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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.

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Smart compensation pros can use this recession as an opportunity to re-evaluate how they pay employees. Here are four recession-smart compensation strategies that you might decide to continue even after the economy rebounds.

If you find yourself muddled in crisis, shake off the shock, orient yourself and start looking for solutions—fast. Here's how:

Cut back on workday spending ... Keep your mind primed for work by clearing away the cobwebs ... Know the right way to vent to relieve stress ... Think “ABB” or “always be briefing” ... Uncover wasteful spending with creative thinking.

You need to make a decision between two options, and time is a factor. But you don’t have all the information you need, probably only 75%. Is it better to decide now or wait until you have more information? You should make the decision now, according to the 40/70 rule.

Rather than wait for your company to foot the bill for a class or conference, turn to online sources, such as eHow.com and good-tutorials.com, or the instruction manuals shelved in your IT department.

Sure, there’s Evite.com. But have you checked out the competition in online invitations lately?

More pink slips are on the horizon. According to outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, 1 million more job cuts are likely in 2009. But, there's a silver lining among all the dark clouds of this recession, says the firm's chief executive, John Challenger, and it's this: Layoffs can be good news, in a strange way.

When you’re ready to put a big idea on the table, you’ll need to be a defender, a supporter and a champion of the idea. Classic example: Spence Silver’s glue that wasn’t so good at sticking. He championed his pet project, and Post-it notes became an office mainstay.

Your boss is relocating, and he wants you to go with him. Should you relocate? Or find another job? Ask yourself these questions to find an answer:

Collaboration works, until it starts to resemble groupthink. That’s when healthy dissent evaporates, self-defeating tendencies surge and negative emotions corrode the group’s work. Make sure your team is working more like the Manhattan Project and less like Enron.

If people asked good, direct questions instead of a vague “What do you think?” we’d never feel overwhelmed by all the queries sitting in our inboxes. Get the fast response you’re looking for by learning to ask a good question, advises Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist.

Help your company maximize its business deductions by keeping comprehensive records of travel, entertainment and gift expenses. Keep your records organized in a diary or a statement of expenditures, supported by documentary evidence. Documentary evidence ordinarily is considered adequate if it discloses the amount, date, place and essential character of the expense.

She may look all sweet and spritely, but comedian Tina Fey also happens to possess a Teutonic will. That’s why former "Saturday Night Live" colleague Colin Quinn calls her “Herman the German.”

You might prefer a sharp stick in the eye over an afternoon of networking, but in tough times, you can’t afford not to cultivate a robust network. The larger your circle, the better off you’ll be. Here are a few tips from the pros.

When business takes a bad turn and anxieties mount, keep the message clear, the delivery swift and your priorities right. One example of a business that delivered the right message: Dupont.

In addition to setting goals and tracking progress, it's the manager's job to help motivate their workers toward excellent performance. Here are 20 simple motivational tools to keep in your bag.

On the money front, it’s time to get back to basics. An oft-repeated piece of advice is to keep better track of the money we spend and save. To help with expense-tracking, tap into online tools. The best of the breed recently chosen by Money magazine and Slate.com are Mint.com and QuickenOnline.com.

You propose a sensible idea to the CEO: The company should revive an old, much-loved marketing campaign. But the CEO insists on entirely new branding.
Emotions often work against you when you try to resolve conflict. If you’re too close to the situation, you may become embroiled in it and lose your perspective. The best problem-solvers cool down before taking action.
As you walk to the front of the room and prepare to speak, everyone’s watching you. And they’re judging you. Win them over.
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