“Military professionals lead their emails with a short, staccato statement known as the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front). It declares the purpose of the email and action required.”
How To Make Decisions Like An Optimist
The next time you face a tough decision, here’s something to keep in mind.
Pessimism influences our decisions more than optimism.
That’s because pessimism — in the form of fear, insecurity, and doubt— often colors our perception of choices and leads us to make bad decisions.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
What It’s Like To Grow Up On The Internet
“I am who I am because of the ideas I was exposed to, the people I met, and the skills that I learned — not in real life, but in a world that has landmarks but no physical location.”
Why White Working-Class People Vote Against Their Interests (Hint: They Don’t)
“It is easy to see why the right-wing narrative is so compelling — it offers formidable enemies (government and unions) and an economic vision that corporations will create new jobs if those enemies are defeated. In that narrative, white working class people will have opportunity again. The left offers no such clear enemy.”
“Whatever” Is Never The Right Answer
“The thing that I had spent my whole life thinking was the kindest option for others was in fact putting all the work on them.”
5 Ways To Curb Your Media Addiction And Become More Productive
“Move replacement habits on to the home screen of your phone.”
10 Ideas Worth Sharing This Week
“Media literacy is going to make the difference between whether kids are a tool of the mass media or whether the mass media is a tool for kids to use.” — Linda Ellerbee
The 3 Minutes It Takes To Read This Will Improve Your Conversations Forever
Since my tips to improve your writing in two minutes were so popular, I thought I’d share some similar tips to improve your next conversation.
Following are the simplest tips I can give you to ask better questions, which will make your conversations more valuable to you and the people you engage with.
Don’t ask yes/no questions.
Open-ended questions generate more interesting responses because they unlock more information from people.
Example: Don’t ask, “Do you like movies?” You’ll get a more interesting answer if you ask, “Why do you like movies?”
Ask “why” three times.
This is the easiest way to deepen the level of a conversation.
Example: If you ask a person why they like movies and they answer because it’s a good escape, you can follow up with, “Why do you feel like you need an escape?” If they answer because their job is stressful, you can follow up with “Why is your job stressful?” Repeated “Why” questions can turn a simple question about movies into a much deeper conversation.
Ask about specifics, not generalizations.
Questions about specifics lead people to give you answers that are not generic.
Example: Don’t ask, “What was fun about your trip?” Instead, drill down and ask, “What was the single most fun moment of the trip?”
Ask about reactions.
Frame questions around a person’s reactions to experiences in their life — what surprised them, challenged them, or changed their viewpoint.
Example: Don’t ask, “What’s it like to be a doctor?” Instead, ask “What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about being a doctor?”
Ask follow-up questions.
When you ask a question, pay attention to the answer and ask a follow-up question about it to dig deeper.
Example: If a person says the most surprising thing about being a doctor is how uncomfortable people get in hospitals, follow up with a question like, “What do you do to help make them more comfortable?”
Ask about lessons.
If your goal is to learn from somebody, the easiest shortcut to do that is to ask them what they’ve learned.
Example: Ask questions like, “What did you learn from working with that client?,” “What do you wish you knew before you started working with them?,” and “What advice would you have for others who want to get into your field?”
Ask for a story.
The most interesting information is found in stories, so ask people to tell you one.
Example: Don’t ask, “What’s it like to be a teacher?” Instead, ask “What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you in a class?”
Ask like a kid.
If you don’t fully understand something and want more clarity, ask a person how they would explain it to a kid or somebody with no experience on the subject.
Example: Instead of asking, “Can you explain that product feature again?,” ask “How would you explain that feature to somebody who’s never seen our product before?”
Ask what else you should ask.
When you wrap up your questions, give the other person an opportunity to tell you what you should have asked. They will likely suggest a question that provides valuable information.
Example: Ask, “Am I missing anything? What’s the question nobody ever asks you but you wish they would?”
One more thing…
Another great way to improve your conversations is to have more interesting things to talk about. This can help with that.
How to Control Your Memories
“The story becomes our memory, the story gets rehearsed ever more, and the story becomes the thing we tell ourselves the next time we need to make a choice. If your story isn’t helping you, work to rehearse a new story instead.”
How to Sell Anything
“Your offering is not your product. Your offering is your product, services, your employees, your experiences, your ideas, your other customers, and even your competitors. Sell them all.”