Nicole Dingley
Nicole Dingley
Customer Success Marketing Manager, Wiley

shutterstock_143837407.jpgI thought about it for days, rehearsing all of the mean things I would say to him once I got the nerve. My supervisor and I had traveled to Chicago to attend a customer conference. On the morning of the event, I started to haul in the goods: promo items, trays of sandwiches, cases of bottled water, box after heavy box of books. Then my phone rang, his number popped up on the screen.


"Hey, I'm going to need to stick around the hotel today. I've got some reports due this afternoon."


A year earlier, I would have rolled my eyes and carried on. But today was different. I was six months pregnant and downright furious. As I unpacked each of those boxes by myself, a thin trail of sweat surfaced down the front of my white maternity shirt. I stewed over how rude and insensitive he was. And I swore I would never get over this. Never.


Big or small, slights in the workplace are hard to shake. We all join our professional environments with a range of temperaments and experiences. I, for one, come from a long line of accomplished Italian grudge holders. I nodded knowingly when I read that line in Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies: “They say it's good to let your grudges go, but I don't know, I'm quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.”


And while it may feel good to harbor ill will short-term, research shows that bitterness is both physically and mentally detrimental. Loneliness, isolation, and pent-up animosity cause an uptick in cortisol and a reduction of oxytocin which translates into harmful stressors on the body.


I turned to Monica Wofford, leadership expert and author of Make Difficult People Disappear, to get to the bottom of what makes workplace conflict so complex.


“Workplace disagreements include the same challenging attributes as personal agreements, such as gender differences, generational differences, personalities, and of course, history,” Wofford explained. “The primary difference is that layered over those factors in workplace disagreement is the element of power, not to mention authority and consequences.”


The trick is to prepare for conflicts before they happen by developing a mindset open to a range of possibilities. Wofford offers these tips to get on the right track:


  1. Examine the “shoulds.” Everyone comes to work with a mental set of “shoulds” for their co-workers. Quiet but persistent, these “shoulds” often make us feel entitled to stand in judgement of our peers. Thoughts like “she should speak to her female co-workers with more respect” or “He should have been better prepared for that meeting” fuel our disappointment and anger when our expectations aren’t met. We have to look closely at the legitimacy of these “shoulds” and how they color our thinking. 
  2. Recognize our differences. There is a general tendency to label behavior that is different from our own as “difficult.” Think back to the classmate who couldn’t sit quietly through the school assembly. Even then, the dominant thought was that she was difficult. Knowing what we know now about the myriad reasons children are challenged by a solid hour of sitting, it’s clear that she might simply have had different needs and limitations. Bringing that same mindset to the workplace gives us the ability to release expectations. Don't be afraid to work out your personal differences. Connecting dots in a thoughtful manner supports positive outcomes.
  3. Explore your fears. There’s an unspoken fear factor to workplace candor. Rather than telling someone what’s on your mind, it is often easier to quietly grouse about the unfairness of the situation. Are you holding back from an honest talk with a coworker because you’re afraid you’ll be perceived as too blunt? Are you hesitant to share your idea at the team meeting because you’re scared you’ll be put down?  This aversion to being truthful makes it very difficult for others to live up to your expectations; they have to know what you want in order to respond appropriately.
  4. Be vulnerable. Vulnerability in the office can be tough. It’s generally the first thing we look for in others, but the last thing we want to reveal in ourselves. Dr. Brené Brown, one of the world’s leading researchers on authenticity, found that one of the critical components for great leadership is the willingness to be vulnerable with others. She also connects vulnerability to increased innovation, trust, and engagement. People don’t trust perfection. By sharing our vulnerability, we start to form bridges with colleagues who might not have otherwise trusted us. 
  5. Look to the leaders. Some people are naturally inclined to be vulnerable and recognize differences in others without judgement. Look to those peer leaders to get cues on how to make connections.  According to Wofford, “Those who are highly skilled in empathy will sit and listen to the problems of their co-workers, even clear off their desk and schedule to do so, thus inviting more of the same. These people begin to be seen as someone who ‘gets me’ and the dramatic sharing repeats.” This dramatic sharing results in a better office climate, ripe with truthful feedback and support.


Ultimately, I was able to let go of the grudge I held against my former supervisor for his absence at the customer conference. It was tough to abandon my unhealthy, albeit comfy, nest of grievances. But doing so led to five more years of a positive work relationship.  Wofford says this is the whole point of examining and freeing these resentments:


“Releasing grudges provides additional brain space and potential energy to be spent on more productive efforts, but the most important benefit is having a clean slate in your workplace relations.”


Your turn: How have you managed workplace disagreements? Let us know in the comments below.


Image Credit: racorn/Shutterstock


How to Negotiate Your Salary

Posted Aug 25, 2017
    Christopher Ruel
Christopher Ruel
Community and Social Marketing, Wiley

With a recent survey showing that over half of U.S. workers don’t negotiate their salaries, it’s clear that many are uncomfortable with the process. You might wonder, “Am I asking for too much?” or “Am I shortchanging myself?” Underlying these questions may be fear, but you can overcome your doubts to feel confident the next time you need to navigate the salary waters. The short video below offers some great advice.


Learn more on salary negotiations here.
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How To Create Messages That Stick

Posted Aug 15, 2017
    Paul McGee
Paul McGee
Author and BBC Contributor

Vicky was excited. I mean extremely excited. A friend of hers had arranged an opportunity for her to attend their company staff conference, where a former Olympic athlete would be speaking. The organization was investing a considerable sum of money for this celebrity to address over 300 staff.


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A week after the event, Vicky and I met up. As a professional speaker myself, I was keen to hear about the impact the celebrity had made and the ways his message would help his audience.


‘So what was he like Vicky?’


Vicky appeared starry-eyed as she recalled the event.


‘He was gorgeous. All the women instantly fell in love with him. In fact, some of the guys probably did too.’


‘Interesting,’ I replied. ‘But what would you say you took away from his message?’


‘Well,’ continued Vicky, clearly excited as she relived the experience, ‘if you were patient you could wait around at the end and have your photograph taken with him and his Olympic medal.’


‘That's brilliant Vicky, but can I ask you this: what was your key takeaway from his presentation?’


Vicky paused before finally replying: ‘That's a tough one. I can't remember exactly, but I know he was really good.’


It got me thinking. How often do we hear a message but very quickly forget it? Sometimes that might be acceptable if the speaker's message was meant solely to entertain. But what if it isn't? What if you have an important message to communicate that you need people to remember?


The problem is we're often so busy focusing on what we're going to say that we don't take time to think about how to say it in a way that people will remember.


The challenge you face as a communicator is not that the attention span of your audience is necessarily short – it's that their attention is constantly being bombarded by messages and distractions screaming ‘listen to me, notice me’. Believing that saying something once in a potentially unengaging way is going to be remembered by people is, I'm afraid, a reflection of either naivety or arrogance, or perhaps even a combination of both.


Advertisers know they need to get your attention and then communicate their message in a way that is memorable. After all, what's the point of an organization investing in advertising if you then can't remember the point of their message? They know that getting your attention is just the start. They then need you to remember their message.


That's crucial for us to remember as communicators.


Ever heard the phrase ‘people won't remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel’? Personally, I think that could be a cop out. How about when we communicate with people, our aim is that they'll remember how we made them feel AND what we said?


Here's the deal:

We need to learn how to cover our message in Velcro, rather than coat it with Teflon.


Making his message sticky and memorable was a priority for Steve Jobs. That's why, when he wanted you to remember something, he'd repeat it over and over. Why? Because repetition aids retention. I'll say that again – repetition aids retention. He wasn't bothered if people said ‘Steve, you mentioned that earlier’. He knew that. But he intuitively knew the following:

Your message needs to stick if it's going to be a hit.


Repetition is one way to do that. We'll be exploring lots more ways throughout the book, but let me share one approach I've used to make my message sticky and memorable – using visual and quirky language. And the reason? Well the reality is, the more people hear overused and overfamiliar phrases, the more those words will over time, figuratively speaking, ‘go in one ear and out the other’.


So, for example, in my book SUMO (Shut Up, Move On) I explore a number of SUMO principles. Here's what they could be called if I expressed them in a more familiar way:

  1. Take responsibility.
  2. Have a positive attitude.
  3. Set goals.


However, the language I use to describe each principle is phrased in a less-familiar way:

  1. Change your T-shirt.
  2. Develop fruity thinking.
  3. Ditch Doris Day.


Here's the deal:

     The unfamiliar gets our attention. And through repetition it also gets remembered.


Here's another way I've used the above strategy to get remembered.


My name is Paul McGee. I think you'd agree there's nothing particularly memorable about that name. My appearances in the media are occasional at best and, compared to many people operating in the world of motivational speaking, my life story is rather tame.


But my brand name –‘The SUMO Guy’ – gets me remembered. It gets people's attention. It immediately conjures up a visual image and creates interest. Agree? The reality is I don't wear a sumo outfit or prance around on stage dressed in an oversized thong. Which might disappoint some, but probably comes as a relief to many. Either way, my brand name is memorable.


Then, explaining that SUMO is an acronym which can stand for Shut Up, Move On (or sometimes Stop, Understand, Move On) also gets me remembered. It's short and simple (words that have often been used to describe me, in fact). But because it's short and simple, and also different and memorable, it sticks in people's minds.


Now relax. I'm not suggesting you have to come up with some weird or wacky way to communicate your message. I've simply shared a strategy that works for me. You're going to be learning many more, but although the context in which you speak is likely to be vastly different to mine, you might want to start thinking about how you could use less-familiar language to express a familiar idea.


The point I want to stress is this: Having a great message is one thing. Getting it remembered is another entirely.


If you were to focus on one of the ideas we've briefly explored to make your message more sticky and memorable, which would it be?

    1. Using repetition more.
    2. Using less-familiar language to communicate a familiar idea.



What techniques have you used to drive a message home? Let us know in the comments below.


The above post is an excerpt from: How to Speak So People Really Listen: The straight-talking guide to communicating with influence and impact.


Paul McGee is one of the UK’s leading speakers on the subject of change, workplace relationships and motivation. His provocatively titled book SUMO (Shut Up, Move On) became an instant best seller and his book on Self Confidence reached number one in the WHSmith’s business book chart and remained there for a further 24 weeks. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast television and is a regular contributor on BBC Radio.


Image Credit: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock


     Mary Charles Byers
Mary Charles Byers
Marketing Intern, Wiley

This summer, I was one of 1.5 million interns hired to work at large and small companies across the country. These days internships are considered a resume-building necessity for new graduates entering the job market As such, it’s important for corporations and students alike to realize the difference between a good internship program that focuses on valuable experiences and one that simply provides a student with an impressive title. It has become imperative for corporations to create internship programs that revolve around meaningful work and solid experience, rather than menial tasks no one else at the organization wants to do. On the flip side, students need to seek out the good from the bad before taking on an internship. Sometimes that can mean leaving your comfort zone. In my case, that meant leaving Texas, where I attend college, for an internship in Indianapolis.


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The Value of the Intern

Let’s be honest, there are many organizations that either see no purpose in hiring interns or do not have the resources to facilitate an internship program. They may have a fear of environmental disruption, an inability to find willing mentors, or even financial limitations that hold them back. I don’t want to downplay these concerns, but at the same time there’s often a Catch-22 situation which arises. Some of the same companies that lack internship programs require entry-level applicants to have industry experience. Quality internships enable students to gain skills, learn about an industry, bolster their marketability and build confidence through experience.


At the same time, there’s a clear upside for organizations.  Interns often provide a fresh, creative perspective. They bring added energy, and they push themselves to make a difference in a short amount of time. All of this has the potential to inspire and re-engage existing employees. Internship programs also help to develop leadership skills and promote mentorship among permanent employees, while building relationships that may lead to an intern’s full-time employment and future company success.


Not All Internships are Created Equal

During my college years, I have held a variety of internships with companies ranging in size from fewer than twenty employees to several thousand. This summer, the corporation I interned with employs over three thousand colleagues across the world.


Why did I leave Texas for Indiana? My goal this summer was to learn more about the type of job I want after graduation. I eventually want to work for a larger company, so for me, that meant spending my summer in Indianapolis. The program I joined was well organized and the internship positions provided a thoughtful, well-mentored, and collaborative experience. I did a range of meaningful work and gained a better understanding of the type of position I’ll seek out when I finish school.


Weekly one-on-ones with my manager imparted a sense of accountability, I also participated in many informational luncheons with senior colleagues who provided information on a variety of departments and different roles within them. My daily tasks included marketing campaigns, gathering information for the creation of several blog posts and even the assignment of my own blog post to write. (Hint: it’s this one.) Along the way, I gained an insider’s view of the company’s mission, its goals, and its culture. Fortunately, that culture was dedicated to providing meaningful experiences for its interns and values what they have to offer.


If an internship is about fetching coffee for someone else, you, fellow student, didn’t do your homework. And companies, if your internship program is about menial, meaningless tasks, why bother? Corporations—big and small—need to continually ask their intern(s); What other experiences do you want to have here? Are we providing you with what you need? Do you feel like a valuable part of a team or an outlier?


The Title Is Not What Matters

Many internships lack the concrete goals or key takeaways that an intern should achieve or understand upon completion of the program. To prove the experience meaningful, there should be evidence to show what was gained in the weeks or months spent working at a company. While it’s easy to put a good title like “Financial Analyst Intern” or “Product Marketing Intern” on a resume, in the end, does it really mean anything? Does it prove that the candidate acquired the skills needed to jump into a full-time, entry-level position in that field upon graduation?


To my benefit, my internship provided me the opportunity to compile documentation of my work efforts, such as examples of the content I created, email exchanges between myself and colleagues, and a detailed letter from my manager outlining the projects in my portfolio. While this documentation from a supervisor is important, it’s also key that the manager take time to mentor his/her intern once the program has come to an end. Continued support can lead to a lasting relationship that will enrich both the mentor and the mentee.


Take a Chance

As I head into my final year of college. I have constant anxiety around landing a full-time position. But what provides me with confidence are the professional skills and qualities I’ve gained through my participation in various internship programs. The skills I’ve learned allow me to prove my mettle, empower me to be poised and ready for job interviews, and above all, demonstrate that I haven’t just sat back and witnessed a company at work. Instead I’ve done real work in a real world environment. I encourage all companies, big and small, to give students the opportunity to have these meaningful experiences. The benefits are invaluable.


What Are Your Thoughts?

What do you think are the main benefits of creating an internship program that revolves around meaningful work?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Image Credit: Getty Images


    Peter Sanderson
Peter Sanderson
Content Marketing, Wiley

On December 10th, 1914, Thomas Edison blew his factory sky high. He told his son to get his mother and her friends, saying, “They’ll never see a fire like this again.” His son was baffled, but Edison told him, “We just got rid of a lot of rubbish.” Later in the day, when the New York Times interviewed Edison and asked him what he was going to do next, he calmly replied, “I’ll start all over again tomorrow.” Edison was sixty-seven years old at the time.


Like Thomas Edison, we choose how we see change. We can view it as either a catastrophe or as an opportunity to grow.


Sometime back in February of 2015 I was forced to quickly switch gears and change my career. Little did I know that this experience of alarming uncertainty was actually a gift. It didn’t feel like a gift at the time, and I wasn't happy about it, but I needed to innovate and change. But this type of change often feels uncomfortable, and uncomfortable doesn’t always feel right.


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A scary change

Fortunately, a month later I found another publishing job and went from a management position at a large company to a management and very tactical position at a small company.  That company had a large print subscription product that was very easy for me to manage. Their backbone, however, was deeply digital. Monthly traffic dwarfed what I was used to and I had to figure it out how to test and quickly convert that traffic into dollars. Luckily, I had a great team and some past colleagues who had already planted a seed or two.


Strategist vs. tactician

Before moving from one company to another I had a very clear advantage. I already understood strategically how marketing functions dovetail together. I knew which of the myriad of levers to pull and which gears to engage to execute campaigns. On March 1, 2015 I went from knowing to doing. After eighteen-years of understanding and communicating what needed to be done I now executed my own strategy. But truth be told, I enjoyed my new role far more than I thought I would. The “doing” was becoming fun and any worries melted away as I got closer to the core of executing my own strategy.


The good old days

Earlier generations of marketers within the publishing business never experienced the recent pace of innovation and change we see now. After spendingtwenty years in a print-based world, you knew almost everything there was to know. You were at the top of the knowledge circle and could run a high-level agency, publication, or even start \your own. Publishing was in my DNA; my grandfather spent his career in the publishing world; but, he also did the same thing day after day until he was sixty-five. Yes; there was financial stability, a high level of comfort and limited change; however, he was ultimately bored.


Boredom is the mother of invention

No one likes to be bored. I know that if I had been born in 1920 and retired in 1985--just before the digital revolution, I would have been bored. Today’s reality is this: the rapid pace of change is a blessing or a curse depending on your view of boredom - it's the root of all evil or the mother of invention. Over the past two years I realized if I am not learning new skills, I’m dead in the water; both professionally and personally. Back in early 2015. I chose to see the stressful part of change simply as learning and growing. If I don’t learn and if I don’t change or innovate, there’s a good chance that inevitably there will be boredom and frustration. Along the way of change there is failure, or the more friendly term “teachable moments” and successes. A virtuous cycle forms; we fail, we learn, succeed and even if we do fail we will still learn--win, win, win.


Choosing how we look at change I realized I had a couple of options when it came to moving my career forward


A: I could stay the course - and in some circumstances this is perfectly normal and sustainable. In my case however, continuing in print publishing made my future options very limited.


B: I could innovate, keep learning, failing and repeating the virtuous cycle of reinventing myself. I have come to embrace the rapid pace of change in marketing and publishing as a gift to keep me honest, engaged, bewildered and frustrated and, like Edison’s factory; completely blown up. I’m always learning, growing and rebuilding.


Never give up...never!

The gift I received over the past two years is a much better understanding of innovation and change in business. I know that how I see change is totally up to me (I must own that) and when faced with change I am forcing myself to see the glass as half full. I now understand that being uncomfortable is, well, uncomfortable, but it should be to allow for transformation.  I’m learning to see setbacks as gifts, and if my endeavors get blown to smithereens, I start all over again tomorrow morning.


As football legend Tom Brady says...never give up...never!


Image Credits: Arhange1/Getty Images


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