Apr 22, 2008

Defusing arguments quickly

Have you ever been in an argument and the situation becomes more acrimonious with each exchange? How do you stop that rapidly? Seth Godin has an interesting piece on his blog about this. Notice that he talks about written communication, but the same is true for oral communication also:
  • Accept the other person's point of view. In any given situation, no matter what feelings the other person conveys, she is right. She is conveying her sentiment of anger, frustration, fear, and so on. Telling a person that her feelings are wrong only exarcerbates the situation.
  • You don't have to agree with her feelings. Just because someone else has the right to harbour the feelings she wants, it does not mean that you have to agree with her.
  • Look for solutions. Once you've agreed with a person's feelings, they can't escalate them. think of little kids: why does teasing work so well? Because the person being teased reacts. If the person being teased stops reacting, the teaser gets bored an finds a new target. It's similar in a heated argument. Once you start accepting the other person's point of view, you take all the wind out of her sails. The only option left is to look at what can be done to make the situation better.

Apr 11, 2008

Annoying Web Sites

Ugh! Don't you hate going to Web sites and having to wade through layers of useless "stuff" before getting to the meat? Here are a few things that can be highly annoying about a Web site (any resemblance to Web sites living or dead is purely coincidental):
  • Flash-only home page: Not everyone installs Flash. And even so, Flash slows down access to your site and hogs bandwidth. Many people including me, evidently) will block Flash animations. If your home page is only Flash-based, you run the risk of people turning away.
  • Flash-only Web site: this is even worse! Unless your products and services can only be described with Flash technology, spare us please! Plain-Jane HTML may seem boring, but it's quick, efficient and gets the job done well. Keep the Flash separate from the rest of your site.
  • Hard-to-find contact information: Do we have to dig through multiple layers of muck before finding a way to contact you? Once the information is found, do we have to go through 7 steps before being able to send you a message or being able to contact you directly? Do you really want people to contact you or are you doing your best imitation of Voice Mail Hell on your site?
  • Email-only contact: In this day of high-tech-only communication, it feels good when you can pick up a phone and call someone and talk to an actual, live, real human being. Email forms are fine, but it shouldn't be the only way to contact you.
  • Psychedelic animations: Do you really need 47 animated images on the site? Where is the attention supposed to be drawn? Animated images can be fine for directing someone's attention to one special element on a page. But putting too many just makes me go nuts. And I'm sure I'm not the only one, or there would be no use for this.
And there is probably more, but I'll stop here. If your Web site is a way to attract people to you, make it easy on the user. Don't give them all the reasons in the world to stay away!

Apr 7, 2008

Picking fun at oneself

Here is a great video on Bill Gates's final day.

Video Le dernier jour de Bille Gates vost_fr - Microsoft, Bill, Gate, dernier, vost - Dailymotion Share Your Videos

You can never take yourself too seriously. It's refreshing to see such a monument of a man poke fun at himself so easily. And he does itin such a way that he still remains dignified in the end.

Kudos! I was rarely a fan of the software company, but the man did good!

Apr 2, 2008

A prank

Every year, around this time, there are a few pranks going around. I particularly like the Linux/open source/techie pranks. Well, I began my professional like as a techie. And the techie in me is still very strong.

Nevertheless, we now have:

What Happens When You Call Microsoft Support To Remove Linux?