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This Week’s Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

This week we listed the best tech upgrades you can make, inflated a mattress with a trash bag, offloaded some tasks to our phones, and cleaned up our Facebook feeds. Here's a look back.

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

Some upgrades are subjective—like moving from pen and paper to a digital note-taker. Other upgrades, however, change the way you use technology, and make it impossible to go back to something inferior. Here are 10 of those things.

Use a Trash Bag to Inflate a Mattress When You Don't Have a Pump

If you're camping or have guests over, inflatable mattresses are handy. If you can't find a pump, you'll tire quickly inflating it yourself. A trash bag inflates your mattress and saves your lungs.

The Everyday Tasks Your Phone Does Better Than Your Computer

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

We've known for a while that your smartphone is a better PC than your PC ever was. It can't replace everything your computer does, but there are some things that are actually better to do on your phone, rather than your computer.

Facebook Cleanser Quickly Unsubscribes You from Pages You Liked

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

Web: Over the years, you have probably clicked the Like button on several Facebook pages in which you are no longer interested. Facebook Cleanser performs a quick sweep to clean up your news feed.

This Chart Demystifies Which Cooking Oils Are Best for What

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

You have a lot of options for cooking oils. Some are better at certain temperatures, others are best with certain types of food. The folks over at MyFitnessPal have created a chart that helps you pick which oils are best for what kind of cooking you want to do.

The Best Way to Shape Your Burgers for Even Cooking on the Grill

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

The Kitchn tested four different ways to shape a burger to see which method produced a beautifully shaped, evenly grilled burger.

How to Stop Being a Pushover

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

If you feel like you're always being taken advantage of, and it seems like you're on the losing end of every situation, it's time to turn things around. Here's a few ways you can change your mindset and become the strong, assertive person you want to be.

Find the Switch-Controlled Outlets in Your Home: Look for Upside-Down

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

When you move to a new apartment or house, you'll probably find that some light switches control outlets rather than built-in light fixtures. Here's a quick way to (possibly) see which outlets are switch-controlled.

The PhD Student's Bag

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

Being a student is tough enough as it is and when you're getting your PhD, you require a whole different set of tools. Case in point, PhD student, Samuel shares his bag over on Everyday Carry.

How to Turn Gmail Into Your Central Productivity Hub

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

Most of us use Gmail as our main email service, but it's so much more. Gmail can act as your to-do list, your notes board, your reminders, your list maker, and all the other things you need to be productive.

Five Best Tablet Styli

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

Tablets are great for apps, email, games, and more, but they can also be useful for note taking, annotations, or even drawing. When you start doing those things though, a good stylus is extremely useful to have. This week we're looking at five of the best tablet styli, based on your nominations.

The Lifehacker Pack for Students

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

Every year we put together a list of our Lifehacker App packs for each operating system. In the spirit of those lists we figured it was time to put together a list for students getting ready for school. Whether you're on Windows, Mac, Android, or iPhone, we've got you covered.

The Best and Worst Android Manufacturers for Quick Updates, KitKat Edition

This Week's Most Popular Posts: August 22nd to 29th

One of Android's biggest downsides is the speed at which you receive updates: some phones will take months to get the latest version of Android. Ars Technica runs down the best (and worst) manufacturers and carriers for quick updates.

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Dear Morrissey, Just like you, I too can be intensely persistent. I’m sorry to hear about the…

Dear Morrissey,

Just like you, I too can be intensely persistent. I’m sorry to hear about the dishonorable treatment that Harvest has given your new album. I’m reaching out to you in the only way I know possible. Did you know I run a record label?

We believe that World peace is none of your business should get the respect it deserves, without executives controlling the channels. We value our musicians and act as platform for their voice and opinions to be heard. We won’t stop any of our artists from saying, sharing, or doing what they believe in.

Lets talk. 

Lauren LoPrete

Loglady Records

Oakland, California

career, communication, jobs, popularish, republished

Five Habits of Truly Effective Communicators

Five Habits of Truly Effective Communicators

We all have room to polish our communication skills—some people want to be more assertive, others need help with conflict management, and still others find it hard to speak their minds in a group setting. Here are a few tips that can help you get your ideas across.

This post originally appeared on The Muse.

When it comes to job coaching, almost every conversation I have with a client involves the topic of communication. The motives can vary widely, and as I reflect on all the conversations I have, I realize that most of the time, we're not talking about complex ideas. It's really the basics about workplace communication that seem to trip most people up.

So, since we could all use a good reminder, here are the top five things I help my clients with when it comes to communication. Identify the ones that you need to work on, and start moving them into your conversation skill set today.

Stop Saying "But" and Start Saying "And"

Do you ever catch yourself saying things like, "I love that idea, but we need to do it differently?"

As soon as you say the word "but," the other person immediately forgets the part about you loving the idea. Because you completely invalidated it with the "but" and everything that came after it.

Instead, use "and:" "I love that idea, and I think a slightly different approach would be most effective." Hear the difference?

In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey breaks down the rules of improv. One of those rules is to always say "yes, and…" This shows respect for what your partner has to say (even if you don't agree), helps you keep an open mind about the act, and invites you to contribute to the conversation by building on the other person's idea or adding your own ideas. Same goes for communicating at work.

Stick With the Facts

Often, I'll hear someone make a statement that most likely isn't rooted in fact—like, "She's out to get me," " My boss hates me," or "I know she's sorry she hired me."

I always respond with a few questions: "Is that a fact? Did she tell you that, or are you drawing a conclusion based on observations?"

Communicating effectively is difficult enough; don't add to it by making up stories that aren't based in reality. Good communicators stay rooted in facts.

Remember that the facts of any issue could be quite different from your perception of it. Maybe the way you see a situation has to do with your unique work style, or simply that your boss is totally stressed out and taking it out on you. No matter what, unless you have the facts, it's best to refrain from color commentary and focus on getting to the root of the issue.

Avoid "Position Defending"

When people cite communication issues in the workplace, it's often less about communication and more about defending their position.

For example, let's say that two co-workers, Megan and Jason, are discussing a project. Megan says, "This project is overwhelming the team; we need more help." Jason says, "We'll be able to handle it. Everyone will just have to put in some extra hours."

Instead of having a meaningful dialogue about what defines each of their observations, Megan gets frustrated because Jason "isn't hearing her." And Jason thinks Megan sounds like a broken record, going on about how overwhelmed she is.

That's not communication. That's position defending.

Great communicators, on the other hand, ask questions and strive to understand all sides of the issue—instead of constantly repeating their side of the story.

For example, Jason might say, "What parts of the project are overwhelming to you?" or, "Tell me more about what you're seeing as the bottlenecks."

And Megan might say, "It sounds like we have completely different views on the project. I'm wondering if additional hours will really solve the problems I see," or "Should we review the scope of the project and make sure the additional hours are realistic for the resources we have?"

Do you see how simply exploring others' ideas can help you rise above your frustration and get you to higher ground?

In the iconic tome The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey espoused, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." We should all be willing to understand the other as much as we want our own point of view to be understood.

Use Silence as Strategically as You Use Words

Many conversations become unproductive because the participants are too busy worrying about what to say next to really listen to each other. To remedy this, strive to take advantage of moments of silence.

While you may think that silence is negative or uncomfortable, it serves conversation by allowing listeners time to process what's been said and giving speakers time to organize their thoughts before responding—without feeling rushed.

So, the next time you're in a dialogue and it deserves your full attention, find an opportunity to practice silence. Spend a few extra moments absorbing what's been said and intentionally thinking through your response before you speak. Learn to value and leverage those moments of silence instead of fearing them—as a way to build a better dialogue.

Actively Engage the Other Point of View

When a U.S. college student recently returned from an internship with a major hotel chain in the U.K., I asked him what the most challenging part was.

He responded that he was surprised by the tremendous diversity in the workplace in the U.K. Every person seemed to have come from a different country and spoke with a different dialect.

The biggest challenge, he said, was communicating with his co-workers in a way in which they could truly understand him. To do that, he had to get a sense of where they came from, how well they spoke English, and their assigned job. And typically, that was different for each and every person.

What a great example of high performance communication!

For people to really hear you—and you to hear them—you need to understand that everyone carries filters, beliefs, assumptions, experiences, and cultural influences that shape their point of view. The most difficult part? You can't physically see any of these things.

In short, just because you say something, it doesn't mean that others hear you. Great communicators take time to understand where others are coming from, whether it's influenced by cultural, professional, or personal factors. Once you understand those differences, you can communicate in a way that enhances your ability to be heard.

Great communicators may be born—but (er, and) they're also made. Try using at least one of these strategies this week, and see how you can up your communication effectiveness. Your colleagues will notice, and you'll find new confidence and level of satisfaction in your work.

5 Habits of Truly Amazing Communicators | The Muse


Lea McLeod coaches people in their jobs when the going gets tough. Bad bosses. Challenging co-workers. Self-sabotage that keeps you working too long. She's the founder of the Job Success Lab and author of the The Resume Coloring Book. Get started with her free 21 Days to Peace at Work e-series.

Image by Colin Dunn (Flickr).

Want to see your work on Lifehacker? Email Andy.

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