How much better would your day be if other people just wanted to do all kinds of nice things for you? If Becky up at the front desk fast tracked your meeting requests? If your employees would work just a little bit harder to meet that deadline? If that real piece of garbage on your favorite online forum could refrain from starting a flame war for just one day? Well I have good news! I have some magic to help you out.

    Having a good, positive tone to your communication (especially your writing, such as I previously wrote about here) is a great start to successfully convincing others that you’re super awesome, but you can also do a few additional and relatively simple things to really get them moving in your direction. While the situations below are described as if they’re all occurring in real time, the principles are the same whether you’re communicating in person or through text.

    The first really simple thing I’d suggest is thanking someone, even if they’re just doing their

    Read More

    Does the phrasing of a sentence really matter? As long as the meaning is clear, it should be fine, right? No. If you think that, you are wrong. Or, should I say, that’s not generally the case? Even if subconsciously, we all formulate opinions about a writer on any number of things, just like we do with a human being who’s standing right in front of us. In the opinion of this humble and unbelievably talented human, one of the most important is tone.

    When you’re talking with someone out loud, you have plenty of things at your disposal that you lose when you transition to written communication. One of the most important is your tone of voice. Comedians and psychologists alike will tell you it’s just as much how you say something as what you say.

    If you’re talking to a cute li’l baby, you can say pretty much anything you want as long as you say it in that calm and soothing tone that babies like. Conversely, if you’re looking in my direction and screaming in a deep baritone with

    Read More

    Today I'd like to tell you, dear reader, about the time I tracked down a ne'er-do-well on a forum I now own and operate. It's a story as old as time, really. You trust someone to do a simple job, but instead they deface your forum, expose your operational communications, blame it on an innocent, and perform the whole dirty deed using an abandoned account that (for some reason) still has administrative permissions.

    It all started on a nice, sunny, Monday in early June. Or at least that's what the historical weather for the date I have in my notes says. I was informed by the then-owner that her forum had been hacked. I'd done small programming projects for her previously. She was a nice lady. And a friend of my wife. And also I hate black hats. My own hat may not be a pristine white, but I'm as chaotic good as they come. So, I picked up my proverbial hammer and went off in search of a black hat to smite with it.

    The first thing I learned was that the response to any question akin to

    Read More