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Communication Skills

In Forge. More on Medium.

Complaining about small talk has become the new small talk

Photo: David Pinzer Photography/Getty Images

On my morning walk, I wave to my neighbor and ask how he’s doing. “Oh, just waiting for the sun to come out,” he smiles, working on his truck. It’s been two days of gray, damp weather, but it feels like weeks. I tell him this. He agrees. Looking up from the hood, he squints and points to the hills in the distance. “I’ve lived here for twenty years,” he says. “Watching that sunset never gets old.” We exchange a few more pleasantries, and I’m on my way.

Maybe it’s a year of being in quarantine, but I miss talking…

Tip: Add that no response will result in you taking an action.

If you’re like many people, you end your emails with the chipper sign-off: “Let me know! Thanks!” And then once you hit send, you sit there in mild distress, wondering if or when that person will ever actually let you know. In those times when you can’t move forward with your own responsibilities until you receive an answer, it helps to include a deadline with your message. Twitter user Angry Rose shares this advice: “Pro-tip: When constructing emails, make sure you write in some way that no…

An FBI agent’s advice for eliciting trust

Closeup of a woman’s smiling face.
Closeup of a woman’s smiling face.
Photo: Flashpop/Getty Images

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, as the cliché goes. That impression starts even before any words are exchanged, in the mindset you bring to the encounter. As an FBI agent, I was trained to identify these cues in others — and to transmit them to gain the trust of my targets.

Even if you’re not a federal agent trying to extract information from an unwitting source, you’ll inevitably find yourself in situations where it’s imperative to make a good first impression. In these situations, it is critical you send out the right nonverbal…


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