Pursuit: listen well and be meaningful, advice from a category manager

Divya Pahwa writes about young-lady career advice in the weekly series Pursuit, here on the McGill Caps Blog.

Today is part 2 of my 3-part series highlighting the advice professionals give to young people entering the workforce. Last week we heard from a project manager on why flirting doesn’t work in the work place (see: Pursuit: stop being a flirt, advice from a project manager).

In my conversations with a “older” people, whether it’s professors, HR reps, or people on the bus, I find that they’re often surprised at how eagerly entitled  young people feel once we finish school. As such, today’s advice is for the eager-entitled-beavers among us.  His advice Is not exclusively targeted towards young women either, it goes out to all strong-headed young people.

Enter Aaron 

 Aaron has worked in his field for over 8 years, and has seen young people interact with professionals of different status.  

 “Actively Listen”

 He says that young people “…who have the opportunity to sit with senior business leaders tend not to listen enough, and I mean actively listen.” He says that this enthusiasm often results in a response that is “ill-timed” and does not take “into consideration the context of conversation.”

  “if they would only listen to me they would see how smart I am

He adds, “Many will not take the time to vary their approach by who is present for the conversation. What I finds happens most often is either irrelevant points being brought up or the person becomes complacent and doesn’t speak at all. Both not productive.” He followed up by mentioning, that you can tell when a person is thinking: “if they would only listen to me they would see how smart I am” 

 “Great ideas will always find a way to be heard… just have to choose the right timing”

Aaron encourages that young people shouldn’t be silent because they’re ill-experienced.  Nor should they jump at every opportunity to have their voice heard. Rather the way to avoid looking silly and the best way to leave an impression is to: a) pause and reflect and b) providing “meaningful feedback” if it’s called for. He believes that, “Great ideas will always find a way to be heard… just have to choose the right timing.”

 Send in your questions/suggestion to Divya at divya.pahwa@mail.mcgill. See her past posts here.


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