1-Minute Strategy

Keyboard down!

Did you just spill soda or coffee on your keyboard? Running a paper towel frantically over the keys right away makes it feel like you're doing something constructive, but the best maneuver is to quickly flip it over and just let the liquid drain. If ...

Ditch the quotation marks to avoid being tragically unhip

Bracketing slang or a supposedly humorous aside with quotation marks often tells the reader, "I have it on good authority that the cool kids these days use this kind of lingo, but I wouldn’t want you to think I would ever compromise my dignity ...

Don't fall for the calendar's crafty trap

2015 is just around the corner, and you know what that means—a regrettable moment or two in January when you leave '2014' on a report, a form, a newsletter ... Let's face it, only the superhuman can avoid making this most common of mistakes. It...

Sarcasm's a slow killer

Laughter and good humor are terrific for morale, but there are ways to make people laugh at work that aren't helpful. Cynicism never gives others any kind of boost; instead it gradually dampens spirits and makes people less likely to confide in y...

Can you stifle your verbal placeholders?

Once in a while, try to become hyper-aware of the times you sprinkle your speech with so, um, like, I mean, well and other placeholders. It's going to be impossible to get rid of them all—who's ever accomplished that?—but a good place to ...

To make the job more interesting, wing it a little

It's possible to become so organized and efficient that you drain any sense of improvisation from what you do, making it painfully predictable. If you feel like your job is becoming too tedious to bear, try actually preparing less, taking fewer notes...

The wonder of walls

When you're preparing your next presentation or report, set it aside when you're through and re-approach it as if your boss has just told you, "Whoops! This is exactly twice as long as it's allowed to be." Go through the process of re-imagining it at...

'What would you do if I weren't here?'

When employees come to you with problems to solve, resist offering them a solution. Instead, ask, “How would you handle this if I weren’t here today?” Often you’ll hear that the person could solve the problem after all. And at...

Trust no email that asks you for... well, anything

How many of us who should know better keep accepting at face value unusual emails from companies we deal with regularly—especially ones alerting us that we need to "click here" to update our accounts or passwords, or react to an alleged fraud, ...

Ethical quandary? Ask yourself how the media would see it

The next time you find yourself struggling with an ethical question, you might want to try a bit of a shock technique to snap yourself into reality: Imagine clicking on Google News tomorrow morning and seeing how the online media's headlines would pr...