What is “Job Satisfaction” Anyway?

By Susan de la Vergne
Scenario 1) Mark, a software engineer in Silicon Valley, disliked his boss. “If only I worked for Ekan instead of Sean. Sean argues with me all the time. It’s like he doesn’t think I know what I’m doing.” So Mark manages to get transferred to Ekan, who has a reputation as a hands-off, high energy manager. But after Mark makes the move, he finds out Ekan has a short fuse, gets furious and comes unglued when a sev 1 problem hits the team, as it often does.

Why Active Listening Stinks

By Chris Sheesley
Anyone motivated to read this article already knows active listening skills through exposure to it in training and books. Yet, if you’re like most people, you find it strangely distasteful to be either the giver or receiver of active listening technique.

Write Better. I Dare You.

By Susan de la Vergne
You’re in the airport, about to board a five-hour flight across country. You stop at the paperback stand, looking for something to read. “I’d like to find something kinda boring, something formulaic, written using a template,” you say to yourself. “I’m looking for something that’s very predictable, no surprises, and the writer should use a lot of boilerplate language.

I’m a Terrible Communicator

By Gary Hinkle
People in my workshops often end up confessing that they know they’re “terrible communicators.” They say they know it’s important to listen openly, write clearly, and present well but that they don’t do it well and never have.

The Hazards of Technical Presentations

By Susan de la Vergne
Technical presentations are fabulous examples of public speaking! Engineering and tech presenters are funny, concise, and engaging. Most of them can’t wait to grab a microphone, fire up their succinct, well-designed PowerPoint slides and launch into an hour or two of riveting information transfer!

Never Be Boring Again!

By Susan de la Vergne
First of all, is business boring? Sure, sometimes—dull meetings, drab assignments. But you also get hot assignments. You’ve also been to meetings where breakthroughs occurred or fights broke out. You’ve awakened in the middle of the night thinking about a work problem you can’t solve. You’ve reveled in the excitement of discovery.

The Receiving End of Criticism

By Susan de la Vergne
Leadership gurus and guidebooks dispense a lot of advice about how to deliver feedback to employees, especially when “feedback” really means criticism. But they rarely say much about how to receive criticism. That’s because, while delivering criticism is hard, receiving it is harder.

You Can’t Communicate If You’re Talking

By Susan de la Vergne
In the 1960’s, the brilliant and sarcastic mathematician-turned-comedian, Tom Lehrer, once went off on a short tirade about interpersonal communication. Yes, it was as hot a topic 45 years ago as it is now. In his rant Mr. Lehrer observed, “One problem that recurs more and more frequently these days in books and plays and movies is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love—husbands and wives who can’t communicate, children who can’t communicate with their parents, and so on.”