Tag Archives: the importance and practicalities of using social scripts

My first day as an interviewer

This was my first day on my new job, where I made initial contact to the first handfuld of households that have been randomly selected to participate in the survey.

Contact starts by introducing the survey, recruiting the household, conducting a short interview, and then making appointments with all household members for the long individual interviews next week.

The implications of Random Selection

‘Random Selection’ may sound slightly random to those who aren’t into Statistics, but the randomness follows a strict mathematical procedure and is a vital condition to ensure that the survey mirrors real life. So once a household has been randomly selected, it can’t be replaced by any other household.

Therefore, it’s my job to keep returning to the same households over the next few weeks: to find those at home that weren’t yet (= the majority), recruit those who hesitate, and to undertake all the long interviews.

Those who see me, a stranger, park in the area every day and walk around and look at houses and note things in my mysterious dark file may reckon that I am either a thief, a spy (in Suburbia? really?) or a real estate agent, but I’ll persevere, and this day was the start.

clipart spy lady with gun

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Non-verbal Communication in a Business Meeting

Project Daisy: Part IV.

Non-verbal communication challenges when meeting a client.

I met with Daisy for the second and last time a few days ago. There is still work to do, but now I know exactly how to do it, and I expect the project to be finalised this week.

Artified image business meetings

The meeting lasted almost two hours again, but otherwise went well. I explained what I have done and why, what can’t been done (one desired function is not an option in the shopping cart), and which solution I’ve made to achieve that function in a different way.

The agenda was to get feedback on all the web pages and the layout of the shopping cart, activate the shopping cart, and make a detailed list over desired adjustments to each web page so I can action them and finalise the job. I strove to time-manage the meeting professionally while also allowing the client to be human. Daisy is a good client: rational, reliable, to-the-point, and flexible. I felt professional, competent and in charge all the time and went from the meeting with good actionable notes and quick drawings so I know precisely what to do.

Post-meeting management

After the meeting, I rewrote my notes into a structured summary/to-do list for the final adjustments to-be-done, which I emailed to Daisy. It sums up what we discussed and agreed on, so that it is clear to Daisy what I think she wants me to do. That way she can correct me if I misunderstood anything.

The summary’s ‘Deliverables’ section with due dates serves as my to-do list for the adjustment work, and reminds Daisy about things she’ll need to action first. I think all that works well.

In the meanwhile, under the surface: non-verbal aspects of a meeting

This post is about the non-verbal aspects of communication in a business meeting. I will in a moment switch from the rational business track of the experience to the underlying non-verbal communications track to explain why I find it challenging.

Non-verbal aspects of communication include face expressions, eye contact, timing, silence, tone of voice, gestures, distance, posture, moves, clothing, and showing and demonstrating things, for example. Ambience* (space, smells, sounds, light… ‘vibe’) also impact and blend into communication; although it is not necessarily an actively controlled element of it.

Guides about non-verbal communication usually focus on how to ‘talk right’ with body language to please others. Continue reading

To Cure Telephobia with International Freelance Work

Curing Telephobia: Part III.

I started this series declaring myself cured of Telephobia because although I still don’t like phone calls very much, I no longer fear or refuse to do them. That’s a declaration of great victory over a terrifying old enemy.


Collage of 6 phone and tech-related images


Through the last year I have worked to improve my phone manners and taken the opportunity to study what others do whenever I could; e.g. eaves dropped on the professional phone calls of my dear husband (with his permission) who runs his consultancy business from home.

I now feel fairly competent when I present myself on the phone. I think I sound normal or even professional, and that I can ‘get the job done’ whether I like it or not. So a phone call is a tool rather than a wall that hovers over my day and over-shadows its opportunities.

That is the victory. It materialised as a fact (or as close as it gets) after I undertook an International tele-freelance job in December:

International freelance tele-job

I was contracted to interview executives within a certain industry in my home country about their strategies regarding certain infrastructure and activities*. I was paid per interview and had to arrange the interviews myself, which implied an unpredictable amount of ‘cold calling’ to arrange the surveys – potentially unpaid.

Cold calling was the scary part of job – because of the uncertainty, lack of structure and potentially rude answers when interrupting busy executives to ask for their participation in a market survey.
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