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Why ‘no’ could be your magic word at work

Published: Thursday, September 14, 2017 @ 2:23 PM
Updated: Thursday, September 14, 2017 @ 2:23 PM

We like saying yes to our superiors, but agreeing to do too many things leaves us overstressed and overworked Saying no will provide you with the time and energy to focus on the work that will move your career forward Say no at work when you are assigned a task that does not fall under your job description Be straightforward and not dance around the subject Say no when it is going to set a precedent that you aren't comfortable with Anticipate the other side's tactics and consider saying no in private Whe

As a child, you're told that please and thank you are the magic words. But at work, the magic word might be a simple no.

Never saying “no” at work can mean late hours, extra assignments, tighter deadlines, fewer resources or even moving three states away. Always saying yes can leave you overwhelmed and will inevitably undermine both your own success and that of your organization.

RELATED: 5 of the most toxic co-workers and how to deal with them

Saying no will provide you with the time and energy to focus on the work that will move your career forward, according to Elana Lyn Gross, business owner and content strategist, in Forbes. So, why is this simple, one-syllable term so hard to pronounce? Saying “no” at work makes you feel guilty and uncomfortable. 

"You may think people will dislike you, think you are entitled or question whether you are a team player," Gross noted. "It seems paradoxical, but saying no strategically and respectfully can help your career."

Gross interviewed highly successful women and suggests saying no in these four situations: 

  • When saying “yes” would make you unable to accomplish your duties: "Say no at work when you are assigned a task that does not fall under your job description and could be easily accomplished by the person who is asking it," Eileen Carey, CEO of Glassbreakers, told Gross. "If you aren't getting paid to do something and the task will take away time from accomplishing what you are paid to do, saying no demonstrates your commitment to your role and the value of your time."
  • When the task doesn't align with your priorities: "My best tip for saying no is to be straightforward and not dance around the subject," said Johanna Lanus, CEO and founder of Work With Balance. "Explain that the task, project or activity doesn't align with your current priorities and, if the situation changes, you will revisit the topic."
  • When you fundamentally disagree: Liz Wessel, CEO and cofounder of WayUp suggests asking "Why?" when you disagree with a decision. This no-substitute "forces the opposite side to explain and justify her point of view."
  • When saying yes conflicts with your values: "Welcoming opportunities is so important," noted Amanda Greenberg, CEO and co-founder of Baloonr. "That being said, saying no is just as important. You should say no when it is going to set a precedent that you aren't comfortable with or that might be harmful moving forward. It is also important to say no when you know that you won't be able to deliver." 

New assignments are one of the primary areas where an effective workplace "no" is key, according to Harvard Business Review. "Most of us say yes to requests and assignments without filtering them by what's urgent, let alone what's possible. We like saying yes to our superiors, but agreeing to do too many things leaves us overstressed and overworked. Being effective requires making tradeoffs."

Holly Weeks, author of Failure to Communicate considers a firm-but-polite no the middle ground between confrontation and saying yes when you don't want to. "We're worried about damaging the relationship. And whether you are conflict-averse or conflict-ready, your counterpart may not always handle hearing no the way you'd hoped."

Weeks offered these tips for improving your ability to say no:

  • Anticipate the other side's tactics. "Some counterparts will to try to 'yes the no,' even when you're hoping for minimal friction, because they have learned early on not to take no for an answer and feel like pushovers if they do." 
  • Consider saying no in private. Some circumstances might make it more difficult for a boss or co-worker to accept your negative response in public without feeling like she's losing face.
  • Don't give false hope. "If you say no tentatively, it's easy for your counterpart to hope that you'll change your mind. That false hope, even more than the no, may damage your relationship."
  • When you encounter pushback, be sure to stay on topic and give a good reason for your refusal. "Saying no shouldn't be a monologue," Weeks said. "But if you have a good reason for saying no, stay with it."

Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 3:09 PM

Amazon Announces Cities Still In Consideration For Second Headquarters

The monthly membership fee for Amazon Prime rose Friday from $10.99 to $12.99.

Company officials said the annual membership will remain at $99 dollars.

>> Read more trending news

Monthly customers do not get access to Amazon Video, which costs $8.99 a month.

The last Prime subscription hike came in 2014, when Amazon increased its yearly membership from $79 to $99.

>> Related: Amazon announces final 20 cities in the running for second headquarters

The e-commerce company did not give a reason for the price increase.

Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:52 PM

Here are some tips from experts Only sell valuable stuff Understand the fees Avoid the scams Optimize your title Take great photos Don't try to profit from shipping charges

Too much clutter, too little money, too many gifts you didn't like... an eBay auction is one of the simplest solutions to all three issues.

If your trash might be someone else's treasure, an eBay business is simple to start and accessible to just about anyone. "It has low start-up costs and it can be started out of your home," noted the New Life Auctions blog, written by sellers who have been active since 2000. "You can work at your own pace and on your own time."

»RELATED: 5 side hustles you can do from the comfort of your home

Within that flexible framework, though, are certain strategies for making far more money and clearing out a lot more junk as an eBay seller.

 

»Here are 10 tips from NLA and other experts: 

Only sell valuable stuff

Yes, you're trying to profit by selling stuff you don't want, but you want to make sure there are some potential buyers who will disagree with you. Start by perusing eBay's own list of what's selling well.

Understand the fees

While it's easy to enter the world of eBay sellers, sales involve fees and you'd do well to balance them against earnings, according to NLA, which offers an eBay fee calculator that allows you to compare which listing formats and categories have the lowest fees, and how much each listing upgrade will deduct from your bottom line.

Avoid the scams

You might be surprised to learn that plenty of the scams that surround eBay sales affect sellers. "Many of the scams take advantage of sellers not knowing all the rules for safe trading on eBay," NLA said. "It is very important for a seller to completely understand PayPal's seller protection program." One scam involves a buyer using PayPal, waiting for the item to be delivered and then opening a dispute with PayPal if you didn't check "delivery confirmation."

If you don't use PayPal's "signature confirmation" option to sell higher-priced goods on eBay, a scammer might open a dispute with PayPal claiming the item wasn't received. "Unable to show proof of delivery, PayPal takes the funds out of the seller's account and returns it to the scammer," NLA noted. The blog outlines other potential scams and ways to avoid them, including credit card chargeback, fake money order and "you have been chosen to sell our products" scams.

Optimize your title

Your title, not the item description, drives search results. Include critical keywords, using a search of keywords for similar completed listings to guide you. Try to include the same keywords as the listings that sold for the highest price. Avoid words like "look" or "incredible" in your title, advised NLA, since no one uses those words to search. If you have a few words leftover in your title, consider adding a common misspelling of the primary keyword to catch the eye both of bad spellers and bargain hunters who search using commonly misspelled listings

Emma Drew, who blogs about money on EmmaDrew.info, said you should include terms you would use when searching for something on eBay. (Be sure to check out her "10 weird things that actually sold on eBay" post each month.)

Spell it right

Most people can't find listings with the primary keyword spelled wrong. That means fewer bidders. 

Take great photos

A picture may not be worth the proverbial thousand words on eBay, but it's pretty close. eBay itself recommends these tactics in its section on taking great pictures:

  • Use a plain, uncluttered backdrop to draw attention to your item.
  • Turn off the flash, instead using diffused lighting to prevent shadows and reflections.
  • Use a tripod to prevent softness and blur.
  • Fill the frame with the item.
  • Capture all angles, details and blemishes.
  • Show the scale.
  • Don't use props.
  • For fashion items, use a model, dress form or mannequin so buyers can see fit.
  • Shoot shoes from different angles so buyers can see the front, top, sides and bottom.

List on Thursday nights

It is common knowledge that eBay auctions ending on Sunday evening are the most profitable and popular, noted Drew, and listing for 10 days on a Thursday gives you two Sunday nights. 

Allow international buyers

"Every bid counts, even if it comes from the other side of the world," according to NLA. "Odds are they won't win the auction, so why not let them bid?" If an international buyer does win your auction, you are able to charge a separate handling fee to compensate for your time filling out the customs form. You'll also want to make it a policy to insure all international packages.

Don't try to profit from shipping charges

If your shipping rates are unreasonable, most buyers will be on to you in a flash, according to NLA. "People know that they are being ripped off and they will leave your auction and not return. Charge a reasonable handling fee." 

Resist the urge to end an auction early

If someone e-mails you with an offer that requires you to end your auction early, don't take it, NLA urged. Even the best early offers are usually just a fraction of what your item is really worth.

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Mary B's frozen biscuits recalled due to listeria concerns

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:06 AM

Mary B's frozen biscuits. (Credit: FDA.gov)
FDA.gov
Mary B's frozen biscuits. (Credit: FDA.gov)(FDA.gov)

Be sure to check your freezer because there’s a new recall on frozen biscuits that were sold in nearly two dozen states.

>> Biscuits recalled over listeria concern

Hom/Ade Foods is recalling Mary B’s brand biscuits due to listeria concerns. The biscuits were sold in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

>> Read more trending news 

Company officials said the problem was discovered in a product sampling conducted by an outside company that manufactured the product.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.

The Mary B’s products affected are frozen bagged biscuits. All have “Best If Used By" dates before Sept. 23, 2018, and with the letter “M” immediately after the date.

Mary B's recall. (Credit: FDA.gov)(FDA.gov)

UPC codes affected by the recall:

  • 2059300007 MARY B’S JUMBO BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 35OZ 10 / 3.5OZ
  • 2059300015 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 26.4OZ 12 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300018 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE BISCUITS 26.4OZ 12 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300020 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK VALUE PACK BISCUITS 44OZ 20 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300021 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE VALUE PACK BISCUITS 44OZ 20 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300022 MARY B’s BUTTERMILK TEA BISCUITS 24OZ 24 / 1OZ
  • 2059300023 MARY B’S BUTTERTASTE VALUE PACK BISCUITS 44OZ 20 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300028 MARY B’S THIN BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 28.6OZ 22 / 1.3OZ
  • 2059300033 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK FAMILY PACK BISCUITS 60OZ 30 / 2OZ
  • 2059300034 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE FAMILY PACK BISCUITS 60OZ 30 / 2OZ
  • 2059300035 MARY B’S BUTTERTASTE FAMILY PACK BISCUITS 60OZ 30 / 2OZ
  • 2059383000 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK 0 TRANS FAT 220CT BULK BISCUITS 220 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059383004 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 220CT BULK BISCUITS 220 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059387000 MARY B’S MADE WITH WHOLE GRAIN 220CT BULK BISCUITS 220 / 2.2OZ
  • 3059320583 MARY B’S 3.5 OZ JUMBO BUTTERMILK 144CT BULK BISCUITS 144 / 3.5OZ

Customers are urged to return affected products to the store for a full refund.

Read more here.

The Biggest Product Recalls in US History

How to win an argument at work - or stop one before it starts

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 4:52 PM

Here's how to get a promotion anywhere in the world Understand what the hiring process looks like in your company Let the company know you want a promotion Make sure your values are in line with the company Make sure you have developed Emotional Intelligence Manage your stress levels

No one expects to navigate the work world without the occasional argument. And it's nice to "win" when you're in the right.

»RELATED: Does birth order affect you in the workplace?

But what really matters more than besting your manager or co-workers in an argument is how you handle the conflicts that are an inevitable part of work, according to a Forbes piece co-written by Travis Bradberry and Joseph Grenny.

"A persistent finding in both of our research is that your ability to handle moments of conflict has a massive impact on your success," they said. "How you handle conflict determines the amount of trust, respect and connection you have with your colleagues."

Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne gave tips for winning arguments in any setting in Psychology Today, borrowing ideas from Israeli psychologist Eran Halperin about political conflict and interpreting them on a personal, rather than global, level.

"In an argument, your appraisal that you're losing, your belief that you need to be 'right' and the extent to which you like the other person can all have an impact on the emotions you experience," she wrote. "Your emotions can also get aroused by the desire to gain the respect of onlookers - no one enjoys being made to look ignorant in front of others, and when you feel that you're being made the fool, your outrage only increases."

Anger pretty much kills your ability to win an argument in any sense of the word "win," Whitbourne said. Instead of building to an outraged furor, she recommended six key, argument-winning tools:

Know your facts

Whitbourne reminded people of all the times they made a claim about a bit of trivia, quickly realized they were wrong, and then stuck to their guns anyhow. "This is not an ideal way to win (or enter) an argument." Stop and think before you make a blooper and you'll be less likely to lose an argument, whether it's trivial or actually important to your career.

Prepare to acknowledge the other person's point of view

You don't have to agree with your foe, but if you want to win the argument, "you do need to be able to see the world the way your opponent does. Stepping into the mental set of those you argue with allows you to figure out what's influencing them. Perhaps they're feeling threatened, anxious, or annoyed. Perhaps they know something that you don't. In any case, showing empathy will lower the temperature of the debate."

Try to be, or at least seem, open-minded

"Becoming defensive is one of the worst ways to win an argument. Don't let your opponent sense that you're digging into your position without being willing to consider alternatives. And if you let your opponent speak, he might come to your side without your having to do anything other than listen."

»RELATED: 7 steps to transition from a 9-to-5 to a full-fledged entrepreneur

Keep your emotions in check

Halperin's research revealed how important emotions are in determining your ability to appraise situations. "If you lose your temper, you'll only antagonize your opponent, which will further heighten his or her wrath, and the process can only escalate upwards," Whitbourne explained. Worried that you'll seem weak if you suddenly become calm in the middle of the argument? Don't worry. You'll gain points by showing self-control.

Stay hopeful that the argument can be resolved

Arguments can stir up negative emotions. If you're in the midst of a screaming fest, it's tough to envision a resolution where you still have your dignity intact. But strive to stay optimistic. "Invoking the feeling of hope allows you to think more clearly, leading to the possibility that you'll win by sheer force of logic." If you believe there's a way out, you're more likely to find one. "This is what happens in ordinary problem-solving, when thinking outside of the box can help all sides come up with a solution. Such an 'aha' moment in an argument can lead you straight to victory."

Respect your opponent

You may not emerge as the clear victor in an argument, or you may get your way but make your business relationship worse. It's important not to insult or degrade your opponent during the conflict. "Even if the individual is someone you'll never see again, it's still important to show that you meant 'nothing personal' in the dispute."

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