CNBC make it 2024-03-07 02:00:56

3 simple ways to become more influential at work, says expert: ‘There’s nothing more powerful’

You don’t have to be a CEO, or even a manager, to be influential at the office.

Getting your coworkers to listen to and support your ideas boils down to just three emotional intelligence techniques, says Stanford University lecturer and communication expert Matt Abrahams. They can help you show your peers and bosses that you have strong ideas, form meaningful connections across your workplace, improve your job-related skills and maybe even land you a promotion, he says.

The advice is timely, Abrahams adds: Hybrid and remote work mean most entry- and mid-level Gen Z and millennial employees get less face time with their bosses.

“Careers are very different now … things are more remote and virtual, so you’re not around people as much,” Abrahams tells CNBC Make It. “You really are forging your own way and need to get others to at least support, if not follow, the things you’re trying to do.”

His three recommendations are simple, and can be applied to in-office or remote roles:

Figure out how to be helpful

First: Observe your office’s dynamics. You can usually look online or check with HR to figure out what different teams work on and who reports to which manager.

Then, find a “leverage point” — a way to get noticed within that structure, Abrahams says. “If there are certain tasks people don’t like to do, stepping up to that can give you some access.”

You can volunteer to take notes during meetings, for example, which encourages the other people in the room to direct their attention to you. “They’ll want to make sure you capture things right, and you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions of others,” says Abrahams.

You could get involved with planning office events, or start a Google document that helps keep your team organized. If a single person is running the company’s social media, and you have relevant experience, volunteer to help with posts or produce videos.

“All of a sudden the role you have — a mundane role that many people don’t like — gives you access and influence,” Abrahams says.

Find allies

Whenever you find yourself in a room of people who don’t usually work with, you have an opportunity to form new relationships.

If you’re taking minutes in a meeting, for example, you can listen to how that group brainstorms, selects and executes on new ideas. You can identify people who think similarly to you, or can help you navigate your workplace’s dynamics and inner workings. You might even be able to connect with a higher-up who would be willing to grab a coffee can give you feedback.

Don’t treat your relationships as transactional, Abrahams advises. Seek out people you naturally connect with, and who your other coworkers respect.

“Check in with people and really listen when people say things to you,” says Abrahams. “I’m not saying be manipulative. Buy [and respond] to the things you care about. Those are the things that, I think, can make a difference.”

Support each other’s ideas

Once you’ve formed strong professional relationships, figure out how you can work together toward common goals. Abrahams calls it “aligning” with others.

The next step, he says, is to “amplify.” That can mean vocally supporting each other’s ideas: When someone has a good idea in a meeting, for example, say why you think it’s interesting or beneficial to the company’s mission.

You can also make your own ideas more influential by noting how your colleagues have helped shape it, says Abrahams: “Sally, Joe and I have been working on something we think could solve a problem” is often more impactful than saying the idea came from you alone. It shows that you’ve tested and garnered support for it, and you understand how to get things done within your company’s structure, he notes.

Consistently crediting your teammates helps get people to listen to you, and can make other coworkers more likely to ask for your input or include you on projects.

“There’s nothing more powerful,” Abrahams says.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

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5 doctors and nutritionists share the foods they eat every day for better health

A well-rounded diet is one of the keys to a healthy, successful lifestyle, but experts agree there are some foods that stand out for being healthier and more nutrient-dense.

We’ve interviewed Harvard nutritionists, longevity experts and even wellness guru Deepak Chopra over the past few years about the eating habits they stick to for optimal health — and there were many overlaps in their dietary choices.

Here are five types of foods that doctors and nutritionists eat every day for stellar brain health, heart health, longevity and overall wellness.

DON’T MISS: 4 simple ways to eat for longevity in the new year, according to a Harvard nutrition expert

5 foods that doctors and nutritionists eat every day for better health

1. Leafy greens

The importance of leafy green vegetables in your daily diet cannot be overstated — experts recommend it over and over again. Eating leafy greens like spinach and kale supports brain health, and foods that are rich in fiber have been associated with a lower chance of developing depression.

They’re also packed with essential nutrients including vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, iron, vitamin K, potassium and calcium. Green leafy vegetables can easily be tossed into a salad with other nutritious vegetables and fruits.

2. Berries

You should aim to eat fruits every day if you can, experts suggest. And of all fruits, one group seems to reign supreme when it comes to the most health benefits: berries.

Blueberries, in particular, are what longevity researcher, Neil Paulvin, refers to as the “holy grail” of longevity foods. The fruit is abundant in vitamins and antioxidants “that protect your body from infection like a suit of armor,” Paulvin says. They’re also great for eye health, muscle recovery, brain health and strengthening your cells, he adds.

All berries get their color from flavonoids which are a group of phytonutrients that have been linked to improvements in brain health and a reduction in cognitive decline. They also have lower sugar content than other fruits like bananas and mangos.

3. Fish and other lean proteins

Doctors and nutritionists across the board encourage you to limit your consumption of red meat, and swap it out for healthier options like lean proteins including salmon, eggs, tuna and tofu.

Salmon is popular among experts because it has lots of B vitamins which are wonderful for brain health, according to Dr. Uma Naidoo, a Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist and author of “Calm Your Mind with Food.”

Fish and shellfish also have lower levels of cholesterol than red meat and are better choices for a healthy heart, cardiologist Dr. Elizabeth Klodas told CNBC Make It in 2022. She prefers to reach for lean protein options like white-fleshed fish including tilapia, cod, bass and halibut.

4. Legumes

Legumes are the “underrated” longevity food that nutritionist Samantha Heller eats daily to boost her immune system. They’re high in protein, fiber, antioxidants and minerals like magnesium and iron, Heller told CNBC Make It in 2022.

Some legumes that you can consider adding to your meals are:

  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Soybeans
  • Edamame
  • Lima beans
  • Kidney beans

The high-fiber content in legumes also makes eating them a great choice for a healthy brain.

5. Nuts and seeds

It can be very easy to overlook nuts and seeds, but the tiny foods are packed with omega-3 fatty acids “which help keep your brain cells healthy and lower inflammation,” according to Harvard-trained neuroscientist Lisa Genova.

Sunflower seeds are also “one of the best plant sources of vitamin B5,” according to Naidoo. Just one ounce of the seeds can get you 20% of the recommended daily value of the vitamin, she notes.

Nuts, especially hazelnuts and pecans, are also rich in polyphenols, Naidoo told CNBC Make It. Foods high in polyphenols “are hugely important,” she says, “because they have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties [and] fiber, plus multiple micronutrients that our bodies need.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

2 phrases to use to be a more successful employee or manager—and 2 to avoid, according to experts

Workplace relationships can be tricky to build — you want to look competent, form connections, and also not overstep boundaries.

To be a better manager or employee, there are some phrases you should use more at work, and some you shouldn’t say at all.

Here’s what to say, and what not to say, to be a more successful employee or manager, according to speech experts, leadership coaches, and psychologists.

To be a better manager

Say: “Thank you.”

In his 2022 book “Say Thank You for Everything: The Secrets of Being a Great Manager,” former Insider editor-in-chief Jim Edwards outlines 19 things every new manager needs to learn — and saying “thank you” is the kicker.

“You can defuse virtually any job stress among staff by saying ‘Thank you for doing that … it was a lot of work and it did not go unnoticed,’” Edwards writes

In fact, three out of four employees say motivation and morale would improve if their bosses simply said “thank you” more, according to a 2019 survey.

Don’t say: “It is what it is.”

If an employee is venting, especially about circumstances that are out of your control, you might respond by saying, “It is what it is” or something of the like.

This can come off as dismissive, though, John McWhorter, an author, linguist and associate professor at Columbia University, told Bill Gates on his podcast “Unconfuse Me.” 

“The first time someone said that to me was when something unpleasant had happened to me, and he didn’t care. And he said, ‘Well, it is what it is,’” McWhorter said. “And I parsed it and I thought, ‘What a gorgeously chilly way of saying: Your problems don’t matter to me.’”

To some, this phrase signals resilience, psychologist Cortney Warren wrote for CNBC Make It. However, it can also seem flip.

Instead, listen to your employee. If their qualm truly cannot be solved by you, try saying “I have to see reality for what it is, even if it’s not what I want, so I can move forward,” Warren suggests.

This shows empathy but also recognizes the reality of the situation.

To be a better employee

Say: “I appreciate your patience.”

Many of us say “I’m sorry” in the office, even if the hiccup or inconvenience is not our fault. You might think this is courteous, but experts say this can make you look weak and often comes from a place of insecurity.

“We are taught culturally, especially from a Black woman’s perspective, to be super humble and to downplay our wins,” Patrice Williams Lindo, CEO of career consulting firm Career Nomad told CNBC Make It. “It was a problem to be prideful in the way you spoke about yourself and your accomplishments. So we feel inadequate and insecure.”

Instead of apologizing for occurrences that are out of your control, Lindo suggests using phrases like, “I appreciate your patience” and “Thank you for working with me,” to overcome any awkwardness and reinstate an air of confidence.

Don’t say: “Not sure if you saw my last email.”

One-fourth of workers said this was the most annoying phrase people use in work emails, according to a 2018 survey.

Probably because, more often than not, the person did see your email. They just forgot to answer it or didn’t prioritize responding, Rebecca Zucker wrote for CNBC Make It.

Follow up, but make your email short and include a clear ask. It might sound like “Can I introduce you to this client?” or “Do you have any feedback on this ad copy?”

This let’s the receiver save face.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

I’ve spent 25 years studying the brain—I never do these 4 things that destroy our memory as we age

As a neuroscientist, I’ve spent the last 25 years researching the science of memory. A funny question I get a lot from people is: “Am I just getting dumber the older I get?”

I don’t blame anyone for wondering this. Many of us find ourselves forgetting important things with increasing frequency over time.

But the good news is that you can prevent those “senior moments” by avoiding four common habits that destroy our memory as we age:

1. Multitasking too much

We rely on an area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex to pay attention to the world around us. Unfortunately, prefrontal function and our ability to focus often declines over time.

Don’t miss: Brain expert shares his 7 ‘hard rules’ for boosting memory and fighting off dementia

Multitasking makes it worse. It impairs memory and taxes the function of the prefrontal cortex, sapping the resources that would normally help us form strong memories.

How to improve your memory: Put your phone on focus mode and block out time in your schedule for specific tasks.

Include breaks for meditation, daydreaming, a walk outside, or whatever it is that will recharge you. Just don’t try to do it all at once.

2. Not prioritizing quality sleep

The amount and quality of sleep we get often decreases with age, for a variety of reasons. The problem can be compounded by medications, alcohol and stress.

But when you sleep, your brain is hard at work. It flushes out metabolic waste that accumulates during the day. Memories are also activated and connections are made between the different events we have experienced.

How to improve your memory: Sleep deprivation is devastating for the prefrontal cortex and leads fragmented memories. Try to avoid screen time, heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol right before bedtime.

If you have severe snoring problems, consider an assessment for sleep apnea treatment. If you have a bad night of sleep, a daytime nap can help, too.

3. Monotonous activities

We remember events by tying together information about what happened, when it happened, and where it happened. This is called episodic memory.

A cue that’s uniquely linked to a specific place and time, like a song that you hadn’t heard since high school, or the smell of a dish that your grandmother used to cook can conjure a vivid episodic memory.

This only works if you have experiences that are associated with relatively distinct contexts — not so much with monotonous experiences.

How to improve your memory: You can find yourself with very few memories of a week that was almost entirely spent at a desk alternating between emails and TikTok videos. So consider diversifying your routines.

Take a walk instead of hanging out in the lunchroom. Spending time with a diverse range of people, going to different places, and trying out new experiences will all provide opportunities to build lasting memories.

4. Being overconfident in your ability to remember things

I’ve had moments where I meet someone and feel certain that I’ve committed their name to memory, only to be flummoxed later by my inability to recall it.

If you’re trying to do something that involves memorization, like when you are introduced to a group of people or trying to learn a foreign language, start by accepting that you are likely to overestimate how much you’ll retain.

The second step is to give yourself the opportunity to get it wrong.

How to improve your memory: Rather than rote memorization, the most effective learning happens under circumstances where we struggle to recall a memory and then get the answer we are looking for.

For instance, a few minutes after you learn something, try testing yourself on it. Then do it again an hour later. The more you space out these attempts, the better.

Charan Ranganath is a professor at the Center for Neuroscience and Department of Psychology and director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California at Davis. He is the author of the new book ”Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold on to What Matters.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

Bitcoin reached its highest price in over two years—but investors should still tread carefully

On Tuesday morning, bitcoin briefly reached an all-time high price of $69,210, according to Coin Metrics. It fell later that afternoon, but hovered around $66,400 as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

The new record had been a long time coming: It’s been over two years since the cryptocurrency reached its previous high of around $68,982 on Nov. 10, 2021.

One factor that appears to be fueling bitcoin’s recent rise is the debut of bitcoin ETFs. In January, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved 11 spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds, allowing investors to purchase bitcoin ETFs through their brokerage accounts and gain exposure to the cryptocurrency without having to buy and store it themselves or through a crypto exchange.

The digital token’s rise also helped boost the price of other virtual coins, including ether, which reached its highest price level since January 2022 on Wednesday.

Although bitcoin’s recent success may make it tempting to buy in, think carefully before adding it or any other cryptocurrency to your investment portfolio. Here’s why.

Before investing in crypto, do your due diligence

Unlike stocks and bonds, crypto’s value isn’t derived from an underlying entity, which is why it can be subject to erratic fluctuations and falls.

“There’s no business or actual commodity of any kind backing this other than just supply and demand and what people are willing to pay for it,” Douglas Boneparth, a certified financial planner and the president and founder of Bone Fide Wealth, tells CNBC Make It. Boneparth invests in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The volatile nature of crypto can be “stomach churning” for new investors, he says.

“If they’re not used to that, it could cause them to bail,” Boneparth says. “This is something that if you believe in it and have conviction, you’re going to have to hold it for a long period of time.”

Even if you’re able to tolerate the volatility, it’s smart to tread carefully if you’re thinking about buying crypto.

That starts with understanding that both bitcoin and the crypto market overall have taken major hits over the past two years. Bitcoin lost over 60% of its value in 2022, just one year after reaching its previous record high. The crypto market lost more than $2 trillion in value that same year.

Although bitcoin’s value has increased by around 45% year-to-date, as with any financial asset, its current performance shouldn’t be used to predict how it may behave in the future.

Due to crypto’s unpredictability, financial experts advise against investing more money in the digital tokens than you’re willing to potentially lose.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.