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May’s top leadership stories cover bad storytelling and handy carry-on bags

How to spin a better yarn, job-search misconceptions to shake, and much more.

May’s top leadership stories cover bad storytelling and handy carry-on bags

Last month we learned which habits you need to break to be a great storyteller, the carry-on bags that make your travels easier this summer, and the counterproductive mind-sets that hold back job searches.

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These are the stories you loved in Leadership for the month of May 2018:

1. Want to be a great storyteller? First, break these habits

You already know that telling a story is an effective way to engage your audience. But there are a few habits that cancel out the positive effects, some of which you’re probably not aware of. For starters, giving too much background is a no-no. After all, you don’t want to run out of time before you deliver your main message. No one likes a story without an ending.

2. Six carry-on bags that will make business trips less stressful

Finding a functional bag for business travel is difficult. Not only do you have to worry about size and space, but there’s the issue of your USB cords, headphones, and important documents getting tangled in what Fast Company‘s Elizabeth Segran calls a “chaotic mess.” Sick of the stress, Segran tested out six different bags that are both beautifully designed and come with features that make organizing easy. Here are her recommendations.

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3. These are the 5 beliefs you need to ditch when you’re job hunting

Job hunting requires getting out of your comfort zone. But it also means overcoming any negative mentalities that might hold you back from presenting yourself as the best candidate possible. For starters, don’t immediately discount yourself if you don’t have the required “experience.” Most job descriptions are wish lists anyway, rather than requirements. And if you feel like you’re disadvantaged because you’ve just been laid off or fired, remember that those experiences are more common than you think.

4. Jeff Bezos to workers everywhere: You’ll all work for Amazon soon

In Amazon’s annual letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos announced a series of accomplishments: The e-commerce giant has more than 100 million Prime members, and Amazon’s Career Choice initiative–which it launched in 2012–has benefited 16,000 employees. The latter program entitles certain hourly employees to $12,000 in degree tuition in over 40 fields, including those where Amazon has no business presence. One observer sees that as a harbinger of the company’s ambitions: “With the program, Amazon is . . . grooming a skilled workforce of experts (all sympathetic to Amazon) in sectors it hasn’t yet disrupted but very much intends to,” writes Larry Robertson. “And when that day comes, the ex-Amazon employees whose careers Amazon so altruistically advanced probably won’t mind returning to the mothership.”

5. Use this one-paragraph cover letter to land your next job interview

Cover letters might be depreciating in value to recruiters, but many job opportunities still require them. However, many hiring managers will skim them at best, which is why it’s important to craft a short and succinct one that sells your strengths. Last month career coach Emily Liou shares some tips on winning over hiring managers in just a paragraph or two. You’d be surprised at just how much you don’t need.

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6. What to do on 15-, 30-, and 60-minute breaks to boost your productivity

You probably know the importance of breaks, but you might not know how to make the most of them. Productivity expert Carson Tate points out that using breaks correctly means making a “complete disassociation from work.” What that might look like will differ depending on the time that you have, and how stressed out you are. If you’re stuck for ideas, Tate shared a few suggestions for what to do when you’ve got 15, 30, or 60 minutes to step away from your desk.

7. Revlon just named its first woman CEO

Beauty conglomerate Revlon recently appointed Debra Perelman as president and CEO, the first woman to hold that position at the brand and one of the very few women running Fortune 500 companies. She told Fast Company, “We’re in a position where we have a beauty company that really thinks about women and puts women at the forefront of what we do in the market, in terms of our messaging, and I believe that having it be run by a woman is incredibly exciting.”

Group of kindergarten kids friends drawing art class outdoors

8. We asked 10 kids to “draw a leader”–here’s what they did

In March, the New York Times reported that when adults were asked to “draw a leader,” many of them drew a man. But when reporter Vivian Giang asked 10 kids between the ages of 3 and 12 to do the same, their responses varied. Giang noticed, however, that common themes came up in the kids’ drawings–namely that leaders should help people and that they shouldn’t be a bullies.

9. Let this brain scientist optimize your morning routine

With so many resources on the “right” morning routines, it can be overwhelming to understand what you should do when you first wake up. But as neuroscientist Tara Swart observes, it doesn’t need to be that complicated. She lists out a step-by-step routine to follow–starting, of course, with getting a sufficient amount of sleep every night.

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10. Five emotionally intelligent habits for handling work frustrations

It’s easy to express positive emotions at work, but it’s harder to know how to act when you’re angry or frustrated. While being vulnerable is a positive thing, overreacting can ding your reputation. Emotional intelligence expert Harvey Deutschendorf shared some habits last month that you can adopt anytime you feel your blood boiling at work. Start with taking a deep breath for a few seconds. Waiting before reacting makes all the difference.

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