When we needlessly apologize, we end up making ourselves small and diminish what we’re trying to express, says sociologist Maja Jovanovic.
Think about all the times you use the word “sorry” in a typical day.
There are the necessary “sorry”s — when you bump into someone, when you need to cancel plans with a friend. But what about the unnecessary “sorry”s? The “sorry, this may be an obvious idea” at a meeting, the “sorry to cause trouble” when rescheduling a haircut, the “sorry, there’s a spill in the dairy aisle” at the supermarket.
Canadian sociologist Maja Jovanovic believes the “sorry”s we sprinkle through our days hurt us.
They make us appear smaller and more timid than we really are, and they can undercut our confidence.
Jovanovic, who teaches at McMaster University and Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, became interested in this topic when she attended a conference four years ago. The four women on a panel were, she says, “experts in their chosen fields. Among them, they had published hundreds of academic articles, dozens of books. All they had to do was introduce themselves. The first woman takes a microphone and she goes, ‘I don’t know what I could possibly add to this discussion’ … The second woman takes the microphone and says, ‘Oh my gosh, I thought they sent the email to the wrong person. I’m just so humbled to be here.’” The third and fourth women did the same thing.
During the 25 panels at that week-long conference, recalls Jovanovic, “not once did I hear a man take that microphone and discount his accomplishments or minimize his experience. Yet every single time a woman took a microphone, an apologetic tone was sure to follow.” She adds, “I found it enraging; I also found it heartbreaking.”
Jovanovic found the outside world not so different: “Apologies have become our habitual way of communicating,” she says. Since then, she’s collected needless apologies from her colleagues and students. One stand-out? “My research assistant said ‘Sorry’ to the pizza delivery guy for his being late to her house,” says Jovanovic. “She said, ‘Oh my gosh, we live in a new subdevelopment. I’m so sorry. Did you have trouble finding this place?’”
We can eliminate the “sorry”s from our sentences — and still be considerate.
“The next time you bump into someone,” Jovanovic says, “you could say, ‘Go ahead,’ ‘After you’ or ‘Pardon me.’” Similarly, during a meeting, Jovanovic says, “instead of saying, ‘Sorry to interrupt you,’ why not try ‘How about,’ ‘I have an idea,’ ‘I’d like to add’ or ‘Why don’t we try this?’” The idea is to be polite while not minimizing yourself.
The “sorry”s that fill our written interactions also need to be noticed — and banished. For emails, Jovanovic says, “There’s a Google Chrome plug-in called ‘just not sorry’ that will alert you to all the needless apologies.” With texts, she points out, “Every single one of us has responded to a text you got when you weren’t able to respond right away. What did you say? ‘Sorry.’” She says, “Don’t apologize — say, ‘I was working,’ ‘I was reading,’ ‘I was driving, ‘I was trying to put on Spanx.’ Whatever it is, it’s all good. You don’t have to apologize.”
And, in some of the instances when we’d typically throw in a “sorry,” we could just use the two magic words: “thank you.”
Jovanovic tells of the moment when she realized the effectiveness of gratitude. She says, “Four of us were at a restaurant for a work meeting, and we’re waiting for number five to arrive … I put my sociological cap on, and I thought, ‘What would he say? How many apologies will he give?’ I could barely stand the anticipation. He arrives at the restaurant, and you know what he says? ‘Hey, thanks for waiting.’ … The rest of us said, “Yeah, you’re welcome,” and we all just opened our menus and ordered. Life went on, and everything was fine.”
Another time when “thank you” can work better than “sorry”? When you’re with a friend and you realize you’ve been doing all the talking. Jovanovic says, “instead of saying, ‘Sorry for complaining’ or ‘Sorry for venting,’ you could just say, ‘Thank you for listening,’ ‘Thank you for being there’ or ‘Thank you for being my friend.’”
Besides removing them from our own communications, we should tell other people when they’re overdoing their “sorry”s, suggests Jovanovic.
You can start with your family and friends — and if you’d like, go beyond them. She says, “I have been interrupting these apologies for three years now. I’ll do it everywhere. I’ll do it in the parking lot, I’ll do it to total strangers at the grocery store, in line somewhere. One hundred percent of the time when I interrupt another woman and I say, ‘Why did you just say ‘sorry’ for that?’ she’ll say to me, ‘I don’t know.’”
As the founder and CEO of the Las Vegas-based software-development firm Gunner Technology, Cody Swann updates apps for his clients all the time. Occasionally, his employees have to take the apps offline to do this--after informing the clients, of course. But these alerts can get forgotten--and one time, after ignoring such a warning, a client got angry about being unable to access the software and threatened to fire Swann's firm.
Fortunately, Swann keeps receipts. He forwarded the client his initial email notice that the app would be unavailable, and saved the business: "I got a short reply telling me not to worry about it." How often does he face similar disputes, with customers who don't realize they're at fault? Swann laughs: "Almost every day."
There will always be customers who demand the impossible, misunderstand what you tell them, or blame your company for something that was out of your control. But figuring out how to keep these people satisfied is crucial to your business success. "It's incredibly tricky to determine the proper way to deal with a client who is wrong, but it is a necessary skill," says Nate Masterson, founder and CEO of Maple Holistics, a beauty-products company in Farmingdale, New Jersey.
So what should you do when your customer is wrong?
1. Stay calm.
Take the time to gather all the relevant facts, and listen carefully before you respond. And keep your ego out of it; your primary goal should be to resolve the dispute and make your customer happy, rather than to "win" the argument. (Also, think twice before communicating by text or email, where nuance can be lost and tensions can escalate quickly.)
2. Don't point fingers.
Sometimes resolving a disagreement is as simple as allowing the client to believe she is right while offering a solution everyone can live with. Another Gunner Technology customer recently complained that the company had eliminated a link to add photos to her website. Nothing had changed; the client simply couldn't find it. So Swann decided to create a more intuitive way to find the link going forward. "I could've said, 'Look, you've just wasted five hours of my day,' " he says. "But I didn't point fingers, and basically said, 'Yeah, you were right. It was hidden. So I made it more visible for you.' "
3. Remember, you're the expert.
You're especially likely to face these sorts of customer complaints if your company specializes in more technical services, such as computer programming, architecture, or law, according to Laurie Richards, a business communications consultant: "The customer doesn't understand enough about the area of expertise to know all the alternatives." Assume your customer is acting in good faith and needs to be educated, not argued with. Do that effectively and you can "go from a situation where you could have conflict to one where you're actually establishing goodwill and turning a negative into a positive," Swann says.
4. Prove your worth.
"I sometimes work with clients who are in the wrong," says Maria Casey, the founder of startup consultancy MCA Partners, in Venice, California. One of her customers complained constantly and eventually left MCA--only to ask to return shortly thereafter. Casey decided to perform an audit of her work for the customer, complete with recommendations about how profits could be increased going forward. The result? Casey's recommendations helped improve her client company's year-over-year sales by 300 percent--and put an end to the griping. "The more upfront and strong I am in my stance, the more respect I end up getting," Casey says.
5. Know when to give up.
Some customers can't be satisfied. And some will always put the squeeze on those they work with, making baseless charges or unreasonable asks in an effort to cut the bill. How you choose to handle these situations comes down to how valuable you find the customer: "If a $1 million client balks at $1,000 in an invoice, you give in, no questions asked," Swann advises. "If a $10,000 client balks at a $1,000 invoice, you may want to give in the first time, but let them know you're doing so as a courtesy. If it happens again, walk away."
Every year, several Oscar-nominated celebrities get the "Everyone Wins" nominee gift bags from Distinctive Assets. Stars nominated in the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Director categories all receive the gift bag whether they win the award or not. The recipients can claim everything in the bag, a few items, or nothing. The gift bags are worth over $100,000 and have no affiliation with the Oscars. The 2019 bag include face masks, vacation vouchers, and cannabis-infused products.
They're collecting information on you right now.
You'd be surprised just how much big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Amazon know about you.
They're collecting information about you and your habits right now.
This information is being used to market specifically to your preferences.
Wondering just how much they know about you?
Here are 22 things they're collecting data on, based on data from Visual Capitalist.
1. Personal Information
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Please lie here on my purple chaise-longue and we'll free associate.
Well, you will.
When I say Coke, what's the first thing that comes to mind?
No, no. Coke with a capital C.
Outdated, did I hear you say? You wouldn't let your kids drink it? Excellent with a large dollop of rum?
You might be tempted to believe that Coke -- as is the case with many sweet, carbonated drinks -- seems to have gone the way of other old-fashioned items such as ties and democracy.
Yet in certain parts of its business that's not the case. The enticingly named Coca-Cola Zero Sugar appears to be doing quite well.
Perhaps encouraged that things aren't quite so desperate -- well, not as desperate as Pepsi's dreadfully whiny Super Bowl ad -- Coke is actually releasing a new product.
Actually [begins to whisper] a new variant of Coca-Cola. For the first time in more than 10 years.
Please welcome, if you dare, Orange Vanilla Coke.
This is not a new Coke. Well, not a New Coke, the company hopes.
You'll remember when Coke tried to mess with its recipe and ended up only messing with its brand image?
Well, this is nothing like that. Coke hopes.
Instead, it's an attempt to, oh, be interesting or something.
Actually, the company's brand director for Coca-Cola, Kate Carpenter, explained the strategy like this:
The growth of Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke -- and their zero-calorie variants --has been really strong in recent years even with very limited marketing support.
In essence, then, Americans want variety. Continued Carpenter:
This showed us our fans want choice but are getting it outside the Coke Trademark. We knew we had an opportunity to give fans the variety they crave without sacrificing the Coca-Cola taste they love.
Some might choose to translate this as:
My spouse keeps having affairs and I need to make myself exciting again.
You'll be enraptured when I tell that that the company considered three other variants too: Ginger, Lemon and Raspberry.
But it chose Orange Vanilla for a reason that might make you want to stay indoors for a while and dream of a summer in Tahiti.
Here's some more of Carpenter's corporate cacophony:
We wanted to bring back positive memories of carefree summer days. That's why we leaned into the orange-vanilla flavor combination -- which is reminiscent of the creamy orange popsicles we grew up loving, but in a classically Coke way.
I thought leaning in was a touch discredited these days.
And so, as you remain on my purple chaise-longue, do you now dream of your long-gone creamy orange popsicle?
Or are you desperate for a beer?
WHEN MANY PEOPLE think of astronauts, they think of absurdly qualified men and women drifting through the cylindrical modules of the International Space Station, or floating beside its broad, golden solar arrays on an improbably serene spacewalk. The improbable thing about it being not the presence of a living soul in low Earth orbit (the ISS has been continuously inhabited for going on two decades), but the fact that anyone falling around the planet at 17,000 miles per hour can go about whatever it is they're doing with such equanimity.
Astronauts owe much of their composure in space to the time they spend preparing here on Earth. "I was an astronaut for 21 years," says Chris Hadfield, the charismatic Canadian astronaut renowned for his social media savvy, his photos from low Earth orbit, his untoppable cover of David Bowie's "Space Odyssey,", and his chevron mustache. "I was only in space for six months."
In this video, Hadfield, who retired in 2013, describes not only that brief time in space—three missions spanning 166 days—but all the time surrounding and leading up to it that made those excursions possible. People often ask him what astronauts do between spaceflights, "as if we're, like, sitting in a waiting room or lounge somewhere." But there's a lot more to #astronautlife than bobbing about in microgravity.
After becoming an astronaut in 1992, Hadfield, for instance, spent most of his time planetside supporting other astronauts. For 25 consecutive Space Shuttle missions, he served as NASA's chief capsule communicator, or CAPCOM for short; when orbiting astronauts radioed mission control, it was Hadfield they would talk to. "When Houston wants to talk to a spaceship, you can't have 50 people talking on the radio," Hadfield says. "I was sort of the trusted agent for the crew on Earth."
The time he spent supporting other astronauts prepared Hadfield for his own sojourns in space. In fact, all that time fielding incoming transmissions from low Earth orbit may have helped calm his nerves when he found himself calling Houston for help just a few years later.
In 2001, Hadfield was working outside the International Space Station on his first spacewalk when he was struck blind in one eye. The antifog treatment on his spacesuit's visor had irritated it, causing it to tear and blur his vision. With nowhere to go in microgravity, the liquid accumulated and trickled over to his other eye, blinding him completely. He called down to Houston for assistance.
Mission control instructed Hadfield to open his helmet's purge valve. He remembers floating there, blind, tethered to the ISS by his feet, listening to air hiss from his spacesuit. "Fortunately, that fresh oxygen blowing in the back of my helmet was enough to start evaporating the big balls of tears on my eyes," Hadfield says. "Eventually I could start to see again. I told them 'I'm OK,' shut my valve, and got back to work." You know, as one does.
Hadfield went on to spend the early aughts overseeing various arms of NASA, first as the agency's director of operations in Russia, where he became fluent in the mechanical workings of Roscosmos' Soyuz TMA spacecraft and Orlan spacesuit. He then put his mechanical engineering degree to work as the Astronaut Office's chief of robotics. After that came a stint as head of International Space Station operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston. From 2008 to 2009, he trained as a backup to astronaut Robert Thirsk for the 21st expedition to the ISS, while helping develop emergency procedures for the orbital outpost.
Once again, all that on-the-job training supporting his fellow astronauts served him well: In 2010, NASA named Hadfield the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station.
Divided over his 21 years as an astronaut, Hadfield's time outside Earth's atmosphere amounted to a mere 2 percent of his career. It was even less than that, if you count the time he spent working toward becoming an astronaut as a member of the Canadian military. Or before that, as a member of the royal Canadian Air Cadets. Or before that, as a kid playing spaceman in a Quaker Oats box turned rocket ship. In spaceflight, as in life, it takes preparation for you to really make the grade.
An entrepreneur hopes to rescue town centre trading by creating a quick and simple parking option for shoppers. His pitch peaks the dragons interest, but with concerns raised about the logistics of the business, will he make a successful deal in the den?
Disney's The Lion King opens in theatres July 19, 2019.
Director Jon Favreau’s all-new “The Lion King” journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon.
Utilizing pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring treasured characters to life in a whole new way, Disney’s “The Lion King” roars into theaters on July 19, 2019.
Amazon reported a record net income of $10.1 billion in 2018, which was a considerable jump from $3 billion in 2017. CNBC breaks down where exactly the money came from and how Amazon Web Services, advertising and the third-party marketplace are driving Amazon's increased profitability.