Thu Dec 08 16:22:29 SAST 2016

Don't act out, speak out

Jackie May | 2013-08-27 00:38:14.0
Jackie May. File photo.
Image by: Times LIVE / Times Media Group

How do you tell someone their work is bad? How do you ask someone to touch you in a certain way, or to not touch you at all. How do you ask for a salary increase?

Most people don't know how to speak their minds in difficult situations. Some of us do it badly, and most don't do it at all: we are silent, or we get angry. But if we don't speak up in a constructive way, says Helene Vermaak of the Human Edge, we'll act out.

We know the sulky silence or temper tantrums of our children. Adults do that too, Vermaak says, and in extreme cases, we suffer breakdowns. I've gone weeks barely speaking to a colleague, or to my dear, undeserving husband. I've shouted and stamped my feet about late delivery of work.

I attended a recent seminar where Vermaak was selling books and courses to teach the crucial corporate conversations we should have.

"Any time you're stuck, there is a crucial conversation, the one you're not having, that's keeping you there," believes Vermaak.

I was excited about learning how to become unstuck, and how to earn more. I was prepared to spend big money to learn how to widen my horizons. The only thing between me and a house with a view over the Atlantic Ocean is a costly course that teaches adults how to behave like adults. But then reality, or rather a tweet, saved my bank account.

"Employees who have sex more than four times a week have 5% bigger wage packets," tweeted personal finance writer Quentin Fottrell. He was referring to a study published by the Institute for the Study of Labour in Bonn, Germany.

Who would have thought that over and above the many benefits of sex, besides the good time, there is one I'd missed. Jump into bed instead of sulking or screaming and you might find you increase your salary without learning to have that crucial conversation. What's the link?

Experts say sexually active people may exhibit more attributes, like higher self-esteem and self-confidence, that are respected at work. Often they are in better shape emotionally and physically, which makes them more productive and creative. If more sex means better pay (without walking the streets at night), we should be improving our sex lives.

Vermaak did say that crucial conversations have to occur in bedrooms too. So to up the salary, an expensive course might not be a waste of money after all.

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