A series of short articles on everything, from practical ways of getting things done, to how to handle your feelings and find peace in a hectic world.

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31. The Art of Influencing

Many years ago I went to my first ever workshop on personal skills. It was called 'Persuading and Influencing the Verbal Way' and there were about a dozen participants from various professions and disciplines. I sat next to a surgeon in his sixties who, it turned out, had been 'told to come' by the powers that be at his hospital. The trainer started off by asking us to talk to our neighbour about why we were there and what we hoped to gain from the day. I paired up with the surgeon. 'I honestly don't know what I want from this course,' he said. 'I don't understand all this persuading and influencing stuff. If I want something done, I tell the person to do it and they do it!' I felt a bi

30. On Giving Feedback

Ever heard of the feedback sandwich? It's when you want to tell somebody what they've done wrong, or failed to do, but instead of just telling them outright, you soften the blow by first telling them what you like about what they do. You then tell them what you don't like, and then finish up with something you do like. Sounds great doesn't it? The epitomy of sensitive management. So how come it doesn't always work out like that in practice? This tip explores. 'Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain ... and most fools do.' Dale Carnegie The reason that the feedback sandwich often fails is that feedback needs to be constructive, and sometimes you're not feeling at all constructive w