bring up these items?” While some might contend that strategy puts Bob on the spot, Schwarz says, “you need to deal with the issue in the place where the data lie — within the team.” Handling situations in the open also allows you “to model to your team how to have challenging conversations” and provides a forum for others to “add relevant information.”

Use body language to take back control
When your meeting is in danger of derailment because of insistent or hostile interrupters, you can take back control using body language and non-verbal communication. “If you’re already standing, take a step or two toward the person who’s interrupting you,” says White. “Face that person and hold his gaze for five seconds — it will feel like an eternity.” Never cross your arms. “You should appear open,” she says. Then, walk slowly around the table, “stand directly behind the person who’s disrupting the meeting, and address the rest of the room.” Proceed accordingly. This, of course, requires confidence and finesse. Even though it’s not always easy, “it’s a powerful way to exert influence,” she says.

Consider having a one-on-one conversation
After a meeting filled with tense and numerous interruptions, you might spend a little time alone “reflecting on whether you’re doing anything to contribute” to the problem, says Schwarz. It might also be worth approaching the interrupter for a one-on-one conversation. “Don’t argue with him after the meeting and never scold,” says White. “He wants to feel heard.” Instead, pose questions and listen. Ask: What is your thinking on this issue? What would you like done differently? What’s important to you? “It may turn out that you and he want the same thing, in which case, propose that you become allies,” she says. On the other hand, “you can agree to disagree.”

Principles to Remember


  • Prepare an agenda ahead of time and ask colleagues for their input
  • Listen to what the interrupter is saying and validate his points
  • Redirect the conversation by restating the purpose of the meeting


  • Get upset and emotional about the interruption — stay calm and collected
  • Be in a hurry to brush off an interruption — sometimes it’s worth probing further to gather more information
  • Scold your employee after the meeting — instead pose questions and listen

Case study #1: Think about interruptions as learning opportunities
Adam Goldstein, President of Royal Caribbean Cruises and the Acting Global Chair for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), acknowledges that workplace hierarchy is a big factor in an employee’s likelihood of interrupting the person who’s in charge of a meeting.“There’s a strong consciousness of rank when it comes to people’s ability to speak out in meetings,” he says.

A couple of weeks ago, two of Adam’s colleagues at CLIA — we’ll call them James and Kate — interrupted him during a meeting to bring up an issue that was not on the agenda: Their concern that certain revenue generating programs CLIA ran were actually a disincentive to some international sales staff.

Adam was not aware of this potential problem, so he asked James and Kate to elaborate. Adam wanted to make sure he understood. “I challenged them a little bit, and I pushed back,” he says. “I wanted to be crystal clear on their objections.”

From Adam’s perspective, it was not a particularly tense exchange. However, a senior staff member told him after the meeting that James and Kate were worried they had “damaged their standing” by interrupting him. “I didn’t feel like I was harsh, but I was told there was a ‘significant level’ of nervousness,” he says.

Through an intermediary, he assured James and Kate that he was grateful for their willingness to speak out during the meeting. “I learned something because they were willing to speak.” And when he sees them next, he’ll tell them in person.

“If you want to get the best out of people long-term, you want to hear what they have to say,” Adam says. “You want people to leave feeling positive about the meeting and their participation. It’s very daunting for someone to raise his hand. I want to send a signal that I want to hear that person’s opinion.”

Case study #2: Listen to concerns and be willing to address them in future
Melissa Anthony Sinn, the founder and CEO of anthonyBarnum Public Relations, an Austin-based communications firm, leads a regularly scheduled meeting with her senior staff. The week before each meeting, Melissa distributes the agenda through a shared online folder.

“If people on my team have additional items they’d like to discuss, they need to call me or email me beforehand,” she says. “I know from past experience that if we make up the agenda on the day of the meeting, there are all kinds of things that may be bothering people [that they’ll want to add to the agenda] and the meeting veers off course.”
A couple of months ago, however, one of Melissa’s direct reports — we’ll call her Susan — interrupted the weekly team meeting to bring up a topic that was irritating her: individual workload challenges. Susan hadn’t warned her that she planned to broach the topic.

Melissa was caught off guard by Susan’s interruption, but she was aware that some employees had problems with the workload. “Capacity is a high voltage issue here because people have myriad responsibilities at any given time, but those responsibilities change as we evolve as a firm,” she explains.
Melissa listened to Susan’s complaint and did not outwardly react. “As the leader of the meeting, I have to be very contained,” she says. “I didn’t respond emotionally as that would have been unproductive.”

She was reluctant to delve into the issue because the agenda was chock-full of other, more time-sensitive items. So Melissa paused and took a deep breath. She addressed the team by repeating Susan’s key points. Then, she said, “I hear you, and I appreciate that capacity is an issue. This meeting is focused on other matters. If you would like to discuss capacity at the next meeting, we can do that.”

After Susan’s interruption, Melissa stuck to the agenda. “I admit I wasn’t always able to get meetings back on track in the past,” she says. “But I need to value people’s time. It takes discipline.”

Rebecca Knight is a freelance journalist in Boston. She has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, The Financial Times, and The Economist.


Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

Phrases and diction that can hurt your image!

Call it lack of preparation, being unaware of, or just plain lazy slang, but, it is important to note that HOW we say it has even more impact on our overall image than WHAT we say. What about Front Line personnel?  These are the first people one meets either on the phone or in person when they arrive at your office.  Have you noticed how they greet and interact with clients and colleagues?  If not, read on:

Is Your Diction Affecting Your Professional Image?

By: Barbara Pachter – Speaker, coach, author of 10 books.  Business Etiq. Presentation Skills and Communication.  Focus: Employee Development

A participant in a communication seminar told me about her experience in another training session, where the instructor used the phrase “All’s you gotta do.” After she heard that phrase, she stopped listening.

In the example above, the instructor’s use of language detracted from his message.

I also have heard many people use substandard language that takes away from their professionalism. It may not be fair, but people often judge others on the quality of their diction. They may make negative assumptions about someone’s intelligence or education, based on that person’s word choice.

Consider the following phrases expressed during business conversations:

— Are youse finished with the project? Use just you. The word you is both singular and plural in the English language.

— I’m gonna get it for you. Use I’m going to or I am going to.

— Didja get to the meeting on time? Use did you.

— All’s you gotta do. According to an article a number of years ago in the New York Timesall’s in this context started off as a contraction of all as, but generally it is considered a substandard word today. Instead of all’s, use all, and instead ofgotta, use have to, so the phrase becomes All you have to do.

— Are you going with dem? Dem is not a word. Use them.

— I attended the meetin. Make sure you pronounce the endings of your words. Saymeeting.

And my favorite, although these words were said in a non-business setting:

— Jeet? No, didja? This should be expressed as: Did you eat? No, did you?

Sometimes, we may pick up the use of these nonstandard words from their use in marketing or creative fields. Think about the song I Gotta Feeling from the Black Eyed Peas, and its well-known line: I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night. Though I like the song, I would not encourage the use of gotta and gonnawhen speaking to others.

Monitor the way you speak. Do you use any of the above expressions? Years ago, I found out I was using gonna, and didn’t realize it until someone pointed it out to me.

Additional information on projecting a professional image can be found in my book,The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way to Success (McGraw Hill).

Contact us: to discuss our comprehensive Executive Presence program on Guest Relations for Front Line Personnel.


Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

39 Incorrectly used words that can make you look bad!

All it takes is one misspelled or incorrectly used word on your Resume or e-mail correspondence and an immediate impression is made.  It is easy to do even for those of us who check our messages twice or more.  I can attest to this as I recently purchased a new computer and the cursor seems to be on speed!  I will be typing away, thinking I’m on the same line and the cursor will have migrated to an entirely different line, where it will have deleted entire words or letters which are not caught by spellcheck.  Having said that, there are many young professionals who are so accustomed to abbreviating everything that they really don’t know how to spell.  Recently, I received a message where “rapport” was spelled as “rapore.”  On the landing page of a website for an international company, they stated that during the “rein” of the incoming president, instead of during the “reign” of the incoming president and this was the first image that visitors would pick up on as soon as they opened the website!  Please read on:

39 Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Bad

Easy to get wrong. Fortunately, not hard to get right. (Except the whole “who” and “whom” thing.)


Contributing editor, Inc.

Where the mechanics of writing are concerned, I’m far from perfect. One example: I always struggle with who and whom. (Sometimes I’ll even rewrite a sentence just so I won’t have to worry about which is correct.)

And that’s a real problem. The same way one misspelled word can get your résumé tossed onto the reject pile, one misused word can negatively impact your entire message.

Fair or unfair, it happens all the time–so let’s make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

My post 30 Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Bad resulted in readers providing a number of other examples of misused words, and here are some of them. Once again I’ve picked words that are typically used in business settings, with special emphasis on words that spell checker won’t correct.

Here we go:

Advise and advice

Aside from the two words being pronounced differently (the s in advise sounds like az), advise is a verb while advice is a noun. Advice is what you give (whether or not the recipient is interested in that gift is a different issue altogether) when you advise someone.

So, “Thank you for the advise” is incorrect, while “I advise you not to bore me with your advice in the future” is correct if pretentious.

If you run into trouble, just say each word out loud and you’ll instantly know which makes sense; there’s no way you’d ever say, “I advice you to…”

Ultimate and penultimate

Recently I received a pitch from a PR professional that read, “(Acme Industries) provides the penultimate value-added services for discerning professionals.”

As Inigo would say, “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Ultimate means the best, or final, or last. Penultimate means the last but one, or second to last. (Or, as a Monty Python-inspired Michelangelo would say, “the Penultimate Supper!”)

But penultimate doesn’t mean second-best. Plus, I don’t think my PR friend meant to say her client offered second-class services. (I think she just thought the word sounded cool.)

Also, keep in mind that using ultimate is fraught with hyperbolic peril. Are you–or is what you provide–really the absolute best imaginable? That’s a tough standard to meet.

Well and good

Anyone who has children uses good more often than he or she should. Since kids pretty quickly learn what good means, “You did good, honey” is much more convenient and meaningful than “You did well, honey.”

But that doesn’t mean good is the correct word choice.

Good is an adjective that describes something; if you did a good job, then you do good work. Well is an adverb that describes how something was done; you can do your job well.

Where it gets tricky is when you describe, say, your health or emotional state. “I don’t feel well” is grammatically correct, even though many people (including me) often say, “I don’t feel too good.” On the other hand, “I don’t feel good about how he treated me” is correct; no one says, “I don’t feel well about how I’m treated.”

Confused? If you’re praising an employee and referring to the outcome say, “You did a good job.” If you’re referring to how the employee performed say, “You did incredibly well.”

And while you’re at it, stop saying good to your kids and use great instead, because no one–especially a kid–ever receives too much praise.

If and whether

If and whether are often interchangeable. If a yes/no condition is involved, then feel free to use either: “I wonder whether Jim will finish the project on time” or “I wonder if Jim will finish the project on time.” (Whether sounds a little more formal in this case, so consider your audience and how you wish to be perceived.)

What’s trickier is when a condition is not involved. “Let me know whether Marcia needs a projector for the meeting” isn’t conditional, because you want to be informed either way. “Let me know if Marcia needs a projector for the meeting” is conditional, because you only want to be told if she needs one.

And always use if when you introduce a condition. “If you hit your monthly target, I’ll increase your bonus” is correct; the condition is hitting the target and the bonus is the result. “Whether you are able to hit your monthly target is totally up to you” does not introduce a condition (unless you want the employee to infer that your thinly veiled threat is a condition of ongoing employment).


Stationary and stationery

You write on stationery. You get business stationery, such as letterhead and envelopes, printed.

But that box of envelopes is not stationary unless it’s not moving–and even then it’s still stationery.

Award and reward

An award is a prize. Musicians win Grammy Awards. Car companies win J.D. Power awards. Employees win Employee of the Month awards. Think of an award as the result of a contest or competition.

A reward is something given in return for effort, achievement, hard work, merit, etc. A sales commission is a reward. A bonus is a reward. A free trip for landing the most new customers is a reward.

Be happy when your employees win industry or civic awards, and reward them for the hard work and sacrifices they make to help your business grow.

Sympathy and empathy

Sympathy is acknowledging another person’s feelings. “I am sorry for your loss” means you understand the other person is grieving and want to recognize that fact.

Empathy is having the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and relate to how the person feels, at least in part because you’ve experienced those feelings yourself.

The difference is huge. Sympathy is passive; empathy is active. (Here’s a short video by Brené Brown that does a great job of describing the difference–and how empathy fuels connection while sympathy drives disconnection.)

Know the difference between sympathy and empathy, live the difference, and you’ll make a bigger difference in other people’s lives.

Criterion and criteria

A criterion is a principle or standard. If you have more than one criterion, those are referred to as criteria.

But if you want to be safe and you only have one issue to consider, just say standardor rule or benchmark. Then use criteria for all the times there are multiple specifications or multiple criterion (OK, standards) involved.

Mute and moot

Think of mute like the button on your remote; it means unspoken or unable to speak. In the U.S., moot refers to something that is of no practical importance; a moot point is one that could be hypothetical or even (gasp!) academic. In British English, mootcan also mean debatable or open to debate.

So if you were planning an IPO, but your sales have plummeted, the idea of going public could be moot. And if you decide not to talk about it anymore, you will have gone mute on the subject.

Peak and peek

A peak is the highest point; climbers try to reach the peak of Mount Everest. Peekmeans quick glance, as in giving major customers a sneak peek at a new product before it’s officially unveiled, which hopefully helps sales peak at an unimaginable height.

Occasionally a marketer will try to “peak your interest” or “peek your interest,” but in that case the right word is pique, which means “to excite.” (Pique can also mean “to upset,” but hopefully that’s not what marketers intend.)

Aggressive and enthusiastic

Aggressive is a very popular business adjective: aggressive sales force, aggressive revenue projections, aggressive product rollout. But unfortunately, aggressive means ready to attack, or pursuing aims forcefully, possibly unduly so.

So do you really want an “aggressive” sales force?

Of course, most people have seen aggressive used that way for so long they don’t think of it negatively; to them it just means hard-charging, results-oriented, driven, etc., none of which are bad things.

But some people may not see it that way. So consider using words like enthusiastic,eager, committed, dedicated, or even (although it pains me to say it) passionate.


Then and than

Then refers in some way to time. “Let’s close this deal, and then we’ll celebrate!” Since the celebration comes after the sale, then is correct.

Then is also often used with if. Think in terms of if-then statements: “If we don’t get to the office on time, then we won’t be able to close the deal today.”

Than involves a comparison. “Landing Customer A will result in higher revenue than landing Customer B,” or “Our sales team is more committed to building customer relationships than the competition is.”

Evoke and invoke

To evoke is to call to mind; an unusual smell might evoke a long-lost memory. To invoke is to call upon some thing: help, aid, or maybe a higher power.

So hopefully all your branding and messaging efforts evoke specific emotions in potential customers. But if they don’t, you might consider invoking the gods of commerce to aid you in your quest for profitability.

Or something like that.

Continuously and continually

Both words come from the root continue, but they mean very different things.Continuously means never ending. Hopefully your efforts to develop your employees are continuous, because you never want to stop improving their skills and their future.

Continual means whatever you’re referring to stops and starts. You might have frequent disagreements with your co-founder, but unless those discussions never end (which is unlikely, even though it might feel otherwise), then those disagreements are continual.

That’s why you should focus on continuous improvement but only plan to have continual meetings with your accountant: The former should never, ever stop, and the other (mercifully) should.

Systemic and systematic

If you’re in doubt, systematic is almost always the right word to use. Systematicmeans arranged or carried out according to a plan, method, or system. That’s why you can take a systematic approach to continuous improvement, or do a systematic evaluation of customer revenue or a systematic assessment of market conditions.

Systemic means belonging to or affecting the system as a whole. Poor morale could be systemic to your organization. Or bias against employee diversity could be systemic.

So if your organization is facing a pervasive problem, take a systematic approach to dealing with it–that’s probably the only way you’ll overcome it.

Impact and affect (and effect)

Many people (including until recently me) use impact when they should use affect.Impact doesn’t mean to influence; impact means to strike, collide, or pack firmly.

Affect means to influence: “Impatient investors affected our rollout date.”

And to make it more confusing, effect means to accomplish something: “The board effected a sweeping policy change.”

How you correctly use effect or affect can be tricky. For example, a board can affect changes by influencing them and can effect changes by directly implementing them. Bottom line, use effect if you’re making it happen, and affect if you’re having an impact on something that someone else is trying to make happen.

As for nouns, effect is almost always correct: “Employee morale has had a negative effect on productivity.” Affect refers to an emotional state, so unless you’re a psychologist, you probably have little reason to use it.

So stop saying you’ll “impact sales” or “impact the bottom line.” Use affect.

(And feel free to remind me when I screw that up, because I feel sure I’ll backslide.)

Between and among

Use between when you name separate and individual items. “The team will decide between Mary, Marcia, and Steve when we fill the open customer service position.” Mary, Marcia, and Steve are separate and distinct, so between is correct.

Use among when there are three or more items but they are not named separately. “The team will decide among a number of candidates when we fill the open customer service position.” Who are the candidates? You haven’t named them separately, soamong is correct.

And we’re assuming there are more than two candidates; otherwise you’d saybetween. If there are two candidates you could say, “I just can’t decide between them.”


Everyday and every day

Every day means, yep, every day–each and every day. If you ate a bagel for breakfast each day this week, you had a bagel every day.

Everyday means commonplace or normal. Decide to wear your “everyday shoes” and that means you’ve chosen to wear the shoes you normally wear. That doesn’t mean you have to wear them every single day; it just means wearing them is a usual occurrence.

Another example is along and a long: Along means moving in a constant direction or a line, or in the company of others, while a long means of great distance or duration. You wouldn’t stand in “along line,” but you might stand in a long line for a long time, along with a number of other people.

A couple more examples: a while and awhile, and any way and anyway.

If you’re in doubt, read what you write out loud. It’s unlikely you’ll think “Is there anyway you can help me?” sounds right.


Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

How to lose a job in 10 minutes!

Recently, I worked with a smart, intelligent young woman who was just embarking on her job search.  After an intensive six-hour program on Interviewing skills (avoiding the obvious to some, but not so obvious faux pas to others,) I decided to share the the following article which clearly illustrates that, no matter what school one attends or degrees attained, the following faux pas must be avoided:

How to lose a job offer in 10 minutes

Posted by Hope Restle

First impressions don’t have to be the worst impressions. Here’s what could go wrong – and how to avoid it in your next intervie.

You’ve worked hard for this interview. You read up on how to craft the perfect resume, and slaved over a custom cover letter. You have all the necessary experience, skills and education for the job, and now it’s time to meet your potential employer and prove what you’re made of in person. But beware: a small interview faux pas can deter even the most understanding employer. Read on for examples of basic interviewing follies, and how you can avoid them.

You didn’t know when to stop talking

Your interviewer did not need to know about your recent break-up, every single detail of your job’s day-to-day, or how disgruntled you are that your parents moved to Key West and live on a boat.

A little mystery never hurt anybody. Try to avoid disclosing personal information – think political or religious beliefs, your relationship status, or your diet. Even if your interviewer is pressuring you for a tell-all response on whether you’re a cat or dog person, it’s a flaw on their part, not yours. No matter how much you think they’re interested in the trials and tribulations of your social life, (or how interested they actually are) it’s best to bite your tongue when considering revealing anything about your personal life. Channel your LinkedIn profile – not

The dog ate your resume, your alarm didn’t go off, and there was traffic

You’ve really done it this time. You showed up fifteen minutes late, forgot to bring a hard copy of your resume, and the CEO’s last name slipped your mind. No matter what your reason is—and whether or not it’s true—you’ve already put yourself at a severe disadvantage.

It’s crucial that you not only prepare for the interview, but prepare for the worst. Plan for damage control in case there’s traffic, you spilled coffee on yourself or your hairdryer broke. Even if there really was a car accident on the highway, the interviewer is now concerned about your reliability and punctuality (or apparent lack thereof).

Preparation is key to making a good first impression with your interviewer. Even if you’re a brilliant candidate, the hiring manager will foremost remember that you stumbled in fifteen minutes late.

You weren’t on your best behavior 

Even if you’re just a victim of #restingbitchface, a smile can mean the difference between landing the job and continuing to send your resume out. Think about your mannerisms too; saying yeah yeah yeah, slouching, playing with your hair or fiddling are all off-limits. Think about what your great aunt (the strict one) would say if she saw you. Would she approve of your posture, or scold you to sit up straight?

You weren’t confident in your abilities 

As a job seeker, you also must be a salesperson, marketing your skillset and positive attributes to potential employers.  If you want an employer to have confidence in your talents and work ethic, you have to sell them—and in order to do that effectively, you need to believe in yourself and what you’re selling.

Remember that you’re qualified for the position – if you weren’t, the employer would never have taken the time to schedule an interview with you. So believe in yourself and don’t let something as trivial as a mispronunciation or a latte stain ruin the opportunity.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 2 of 7 12345...»