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Tuesday, 20 August 2013 04:38

The Self-Defeating Quest for Simple and Easy

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If it was easy, everyone would do it. Worth noting that surgeons don't sign up for medical school because they're told that there is a simple, easy way to do open heart surgery.

It's not that we're unable to handle complicated problems, it's that we're afraid to try. The Dummies mindset, the get-rich-quick long sales letters, the mechanistic, industrial processes aren't on offer because they're the best we can handle. No, they sell because they promise to reduce our fear.

It will take you less time and less effort to do it the difficult way than it will to buy and try and discard all the shortcuts.

Source: Seth Godin. Seth is a writer, a speaker and an agent of change.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 03:16

How to Deal with Difficult People

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You know the type. It’s the co-worker who seems like she’s out to get you. Or maybe it’s the family member who is just impossible to get along with. In figuring out how to deal with difficult people in your life, you need to make subtle changes to your thought patterns and incorporate a plan for action. While you can’t completely eliminate all difficult people from your life, you can minimize the impact they have. By incorporating these tips, you can really improve your chances of having a good encounter with an otherwise difficult person.

Don’t Take Anything Personally
The first thing you need to do in dealing with difficult people is incorporate a change in your thinking. Doing this can be tough because many of us feel angry ourselves when someone directs hurtful words at us. But, it’s not about you. It’s about them and their reality. You can’t change their thinking, but you can change yours. People often say things when they’re angry that they don’t really mean and you might just happen to be in the right place at the wrong time–and you get the brunt of their anger or outbursts. Let it roll off if you can.

Breathe and Stay Calm
When you’re confronted with someone who might be angry or sullen, one of the best things you can do is don’t contribute to the other person’s anger by escalating it with your own. Step back for a moment. Remember the number 10: count to 10 and take 10 deep breaths. Then address the situation. You can manage a difficult encounter much more effectively in a calm state of mind. Furthermore, if the other person sees you panicking or otherwise reacting to their words or actions, it can cause the entire situation to get out of control.

Understand and Communicate
Often, difficult people just want to be heard. Let them have their say and then respond with empathy. Use phrases like, “I am sorry you feel that way,” or “I can understand your situation and I sympathize.” The idea is just to listen. By doing so, you can open the doors of trust and communication. In effect, you enable yourself to look at the issue through their eyes and change your point of view.

Separate the Person From Their Issues
Sometimes when we have to cope with people who seem impossible, it’s important to remember that they are not their issues. People have issues, but people themselves are not issues. Difficult people have mothers and fathers and friends who have liked or even loved them for who they are. Separating the two can help you to focus on the issue at hand and not on the person him or herself. The second step in handling challenging people is making a plan of action for yourself.

Display Confidence But Not Rudeness
If you’re at work and your coworker is challenging your point of view, be ready with concrete evidence to support your perspective. If she questions your reasons for changing a policy, tell her your main reasons for doing so. But don’t ramble on. Get straight to the point so that your coworker doesn’t have time to pick through what you’ve said and conjure up even more reasons to challenge you.

Use “I” Statements
Just because you deal with people who are difficult to manage, doesn’t mean they can walk all over you. State your opinion and feelings, but do it in a way that doesn’t put the other person on the defense. Use statements like, “I feel bad when you talk to me that way,” or “I don’t understand why our finances have to be so difficult.”  Be sure to start each statement with “I,” then your feelings, followed by either what the other person is doing or what the situation actually is.

Go On the Offense
You might feel like defending yourself when a difficult person challenges you. Instead of going on the defense, try the offense. When you get a question like, “Why are you designing the presentation like that?” you can respond with, “What would be your approach?  Why would you do it differently?” Then, hear them out and work to a compromise.

Choose Your Battles
Sometimes those impossible people in our lives know just how to push our buttons. They might purposely say something because they know it will get to you. A question like “Why did you wear that?” can easily make your blood boil. But, ask yourself if it’s worth the ensuing argument. Does it really matter? This person will tire of trying to get you aroused once they realize they can’t get to you.

Enlist a Neutral Party
Sometimes, even if we’ve tried all these tactics, a situation cannot resolve itself. You can enlist a neutral third person into the conversation. He or she can listen to both sides and help each person gain a new perspective and help to mediate. This can be another coworker, your boss, or even a counselor.

Some Final Thoughts
It takes a little time and patience to change your thinking and develop a plan of action to help you deal with challenging people. Just remember, most difficult people have their own thoughts and problems and while they may be projecting them on to you, you don’t have to be a victim. Change your mindset, implement a plan, and make difficult people become manageable.

Adapted From:
Written by: Cyndi Calhoun is a freelance writer with a penchant for arts and culture.  She writes for a variety of websites. Her articles can be found at: When Cyndi is not writing, she can be found in the woods looking for the perfect photograph or speaking Spanish with her friends.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 09:27

Top 4 Ways to Use an iPad for Business

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With technology leading the way in how we do business, it's best to be aware of the benefits and tricks of the trade that can help make working even easier. Here are four ways the iPad can give you the professional boost and convenience you need to do what you do best.

Give Presentations

Tired of lugging your bulky laptop around just to give presentations? With the VGA Adapter and supporting software, business users can make use of the much more portable iPad for this task. A number of software supports the VGA Adapter, such as the free Presentation App, or Apple's own Keynote. As an added bonus, Keynote presentations can be streamed via AirPlay to an Apple TV, if available. While not terribly useful for conference rooms where projectors are still predominantly VGA-based (the new Apple TV is HDMI only), the capability offers compelling value in certain scenariossuch as being able to conduct a presentation using a large-screen plasma or LCD at a trade show using an iPad.

Use As A Sales Brochure

Rather than bringing along a stack of heavy sales brochures or other printed documents, why not just load everything onto an iPad? All it takes is some preparation to convert the requisite promotional materials as image files for viewing under the default Photos application. File them appropriately in separate folders, and you now have a veritable compendium of your company's products or services in the palm of your hands.

Access Desktop Files

Ever left the office for a meeting and then had to turn back because you needed some documents on your office desktop? Or you simply didn't have the time to fire up your laptop to take one more look at a spreadsheet? Well, a number of solutions are available today that allow you to synchronize your work-related files with a cloud-hosted solution. From there, these files can then be accessed from your iPad using the appropriate free apps. Exact functionality and prices varysome are free, but there are definitely no shortages of solutions, which range from SugarSync,, and Dropbox, or even Apple's own iCloud. 

Take Your Office With You

With apps offering the ability to check e-mail, edit, and review Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, manage social media, and catch up on reading, workers can literally bring their office along with them! Moreover, the iPad's large screen and high fidelity allows users to tackle all of their projects at practically the same productivity level as from a full-fledged workstation. 

Want to win an iPad Mini from Groups Today? Enter daily for your chance to win this mighty little machine!

Article adapted from:

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 08:50

To Influence Others, Listen to Them

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People don't like being pushed, or even nudged, to do something. So when you need others to take action—change their behavior, adapt a new strategy—inspire them to commit rather than forcing them to. The best way to do this is to listen, without your own needs and biases getting in the way.

Try to understand where your colleagues are coming from. Resist the urge to defend yourself, explain yourself, or offer quick fixes. You can help more effectively later, when the time is right, if you don't pre-judge what they need (which might be very different from what you think). Instead, remember that you are listening to learn.

Ask questions like: What does that mean for you? How do you feel about it? What's your perspective on it? This is listening of the highest order.

Source: Harvard Business Review. Adapted from “For Real Influence, Listen Past Your Blind Spots” by Mark Goulston and John Ullmen.

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