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Workplace Communication

In an era of Casual Fridays and work-from-home colleagues, how can you maintain effective office communication in a changing business climate?

We’ll steer you through changes in business etiquette, and help you successfully navigate through the new realities of workplace conflict and office politics.

One of the country’s fastest-growing companies, LTC Financial Partners is looking for 300 new sales agents—and when those jobs are filled, more will open. Because the organization is constantly hiring, it’s also constantly trying to get new employees up to speed. So it created the LTC Insurance Training Institute to get recruits ready to work within five days.

“Although I’m viewed positively at work, I believe my reserved demeanor is holding me back. I’m not shy, but I have trouble making small talk ... Can you suggest some communication strategies for meetings and social situations?” — Not a Talker
When choosing when you should use "these" or "those," the decisive factor is whether the things you’re talking about are near or far. In some cases, it’s a psychological distance: Are you referring to something that you just mentioned or something that you mentioned a sentence or two ago?

If you can measure it, you can improve it. You can optimize. But how much of your energy are you spending on optimization vs. creation? Seth Godin, a thought leader in marketing and the changing business environment, says, “I worry that a never-ending cycle of optimization can become a crutch, a place to hide when you really should be confronting the endless unknown, not the banal stair step of incremental optimization.”

Tap the knowledge of people in your network with Aardvark ... Block yourself from frittering away hours online by trying out these two applications ... Boost your energy by tackling an item on your to-do list ... Cut out that trip to the post office ... Never shy away from negotiating ...
Question:  “I often feel like an outsider in my office.  I am 61 years old, slightly overweight, and have gray hair. All my co-workers are in their 20’s and 30’s. The whole group goes out for “happy hour” once every six weeks. My boss’s boss came up with this idea, and he always attends. I usually avoid these get-togethers, because I don’t feel comfortable with the youngsters. Recently, a good friend said that this is a mistake. She believes my colleagues and managers will think that I’m snubbing them. I had a pretty good time at one happy hour, but I’ve skipped the last two.  Do you think I should start going?” — Old & Gray

The South by Southwest festivals and conferences each spring feature many experts, some of whom are not expert speakers. One of them, Thom Singer, has written a book, The ABC’s of Speaking, geared especially for the shy expert. He has six recommendations:

It’s easy to have your good mood shattered by a nasty customer, an out-of-the-blue criticism or a computer system that refuses to cooperate. Think of angry customers as a creativity test. Satisfy them without letting their discontent bring you down. Four tips:

When the Chicago offices of marketing agency Upshot burned down, some of the employees spent a year working out of a local bar. Safely ensconced in new digs, the staff still likes to drink together—so they tap a keg in the office at 5:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. It's part of the perks conceived by a group of employees who call themselves “Pulse,” which recommends ways the company can liven things up.

Courage is a slippery concept but, like art, we know it when we see it. Author Harriet Rubin defines courage as a virtue that allows us to face real risk. Rubin divides courage into components, noting that you never know who’s going to deliver and who will crack under pressure: