Sunday, October 24, 2010

Deja Vu: When Is It Just Not Worth It?

I had a conversation with a friend who is contemplating making what I think will be a bad decision. She is being influenced by money and it has prompted me to write this post.

I once thought that I would consider any opportunity for the right amount of money. But after living in an interesting Midwest city for two years, I’ve realized that some things – even as simple as relocating – are not worth any amount of money.

I’m sure some people may be thinking, “That’s what she says now, but the right number would change her mind.”  Well let me tell you what I know; my happiness is priceless, which means that there is nothing under the sun that anyone can give me to reside in that particular location again.

Some people will not grasp this concept. It will have to be a lesson learned. But maybe this will help, when I read it it made me smile, “Wise are those who learn that the bottom line does not always have to be their top priority.” 

What is one thing that you would not trade for any amount of money? Have you had a moment of truth and realized something just wasn’t worth it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Power of Positive Criticism by Hendrie Weisinger, PH.D.

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We’ve all been criticized and we’ve all given criticism. Many of us have learned by now that the delivery of the message greatly impacts ones receptiveness to it.  The Power of Positive Criticism is one of two books that I picked up hoping that it would help me resolve some workplace issues.  I eventually realized that I needed to remove myself from that situation but I enjoyed the book nonetheless.

I didn't read long before coming to an idea that I will always remember; people are not born with low self esteem. We like to say that words can’t hurt us but indeed they can. In many cases, mental trauma lasts longer than physical trauma. It’s important to remember this when dealing with people; self esteem issues were caused by something or someone.

A useful tip given by the author is to use “could” instead of “should”. Telling someone they “could” have done xyz shows them they have other options.  Telling someone they “should” have done xyz makes their course of action appear to be incorrect.

A tip that I've attempted take into consideration is to criticize the criticism. There are times when we reject criticism that is true and accept criticism that is false.  The author states that either action is equally dangerous.  The book includes a four step method to put the criticize the criticism tip into action.

A technique I intend to try is presenting criticism in the form of a question. This method is recommended for people that may respond defensively, but it’s important to know how to use the method appropriately. You can see how asking, “Why did you provide me with inaccurate data?” will get you totally different response than asking, “Can you please provide the sources for the data?”

There are 20 tips provided and many if not all of them can help people who tend to have less than stellar reviews, difficulty receiving feedback, or difficulty giving feedback.  I would recommend it to anyone that wants to improve workplace relationships.

This book helped me depersonalize many of the workplace critiques I’ve received because I realized that many people do not know how to criticize positively. Additionally, this book is an excellent read for anyone that manages people.

What is the best criticism you've received? What is the worst? How did you respond?

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Friday, October 8, 2010

How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere on Amazon by Larry King

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When I saw this book, I thought who better to teach communication than Larry King?! I grabbed it hoping it would help me kick some of my introvert habits.  I was underwhelmed to say the least. 

How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere - The Secrets of Good Communication is very much about the life and career of Larry King. Scattered throughout are his personal experiences which contain tips on communication.  Since I’ve never been a follower of his, I found these stories distracting and was inclined to skip them.  I’m sure I missed out on many pointers that were hidden in these stories.

I did pick up a few tips that should help me next time I decide to go somewhere with myself. But the chapter I found with the most advice I could use was entitled Business Talk.  The chapter covers talking to the boss and subordinates, participating in meetings, interviewing, and making presentations

I had to prevent myself from perusing the text in order to get to the subtitles. I figured out in the first chapter that the subtitles would pretty much point me right to the sections that might be most interesting without having to do too much in-depth reading.

In the last chapter entitled Future Talk, King has the foresight to question whether or not talk will become obsolete. He brings attention to concerns that the growing popularity of electronic media could cause talk to become less significant. The copyright for this book was issued in 1994 so I can see how this might have been a concern at that time. King's opinion was that these additional forms of communication would lead us to talk more.

Today with blogs, Facebook, text messaging, instant messaging, and several other outlets, I think the irony is that we may be talking less but we are communicating more.

I found that this book wasn’t what I needed but I think Larry King fans would certainly enjoy it. 

What tips would you give on how to talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere?

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Deja Vu: Are Your Friendships Balanced?

As friends, we have a lot of responsibility. We are privy to top secret information, we are counselors, we are the wing-man, we are supporters, we are the voice of reason, and the list goes on.

But sometimes, we are mentally drained and emotionally unavailable. After all, we have our own lives to keep in order. So what do we do when someone needs our support while we are searching for supporters of our own?

I remember reading a passage that was pretty straight forward, “Don’t try to solve other people’s problems. It leaves you with more time to solve your own.”

Nothing is wrong with giving advice when asked for it. But it is each individual’s responsibility to manage their own problem.  We don’t have to catch the ball just because it’s thrown to us. Chances are, if you let your friend know that you’re busy or working out some things of your own, they will simply call someone who is available.

Sometimes we just need to tend to our own business and allow other people to tend to theirs.

How do you maintain balance in your friendships?

Friday, October 1, 2010

CHOOSE vs DECIDE: Know the Difference?

Since starting this blog one thing has become clear to me, I should’ve paid closer attention to my English grammar lessons. Colon or semicolon, single quotes or double quotes, comma or period, I’m so confused!

I’ve also realized that I don’t know the meaning of words that I thought I knew. That has led me to start a new series of posts entitled Know the Difference?

Thought Use it In a Sentence was difficult? Wait until you give these a try!

–verb (used with object)
1. to select from a number of possibilities; pick by preference: She chose Sunday for her departure.
2. to prefer or decide (to do something): He chose to run for election.
3. to want; desire.
4. to contend with (an opponent) to decide, as by odd or even, who will do something: I'll choose you to see who gets to bat first.
–verb (used without object)
5. to make a choice: He chose carefully.
6. to be inclined: You may stay here, if you choose.
7. (esp. in children's games) to decide, as by means of odd or even, who will do something: Let's choose to see who bats first.

[ If you ask me, these definitions are a little wishy-washy.] 

–verb (used with object)
1. to solve or conclude (a question, controversy, or struggle) by giving victory to one side: The judge decided the case in favor of the plaintiff.
2. to determine or settle (something in dispute or doubt): to decide an argument.
3. to bring (a person) to a decision; persuade or convince: The new evidence decided him.
–verb (used without object)
4. to settle something in dispute or doubt: The judge decided in favor of the plaintiff.
5. to make a judgment or determine a preference; come to a conclusion. 

[I think this one is pretty clear.]

Decide: I decided that I would not spend any more money on my car after learning that it needed additional repairs.
Choose:  I chose to purchase a black car after reviewing the selection on the lot. 

I gave it my best shot. Now it’s your turn to use decide and choose in a sentence OR help us understand the difference!