How to control someone with negative response

Dealing with Difficult People can be very hard especially someone with negative emotion who is out to get you. But if you really find out deep down what he/she is doing is mostly about them, not you. Got this from ThinkSimpleNow.com. Enjoy.


Why Bother Controlling Our Responses?

  • Hurting Ourselves - One of my favorite sayings is “Holding a grudge against someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” The only person we hurt is ourselves. When we react to negativity, we are disturbing our inner space and mentally creating pain within ourselves.
  • It’s Not About You, It’s About Them - I’ve learned that when people initiate negativity, it is a reflection of their inner state expressed externally and you just happen to be in front of that expression. It’s not personal, so why do we take it personally? In short: Because our ego likes problems and conflict. People are often so bored and unhappy with their own lives that they want to take others down with them. There have been many times when a random person has left a purposefully hurtful comment on TSN, and regularly checked back to see if anyone else responded to their comment, waiting eagerly to respond with more negativity.
  • Battle of the Ego - When we respond impulsively, it is a natural and honest response. However, is it the smart thing to do? What can be resolved by doing so? The answer: Nothing. It does however feed our ego’s need for conflict. Have you noticed that when we fight back, it feels really satisfying in our heads? But it doesn’t feel very good in our soul? Our stomach becomes tight, and we start having violent thoughts? When we do respond irrationally, it turns the conversation from a one-sided negative expression into a battle of two egos. It becomes an unnecessary and unproductive battle for Who is Right?
  • Anger Feeds Anger. Negativity Feeds Negativity. - Rarely can any good come out of reacting against someone who is in a negative state. It will only trigger anger and an additional reactive response from that person. If we do respond impulsively, we’ll have invested energy in the defending of ourselves and we’ll feel more psychologically compelled to defend ourselves going forward. Have you noticed that the angrier our thoughts become, the angrier we become? It’s a negative downward spiral.
  • Waste of Energy - Where attention goes, energy flows. What we focus on tends to expand itself. Since we can only focus on one thing at a time, energy spent on negativity is energy that could have been spent on our personal wellbeing.
  • Negativity Spreads - I’ve found that once I allow negativity in one area of my life, it starts to subtly bleed into other areas as well. When we are in a negative state or holding a grudge against someone, we don’t feel very good. We carry that energy with us as we go about our day. When we don’t feel very good, we lose sight of clarity and may react unconsciously to matters in other areas of our lives, unnecessarily.
  • Freedom of Speech - People are as entitled to their opinions as you are. Allow them to express how they feel and let it be. Remember that it’s all relative and a matter of perspective. What we consider positive can be perceived by another as negative. When we react, it becomes me-versus-you, who is right? Some people may have a less than eloquent way of expressing themselves - it may even be offensive, but they are still entitled to do so. They have the right to express their own opinions and we have the right and will power to choose our responses. We can choose peace or we can choose conflict.

1. Forgive - What would the Dali Lama do if he was in the situation? He would most likely forgive. Remember that at our very core, we are good, but our judgment becomes clouded and we may say hurtful things. Ask yourself, “What is it about this situation or person that I can seek to understand and forgive?

2. Wait it Out - Sometimes I feel compelled to instantly send an email defending myself. I’ve learned that emotionally charged emails never get us the result we want; they only add oil to the fire. What is helpful is inserting time to allow ourselves to cool off. You can write the emotionally charged email to the person, just don’t send it off. Wait until you’ve cooled off before responding, if you choose to respond at all.

3. “Does it really matter if I am right?” - Sometimes we respond with the intention of defending the side we took a position on. If you find yourself arguing for the sake of being right, ask “Does it matter if I am right?” If yes, then ask “Why do I need to be right? What will I gain?

4. Don’t Respond - Many times when a person initiates a negative message or difficult attitude, they are trying to trigger a response from you. When we react, we are actually giving them what they want. Let’s stop the cycle of negative snowballing and sell them short on what they’re looking for; don’t bother responding.

5. Stop Talking About It - When you have a problem or a conflict in your life, don’t you find that people just love talking about it? We end up repeating the story to anyone who’ll listen. We express how much we hate the situation or person. What we fail to recognize in these moments is that the more we talk about something, the more of that thing we’ll notice. Example, the more we talk about how much we dislike a person, the more hate we will feel towards them and the more we’ll notice things about them that we dislike. Stop giving it energy, stop thinking about it, and stop talking about it. Do your best to not repeat the story to others.

6. Be In Their Shoes - As cliché as this may sound, we tend to forget that we become blind-sided in the situation. Try putting yourself in their position and consider how you may have hurt their feelings. This understanding will give you a new perspective on becoming rational again, and may help you develop compassion for the other person.

7. Look for the Lessons - No situation is ever lost if we can take away from it some lessons that will help us grow and become a better person. Regardless of how negative a scenario may appear, there is always a hidden gift in the form of a lesson. Find the lesson(s).

8. Choose to Eliminate Negative People In Your Life - Negative people can be a source of energy drain. And deeply unhappy people will want to bring you down emotionally, so that they are not down there alone. Be aware of this. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands and do not mind the energy drain, I recommend that you cut them off from your life. Cut them out by avoiding interactions with them as much as possible. Remember that you have the choice to commit to being surrounded by people who have the qualities you admire: optimistic, positive, peaceful and encouraging people. As Kathy Sierra said, “Be around the change you want to see in the world.”

9. Become the Observer - When we practice becoming the observer of our feelings, our thoughts and the situation, we separate ourselves away from the emotions. Instead of identifying with the emotions and letting them consume us, we observe them with clarity and detachment. When you find yourself identifying with emotions and thoughts, bring your focus on your breathe.

10. Go for a Run … or a swim, or some other workout. Physical exercise can help to release the negative and excess energy in us. Use exercise as a tool to clear your mind and release built up negative energy.

11. Worst Case Scenario - Ask yourself two questions, “If I do not respond, what is the worst thing that can result from it?“, “If I do respond, what is the worst thing that can result from it?” Answering these questions often adds perspectives to the situation, and you’ll realize that nothing good will come out of reacting. Your energy will be wasted, and your inner space disturbed.

12. Avoid Heated Discussions - When we’re emotionally charged, we are so much in our heads that we argue out of an impulse to be right, to defend ourselves, for the sake of our egos. Rationality and resolution can rarely arise out of these discussions. If a discussion is necessary, wait until everyone has cooled off before diving into one.

13. Most Important - List out things in your life most important to you. Then ask yourself, “Will a reaction to this person contribute to the things that matter most to me?

14. Pour Honey - This doesn’t always work, but sometimes catches people off guard when they’re trying to “Pour Poison” on you. Compliment the other person for something they did well, tell them you’ve learned something new through interacting with them, and maybe offer to become friends. Remember to be genuine. You might have to dig deep to find something that you appreciate about this person.

15. Express It - Take out some scrap paper and dump all the random and negative thoughts out of you by writing freely without editing. Continue to do so until you have nothing else to say. Now, roll the paper up into a ball, close your eyes and visualize that all the negative energy is now inside that paper ball. Toss the paper ball in the trash. Let it go!


OnStartup's tip for public PR without help from PR firm

I love the list the is put together from OnStartups, Startup PR: Tips For Getting Publicity Without A PR Firm

Take a look yourself below in the quote.

1. “My philosophy of PR is summed up in six words: be amazing, be everywhere, be real.”

2. First time I’ve ever the heard of the term ceWebrities. clever. With regards to these ceWebrities, “these overnight successes are 10 years in the making.”.

3. “Be the brand…you must be in love with your brand and inspired by your brand’s mission to have any hope of getting press.”

4. “Be everywhere…every single night I would go out and meet folks in the internet industry…while other folks went home to their families, I went out and made a family.”

5. “Your job is to transfer the enthusiasm you feel for your brand to everyone you meet.”

6. “Always pick up the check — always…everyone remembers who picked up the check.

7. “Set a goal of creating deep relationships with a small number of folks as opposed to running around trying to trade business cards with as many folks as possible.”

8. “Be a human being. The best way to get PR is not to sell someone on your company or product — it’s by being a human being. Journalists hate being pitched…journalists and bloggers are, in fact, humans.”

9. “Before meeting with a journalist, it is your job (as CEO) to read their last five articles in full…”

10. “Your job as the CEO/founder is to create direct, honest and personal relationships with journalists.”

11. “Attach your brand to a movement.”

12. “PR is, by definition a reflection of what you’ve done. When a startup hits, it’s not one thing that does it, it’s typically many things working in concer.”

I'd summarize the advice and change the 6 words of advice to: Be amazing, be passionate, be human.

Use key words in your resume to get more attention in your job search!

Based on survey from careerbuilder.com, it is shown that these are what the future bosses are searching for in your resume:

Quote from Link:

* problem-solving and decision-making skills (50 percent)
* oral and written communications (44 percent)
* customer service or retention (34 percent)
* performance and productivity improvement (32 percent)
* leadership (30 percent)
* technology (27 percent)
* team-building (26 percent)
* project management (20 percent)
* bilingual (14 percent)


Wii homebrew! Wii hack! Wii mod! Here it is!

Wii Homebrew is finally here and for the masses! Everyone can enjoy free games and homebrew as nicely laid out from lifehacker.com: Hack Your Wii for Homebrew Apps and DVD Playback

Quoted body:

What You'll Need

Since we're going to be doing a softmod of your Wii (i.e., we're not modifying any hardware), you don't really need much to accomplish this hack.


NOTE: I'm doing this all on a Windows PC, but you can manually install the Twilight Hack if you don't have access to a Windows PC.

The secret sauce lies in the Twilight Princess game. Essentially, we're going to load a fake game into Twilight Princess that exploits a buffer overflow and allows you install homebrew software on your Wii.

Sound complicated? Figuring it out may have been, but the excellent Wii hackers have made exploiting the Twilight hack is a cinch.

Hacking Your Wii for Homebrew

00-format-disk.pngTo get started, plug your SD card into your computer. It needs to be formatted as a FAT16 filesystem, so find the SD card in My Computer and format it by right-clicking, selecting Format, and setting FAT as your file system. (If you have trouble formatting your SD card this way, try out the SD Card Formatter.)

Now it's time to prepare the SD card with the Twilight Hack. If you haven't already, download the Wii Brew SD Installer. When you've got it, make sure your SD card is plugged in and run the installer. The installer is fairly self-explanatory, but I'll walk you through it.

Choose Your Install Location

This should match the location of the SD card you just formatted above.

Select the Homebrew Features and Twilight Hack

Now you need to select the packages you want to install on your SD card (and, eventually, your Wii). I'd suggest selecting the Homebrew Channel (in fact, you need to if you want this to work), the Homebrew Browser, and DVDX (you'll need this last one for DVD playback). Make sure to select the Twilight Hack that matches your region. Hit Next and the Wii SD Installer will copy all the necessary files to your SD card.

Take Note of Your Twilight Princess Disc

If you're in the U.S., your copy of Twilight Princess is one of three different versions. One of the versions of the disc requires that you use a different save slot when we load the game later on, so just take note of the text on the inner circle of the bottom of the Twilight Princess game disc. (I needed TwilightHack2, for example.)

Perform the Twilight Hack on Your Wii

sd-card-in.pngBy this point, your SD card is officially prepared for your Wii. Unplug it from your computer and move over to your Wii. Plug it in and power up your Wii. At this point, you'll need to erase your current Twilight Princess saved game, copy the Twilight hack to your Wii, and execute it in Twilight Princess. (If you haven't played the game and created a save slot, you should do that before proceeding.) The video below from the WiiBrew folks details exactly how to do this.

NOTE: If the installation froze after you loaded the saved game and talked to the man, chances are you need to use the other saved game.

You'll need to accept a disclaimer and go through a few other screens to finish the installation (just use the 1 button on your Wiimote to accept). When it completes, head back to the Wii menu. The glorious new Wii Homebrew Channel awaits.

Turn Your Wii into a DVD Player

Now that you've got the Homebrew Channel installed, setting up DVD support is a breeze. Fire up your the Homebrew Channel from the main Wii menu and you should see the DVDx installer and Homebrew Browser. Click on the DVDx installer and run through the prompt. Hit A to select Normal install unless you've installed a modchip in your Wii. (If you're following this guide, chances are you don't have a modchip.) You've finished the first step.

Now you need to shut off your Wii and plug the SD card back into your computer, because it's time to install mplayer, the app that will play back DVDs on your Wii. You can download it from the HackMii web site at the bottom of this post. (Mplayer appears to be available in the Homebrew Browser, but it's not the version that supports DVD playback, so make sure you download it manually.)

After you've downloaded it, copy the entire mplayer folder to the apps folder on your SD card. Now just take the SD card back to your Wii, plug it in, and run the Homebrew Channel again. This time you should see mplayer next to your other installed apps, like below.

To play back a DVD, just fire up mplayer, insert a DVD, and select the Play DVD option in the mplayer menu. You'll notice two Play DVD menu items, the second of which reads Play DVD (libdvdnav). The libdvdnav attempts to use the built-in DVD menu, while the other just plays the first title. Unfortunately libdvdnav doesn't really work correctly with the Wiimote yet, but it looks to be on its way.

It takes a few seconds for mplayer to start playing the DVD, but once it does it plays without a hitch (or at least it has in all my experience). Thanks to YouTube, here's what it looks like:

The Wiimote/Gamecube controller playback shortcuts work as follows:

A - Pause
1/X - Toggle on screen menu
RIGHT - Seek 10s forward
LEFT - Seek 10s backward
UP - Seek 60s forward
DOWN - Seek 60s backward
+/R - Seek to the next chapter
-/L - Seek to the previous chapter
HOME/Z - Quit

Home server guide

If you are interested in utilizing your broad band high speed internet connection with your own server this is the guide that you want to take a look: Set Up a Home Server .

Quote below:


Before You Start - Alternatives

Setting up a home server can be a lot of fun and a great learning experience. But, depending on what you want to use it for and how good your connection to the Internet is, a home server may not be the best alternative. If your aim is serving web pages reliably or otherwise delivering information outside your home to friends or customers, it makes more sense to put the server into "The Cloud" - in other words, in a commercial data center. This saves you the worry and hassle of keeping it running or dealing with interruptions to your home's power, cable or DSL service. "Cloud Computing," or renting just as much of a server as you need on an hourly or monthly basis, is becoming quite popular for web companies or growing businesses, but the rates are inexpensive enough that you should consider it as an alternative to a home server. There are many cloud computing companies, ranging from Amazon Web Services which requires that you learn their command line interface to initiate a new server, to ENKI which offers personal support for getting you up and running. This isn't the place to go into detail, but you can learn more by Googling "Cloud Computing."

What you'll need

To build your own server, you need just a few components, some or all of which you may well have already:

  • A computer
  • A broadband network connection
  • A network router, with Ethernet (CAT5) cable
  • A monitor and keyboard (just for the first few steps)
  • A CD/DVD drive/burner will be handy if you plan to use the server for media.

The computer

A server doesn't have to be particularly powerful. eBay runs on mega-thousand-dollar Sun computers, and Google uses thousands of machines to power its search. But for personal use, a server needs considerably less horsepower than your average desktop computer. While other computers busy themselves with complex tasks like despeckling photographs and calculating missile trajectories, your home server has a much simpler task: receiving requests for data and then sending that data as requested. Your server won't use much processing power, especially without a graphical interface to worry about. A machine with 64MB of RAM and a 300MHz processor can make a perfectly good server; with slightly more robust specs, it can handle almost anything you'll throw at it.

An old machine can be turned into a server with minimal effort. You may already have a perfect machine for the job sitting in your attic. Or a relative or a friend might want to get rid of her older desktop; or you may well be able to pick up a suitable model cheap or free from a swap meet, a classified ad, or online equivalents like freecycle.org and craigslist.org. Alternately, you can buy a new machine to use as your server. Each approach has its advantages.

The reasons you might not want to use an old machine include:

Old hardware can be unreliable. Sometimes replacing bad RAM or putting in a new heatsink will fix the problem, but sometimes a computer just crashes every few hours, regardless of what operating system is installed. Time to donate or recycle it.

Space is an issue. If the old machine is in a big tower case and you are in a small apartment, you might want to get it a new case -- or you might want to buy a new server that's one tenth the size.

You want it quiet. Computers get hot, so fans are installed to keep them cool. Fans are loud, even the ones marketed as "whisper-quiet." You might not notice that so much in an office setting, but when a server is left running 24 hours a day (as they should be), it becomes rather irritating to live with in close quarters. If you're going to be sharing a living space with your server, you may want to invest in a fanless machine.

You don't have an old computer on hand, and you live in a place where finding cheap, used hardware is difficult or expensive.

If any of the above apply, you can skip to the section titled Buying a server.

Repurposing a used computer

If you go the way of turning an older machine into a server, congratulations. If it's a particularly geriatric model, you might have a little work ahead of you to get it ready for its new assignment. Upgrading a couple of its parts will make it a powerhouse for years to come. You can find plenty of support, if you have questions about what connector goes where, on hardware-nerd sites like tomshardware.com and arstechnica.com. Or, if messing with wires and chips is too daunting, your local computer shop should do it for a minimal fee.


What sort of computer you use -- i386, PowerPC, Gameboy -- matters surprisingly little. Linux and BSD, the preferable server operating systems, run on just about any architecture you care to install them on. The official list of chips on which Debian can run includes Intel x86, Motorola 680xx, Sun Sparc, Alpha, PowerPC, ARM, MIPS, HP PA, Intel 64-bit, and S/390 processors, with more in the testing phase. That covers the vast majority of consumer computers ever made. Buy a notebook (the paper kind) and label it My Server. Write down all the model numbers and details of the hardware you set up.


RAM is cheap these days, and more is generally better.


The hard drive is the heart of the server. If everything else dies, you can pull out the hard drive and put it in another (comparable) machine, and pick up right where you left off. Depending on how many slots your computer is built with, you might want to have one hard drive or a few. Bigger is better.

Hard drives continuously drop in price. Start fresh with a new one. If you're disposing of an old drive and replacing it with a new one, don't forget to securely delete any private information before you put it in the trash.

The innards of a hard drive spin around thousands of times per second, so it's very likely that the hard drive will be the first component of your server to fail, though you can generally count on a new drive for a few good years at least. Proper backup procedures are crucial; for now, if you have room in your server and in your budget, you may want to slot in a second or even third hard drive. Keeping secondary copies of data in another place -- even if that's just a second drive right next to the first one -- is the way to safeguard your data against hard drive failure.


Since the server's going to be running all the time, you need to make sure it doesn't overheat. The machine you have might already be fine in that department, or it might not. If it crashes unexpectedly, or exhibits weird, unpredictable behavior, it may be getting too hot. There's software you can install to monitor the machine's temperature as it runs, and even set it up to e-mail you automatically if it's creeping into the danger zone on a hot day.

You can splurge on a wide variety of methods to keep the CPU and power supply cool, involving air, water, liquid nitrogen, and so on. You also may want to look into underclocking your processor. That makes it run slower (which is fine for a server, remember) but also cooler. If you're handy with solder, there are dozens of underclocking tutorials online for your particular chip type. Generally, though, setting up good airflow through the box is sufficient for most home servers, with some quality fans sensibly arranged to pull air in at one end of the case, direct it over the hot components, and push it out the other. Larger fans tend to be quieter than smaller models, all else being equal. If you're living with the server, you will want quiet fans, the quietest you can get.


The server's also going to need an Ethernet card (also known as a network interface card, or NIC), and one that works with your chosen operating system. You can't go wrong with most cards (especially older models), but you'll definitely want to check the model number on linux-drivers.org or elsewhere on the web before buying a new one. Big brands like 3Com and D-Link are generally a good, reliable bet.

Buying a server

Alternately, you could buy a server. There are plenty of up-to-date guides on the web. You can use a standard desktop computers, which contain powerful, expensive, and hot Intel and AMD-brand chips. That's fine, but brands like Shuttle or Biostar, built on the mini-ITX or nano-ITX specification are smaller, cheaper, and cooler. These can fit in cigar boxes and run silently without fans, on low power. Complete systems using these chipsets can be bought from a variety of specialty retailers, including idotpc.com and mini-itx.com. You shouldn't have to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars for a serviceable system.

The Connection

Apart from that, any sort of connection will do. Super speed is not important (unless you're planning to stream videos to dozens of users). If you have a connection already (probably you do) you can continue to use it as normal. Just keep your server connected to the router. A static IP is not necessary, nor is a business-class connection.

Your choice of providers will vary depending on your area. If you have a choice, pick a provider that offers good, reliable speeds and makes its customers happy. Ask around, or search the web for the phrase "[provider] sucks" if you want to hear the worst. Some providers have very restrictive policies and prefer their users not to do things like build servers; others, like the excellent sonic.net, are thrilled to have adventurous users. The choice between cable, DSL, fiber, satellite, and so on is less important; after trying an assortment, you won't notice a significant difference unless you're streaming video or high-quality audio.

The Router

Get a reliable router. It can be wireless, if you want to connect other computers to it wirelessly, but plan on using a real old-fashioned cable between it and the server. A router is a pretty standard commodity these days; some may have extra features, but it's the basics, not the extras, that count. Again, looking at what other shoppers have liked, on a site like newegg.com, can be an excellent guideline.

The Monitor and Keyboard

If you have an old spare desktop, you may have a spare monitor and keyboard to go with it. Or you can use your current computer, if you're not using a laptop, and willing to switch back and forth while you get things set up. You'll only need these until you get your server up and running. A monitor and keyboard are very handy to have tucked away somewhere for future debugging and upgrading of the server, though.


If you live in an area prone to power surges, rolling brownouts, or the like, or even if you don't, some sort of intermediary between your machine and the AC socket is a good idea. This can be as simple as a $10 surge suppressor (not just an extension cord) or an elaborate power conditioner with hours of battery backup.

Everything in Its Place

After your box is upgraded, you'll need to find a home for it. You'll want to keep a few practical considerations in mind.

  • Don't place it next to a heater, or in a sunbeam. Don't place it by an open window. Dust is a server's enemy too, so don't keep it under the bed.
  • Don't let people trip over the cords, or let pets chew on them.
  • With proper attention to cooling, your server should be quite quiet, but some people are sensitive to even the faintest hum. Especially if your server is not the noiseless variety, you might want it in a less-trafficked area. The website Silent PC Review has advice and hardware recommendations for avoiding the noise.
  • Putting it in a little closet is good, as long as there's enough airflow that the thing won't overheat. Make sure to place it on a hard surface so as not to block the air intakes, leave a few inches of space around it on all sides, and don't pile stuff on top of it.
  • Theft is another concern: keeping a shiny server right by the front door might not be the best idea.
  • A lot of your placement concerns may be dictated by your internet connection, since the server needs to be within a cord's reach of that. If you use a wireless router to share the connection with the rest of the house, that ought to be centrally located, and the server plugged directly into it, wherever it is.
  • It'll also need to be plugged into an electric outlet.
  • If you're going to be doing stuff like ripping CDs with the server, you'll want it conveniently placed for feeding discs in.

Suggested reading

What can you do with that server? Here are some projects:

Suggested readings

Survey of Cloud Computing Vendors


THREE IN ONE POST: Office Jargon explained, Art of asking, Saying no

The cubicle warrior's guide to office jargon

Let's think out of the box: Really means, "Can you creatively anemic people please come up with something?" The person who says, "Let's think out of the box" is usually desperate for a new idea and surrounded by people who are not known for generating ideas. So the phrase is actually an announcement that says, "I'm in trouble."

I need someone who can hit the ground running: Really means, "I am screwed." Because no one can hit the ground running. You need to at least assess what race you're in and who else is running.

Do you have the bandwidth? Note that bandwidth is not time. It is something else. If you ask someone "Do you have time?" you mean, "Am I a priority?" If you ask someone "Do you have bandwidth" you mean, "You seem like your brain is fried. Can you pull yourself together to do this for me?"

Let's hit a home run: "I'm desperate to look good. Even though the odds of a home run are slim, I'm banking on one because it's the only thing that'll save me." Something for all your sports fans to remember: If you have a bunch of solid hitters you don't need a bunch of home runs.

You and I are not on the same page: "Get on my page. Your page is misguided." No one ever says, "We're not on the same page, so let me work really hard to understand your point of view. If you want to understand someone else, you say, "Can you tell me more about how you're thinking."

I'm calling to touch base: "I want something from you but I can't say it up front." Or "I am worried that you are lost and I'm sniffing around for signs to confirm my hunch." Or "I'm calling because you micromanage me."

Let's run the numbers and see how they look: "I know they look bad on first blush. But the true use of Excel is to keep changing the formulas until you find a format that makes the numbers look good."

My plate is full: "Help I'm drowning," or "I would kill myself before I'd work on your project."

Let's close the loop: "Let me make sure I'm not going to get into trouble for this one."

Let's touch base next week: "I don't want to talk to you now," or "You are on a short leash and you need to report back to me."

Keep this on your radar: "This will come back to bite you. or me."

Geek to Live: The art of asking

Be specific.

"I tried to use your script and it didn't work. What am I doing wrong?"

This type of question is impossible to answer because it's too vague. What didn't work? What was the output? Was there an error? What was it? What happened exactly? If you need help, help the askee help you. Don't ask unless you can make your question clear - it'll save both of you a lot of back and forth.
Do your research.

"Do you know how someone might keep a to do list in a plain text file, like todo.txt?"

If it's obvious that you haven't put any elbow grease into researching your question yourself, folks are a lot less likely to help you - especially on mailing lists. Make sure you do a good faith run through the user guide and search the web before you waste other people's bandwidth on an issue you can solve yourself.

There are times when web search won't help because you don't know the right terms that others have used to describe the concept. In those cases, say up front, "My Google skills failed me" or "I searched a few different combinations of foo and bar, with no success" or "I called customer service and they couldn't help either."

Show that you at least tried. Just remember that busy smart people will only volunteer their time if you show that you're not just trying to con others into doing free research work for you.
Ask the right person.

"When I tried to do X on example.com I get this error. How come?"

When you find a helpful resource, your natural inclination is to ask them questions about everything. But, asking anyone other than someone AT example.com about an error there just doesn't make sense.

Make sure you're asking the right folks for the information you need. This goes triple for departments at the office and friends. Develop your own personal "board of experts" - or join a Q&A community like the excellent Ask MetaFilter. Then, when you have a question, after you've done your research and come up short, consider who in your life is best equipped to answer it with ease. Spare everyone else.
Make it worth the askee's while.

"I can't get your program to work and it's driving me crazy!!! Help me ASAP I have a deadline!!!"

When you're tired and frustrated and wrapped up in your own needs, it can be hard to step outside yourself and think about others. But the best way to get someone to help you out of the goodness of their heart is to offer them something in return.

"Hi, I want to use your software because it looks really interesting, and I'd like to write it up on my web site. But I'm having this problem which doesn't seem to be documented. Can you help me work it out?"

In that case, the askee has two motivations: the first is free publicity, and the second is the chance to work with a cooperative, calm tester to debug a problem and complete the software's documentation.

A favorite childhood story of mine, Stone Soup, is an excellent example of motivating others to help in action. Wikipedia says one of the key takeaways of the tale is:

If you want to get people to do something, don't tell them how desperately they are needed. Don't try to appeal to their sympathy and kindness. Instead, create the impression that you are giving them the opportunity to be part of your success.

20 Ways To Say No

* let people know when you have accepted other responsibilities
* no need to make excuses if you don't have any free time
* no one will fault you for having already filled your plate
* you might be uncomfortable with any of a number of issues
* the people involved, the type of work, the morale implications, etc.
* this is a very respectful way to avoid a sticky situation
* you aren't saying that you will never help out again
* just that you feel your schedule is as full as you would like now
* understanding your limits is a talent to be expected
* if you don't feel that you have adequate skills, that's okay
* it's better to admit your limitations up front
* the best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed down the road
* life isn't about drudgery -- if you don't enjoy it, why do it?
* don't be afraid to let someone know you just don't want to
* someone else is bound to enjoy the work you don't
* be honest if your schedule is filled
* "filled" doesn't have to mean really filled
* know when you are scheduled as much as you are willing and stop
* let people know that you want to do a good job for them
* but you can't when your focus is too divided or splintered
* you will be more effective if you focus on one project at a time
* it doesn't matter what the commitment is
* it can even simply be time to yourself or with friends or family
* you don't have to justify -- you simply aren't available
* volunteering shouldn't mean learning an entirely new set of skills
* suggest that they find someone who has experience in that area
* offer to help out with something that you already know how to do
* people often ask for help because they doubt their own abilities
* let them know that you have confidence they will succeed
* you are actually doing them a favor in the long run
* don't be ashamed of wanting to spend time with your family
* having a strong family is an important priority in and of itself
* be willing to put your personal needs first
* often, you have to focus your energies on a work-related task
* you may have to give up some civic or community duties
* if you don't do it, someone else will take on the task
* it's okay to be selfish -- in a good way!
* treat your personal time like any other appointment
* block off time in your calendar and guard it with your life
* know when you aren't going to be able to deliver a quality product
* the reason doesn't matter -- not enough time, wrong skills, etc.
* whatever the reason is enough for turning a request down
* saying no doesn't mean that you can't help at all
* if someone asks you to do something you really despise, refuse
* then offer to help with something you find more enjoyable
* if you aren't available to help out, offer another qualified resource
* helping to connect people is a valuable service to offer
* make sure the person you refer will represent you well
* sometimes it's okay to just say no!
* just say it in a way that expresses respect and courtesy
* leave the door open for good relations
* if you really want to help but don't have time, say so
* offer to help at a later time or date
* if they can't wait for you, they'll find someone else
* unexpected things happen that throw your schedule off
* accept that you may need to make a few adjustments
* it is temporary and you will have more time when life stabilizes
* it's okay to admit your limitations
* knowing what you can handle and what you can't is a skill
* your time will be more efficiently spent on something you do well

How to manager your conversation with others in office or social setting

This is why I love Lifehacker.com!

Here is
Top 10 Conversation Hacks
to let you survive your every day office or social life!

10. Feign sincerity with eye contact and repetition.
When you're just not feelin' it but you've got to look like you are, the Wired How-to wiki suggests ways you can feign sincerity. In short, make eye contact, echo what the person is saying to you back to them, and nod in understanding (even if you're not).

9. End a conversation with body language.
crossedarms.pngWhen that chatty co-worker just won't go away, use some of manager Brendan Connelley's techniques. My favorite is simply standing up (or crossing your arms, or speeding up to a "fast walk") to indicate it's time for that person to go and you're busy. In more desperate situations, grab your cell phone and say, "oh sorry, I've got to take this." Photo by SiBorg.

8. Ask sensitive questions indirectly to skip awkwardness.
When the info you need from someone is somewhat sensitive, check out journalist advice site MBToolbox's suggestions for asking delicate questions indirectly. Use the bluff ("the breakup must've been hard, huh?") or blame others ("so has anyone asked about your prison time?") or the indirect inquiry ("what year did you get divorced?") to broach sensitive topics with tight-lipped folks with more ease and less awkward silence.

7. Use silence to win arguments and nail a negotiation.
Lawyers and price hagglers know that a little silence can go a long way. When the other party offers a price, opt for a long pause to indicate hesitation, which might prompt them to go lower. In the case of arguments, prolonged silence may frustrate the other person—but it'll also make you look like the winner. (The evil winner, but the winner nonetheless.)

6. Soften critiques with the sandwich method.
crithamburger.png When you need to critique someone—whether it's a co-worker's presentation or a spouse's choice of outfit—start with a compliment, then mention your critique, then end on a positive note. The "criticism hamburger" gets the message across but softens the blow.
5. Say "no" gently—or say "yes, but...."
When someone's asking you to do something you just don't want to—or don't have the time—there are ways to say "no" that are polite and respectful and won't burn any bridges. OnlineOrganizing.com offers 20 "scripts" for turning down a request, from "I'm in the middle of several projects right now" to "I'm not the right person for that job." (I've found that suggesting someone else or offering a tip on the best way to proceed also helps a whole lot.) Master of attention-firewalling Merlin Mann says you can partially commit by qualifying your "yes" with specific boundaries around what you'll do (that also imply what you won't).

4. Ask questions well.
When you need information, the people that have it need some reason to help you. Whether you're posting a question on a tech support forum or asking a colleague for help, here are some ways you can master the art of asking to get the answers you need.

3. De-code office jargon.
officejargon.png Client want to "touch base"? Manager want to "get on the same page"? Corporate euphemisms translate into pretty strong words, and you'll navigate your career a whole lot better if you recognize the ones that mean "get off your ass." Career adviser Penelope Trunk offers a non-nonsense dictionary for parsing office-speak.

2. "Pace and lead" an irate person.
angryguy.pngWhen you're dealing with someone who is absolutely freaking out—like a parent flipping out at the playground—use school administrator Bert Webb's "pace and lead" technique. Instead of remaining calm, match the other party's emotional intensity to show you're empathetic, then lead the complainant to a calmer level of discourse.

1. Become a human lie detector.
When you suspect someone isn't telling the whole truth, tune into their voice, eyes, and body language. Monster.com's Marty Nemko lists a few indicators that should trip your BS detector, like a sudden change in voice pitch, rate of speech, or "ums" and "ahs," a change in eye contact, and body position. Similarly, project manager Scott Berkun weighs in on how to detect bullshit.

Perhaps the greatest human behavior and communication hack is an awareness of what makes people tick. If you can offer someone something they want, they'll give you what you want in return.