communication http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8327/all en-US 5 Everyday Words That Are Making You Look Stupid http://www.wisebread.com/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000060760412_Full.jpg" alt="woman mistake" title="woman mistake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We use so many words to get us through basic conversation, and we often think very little about how they make us look (like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-say">these 10 words</a> corrupting the smartest of us). Let's make correcting our speech an easy New Year's resolution! Let's start with five everyday words that are making you look stupid.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Seriously&quot;</h2> <p>Let's cut to the chase here. If you're really serious about something, just use earnest language. Starting a thought with &quot;seriously&quot; will totally undercut your meaning. In other words, using &quot;seriously&quot; now signals the opposite &mdash; that you are not serious about yourself or what you say.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Unique&quot; or &quot;Creative&quot;</h2> <p>Your parents are most likely to fall into this trap, so don't do this to yourself! People tend to say something is &quot;really unique&quot; or &quot;very creative&quot; when they don't understand what they're looking at but want to sound nice. These are phrases that somehow manage to make you look both ignorant and condescending, without providing any useful feedback. The worst part is that all of this is wholly obvious to the recipient.</p> <h2>3. &quot;Actually&quot;</h2> <p>Mansplainers, please find a new word. &quot;Actually&quot; is a great way to tell someone that you think what you are saying is a fact, when it's usually an opinion, speculation, or interpretation of someone else's findings. If you want to correct someone, try talking to them like a person, not like an armchair professor without the credentials. &quot;Actually&quot; is not only a crutch, but a signal to others to stop listening.</p> <h2>4. &quot;Awesome&quot;</h2> <p>It's time to cut all those excessive superlatives from our vocabularies. Describing things, people, and places as &quot;awesome&quot; or &quot;totally rad&quot; or &quot;way cool&quot; all the time betrays a lack of adjectives in your arsenal. With too much use, you could also appear immature and lacking in perspective. If everything is awesome or it sucks, are you capable of observing nuance in the world? Your friends certainly won't think so.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Random&quot;</h2> <p>Our everyday lives are mostly a sequence of cause and effect, right? Calling something or someone &quot;random&quot; on its face is a meaningless comment. Is what you witnessed absurd, surreal, or otherwise strange? Attempt to describe it without calling it &quot;random,&quot; which makes you sound like a teenager. There's nothing worse than discussing a topic with someone who displays zero points of reference or bases for comparison.</p> <p><em>Any other words to add to this list? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">25 Ways to Communicate Better Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-you-were-raised-by-parents-with-bad-social-skills">5 Signs You Were Raised by Parents With Bad Social Skills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-say">The 10 Stupidest Things Smart People Say</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development appearance communication resolutions social skills vocabulary Tue, 13 Jan 2015 12:00:07 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1278205 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Get People to Listen When You Talk http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-people-to-listen-when-you-talk <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-get-people-to-listen-when-you-talk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman-speaking-meeting-83066260-small.jpg" alt="Businesswoman speaking" title="Businesswoman speaking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you are leading a business meeting, attempting to persuade an opposing view point, or questioning the actions of your city council, grabbing the attention (and keeping it) of those in your audience is essential to accomplishing your goal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Communicate Better Today</a>)</p> <p>In this day and age of Internet communication, many of us do not feel comfortable speaking in front of a group of people. The tips in this article will help persuade an audience to sit up, pay attention, and hear what you have to say.</p> <h2>1. Consider Your Audience</h2> <p>Before you speak to any group of people, it is important to consider who your audience is going to be. If it for a formal event listed on a public ticketing site, like Eventbrite, check the attendee list to get a feel for who is attending. Scheduling apps and even Facebook event pages have similar RSVP features that can help you get a guest list ahead of time to research and analyze. Once you have an idea of the types of people you are going to be speaking to, think about what it is they want to hear. Spend time trying to find the best possible way to give them what they want while saying what you need to.</p> <p>What happens if you can't preview who will be there ahead of time? A quick survey at the beginning of the talk can be helpful. A simple show of hands for finding out who has used a particular smartphone app, for example, can be a game changer in making the talk pertinent for a majority of the audience. For small talks (like a one-on-one conversation), prefacing the discussing with a few questions can go a long way.</p> <h2>2. Use Your Big Kid Voice</h2> <p>Parents are constantly telling their children to use their &quot;big girl&quot; or &quot;big boy&quot; voice. That simply means speaking without baby talk or a lot of whine. The same can be said for the adult who is trying to command a room. Slow down, take breaths as you speak, control your pitch and pace while enunciating clearly. If you find your voice cracking from nervousness or dryness, stop to drink some water (which you should keep on hand at all times!)</p> <h2>3. Be Confident</h2> <p>When you are looking to get the attention of others, it is important to show your confidence in what you have to say. A timid, shy person who is stumbling over her words will not garner the attention she needs. Stand tall, hold your head high, speak clearly and with a strong voice. Remember that taking deeper breaths oxygenates your blood and relaxes you, thus helping you think more clearly.</p> <h2>4. Stand (or Sit) Tall and With Purpose</h2> <p>Whether you are standing or sitting, there is an optimal position that you should take to attract the attention of your audience. When standing, keep a tall back, your head held high and your hands clasped near your belly button. Use small gestures with your hands to add emphasis to your words &mdash; watch how regulars in the media use their hands. This also can make you appear taller, which is proven to help your authority with an audience. Many experts have claimed that <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2007-07-17-ceo-dominant-behavior_N.htm">raising their stature</a> by even a few inches has helped them succeed.</p> <p>When standing, your legs should be slightly apart. This shows confidence. When sitting, however, leaving your forearms on the table in front of you shows a confident, approachable stance that will sustain the attention of your listeners. (This is likely based on the theory that leaning into the table shows dominance of the table, which can help convey to the room that you own all the room &mdash; and therefore, the conversation, as well.)</p> <p>It is also helpful to identify all of your fears ahead of time and think them through to keep them at bay. It's natural to be nervous or even frightened, but using strategic tips such as <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200512/fighting-stage-fright">exaggeration of your symptoms</a> and imagining the best outcome can be effective if done every time you speak.</p> <h2>5. Remain Sure of Yourself &mdash; Even If You Lose Your Place</h2> <p>If you are speaking to an audience and lose your place, fumble, or can't seem to get back on track, it may be the appropriate time <a href="http://magazines.toastmasters.org/display_article.php?id=1177121">for a well-planned joke</a>. Those that can laugh at themselves can recapture an audience quickly and get back on track in no time.</p> <p>No matter what, avoid apologizing when things get rough. Remain sure of yourself and the message you are sending, or the audience will quickly lose interest in you or perceive you as no longer being an authority on your subject.</p> <p>If someone in a group argues that what you are saying is wrong, invite them to table the discussion to a more appropriate time, rather than saying &quot;I'm sorry you feel that way.&quot;</p> <p>If you are having a one-on-one conversation, choose your words to show you are empathetic but not dissuadable. Go with phrases such as &quot;I hear your words &mdash; here are the reasons why I am saying what I am.&quot;</p> <p>Keep track of your goal with any talk, and attempt to get back on topic during moments of conflict. Simply letting the audience know that you understand their frustrations, but that you need to get back to the topic at hand is a must-have skill for anyone speaking publicly.</p> <h2>6. Make Frequent Eye Contact</h2> <p>Making eye contact keeps the audience engaged as no one wants to be caught drifting off or ignoring a speaker. If you catch someone not looking at you while you are speaking, make eye contact with them and repeat it every few moments to maintain their attention. If catching their eye initially is difficult, take a few steps in their direction. Sometimes all a person needs is a reminder that there are other things going on in a room and their attention should be reverted.</p> <h2>7. Keep Them Interested</h2> <p>A person is naturally equipped to change focus every few minutes. To keep your audience from losing their focus on you, change your method of delivery every few minutes. Add in a story that relates to the listener and your topic, apply humor (if you feel comfortable with it), or present the material in a new way.</p> <p>Teachers use this method daily in a classroom. Those teachers who are considering today's lower attention spans change activities for students every 10-12 minutes and rotate the type of activities from passive to active regularly. Take a cue from teachers and interchange your method of delivery to keep and sustain the attention and focus of your audience.</p> <p>Whether you are presenting your ideas to a potential client, attempting to motivate your staff, or providing crucial instruction to a group of 15 year olds, these tips will help you ensure that your audience is engaged, focused, and ready to hear what it is you have to say.</p> <p><em>How do you keep listeners listening? Please tell us about it in comments &mdash; we're all ears!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-people-to-listen-when-you-talk">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">25 Ways to Communicate Better Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-simple-networking-tricks">15 Simple Networking Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting">Happily Ever After: How to Stay Married for 29 Years (and Counting)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development communication listening speaking speech skills Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1264072 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Dumb Little Things Holding You Back From a Healthy Relationship http://www.wisebread.com/8-dumb-little-things-holding-you-back-from-a-healthy-relationship <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-dumb-little-things-holding-you-back-from-a-healthy-relationship" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-relationship-problems-179233001-small.jpg" alt="couple relationship problems" title="couple relationship problems" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A good relationship is hard to find.</p> <p>Ask any single person who would love to be in a committed, strong relationship, and they'll tell you. Between their own mistakes and hang ups and those of the people they try to date, sometimes it seems like a miracle that anything could ever work out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-time-tested-ways-to-make-a-relationship-work?ref=seealso">6 Time-Tested Ways to Make a Relationship Work</a>)</p> <p>If you want to increase your chances of said miracle, though, make sure you're not engaging in any of these dumb little things that may be holding you back from a healthy relationship.</p> <h2>1. Deferring to Their Opinion</h2> <p>It's nice to let your partner choose where you're going or what you're doing. Some of the time. The problem with deferring all the time, though, is that it shows that you're insecure. And when you are insecure all the time, your partner can feel like they need to fix that for you.</p> <p>It isn't your partner's job to fix you. And asking them to do this, even if you do it indirectly, won't promote a healthy relationship. If your partner takes you up on this and tries to always reassure you, the relationship can become codependent. If they don't, you can end up angry and resentful towards them because they won't give you what you think you need.</p> <h2>2. Dressing Up to See Them</h2> <p>Sure, you want to impress the person you want to be with (or want to stay with). It's natural that you would want to look your best. However, when your partner never sees you in your normal clothes, it's like you're hiding part of who you are. And if you're hiding here, there's a good chance you're hiding other things, too.</p> <p><a href="http://www.ted.com/conversations/19704/how_honest_should_we_be_in_rel.html">Relationships need truth to survive</a>. Even when that truth is hard, when you're afraid that your significant other won't want to know something about you &mdash; whether that's your sexual history or the fact that you have a whole collection of sweatpants &mdash; it's better to express them than to keep quiet. Hiding may seem like a small thing, but it can make or break a relationship.</p> <h2>3. Saying Negative Things About Singleness</h2> <p>Even if you're in a relationship, it's worth your time to examine your attitudes about singleness. If you think negatively about single people or about being single, it probably means that you think a person's meaning comes from his or her romantic relationships. This puts a lot of stress on your relationship, because you want your partner to make your life meaningful.</p> <p>When you expect someone else to give your life meaning, you're asking a lot of them. In fact, you're asking something from them that they can never give you. Because meaning is something that wells up from inside you and that only you can determine whether or not you have, asking another person to give you that is asking them to climb inside your head. Starting a relationship by expecting the impossible will never lead to health.</p> <h2>4. Wondering If You Should Break Up After Every Fight</h2> <p>Most people don't realize that relationships are hard. But conflict should be expected, not a surprise. If you are so surprised that you want to break up, it probably means that you're expecting the relationship to be easy.</p> <p>When we have an expectation, especially one we haven't talked about or, sometimes, even made conscious, we tend to do whatever we can to make sure things fall into place the way we want them to. This can mean manipulating people, ignoring our feelings, and more. Or, it can mean ending a good relationship once it's no longer perfect.</p> <h2>5. Reminding Someone of What They Did Wrong Last Week</h2> <p>When someone hurts you, it's natural to remember that and to feel wary about interacting with that person in the future. If you keep bringing up your partner's past wrongs, though, it indicates that you're holding a grudge and it often makes the relationship unhealthy.</p> <p>If you can't get over something that someone did to you, whether it was big or small, you probably shouldn't be with them. Otherwise, you will <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692">end up angry at them and distrustful</a> of everything they do, and you could even end up stalking them or putting them under surveillance, which is clearly unhealthy.</p> <h2>6. Rolling Your Eyes</h2> <p>When you roll your eyes, you indicate that you're annoyed in the most dismissive, rude way possible. Sure, it's one little action, and if you do it when your partner can't see you, it won't even bother them. Whether they see you or not, though, an eye roll is indicative of a certain kind of attitude, and it's not one that makes for a healthy relationship.</p> <h2>7. Saying &quot;Yes&quot; When You Mean &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>If you want to make someone happy, you do whatever they want to do, right? Right? Wrong. Doing whatever someone asks of you all the time means that they control the relationship and you don't. This uneven balance of power can be unhealthy and even destructive, especially if the powerful person decides to take advantage of things.</p> <p>Saying &quot;No&quot; might make you feel like you're disappointing your partner, but sometimes you have to do that. Setting boundaries is key in healthy relationships, so that people know what they can and cannot expect from you and what you are and are not willing to give.</p> <h2>8. Making Sure Things Are &quot;Even&quot;</h2> <p>It's great that you want things to be fair, but always looking out for that is usually just another way to keep score, which is dangerous for your relationship.</p> <p>The problem with keeping score, with always knowing whether you owe or are owed, is that it becomes difficult to talk about any particular issue at hand. Every time you disagree with your partner, you'll bring up the past, which means that now you're talking about all of those issues as well as the one right in front of you. This can degenerate into you trying to justify your version of the scorecard while your partner does the same with theirs, which means the issue at hand is never dealt with and is only added to the score, for next time.</p> <p><em>What changes have you made to make your relationships healthier? What is one small change that seems to make all the difference?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-dumb-little-things-holding-you-back-from-a-healthy-relationship">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting">Happily Ever After: How to Stay Married for 29 Years (and Counting)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-relationship-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">Make These 6 Relationship Moves Now or You&#039;ll Regret It in 20 Years</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-signs-you-need-to-dump-your-friend">11 Signs You Need to Dump Your Friend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development communication confidence relationships Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:00:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1263678 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Need to Say Less (and How to Do It) http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-say-less-and-how-to-do-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-need-to-say-less-and-how-to-do-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/office-worker-talking-83397716-small.jpg" alt="office worker talking" title="office worker talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="139" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is it time to ask for a raise? Discipline your child? Apologize to your partner? In many communication situations, fewer words can pack a greater punch, and deliver your message more effectively.</p> <p>Let's cut to the chase. Here are six reasons you should learn to say less.</p> <h2>1. Keeps Your Listener (or Reader) Engaged</h2> <p>Tune-out happens at the point of information overload. Think about that colleague you try to avoid at the water cooler because a simple question &mdash; &quot;Hey, did you see last night's basketball game?&quot; &mdash; can turn into a 10-minute analysis of the last free throw shot. After the first two minutes of nodding your head in agreement, don't you wish they picked up on your nonverbal signals that enough is enough? Before long, you've mentally checked out of the conversation and are thinking about all the things waiting for your attention back at your desk, or your grocery list, or last night's dinner snafu. Don't be that colleague. Conversations are meant to be give-and-take, not monopolies.</p> <p>The <a href="http://fortune.com/2013/07/10/giving-a-speech-conquer-the-five-minute-attention-span/">average adult attention span</a> has dropped to 5 minutes, down from 12 minutes a decade ago. The result? We have less time than ever to get our point across &mdash; whether through an email, presentation, meeting, blog post, or conversation.</p> <h2>2. Conveys Confidence</h2> <p>When it's time to negotiate a raise, focus on the salient reasons you believe you deserve it. &quot;I've increased sales by 23% over the past year, and my customer retention rate has doubled since I started this job.&quot; Stop.</p> <p>Women, especially, <a href="http://www.dailyworth.com/posts/2576-why-women-need-to-stop-over-explaining/">tend to &quot;over-explain</a>,&quot; particularly when asking for something. Irrelevant details about how you color-coded your filing system, never complain about working late, or that your landlord just raised your rent will not convince your boss that you deserve a pay increase. In fact, all of the extraneous justifications can sabotage your request by coming across as self-doubt.</p> <h2>3. Doesn't Dilute the Point</h2> <p>Let's say you're pitching a website design to a potential client. A presentation that includes the top three benefits &mdash; increased conversions, more ad revenue, better customer engagement &mdash; will plant a much stronger seed in your client's mind than a laundry list of advantages that begin to run together and overwhelm. The top three will likely get lost in the muddle.</p> <p>Tangential stories, long explanations, or unnecessary information all tend to water down your most convincing points. By contrast, succinct messages deliver the strongest impact.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.steppublishers.com/">Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP)</a> program encourages parents to &quot;say as little as possible&quot; when delivering a consequence for a misbehavior. &quot;Hitting is inappropriate&quot; or &quot;We don't hit&quot; both convey simple but clear messages. Lectures and long explanations not only lead to toddler tune-out, but also dilute the lesson. What works for toddlers works for everyone else, too.</p> <h2>4. Makes Your Apology Sincere</h2> <p>It happens. Whether in the heat of an argument, or through sheer carelessness, we all slip up and say or do things we later regret.</p> <p>One cardinal rule in <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shame/201212/the-art-the-apology">delivering a sincere apology</a> is to avoid use of the words &quot;if&quot; or &quot;but.&quot; It's the latter that often results when we launch into a diatribe to prove that what we said or did was justified. And it has the effect of rescinding the apology by shifting the blame to the other party, according to psychologist Joseph Burgo, Ph.D. Keep your apology clear and to the point: &quot;I'm sorry that I got so angry last night. I'll try to keep my temper under control and the next time something bothers me, communicate it in a better way.&quot; That's it. Done. No need to rehash or finger-point.</p> <h2>5. Activates Your Filter</h2> <p>Your friends' mother was just diagnosed with a serious illness. Think before you speak. Best not to tell her about your neighbor who suffered miserably before dying from this disease. A simple, &quot;I'm so sorry to hear that; I'll keep your mom in my thoughts,&quot; is probably a better route.</p> <p>Simplicity is also best when saying &quot;no.&quot; One of the shortest words in the English language, it is also the most difficult for many to utter. &quot;I'm sorry I won't be able to attend the luncheon, but hope to see you soon&quot; is perfectly okay. No need to provide details of your overflowing calendar (your business, not theirs!) or make up an elaborate excuse to soften the &quot;no.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Communicates Strength</h2> <p>Nike's &quot;Just Do It&quot; trademark slogan was coined in the 1980s, but thankfully has had more staying power than poufy hairstyles. Its intent was to encourage people of all ages and athletic ability to participate in some type of exercise. No excuses. Just do it. Your short explanations will have the same staying power.</p> <p><em>Do you use the power of brevity in your daily interactions? Please tell us about it in comments (at length, if you must).</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mardee-handler">Mardee Handler</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-say-less-and-how-to-do-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">25 Ways to Communicate Better Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-and-give-honest-feedback">How to Get and Give Honest Feedback</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-people-to-listen-when-you-talk">7 Ways to Get People to Listen When You Talk</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development brevity clarity communication meaning Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Mardee Handler 1157886 at http://www.wisebread.com STOP! 10 Work Email Mistakes You May Be Making http://www.wisebread.com/stop-10-work-email-mistakes-you-may-be-making <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-10-work-email-mistakes-you-may-be-making" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/email-163124587-small.jpg" alt="email" title="email" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As an online editor and writer who works with many other editors, writers, and all the people in between, I get a lot of email. Like, a lot. As a result, I've spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the most of email, how to be efficient at it, and how to ensure that it benefits my work. I'm not the only one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email?ref=seealso">Get the Response You Want With a Friendly, Professional Email</a>)</p> <p>According to market research company Radicati, the average American worker received or sent 115 emails per day in 2013, a staggering figure that's expected to rise to 136 emails by 2017.</p> <p>That's a lot of opportunity to make a mistake. So before you rattle off today's 100+ emails, check out this collection of the 10 worst email mistakes you may be making.</p> <h2>1. You're a Slave to Your Inbox</h2> <p>Research by Mckinsey suggests that we spend more than a <a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/the_social_economy">quarter of our work hours answering email</a>. I actually think there's a simple reason for that: It can provide instant gratification. When you're flailing away at a tough presentation or hammering out figures in a boring spreadsheet, a new email can feel like a bit of a godsend. <em>Aha! Something I can actually succeed at with only a few seconds of work!</em></p> <p>Of course, when we get this attached to email, we end up doing a lot less actual work over all. What to do? According to Alexendra Samuel, an expert on email time management, it's best to create an <a href="http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/02/limit-the-time-you-spend-on-email/">&quot;email budget&quot;</a> by devoting a specific portion of each day to email. Try answering your email only once or twice per day. What you want to avoid is becoming a slave to everything that drops into your inbox.</p> <h2>2. You Aren't Thinking About Efficiency</h2> <p>Email is a great way of communicating with people, whether you work in the same building or are miles away. However, if you have a close working relationship with someone that tends to require a lot of back-and-forth communication, it's best to have a strategy. And that strategy should not be to email your co-worker every time you think of an idea, have a question, or need a hand. This is especially true if the co-worker you are talking about is your supervisor or your boss. Instead of rapid-firing emails to the same person all day, consider composing one email at the end of each day that includes everything you'd like to say, then following up in person or on the phone to discuss each point. The key is to find a way to make email communication as effective as possible.</p> <h2>3. You Don't Always Bother to Respond</h2> <p>I know I'm not the only one who gets overwhelmed by my inbox, but responding to an email takes almost no time at all, and it can make a huge difference.</p> <ul> <li>Did you get my invoice?</li> <li>Is the deadline I proposed OK?</li> <li>Did you review my work?</li> </ul> <p>I don't know because you never responded. Sound familiar? Email does get lost, and people like to know that you've received their messages, even if there isn't much to say about them. A simple &quot;thanks&quot; or &quot;OK&quot; is often all it takes to ensure the sender feels heard. It'll also mean that sender won't have to contact you again just to make sure he or she got through the first time, which means one less email you'll have to deal with.</p> <h2>4. But When You Do Respond, You Respond to Everyone</h2> <p>&quot;Reply All&quot; is a great tool&hellip; if you really want that message to go to <em>all</em> the initial recipients of an email. Remember, everyone else on the list probably gets too much email too, so before you hit that button, think about which people actually need to be in the loop. And do not &quot;Reply All&quot; and then address one person &mdash; you're just wasting everyone else's time.</p> <h2>5. You Expect Instant Feedback</h2> <p>Just because someone is online all day doesn't mean they're staring at their email queue. Email <em>can</em> be instant, but that doesn't mean it has to be. Give people a chance to respond to your messages in their own time (as long as it's reasonable in the professional context). That's what email is for.</p> <h2>6. You Start Messaging Before You've Finished Reading</h2> <p>If you have a ton of email, be careful about starting at the top and firing off a bunch of responses. This is especially important if you've been out of the office. While you were away, chances are that people found a way to get their questions answered or problems dealt with without your help. Make sure you know the full story and have seen everything they've sent you before you start sending replies that are no longer needed.</p> <h2>7. You Aren't Careful About What You Say (And How You Say It)</h2> <p>When you speak to someone in person, you can say all kinds of things that just won't translate in an email. You can smile and roll your eyes to show that you're being sarcastic; you can behave kindly when you deliver harsh criticism; you can make jokes and ensure that your humor hasn't missed the mark. In text, this is very very tricky.</p> <p>That means that you have to be very careful what you say in an email &mdash; and how you say it, especially when what you're saying is or could be interpreted as criticism. If you have to discuss something sensitive by email, read over what you've written very carefully to ensure it strikes the right tone. If you aren't sure that it does, that's a conversation to have in person. Although many people will tell you it's unprofessional, I'm also a fan of using a few emoticons in work emails, particularly smiley faces. I think it helps make it clear that I'm trying to be friendly, rather than abrupt and confrontational.</p> <h2>8. You Forward Forwards</h2> <p>Forwarding email was a big thing back in the day when email was just something people played around with and used for social correspondence. Now, email is used for everything from basic communication to a means for conducting major business deals. In other words, there isn't much room for junk anymore. If you have something awesome to forward, forward it to the people who will appreciate it. But please, please, please do not indiscriminately forward every joke and cat video that comes through your inbox.</p> <p>Please.</p> <h2>9. You Turn the Gossip Mill</h2> <p>Whether you'd like to think about it or not, if you have a work email address, it probably goes through your employer's server. In other words, any email that you send from that account is not your email &mdash; it's your employer's email. And that means that your employer can read those messages.</p> <p>If you feel the need to rant about how horrible your boss is, or how lazy the receptionist is, or about how you haven't been working all day because you're hung over, email is <em>not</em> the place to do it. Your boss might just get to read that email someday. Whether that happens while you're still working for the company or after you've moved on, it could have a major impact on the kind of reference you're able to get for that job.</p> <h2>10 You Write Lame Subject Lines</h2> <p>If I have too much email to tackle in one day, I try to scan through it and answer the messages that are the most pressing. It's a pretty good time management strategy, but the people sending me email kind of have to play along by providing some indication of the timeliness and importance of their messages. And that means being specific. For example, an email titled &quot;Question about article due tomorrow&quot; tells me I need to get to work immediately and find out what I can do to help. An email titled &quot;Question&quot; tells me next to nothing and is more likely to be overlooked. If you want timely and helpful responses to your email messages, be a good sender by giving your email an accurate subject line.</p> <p>Email is simple. It's convenient. It's fast. But it can also leave you totally unproductive and, if you send the wrong kind of email, possibly even unemployed. Whether you tend to send more email than you receive or vice versa, the responsibility for efficient, effective email belongs to both parties. Here's to hoping we can all help each other email a little better &mdash; and by that I mean a whole lot less.</p> <p><em>What's the worst email mistake you've ever committed (or read)? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-10-work-email-mistakes-you-may-be-making">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email">Get the Response You Want With Friendly, Professional Email</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-ease-into-a-day-job-after-freelancing">5 Ways to Ease Into a Day Job After Freelancing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-powerful-reasons-companies-should-offer-more-wellness-programs-to-keep-their-employees-healthier-a">5 Powerful Reasons Companies Should Offer More Wellness Programs to Keep Their Employees Healthier and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-the-no-vacation-nation">America Is the No Vacation Nation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income communication email etiquette productivity Thu, 10 Jul 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Tara Struyk 1156616 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Talk About Retirement With Your Spouse http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-talk-about-retirement-with-your-spouse <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-talk-about-retirement-with-your-spouse" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-148224364.jpg" alt="couple talking" title="couple talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are plenty of reasons why you might be avoiding The Talk with your spouse. And you're not alone. Only 38% of <a href="http://heartsandwallets.com/till-death-or-retirement-or-retirement-do-us-part/news/2013/02/">married couples plan for retirement</a> together.</p> <p>Granted, having a long heart-to-heart with your sweetie about asset allocation, investment strategies, and Social Security may only be slightly more romantic than discussing your father-in-law's recent colonoscopy &mdash; but not talking about it can exacerbate your fears, worries, and unmet expectations for the future.</p> <p>If you're not sure how to broach the retirement conversation with your spouse, here is what you need to know. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-difficult-conversations-you-have-to-have-with-your-spouse?ref=seealso">Hard Conversations You Have to Have With Your Spouse</a>)</p> <h2>Start Dreaming</h2> <p>Mary Poppins taught us that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and that's just as true for adults who are putting off making retirement decisions as it is for six-year-olds who'd rather not clean up.</p> <p>Instead of starting with the dollars and cents of your retirement needs, get started by daydreaming with your spouse about what an ideal retirement will look like. Do you want to travel? Move to France? Finally get that little cottage on the beach?</p> <p>If you start your retirement conversation with your spouse by talking about where you want your life to take you <em>together</em>, then it will be much easier to get excited for the less interesting or enjoyable aspects of planning. There's nothing more motivating than a fun goal.</p> <p>Starting with this conversation can also help you to discover if you and your spouse have differing expectations about what your retirement will look like. It's much better to learn early on that he wants to sell the house and live out of an RV and that she wants to keep the house and turn it into a bed &amp; breakfast. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-truths-for-a-successful-retirement?ref=seealso">7 Truths for a Successful Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>Determine Your Minimums</h2> <p>Once you've gotten a chance to indulge in your pie-in-the-sky dreams together, it's time to talk about the other side of the coin: what is the minimum you will each need to feel comfortable in retirement?</p> <p>Unfortunately, this is often a time when spouses might disagree and argue over what is appropriate. Phil Taylor, blogger at PTMoney.com, wrote in U.S. News and World Report that these disagreements stem from the fact that you are not speaking the same language:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">When you talk about money with your spouse, you really need to understand what type of financial life will <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2010/11/22/how-to-discuss-retirement-with-your-spouse">bring you both happiness and safety</a>. If you can clearly define what happiness and safety are for your spouse, then you can begin to have a healthy conversation about money.</p> <p>Talking openly with your spouse about the minimum you will each need to feel safe and content in retirement will give you a baseline for your retirement income &mdash; while your fun retirement dreams will give you something to aim for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-need-to-retire?ref=seealso">How Much Money Will You Need to Retire?</a>)</p> <h2>Take Stock of Where You Are</h2> <p>Once you've had those two discussions, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty: how much have you already saved, and how much do you still need to put aside?</p> <p>This is both the easiest and the hardest step. It's easy, because it's simply a matter of looking up numbers (you do have the paperwork from your workplace retirement account, right?) and using an <a href="http://www.caniretireyet.com/the-3-best-free-retirement-calculators/">online retirement calculator</a> to determine your future plans.</p> <p>But taking stock is also really tough because you might be afraid that you're already too far behind to make a difference. That's why so many couples play ostrich rather than deal with the real numbers.</p> <p>Of course, the truth is that you can't get where you want to go without knowing where you are now. If one spouse is more comfortable with number crunching, it can be helpful for him or her to be the point person in determining where you are and where you need to go. This is also a good time to set up a meeting with a trusted financial advisor who can help you figure out your retirement path. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/investment-advice-you-should-never-hear-from-your-financial-advisor?ref=seealso">Advice You Shouldn't Hear From Your Financial Advisor</a>)</p> <h2>Decide on Your Savings Plan</h2> <p>Once you know where you are currently and where you want to go, then it's time to put in place an action plan for getting there. This includes everything from determining how much you will each contribute to your retirement accounts to how you will systematically increase your contributions through the years to what your investing strategy will be.</p> <p>Again, having a financial planner can help with this portion of your retirement planning. Not only will having regular appointments with your advisor prompt you to make decisions you might otherwise put off, but your advisor will also help you to understand the complexities of retirement planning that might otherwise feel overwhelming to you as a couple.</p> <h2>Set Up a Regular Retirement &quot;Date&quot; With Your Spouse</h2> <p>If you're dreading The Talk, I'm afraid I have bad news: unlike telling your kids where babies come from, you'll need to have this uncomfortable talk more than once. Specifically, you and your spouse should talk at least once a year about your retirement plans.</p> <p>One way to make this something you both look forward to (instead of something you rank up there with root canals for sheer entertainment value) is to actually make your annual retirement talk a date. Plan on either going out to dinner or letting the kids spend the night with friends while you talk finances over a delicious meal. It's a lot harder to argue with the person you're literally planning the rest of your life with when you're sharing some mushroom risotto and a glass of wine.</p> <p>Whether or not you and your spouse are in complete agreement about your retirement plans and strategies, keeping the lines of communication open and regularly revisiting those plans will ensure that your retirement will happen, even if the specifics remain a little hazy until you get there.</p> <h2>Making Finance Hot</h2> <p>There are very few couples out there who consider running spreadsheets to be a hot date. And that's a big part of the reason why so many couples simply do not talk to each other about issues like retirement: it's boring, and it can be incredibly difficult to reconcile two completely different money attitudes.</p> <p>It's time to look at retirement planning differently. Talking about retirement is a new way to learn about the person you love. Having discussions about retirement can be as exciting as those first conversations you had while dating, since it can give you new insight into your sweetheart.</p> <p>Then, if running spreadsheets simply does not get your motor running, you can always hire someone to help you with that.</p> <p>Meanwhile you and your spouse can look starry-eyed at each while you plan your golden years.</p> <p><em>How do you handle The Talk with your partner? Please take a moment to talk about it in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-talk-about-retirement-with-your-spouse">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-women-should-know-about-retirement-planning">12 Surprising Things Women Should Know About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today">One Smart Thing You Can Do for Your Retirement Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad That Anyone Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement communication discussion money talk Sun, 27 Apr 2014 21:28:01 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1136930 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Tips to Up Your Chances of Getting an Email Response http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-up-your-chances-of-getting-an-email-response <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-tips-to-up-your-chances-of-getting-an-email-response" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/email-180867941.jpg" alt="email" title="email" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're all familiar with the feeling that the emails we sent must have been sucked into some black hole because we never received a response. Sure, it's possible that your email went straight to spam, but the more likely scenario is either the recipient isn't interested or is too busy to respond. Here are some tips that may score you a reply.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Write-Holiday-Email-33111394">Use This Strategy to Stay in Touch With Over a 1,000 People</a></p> <h2>1. Check Your Writing</h2> <p>Make sure the email is free of grammar and punctuation errors. It tends to look less professional if it's rife with mistakes, which may mean your email won't be taken seriously.</p> <h2>2. Stay Professional but Friendly</h2> <p>Watch the tone of your email. Make sure you keep it professional but friendly. And remember not to go overboard with the friendliness. Stay clear of emoticons, an excessive amount of exclamation marks, and capitalizing words for emphasis &mdash; you're not a used-car salesman.</p> <h2>3. Keep It Short</h2> <p>Try to be as brief as you can. If the person does not know you, she is less likely to spend time reading your email. If you keep your emails short, she's more likely to get through the whole email.</p> <h2>4. Be Specific</h2> <p>You're writing the email for a reason, so you should be clear about your goals. It's even helpful to be specific in the subject line as well, says <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Write-Email-Job-22588885">a former Google recruiter</a>. Using bullet points may also help you get your point across more quickly and help the reader figure out what you want.</p> <h2>5. Get an Introduction</h2> <p>If possible, try to get someone to introduce you to the person instead of emailing cold. You'll definitely raise your chances of getting a response with a referral. Scour your LinkedIn contacts to see if you have any in common with the person you're trying to reach.</p> <h2>6. Check With Someone When You Use Them as a Referral</h2> <p>Perhaps your shared contact and the person you're trying to get in touch with have an awkward relationship. It's best not to bring up the shared contact's name if you didn't check in with them before. It could be someone's ex or someone the contact had a falling out with. This will hurt your chances of getting a response. Instead, try your best to rely on your shared contact for an introduction or don't refer to them at all.</p> <h2>7. No Pressure</h2> <p>Do not immediately ask the contact for a referral. If the contact doesn't know you, it's a huge favor to ask of him or her. Instead, feel out the situation and commit some time to the contact. Ask her for advice on applying and take her out for coffee. During your conversation, try to feel out if she's willing to refer you, or better yet, wait for her to offer. If she has voiced some discomfort about referring people, don't push it.</p> <h2>8. Don't Bombard</h2> <p>If you haven't received a response, don't keep sending multiple emails in hopes that the person will finally cave. Instead, spread your emails out and limit them. Follow up one week after the initial email, and if you still haven't heard back, send the third email two weeks later. And if no one responds to your third email, it's time to switch gears and try something else. Also, if a person says that they will get back to you if they are interested, you should probably wait for them to get back to you.</p> <h2>9. Find the Right Person</h2> <p>Get the contact information of the right person to reach out to. If you email the wrong person, chances are they may not bother forwarding your email to the right contact because as a stranger, your email would be considered low priority.</p> <h2>10. Limit the Amount of People You Reach Out To</h2> <p>If you're trying to get in touch with someone in the organization and haven't been able to get a response, don't start emailing everyone in it. Try to limit it to at most two people. People talk, and if they find out that the same person has been emailing multiple contacts, it will come off as desperate, which is not a good impression if you're trying to be professional.</p> <p>If the email is not working, try other means such as interacting with her on social media or meeting in person. Remember, there is a fine line between being persistent and a pest, so do your best to toe that line.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> It&#039;s frustrating when you send someone an email and never get a response. Follow these steps to improve your chances. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img style="height:95px; width:300px" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Way-Talk-Strangers-34184518">Hate Talking to Strangers? This Tactic Will Help You</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Politely-Decline-Coffee-Invites-28342849">4 Polite Ways to Deal With Unwanted Coffee Invites </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Remember-Names-23735981">Forget Me Not: 8 Tactics For Remembering Names</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-up-your-chances-of-getting-an-email-response">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email">Get the Response You Want With Friendly, Professional Email</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-with-a-rude-neighbor">How to Deal With a Rude Neighbor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-express-condolences-without-saying-something-stupid">How to Express Condolences Without Saying Something Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-10-work-email-mistakes-you-may-be-making">STOP! 10 Work Email Mistakes You May Be Making</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips communication email Fri, 21 Mar 2014 09:24:18 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1129382 at http://www.wisebread.com Life Skills 101: How to Deliver Bad News to Anyone http://www.wisebread.com/life-skills-101-how-to-deliver-bad-news-to-anyone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/life-skills-101-how-to-deliver-bad-news-to-anyone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/talking-453721427.jpg" alt="talking" title="talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you are a parent letting your child down, a supervisor who has to let an employee go, or a doctor delivering a difficult diagnosis, it is never easy to give someone bad news. No one enjoys it. In fact, most of us dread it.</p> <p>The manner in which you break the news can affect the outcome, influence the other person's emotions, and even create a bigger problem. Using the tips found below on how to break bad news, you can ensure a smoother interaction and the least amount of discomfort possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-express-condolences-without-saying-something-stupid?ref=seealso">Express Condolences Without Saying Something Stupid</a>)</p> <h2>1. Consider Your Own Emotions Before You Begin</h2> <p>If you are upset or angry, take some time to calm your nerves and dry your tears if you need to. Your ability to remain calm throughout the conversation will help the person receiving the bad news to remain calm as well.</p> <h2>2. Sit at the Same Level</h2> <p>It is never a good idea to be standing while the other person is sitting. This puts the person who is standing in a position of power, which can be very intimidating for the person who is receiving the bad news.</p> <p>In addition to considering your seating position, be sure that your physical location is comfortable and private. Take precautions so that no one who should not hear the news does so. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Communicate Better</a>)</p> <h2>3. Start the Conversation With Something Neutral</h2> <p>Whether it's a compliment, some good news, or a reassuring comment about the person or situation, breaking the ice with something benign can help lessen the anxiety the person you are speaking to will feel. This calms both your nerves.</p> <p>When appropriate, provide positive news after the bad news, as well. This works well when you are giving criticism about a job performance, sharing a medical diagnosis, or especially when dealing with a child.</p> <h2>4. Provide as Many Facts as Possible</h2> <p>Sticking to the facts when you initially break the news will help the person understand the situation better. If you insert your emotions into the situation, the person hearing the bad news may struggle with hearing the truth or be stuck on the emotions. It is also best to stay focused on the topic, be direct, and not stray from the intended message.</p> <p>The exception to this tip is if you are speaking with a child and delivering bad news, you will want to consider which facts are necessary and which are going to cause undue stress. Too many facts can confuse a child and cause him or her to become overly stressed or overwhelmed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-parenting-books?ref=seealso">5 Best Parenting Books</a>)</p> <h2>5. Avoid Negotiation</h2> <p>Whether you are issuing a reprimand to an employee, breaking up with a partner, or punishing a child, avoid making deals with the person. Stick to your plan and stay determined to give the information and the facts that you plan to give. Children and employees will often ask for &quot;one more chance.&quot; It is important that you avoid doing that, as it can undermine your decision making and give the person reason to believe the next time you give them bad news won't count, either.</p> <h2>6. Offer Solutions and Alternatives</h2> <p>Providing an alternative to the situation can show your willingness to work for a more positive outcome and better ensures it occurs in the future. Provide an action plan to the person to turn their bad news into something good.</p> <h2>7. Remain Sympathetic</h2> <p>Showing that you understand the emotions the other person is feeling is respectful and can go a long way toward future interactions. Comments like &quot;I understand how you are feeling,&quot; and &quot;I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this,&quot; or &quot;I'm here for you if you need to discuss this more&quot; will help alleviate some of the stress and calm the other person's nerves.</p> <p>A normal reaction to bad news is anger or crying; be sure to treat those reactions with respect, as well. Never tell the person they are overreacting or that they should quit crying. Offer them a sympathetic comment, some tissues, and time to work through their emotions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-manage-powerful-emotions?ref=seealso">How to Manage Powerful Emotions</a>)</p> <p>If you are tasked with providing bad news to someone, it is very important to plan what you are going to say, keep your emotions under control, stick to the facts and remain respectful throughout the interaction. These tips will offer as best of an experience as possible for everyone involved.</p> <p><em>Have you ever had to deliver bad news. How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-skills-101-how-to-deliver-bad-news-to-anyone">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter">22 Reasons to Write a Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-ease-into-a-day-job-after-freelancing">5 Ways to Ease Into a Day Job After Freelancing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-easy-ways-to-live-a-happier-life">Flashback Friday: 51 Easy Ways to Live a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-benefits-of-failure">7 Surprising Benefits of Failure</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">8 Negotiating Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks bad news communication news Tue, 04 Mar 2014 10:48:13 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1128185 at http://www.wisebread.com Happily Ever After: How to Stay Married for 29 Years (and Counting) http://www.wisebread.com/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-2812319-small.jpg" alt="couple" title="couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="133" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At the end of this month, my husband and I will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. Yes, 29 years. Holy bananas! How time flies!</p> <p>Now, given the current divorce rate, 29 years is a pretty impressive milestone, but what makes it even more noteworthy is that we're not the perfect couple &mdash; not by a long shot. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">How to Be Happy and Married: 24 Tips from a 24-Year-Old Marriage</a>)</p> <p>Truth be told, he drives me crazy on most days, and judging from the pulsing vein in his forehead and his standing prescription to Xanax, I'd say he feels much the same way about me. And yet, here we are, totally content (for the most part) and excited about what the next 29 years will bring.</p> <p>So, how did we do it?</p> <h2>Walk Your Own Path</h2> <p>My man is a big guy with a dominating personality. It's one of the things I love about him, but it's also a stark contrast to my more &quot;accommodating&quot; nature.</p> <p>Consequently, I spent the first year of our marriage doing my best to keep him happy and avoid any arguments because, well, that's just what I do.</p> <p>Until that is, my mother told me it was &quot;okay&quot; to disagree. &quot;You're married now,&quot; she said, &quot;but that doesn't mean you disappear. It doesn't mean you stop being you.&quot;</p> <p>Of all the advice my mother has ever given me, that is by far the best.</p> <p>All too often, we look to someone else to make us happy, believing that we have to trade our own sense of fulfillment for being in a relationship. We put our dreams on hold and take a big detour off our chosen path, expecting the relationship itself to be enough to sustain us.</p> <p>And then, we're disappointed when it isn't.</p> <p>The thing is, your partner never actually agreed to take responsibility for your happiness, or the lack thereof. They're not supposed to take charge of your journey &mdash; they're just supposed to be there to share it with you.</p> <p>Fortunately, the fix is simple &mdash; don't disappear.</p> <p>Both of you have to be your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-be-as-happy-as-a-dane">totally authentic and amazing selves</a>.</p> <h2>Love the One You're With</h2> <p>While we're on the subject of authenticity, let's also talk about the importance of acceptance.</p> <p>Many a relationship has ended due to &quot;irreconcilable differences,&quot; and yet many of those differences are often some of the same traits and tendencies we possessed from day one. Granted, we do a decent job of hiding at least some of these traits at the beginning because we're on our best behavior and looking to impress.</p> <p>It's only after we've got a commitment that we begin to let our guard down, and that's when the disillusionment typically begins.</p> <p>Our entertainment adds to that illusion by showing us relationships that are steeped in an unrealistic amount of drama and excitement. We've been bombarded by worlds where true love is akin to magic, where the passion is overwhelming, where the participants always look beautiful, and where the lovers must overcome tremendous odds to win the freedom to finally be together. They'll succeed of course, because True Love always wins out.</p> <p>Even though we know those worlds are fictional, we can't help but be moved by their passion and desire; we want that. And it influences our perception of what a relationship should be.</p> <p>So, it's no wonder that we <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/endurance-frugality-staying-the-course-and-being-a-winner">become disenchanted by the day-to-day grind</a> of a real relationship. There are bills to pay, dishes to wash, carpets to vacuum, and toilets to scrub.</p> <p>Your partner is consistently showing you who they really are (and vice versa), so stop being so surprised when those traits and tendencies continue into the relationship.</p> <p>We have a bad habit of seeing people the way we want to see them rather than as what they're showing us. We see the diamond in the rough, full of promise and potential. They just need a good dose of our own special love and guidance to bring it all out.</p> <p>And then we feel betrayed when they don't live up to our expectations.</p> <p>You don't have to love everything about your partner, but you do have to love them for who they are right now &mdash; quirks, eccentricities, and all. If you can do that, you're already on the road to a long and happy relationship.</p> <h2>Learn What Matters and What Doesn't</h2> <p>If my husband and I were to take a compatibility quiz, I can almost guarantee that we'd fail.</p> <p>I love books; he prefers to wait for the movie. He sees life from a very organized, black and white perspective; while I'm a more creative, many shades of gray type of girl.</p> <p>He's atheist; I'm pagan. He likes meat; I like tofu and sprouts. I wanted five kids when we got married; he was &quot;iffy&quot; about maybe having one. And the list goes on and on.</p> <p>We are, for all intents and purposes, opposites of one another. We've obviously had to make some concessions and compromises along the way.</p> <p>But what we realized is that very few issues required an all or nothing approach. We come together on the things that matter: we love our kids, we love each other, and we both believe that there's always room to grow and change.</p> <p>And that's been enough of a foundation to make these last 29 years work. Yes, it's been quite a roller-coaster ride, but then who doesn't love the roller coaster?</p> <p>Maybe that's a tip worth noting as well.</p> <h2>Learn to Roll With It</h2> <p>I have friends who, as soon as a new relationship looks like it might become serious, insist on having lengthy conversations about everything from the number of children they'll have to the amount of money they'll make, and they're willing to call it quits if the answers they get don't match up with their own.</p> <p>But having such a rigid blueprint for the future leaves nothing to chance, and if there's one constant in this universe, it's that anything and everything could change from one minute to the next.</p> <p>Our different personalities and perspectives might mean we have to work a little harder to find common ground, but it also makes that common ground much more exciting and enjoyable. It also almost guarantees that we'll never have to worry about getting stuck in a rut or becoming bored, two things that almost always lead to those irreconcilable differences.</p> <h2>Fight Right</h2> <p>During my stint in the corporate world, I noticed that the guys in the office were able to battle it out in a meeting and then go to lunch as if the altercation had never even happened. That's not to say that all men are masters of this skill or that they aren't capable of being mean and petty and vengeful when they want to be &mdash; they definitely are. But I saw this &quot;fight-and-forget-it&quot; mentality happen with enough consistency, that it prompted me to think about how I approached conflict in my own relationships.</p> <p>Here's what I've learned.</p> <p>First and foremost, it's okay to fight. In fact, it's absolutely expected if you want the relationship to last and the closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to disagree along the way.</p> <p>You and your beloved are two unique individuals, sharing space, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-couples-fight-over-money-and-what-to-do-about-it">making joint decisions that will have a lasting impact</a> on both of your lives. Of course you're going to disagree, and sometimes, that disagreement will become heated. But with a few ground rules, your relationship can survive and even grow from the experience.</p> <p><strong>Ground Rule #1: Don't Take It Personally</strong></p> <p>Many disagreements are just that &mdash; a disagreement, as in &quot;I think this while you think that.&quot; It doesn't mean your perspective isn't equally as valid &mdash; just that your partner doesn't share it. And sometimes that one little insight is the difference between a &quot;discussion&quot; and a knock-down, drag-out, you're-sleeping-on-the-couch fight.</p> <p><strong>Ground Rule #2: Stay on Point and Be Very Clear on What You're Fighting About</strong></p> <p>It's easy to bring up past infractions when it supports your position, but then don't be surprised when your partner becomes defensive. Ditto if you use the words &quot;always&quot; or &quot;never&quot; in your argument. Because now it's not just one issue you don't agree on &mdash; it's his or her character that's in question. And when one of you is defensive, you're no longer having a productive argument.</p> <p><strong>Ground Rule #3: Learn How to Walk Away</strong></p> <p>Fights are supposed to help you get things out in the open and (hopefully) shed some light on how to move forward. When things get too heated, our emotions kick in and we have a tendency to resort to some pretty nasty tactics. That's when you both should walk away. Go cool off, and come back when you're able to be more rational and reasonable. Your fights will be much more constructive.</p> <h2>Learn How to Forgive</h2> <p>You've probably heard the old adage &quot;don't go to bed angry,&quot; and to that, I say &quot;get real.&quot; If we fight in the morning and have all day to cool off, then we might be fine by the time we head off to bed.</p> <p>But if the fight takes place in the evening or if he just really pushes my buttons, then I won't pretend I'm not mad just because we're going to bed, and neither does he. But what we will do is set aside our anger and let the other know we love them, even if we don't like them very much at the moment.</p> <p>Which is enough to allow both of us to end the day. Sometimes, we're fine by the next morning, sometimes we're not, but we both know we'll eventually get back to where we need to be.</p> <p>That's how we're able to say what we need to say when we're having a fight&nbsp;&mdash; we know we're going to make up. No grudges, no paybacks, no penalties of any kind. It makes it easier to fight and it makes it a lot easier to make up.</p> <p>So that's what's helped make the first 29 years of my marriage a pretty solid success. I hope it brings you the peace and happiness that it's brought me.</p> <p><em>How long have you been with the one you're with? What makes it work?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-relationship-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">Make These 6 Relationship Moves Now or You&#039;ll Regret It in 20 Years</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-relationship-rules-you-should-be-breaking">10 Relationship Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-preserve-your-relationships-when-circumstances-change">How to Preserve Your Relationships When Circumstances Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-need-to-stop-doing-today-to-be-a-better-friend">12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-dumb-little-things-holding-you-back-from-a-healthy-relationship">8 Dumb Little Things Holding You Back From a Healthy Relationship</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Personal Development communication love marriages relationships Thu, 25 Jul 2013 09:48:31 +0000 Kate Luther 980804 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Say "No" to Friends and Family http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/no-5179261-small.jpg" alt="no" title="no" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've spent most of my life saying &quot;yes&quot; to things because, I have to admit, I am a natural people pleaser. I want to make everyone happy, and when others are happy, that makes me feel good, too. On occasions when I'm forced to say or do something that will displease someone else, I easily get stressed out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-what-you-want-on-customer-service-calls" target="_blank">How to Get What You Want on Customer Service Calls</a>)</p> <p>For most of my life, this wasn't much of an issue, because I could easily rearrange my schedule and do a friend a favor without too much inconvenience to myself or to others around me. That all changed, however, once I got married and had a child. Suddenly, I had to put my daughter first, even if that meant displeasing other well-meaning relatives and friends.</p> <p>I had to learn to say &quot;no.&quot;</p> <p>Most of the time, I discovered that saying no wasn't as difficult as I thought. Most of my friends understood my circumstances, and thought no more of it. However, there remained a few people who just didn't understand why my daughter needs to be in bed no later than eight, or who assumed that because I work from home, I was free to run random errands for them during the day. There were still people who refused to take no for an answer, or who simply took my refusal personally. For those people, I needed (and still need) to be both firmer and more diplomatic in saying no.</p> <p>Here's what I've learned about saying &quot;no&quot; so far.</p> <h2>1. Honesty Is the Best Policy</h2> <p>Sometimes I dread saying no to a friend who is notorious for not taking no for an answer. However, I'm often pleasantly surprised when I honestly tell them my reasons for saying no. &quot;I just can't afford to go there,&quot; or &quot;Honestly, it's just going to be too stressful for me to drive that far with the baby,&quot; are two responses that I've used successfully and I've found that the other person usually <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-and-give-honest-feedback" target="_blank">appreciates the frankness</a>.</p> <h2>2. Delay Commitment</h2> <p>This idea might sound like a bad date movie, but sometimes it's a good idea to equivocate and to delay committing to something. Perhaps, like me, you tend to say yes when you're put on the spot (or as I like to put it, when I've been ambushed). I find it helpful to say, &quot;Let me check my schedule (or with my significant other) and get back to you,&quot; or simply, &quot;I may have a commitment that day, so let me get back to you.&quot; Later, once you've thought about it, phone or send a succinct note stating a firm but polite no.</p> <h2>3. You're Not the Best Person for the Job</h2> <p>If a friend asks you to do something that's out of your comfort zone, you can be honest that you're not comfortable doing it and that someone else might do a better job. &quot;I'm honestly not that great with kids. Why don't you ask another friend to babysit instead?&quot; Or, &quot;If I were on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/finding-community-leadership-opportunities" target="_blank">that committee</a>, I wouldn't be able to give the issues the time and attention they deserve.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, this response invites argumentation (&quot;Oh you hardly have to do anything! Just put a movie on!&quot;), so it may take a bit more explaining to convince the asker (especially those who don't take no for an answer) that you're serious.</p> <h2>4. Show Your Appreciation</h2> <p>Some people take your refusal as a rejection of them personally. Show them that you like and appreciate them, but that you simply can't comply with their request.</p> <p>For example, if you hate the thought of going to a poetry reading, but wouldn't mind spending time with your friend elsewhere, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend" target="_blank">suggest lunch on another day instead</a>. If you can't make it to a party, tell your friend how much you like her parties and how you appreciate the effort they put into throwing these get-togethers, but you can't make it this time. Although you may assume that your friend or relative knows how much she means to you, you'd be surprised how much she enjoys hearing you put your appreciation into words.</p> <h2>5. Keep It Simple</h2> <p>Sometimes not explaining is more effective than explaining. &quot;No, I'm sorry, I can't make it. I have an appointment.&quot; Or, &quot;I'm afraid it's just not going to work out.&quot; No need to explain further. Most people will respect your privacy enough not to pry. If your friend does get nosy, a simple &quot;I'd rather not get into it,&quot; should suffice to keep further argument at bay. Remember, you're not obligated to explain yourself or to justify your decision. There needs to be some privacy and autonomy left in the world!</p> <p><em>Do you have a problem saying no? What method has worked best for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-an-argument">How to Win an Argument</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-learning-how-to-admit-youre-wrong">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You&#039;re Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development communication friends & family saying no Mon, 15 Jul 2013 10:30:46 +0000 Camilla Cheung 980463 at http://www.wisebread.com Get the Response You Want With Friendly, Professional Email http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/computer-5061330-small.jpg" alt="computer" title="computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is an art to being casual and friendly yet professional and firm via email. While I won&rsquo;t claim to be the master of the perfect email, I can say that I tend to get positive results. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-letter-always-wins" target="_blank">The Letter Always Wins</a>)</p> <p>Like many of you, I read and write lots of work-related and personal emails every day. The subjects cover professional assignments, updates from sports coaches and music directors, alerts about scouting activities, check-ins with those who may need help, details about group projects, and more. While some messages are meant merely to inform, others are designed to solicit feedback, encourage involvement, facilitate decision-making, build relationships, and reinforce teamwork</p> <p>Having been part of highly effective communications and having learned from mistakes (both as a recipient and a sender), I have identified a few keys to conveying a message clearly and in a positive tone.</p> <h2>Appear Calm and Upbeat</h2> <p>Act serene no matter how you feel. A calm and positive approach endears you to your audience and makes your message more compelling.</p> <p>Even if you are frustrated about the lack of response from your friends and colleagues, upset about a situation that needs to be remedied, or have just cause to be angry, expressing negative emotions is almost always a bad idea. For whatever reason, negativity is amplified via email. Recipients will see you as incapable and flighty at best, and deranged and unstable at worst.</p> <p>Set the tone by starting with a positive statement. For example, express gratitude for help with a project, congratulate on a recent accomplishment, or simply mention that you enjoyed a recent event with your recipients.</p> <p>For the core of your message, be clear about what you need. To get support from others, resist heavy-handedness and, instead, be encouraging.</p> <h2>Give All Pertinent Information</h2> <p>Cover everything needed to respond, participate, etc. in the email. Give the details about who, what, when (including day of the week, date, and time), where, why, and how in the message, even if you have included that information in the subject line or earlier emails.</p> <p>Sure, this tip seems like a no-brainer, but I still see messages that don't contain the basics.</p> <p>And while it's true that people don't like to read long messages, getting all the details in one message is preferable to having others fill in the blanks with wrong assumptions.</p> <h2>Use the Draft Function</h2> <p>When you need to write an important email, compose the content and save in draft mode. Review the next day and make edits before sending. This simple routine (write, sleep, edit, and then send) has helped me to be a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today" target="_blank">more effective communicator</a>.</p> <p>The day after writing the draft, I will often find these problems:</p> <ul> <li>A tone that is frantic or harsh</li> <li>Unnecessary details, which distract readers from key points</li> <li>Imprecise language</li> <li>Misspelled words</li> <li>Too much information about my personal views</li> <li>Tactlessness about a sensitive subject</li> </ul> <p>Changes needed are usually easy to recognize. You can make edits and review one more time before hitting the &quot;send&quot; button.</p> <h2>Be Clear About What You Want</h2> <p>Don't be mysterious about your wants and needs. Be clear about the type of response required and an appropriate timeline. Even if you write an explanation of what sort of information you need, don&rsquo;t bury the question in a dense paragraph or assume that it&rsquo;s obvious what the next step should be.</p> <p>State the type of action required and the deadline in a separate sentence.</p> <p>This tactic doesn&rsquo;t guarantee that you&rsquo;ll get the responses you want in the designated timeline (sorry, but people are just too overwhelmed to give you what you need all the time, every time). But it will help you to avoid writing an email clarifying the response you hoped for. By being clear the first time, you&rsquo;ll be able to move forward faster.</p> <h2>Allow Time for a Response</h2> <p>Give people time to get back with you.</p> <p>On a couple of occasions, I&rsquo;ve mentioned that I have not received a response to an email. The intended recipient then indicates that she hasn't checked email within the last 48 hours, and my response is that I sent the message several days ago, kindly noting that I didn&rsquo;t expect an instantaneous response. These situations made me realize 1) many (other) people don't allow enough time for a response; and 2) some folks are not willing to engage in email conversations.</p> <p>Still, it's good practice to allow ample time for a thorough reading of the message, contemplation about the response (perhaps the person needs to check an offline schedule), and composition of a return email. That is, you need to put your timeline in sync with other people's schedules, not vice versa.</p> <h2>Be Mindful of Message Length and Format</h2> <p>There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with a lengthy email, contrary to popular opinion. It&rsquo;s better to send a thorough message one time than to pellet people with multiple emails containing bits of information, like pieces of a puzzle that they then need to fit together.</p> <p>For example, if you are the head coach of a little league team, main organizer for a special event, or some other recognized leader, then you may need to send a long email occasionally. Even then, it's helpful to create headings for topic categories (use bold and/or larger fonts) and use bulleted or numbered lists to allow readers to digest information quickly.</p> <p>And it&rsquo;s OK to write a long missive to express yourself every once in a while. But if you overload people, they will start tuning you out. So, long messages are okay but probably should not be the default mode.</p> <h2>Admit Mistakes Quickly</h2> <p>Occasionally, you&rsquo;ll write something in your email that conveys the wrong message or is just flat out wrong. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes" target="_blank">Admit the mistake</a> and provide accurate information as quickly as possible. Otherwise, recipients will think you are a sloppy or lazy communicator, or just get confused.</p> <h2>Manage &quot;Reply All&quot; Conversations</h2> <p>The &quot;reply all&quot; method that makes individual responses visible to the group is useful. But this method <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cleanse-and-organize-your-inbox-in-10-simple-steps" target="_blank">can clog up inboxes and cause confusion</a>.</p> <p>To remedy the &quot;reply all&quot; jumble of messages, particularly when the conversation involves many people, put together a recap for the group to see. This technique helps make sure you have captured all the responses to date, lets others see the responses at a glance (including the stray ones that may have replied to you only), and gives you the opportunity to prompt laggards in making their responses. The recap in a fresh new email tends to work better than another &quot;reply all&quot; message.</p> <h2>Adjust to Your Audience</h2> <p>If you regularly send mass emails, you can&rsquo;t cater to the quirks of one or two people in a large group. But if you converse frequently with a few key people, modifying your style to match how they communicate reveals your true professionalism.</p> <p>For example, some people may note the first line of an email and answer the first question, whereas others read emails thoroughly and carefully respond to all questions. To be effective (plus stay calm when trying to elicit a certain type of response), you may need to adjust your message format, length, tone, and timing.</p> <p>Finally, know when to take the conversation offline. Being friendly and professional means knowing the right place to discuss sensitive or confidential information.</p> <p><em>What techniques do you use to write friendly yet professional emails?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-10-work-email-mistakes-you-may-be-making">STOP! 10 Work Email Mistakes You May Be Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-up-your-chances-of-getting-an-email-response">10 Tips to Up Your Chances of Getting an Email Response</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-should-never-feel-guilty-at-work">8 Times You Should Never Feel Guilty at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-small-gestures-that-go-a-long-way-at-work">10 Small Gestures That Go a Long Way at Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income General Tips business writing communication email writing Tue, 30 Apr 2013 10:00:34 +0000 Julie Rains 973455 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Have a Good Roommate Relationship http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-good-roommate-relationship <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-have-a-good-roommate-relationship" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3218131407_f4c5b40ae9_z.jpg" alt="roommates" title="roommates" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="176" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years I&rsquo;ve had my fair share of roommates &mdash; and not all of them were ideal.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve had roommates who have eaten my food and failed to pick up after themselves, and I&rsquo;ve had roommates who never paid a dime toward household cleaning products or toilet paper even. It may seem like these are insignificant issues that one can overlook (and maybe you can the first time), but trust me, they breed feelings of resentment after a while, and that ultimately turns the living arrangement sour.</p> <p>Want to know what it takes to be a good roommate? Consider these tips from someone who has lived and learned. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-having-a-roommate-besides-saving-on-rent">The&nbsp;Benefits of Having a Roommate</a>)</p> <h3>Establish Expectations From the Beginning</h3> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re moving into someone&rsquo;s existing situation or you&rsquo;re welcoming a new roommate into yours, it&rsquo;s good practice to set the ground rules and establish expectations from the start. Do you hate dishes in the sink like I do? Then express that to your roommate so they&rsquo;re conscious of washing their dishes after each use. Let your roommate know your schedule so they know when quiet times should be observed, and decide on how you&rsquo;ll split expenses on food (if you plan to share it) and other household necessities. When everyone is on the same page at the beginning, it&rsquo;s easier to get along later on.</p> <h3>Give Your Roommate Space</h3> <p>Not all roommates like each other, so even if you&rsquo;re living under the same roof, you don&rsquo;t have to be besties. If your roommate isn&rsquo;t particularly fond of you, don&rsquo;t push the boundaries in hopes that they&rsquo;ll learn to like you; doing so will only make you seem like a psycho. On the other hand, if you have a roommate who is smothering you, let them know that you need a little privacy now and then. Maybe you can do like the boss does and open the bedroom door when you&rsquo;re available and close it when you want to be alone.</p> <h3>Invite Your Roommate Out With You</h3> <p>I know this point may seem contradictory to the one before it, but inviting your roommate out to dinner in your neighborhood is not the same thing as following them around the house half the day. That said, roommates need time to form a bond and the best way to do that &mdash; that I&rsquo;ve found, at least &mdash; is to engage in an activity that you both enjoy. For instance, my former roommates and I used to play trivia at a local bar on Wednesday nights. This gave us ample time to talk (sometimes about things going on around the house) and to learn more about each other, both of which enhanced the roommate dynamic.</p> <h3>Mind Your Manners</h3> <p>This suggestion relates to other guests that you may invite into the house, specifically the overnight kind. When that happens, there are two things you should keep in mind: 1) They&rsquo;re your guests, and you are responsible for them, and 2) you share this home with someone else who probably doesn&rsquo;t want to see or hear you doing youknowwhat. I once lived with a guy who was doing youknowwhat right there in the living room with some girl he met at a bar. I found it rude, unsanitary, and completely appalling &mdash; and I never sat on that filthy couch again.</p> <h3>Keep Common Areas Clean</h3> <p>Anybody who has ever lived with me &mdash; several of my friends and my husband included &mdash; knows that I&rsquo;m a neat freak. Everything has its place in my world, and I can&rsquo;t live in a house full of chaos. What you do in your own area is your business as far as I&rsquo;m concerned, but common areas should be kept clean. Nobody wants to wash someone else's dishes, or wipe someone else&rsquo;s syrup up from the counter, or clean someone else&rsquo;s whiskers out of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-%E2%80%9Cyuck%E2%80%9D-to-yes">bathroom sink</a>. It&rsquo;s each roommate&rsquo;s responsibility to keep common areas tidy so everyone can enjoy them all the same.</p> <h3>Don&rsquo;t Eat Your Roommate&rsquo;s Food</h3> <p>If you and your roommates keep separate food, you know how annoying it is when someone else eats yours. I don&rsquo;t particularly mind it when I have a full bag or box of something &ndash; I know how to share &ndash; but I get rather angry when I have a craving for something I bought only to find out that it&rsquo;s gone when I go to grab it. Roommates shouldn&rsquo;t have to keep food under lock and key. If you generally keep your hands off &mdash; buying your own food helps in this context &mdash; you&rsquo;ll be fine. If you have a roommate, however, who doesn&rsquo;t follow that rule, it might be time for a lesson in cohabitating etiquette.</p> <h3>Contribute Equally to Joint Costs</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m proactive about keeping common supplies stocked &mdash; which led one of my former roommates to take advantage. He never bought a single thing for the house &mdash; no dish soap, no propane for the grill, no toilet paper &mdash; but he didn&rsquo;t have a problem using the items he didn&rsquo;t pay for. I confronted him a couple times about chipping in toward the costs of these items, and he said he would but never handed over any cash. After a while I started hiding my TP in my bedroom, forcing him to buy his own, too. I didn&rsquo;t want to have to do that because it made me feel petty, but I didn&rsquo;t want to share supplies with someone who didn&rsquo;t pitch in. Everyone should pitch in for common items &mdash; no if, ands, or buts.</p> <h3>Split Chores Equitably</h3> <p>This is another point of contention that can turn an amicable roommate relationship into a war zone. While each roommate should do their individual part to keep the common areas tidy at all times, they should also be mindful of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chore-time-allowances-for-adults">distribution of chores</a>. If you notice your roommate emptying the dishwasher, you should do it next time. Same goes for taking out the garbage, cleaning the toilet and tub, mopping the floor, and other chores that nobody wants to do but that have to get done.</p> <p>While all of these tips can preemptively ward off a potential problem, when an issue among roommates is brewing the best way to handle the situation is to talk about it. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">Open lines of communication</a> and a genuine sense of accountability are the keys to having a good roommate relationship. Of course, that&rsquo;s not always possible &mdash; some people are real pieces of work &mdash; and in those cases, cut your losses and move on.</p> <p>Now it&rsquo;s your turn. I&rsquo;d love to hear some of your roommate horror stories and suggestions on how to have a good roommate relationship. Let me know in the comments below.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-good-roommate-relationship">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chore-time-allowances-for-adults">Chore Time: Allowances for Adults</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prevent-plant-theft">How to Prevent Plant Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter">McMansion to McCottage: Why Smaller Houses Are Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Lifestyle chores communication roommates sharing expenses Wed, 11 Jul 2012 10:24:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 941397 at http://www.wisebread.com Always Answer the Call: Expert Advice on Debt Collection http://www.wisebread.com/always-answer-the-call-expert-advice-on-debt-collection <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/always-answer-the-call-expert-advice-on-debt-collection" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/200303347_8b86414a3a_z.jpg" alt="woman using phone" title="woman using phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying down debt can be a difficult proposition, particularly if the situation has progressed to the point where you have to deal with a debt collector. But there are steps that you can take to make the process more manageable and less stressful. Expert Michelle Dunn has experience on both sides of the table &mdash; both as a debt collector and as a debtor. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-with-collection-agencies">How to&nbsp;Deal With&nbsp;Collection Agencies</a>)</p> <h3>Why&nbsp;You Should Always Answer the Call</h3> <p>In an ideal world, you would pay off every bill long before it could go to debt collection. But if something goes wrong and you wind up dealing with calls from a debt collector, you can still pay off your debt and resolve the situation. Ignoring debt collectors is the worst option. Dunn points out: &ldquo;You will have to deal with them calling and sending you letters, and the debt may be reported to your credit report. You should never ignore a collection agency &mdash; that only intensifies the calls...and can promote court action.&rdquo;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s crucial to actually respond to those phone calls and letters to verify that the debt is being correctly handled. If there is an error, whether in the amount of the debt or if it&rsquo;s even your debt at all, you have only a limited amount of time to address it. Dunn says, &quot;You must ask for verification within the first 30 days of being contacted. If you wait and ignore the calls and letters and the 30 days goes by, by law you are acknowledging that you owe the money. It will be much harder for you to dispute the debt after that, and you may lose in court, since the law states you have 30 days to dispute the debt or request the verification. So the best thing to do is make payments or stay on top of the situation and dispute within those first 30 days, in writing!&rdquo;</p> <p>If the debt collector can verify the debt, you need to set up a payment plan with the collector and then make regular payments as scheduled. Dunn notes that even if you are making payments as scheduled, a collector can still take you to court if he believes you can afford to make a larger payment. It&rsquo;s worth your while to do everything to discharge such a debt as quickly as possible.</p> <h3>Worry About Your Credit Score Later</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;ve reached the point where a debt has gone to collections, your credit score is going to take a hit no matter what you do. It&rsquo;s easy to get caught up with thinking that you need to fix your credit as soon as possible, but the reality is that your credit can&rsquo;t be your first priority. Dunn weighs the chance of going to court against a good credit score: &ldquo;You must pay everything off before you can think about repairing your credit. When accounts are placed with a third-party agency, make a payment [on each account], or you can end up in court.&rdquo;</p> <p>Eventually, you&rsquo;ll be able to refocus on your your credit, but in the meanwhile, eliminating debts that have been handed over to collectors has to come first. Dunn says, &ldquo;Once accounts are placed for collection, you just have to make payments to them all until they are paid in full.&rdquo; Of course, you should keep up with the minimum payments on your current bills, as well.</p> <p>&ldquo;The only way to get out of debt faster is to pay it off faster. Budget your money, cancel your credit cards, get rid of the cell phone, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">get rid of cable</a> and internet, carpool, bring your lunch to work &mdash; get a part time job. The only way to get yourself out of the hole you dug is hard work; you need to make more money somehow and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">send as much of it as you can to the creditor</a>,&rdquo; says Dunn. &ldquo;The most important thing to remember is that it is easier to work with and pay off the original creditor than a collection agency. Don't let your debts get out of your creditors&rsquo; hands &mdash; work with them, communicate, and avoid being placed for collection. You will have a much easier time of it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Dunn&rsquo;s own experiences with debt have made her particularly aware of what is necessary to pay off debt; during her divorce, she found herself with only her income to provide for two children. She pulled it together. Her experiences and her extensive advice on how to handle debt collectors are detailed in her e-book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Dealing-Aggressive-Collectors-industry-ebook/dp/B007B2AQO0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1335264847&amp;sr=1-1">Dealing With Aggressive Debt Collectors</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/always-answer-the-call-expert-advice-on-debt-collection">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-18"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deal-with-your-debt-or-you-may-go-to-jail">Deal With Your Debt or You May Go to Jail</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/look-out-consumers-debt-collections-get-scarier">Look Out Consumers: Debt Collections Get Scarier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil">All the Ways Minimum Payments Are Evil</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management communication debt collections get out of debt fast plan Thu, 14 Jun 2012 10:24:13 +0000 Thursday Bram 933907 at http://www.wisebread.com Deal Killers: 5 Phrases to Avoid When Negotiating http://www.wisebread.com/deal-killers-5-phrases-to-avoid-when-negotiating <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deal-killers-5-phrases-to-avoid-when-negotiating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shhh_face.jpg" alt="Man holding a finger to his lips -- shh!" title="Man holding a finger to his lips -- shh!" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>To the uninitiated, the process of negotiating can often seem stressful. Sellers get defensive about their prices; buyers hesitate to haggle for a better deal. In this potent of mix of awkwardness, we toss out phrases that don&rsquo;t do us any favors and offer information that can hurt our chances of coming out ahead. Whether you&rsquo;re new to negotiating or haggling is old hat, avoiding a few phrases can make all the difference. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-women-dont-negotiate">Why&nbsp;Women Don't Negotiate</a>)</p> <h3>1. &ldquo;I Haven&rsquo;t Done Much Research, but&hellip;&rdquo;</h3> <p>Researching value helps sellers determine a fair asking price. For buyers, research informs the purchasing decision and prevents over-paying. Whatever side of the negotiating table you&rsquo;re on, operating without information (and worse, confessing it) puts you at an immediate tactical disadvantage and shows that you&rsquo;re not prepared.</p> <h3>2. &ldquo;Somewhere Between&hellip;&rdquo;</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve always wondered<b> </b>why sellers offer a range of sales prices to a buyer. I have yet to meet a buyer who opts for the higher end of the range (if you know of one, please send him my way). Instead of pricing that used bike &ldquo;somewhere between $100.00 &ndash; $150.00,&rdquo; just settle on a specific price and go from there. Buyers, take the same advice. Begin your negotiation with a reasonable number and avoid broad and gray areas.</p> <h3>3. &ldquo;How About&hellip;?&rdquo;</h3> <p>Negotiation is a bit of dance. In it, each person makes an advance and then retreats, offers and counter-offers. I&rsquo;ve always found it best to form my offers as statements rather than questions. It&rsquo;s a fine point, but saying &ldquo;how about $100?&rdquo; seems to invite a counter-offer more easily than saying &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll give you $100.00.&rdquo; That doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean $100.00 is my final offer, but a statement draws a verbal line in the sand better than a question.</p> <h3>4. &ldquo;Let Me Get Back to You.&rdquo;</h3> <p>Besides major negotiation deals like salary, homes, and cars, be prepared to seal the deal on-the-spot or walk away if you&rsquo;re not comfortable. Since negotiating happens in real-time, don&rsquo;t assume a deal or agreed-upon price-point will be valid tomorrow or the next day. Offering to get back to a seller is typically seen as a de facto &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">thanks, but no thanks</a>&rdquo; anyway, and it leaves the door open for other buyers to swoop in and steal the deal.</p> <h3>5. &ldquo;I Haven&rsquo;t Got Any Cash on Me Right Now, but&hellip;&quot;</h3> <p>Buyers, this might be the worst thing you can say to a seller that you&rsquo;ve been haggling with for 45 minutes. Unless you&rsquo;ve just stumbled on a random sale or very recently been pick-pocketed, you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-green-how-to-live-a-nearly-cash-only-life">have cash on-hand</a> and be ready to make a deal happen. Resorting to this phrase communicates one of two things to the seller:&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li>I&rsquo;m mildly interested, but afraid to pull the trigger, or...</li> <li>I&rsquo;m chronically cash-poor and will probably never be able to finalize the deal.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>In either case, you&rsquo;ve wasted at least two people&rsquo;s time.</p> <p>Some might say it&rsquo;s just semantics, but when it comes to the art of deal-making, words make all the difference. So the next time you find yourself in friendly <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-haggling-taught-me-about-life">game of haggling</a> &mdash; whether as buyer or seller &mdash; improve your chances of getting a killer deal by avoiding deal-killing language.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deal-killers-5-phrases-to-avoid-when-negotiating">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-retailers-where-you-can-negotiate-a-lower-price">11 Retailers Where You Can Negotiate a Lower Price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-these-8-questions-to-get-a-better-price">Ask These 8 Questions to Get a Better Price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiating-101-the-5-buyers-you-meet-in-hell">Negotiating 101: The 5 Buyers You Meet In Hell</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-to-scoring-the-best-price-when-buying-on-ebay">7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-you-should-learn-from-great-hagglers">10 Tricks You Should Learn From Great Hagglers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping communication haggling negotiating Mon, 21 May 2012 10:24:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 929214 at http://www.wisebread.com Letting Go: 8 Steps to Forgiveness http://www.wisebread.com/letting-go-8-steps-to-forgiveness <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/letting-go-8-steps-to-forgiveness" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3991444275_982a7e87df_z.jpg" alt="people hugging" title="people hugging" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="136" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Valerie Poteete was a single mom who had just started her own business. She had no insurance and was, much to her dismay, quickly diagnosed with cancer. When she lost her home, her sister came to help her pack up to move. Valerie went to the store to pick up some more packing materials, and when she returned, her sister had stolen every bit of cash from her home. On top of that, her sister had stolen a check from her checkbook, which she used to pay her own bills without Valerie's permission.</p> <p>Her sister was a gambling addict. This wasn't the first time that her sister had stolen from her, but it was the worst.</p> <p>It was the last in a long line of wrongs that her sister committed, and it was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Although they are no longer in touch, Valerie knows that her sister has pulled herself together and is holding down a steady job. Valerie's sister has never apologized, and yet, Valerie has forgiven her.</p> <p>&quot;Forgiveness is for the victim, not the abuser,&quot; Valerie explained to me. &quot;Harboring resentment keeps the emotional toxins active and thus damages the one holding on to them.&quot;</p> <p>Whether you are still in contact with someone who hurt you or not, you can benefit from learning to let go of your anger, and forgiving. It isn't easy, but it's better for you in the long run. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">How to Be Happy and Married: 24 Tips From a 24-Year-Old Marriage</a>)</p> <h3>Why Should You Forgive?</h3> <p>From childhood bullies to abusive spouses, most of us have a certain amount of residual anger that we hang onto. Why bother confronting these feelings to begin with?</p> <blockquote><p>A great amount of energy is exerted and needed to harbor unforgiveness. Unforgiveness locks a person into a past incident and that same unforgiveness dictates a person&rsquo;s future, altering not only they way they view life but also the outcome of each day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash; Dr. Daniel &amp; Penny Loosenort, authors of <em>We Promise &mdash; 18 Foundational Stone for an Unshakeable Marriage</em></p> </blockquote> <p>There is a misconception about forgiveness that we often repeat <em>&mdash;</em> when you refuse to forgive someone, the only person you hurt is yourself. While it's true that a refusal to forgive someone who has hurt you is probably more detrimental to you than it is to them, refusing to forgive someone has repercussions beyond your own mental health. When we refuse to forgive someone for something, the anger that we feel toward them can color everything that we do. It doesn't matter if the anger is righteous <em>&mdash;</em> it changes the way that we feel, and the way that we interact with others.</p> <p>It takes a great deal of energy to continue being angry with people who may or may not even remember upsetting us.</p> <p>Anger also stifles personal growth. &quot;Forgiveness is the process by which we learn, grow, change and transform from our mistakes,&quot; explains <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/Ari_sherbill">Rabbi Ari Sherbill</a> of <a href="http://www.thebethisrael.com/author/rabbi/">Beth Israel</a> in Halifax. &quot;The person who understands that life is growth understands that life is also mistakes. Everyone constantly makes them, and as you let go of your own and of others, you're freed to move forward.&quot;</p> <p>But how do you go about forgiving? Like mourning, forgiveness can take a long time, and it will only be possible once you are ready to forgive. Here are eight steps to help you begin the process.</p> <h3>1. Acknowledge Your Feelings</h3> <p>The first step to dealing with emotions is recognizing that they exist to begin with. This might seem obvious, but plenty of emotions are buried beneath mountains of denial, blurred memories, and attempts to forget. When we talk about true abuse, especially that we suffered as children, it's possible that the memories themselves have been obscured by years of trying to forget. These feelings can run the gamut from anger to despair to guilt. Trying to pinpoint them can take some time.</p> <h3>2. Reach Out for Help</h3> <p>There are some instances in which a wrong is so wrong that the occurrence is serious enough to warrant professional therapy. There is nothing shameful in seeking a mental health counselor who specializes in past abuse to sort through your memories. Don't hesitate to get help if you feel like you are unable to cope with the feelings of pain on your own.</p> <h3>3. Look to Your Faith/Spiritual Discipline</h3> <p>Many religions have sophisticated doctrines that deal with the issue of forgiveness and acceptance. Whether you are religious or not, it is likely that there is a discipline that can help you at least visualize the forgiveness process.</p> <h3>4. Accept Your Role, and Forgive Yourself</h3> <p>Understanding your role in the wrongs that you have suffered doesn't necessarily place blame on you. If your parents beat you to within an inch of your life as a kid, you obviously weren't at fault (although you probably thought you were).</p> <p>Sometimes, we do hold some responsibility in a situation that requires our forgiveness <em>&mdash;</em> like a falling out with a friend that could have been prevented. Other times, while we technically aren't to blame for a bad or abusive situation, we blame ourselves for not ending the relationship sooner, or for not seeing the signs that led to the wrongdoing. But being angry with yourself is even less useful than being perpetually angry at someone else <em>&mdash;</em> anger can be a destructive emotion if wielded too long. You have to forgive yourself for whatever blame has been heaped upon you, by yourself or others.</p> <p>On a similar note, if you feel like YOU owe someone an apology for any reason, now would be a good time to reach out and make it.</p> <h3>5. Walk a Mile in Another's Shoes</h3> <p>There are some kinds of wrongs committed that don't necessarily warrant much empathy from the victim <em>&mdash; </em>violent crimes, for instance. But there are some situations, like a fight with a friend or an unfaithful partner, in which trying to see the other person's perspective can help guide the process of forgiveness.</p> <h3>6. Ask for an Apology <em>&mdash;</em> But Don't Expect One</h3> <p>Apologies are extremely powerful <em>&mdash;</em> a few choice words can sometimes wash away years of hurt feelings. The crux of an apology is the acknowledgement of bad behavior. Sometimes, the person that hurt you is blissfully unaware of your pain. Other times, you may be dealing with someone who either doesn't think to apologize, or who feels that they have done nothing wrong.</p> <p>Maybe you are no longer in touch with the person who hurt you (perhaps for your own safety or sanity). Perhaps the person who hurt you is dead. Or maybe you're still married to her/him. Whatever your situation, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">express your feelings</a> and request an apology. It might be in the form of a letter that you never send or a speech that you give in front of the mirror.</p> <h3>7. Take Your Sweet Time</h3> <p>Forgiveness is often seen as something that we simply do, and then forget. <a href="http://www.conniestapletonphd.com/">Connie Stapleton</a>, a psychologist and best-selling author, cautions, &quot;Forgiveness is a PROCESS, not an event! I think people are often &quot;guilted&quot; into saying they &quot;forgive&quot; someone for religious purposes or to meet someone else's needs.&quot;</p> <p>Some people like to conduct a small ceremony in which some sort of symbolic gesture is made toward &quot;letting go&quot; <em>&mdash;</em> releasing a balloon or burning something. The effect can be temporarily cleansing, but bad feelings may continue to crop up for years to come, making forgiveness something more of a daily choice than a one-time event. Forgiveness, especially for serious wrongs that have been committed, is a daily choice and a constant commitment.</p> <h3>8. Look for Lessons Learned/Help Others</h3> <p>There are some tragedies that befall us that don't offer easy lessons, but even the worst transgressions can teach us something about ourselves. Very often, when we have been wronged, the only lesson we take away from the experience is &quot;Don't trust anyone.&quot; But lack of trust doesn't serve anyone well (except James Bond, maybe), and if nothing else, we can learn from bad experiences to know how we would react if faced with a similar situation in the future. For instance, I know that I will never again stand to be treated with anything other than respect from my partner. I also know what signs point to unhealthy relationships <em>&mdash;</em> these signs are never as obvious as we expect them to be.</p> <p>Is there anything more cathartic than being able to turn a bad situation into one that helps others? Some of the best trauma therapists are people who have suffered abuse themselves and learned how to channel their empathy into a career helping others overcome anger, pain, and resentment. Turn your anger and resentment into a creative or philanthropic force <em>&mdash; </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">donate time or money</a> to organizations that help people escape abusive situations, or use artistic media to express your pain and hope for a better future. Discuss what you have learned with people you know and love, and teach others how to see the signs of abuse.</p> <p><em>Have you had to forgive someone recently? How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/letting-go-8-steps-to-forgiveness">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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