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  • Apr 21 / 2012
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Smith Home Security Blog, Uncategorized

What You Need to Know How to Do Right Now-Part 2, Do Harder

On Monday, I shared three things that everyone needs to know how to do right now. And here are a few more…

How to Deliver Bad News: Unless you’re a sadist (or my old boss), you don’t like to tell someone bad news. I mean they shoot the messenger, don’t they? But at one point in your life, either professionally or personally, you’re going to have to tell someone some not so pleasant news. So you might as well do the best you can, right? When faced with telling someone (your friend) bad news (that you broke her prized Batman vase), you should start the conversation by listening. Yes, listening. Ask open-ended questions like, “How’s it hangin’?” or “What’s happenin’?” or if you’re in a professional setting, “How are you?” or “How’s your wife/husband/significant other?” Be attentive when the other person is talking. Building up a level of trust before you break the bad news won’t necessarily soften the blow, but it will make the other person feel more comfortable. Now comes the hard part: your turn to talk. Make eye contact, look calm even if you don’t feel it, and try to use a word or phrase from the other person’s last sentence. This signals that you were actually paying attention to what they were saying, again, instilling trust. With bad news comes strong emotions; your job is to legitimize these emotions, no matter what they may be. For example:

Friend: You broke my vase. You BROKE my vase. YOU broke MY vase. *turns bright red and grabs nearest object and chucks it at my head*

Me: *ducks* I’ve mad you angry. This must be absolutely awful.

Friend: Thank you for empathizing with my emotions. By doing so, I feel like I am in a safe place and that my emotions are legitimate.

Ok. So maybe that’s not how that situation played out, but you understand the gist of it. Finally, don’t get overly emotional yourself. You can’t let your emotions or the person’s emotions interfere with the message. If you have to fire someone, you can’t stop firing him or her just because they’ve started with the waterworks. But, you MUST acknowledge their distress, hopefully creating a safe space wherein they feel that their emotions are acceptable, and you feel comfortable relaying your message. Being the bearer of bad news sucks, but for the person who’s receiving the news, it’s a million times worse, so take care and be respectful.

Know Basic Geography: when I was in high school, a girl in one of my classes once asked me if Louisiana was a state or city. Let that sink in for a minute. Yeah…Knowing the basic geography of your country and the world will completely eliminate you looking like this girl. I’m not saying that you need to know the capital of Djibouti (it’s Djibouti by the way) or even where Djibouti is, but knowing that Africa is a continent and not a country, or that Argentina is in South America will prevent you from asking your boss “Where’s that?” in response to her asking if you want to take a business trip to Buenos Aires. When I have time to kill but don’t feel like wasting my brain cells on the Jersey Shore, I go to a quiz website called Sporcle. The great thing about Sporcle is that it’s not just about geography; in between taking a US capitals quiz, I can take the “How Many Harry Potter Characters Can You Name in 5 Minutes” or “Which Transformer is This?” quiz.

How to Safely Use a Hammer: you don’t want to be the person who has to call their parents or their significant other just to hang up a picture, do you? You also don’t want to be the person who ends up with a broken thumb or a hole in the wall because you missed the nail when trying to hammer something for the first time. Here’s a handy dandy video to help you with all your hammering woes.

What do you think? What are some things that you think everyone should know how to do? Leave a comment below!


Photo by Kodomut

  • Apr 17 / 2012
  • 0
Smith Home Security Blog, Uncategorized

What You Need to Know How to Do Right Now-Part 1

Photo by Eugene Hood via Flickr


Life is difficult enough without worrying about looking like a fool or relying on someone else to help you out of a fix. Here’s a list of a few skills you need to know right now:


Remember People’s Names: while “Hey…you” has it’s certain charms, actually remembering your coworkers’ names will save you embarrassment and make you look awesome. If you’ve every watched The Office, you’ll remember Michael Scott’s trick of mnemonic devices (Baldy, Shirt Guy, etc.), which while affective for some of you, old fashion repetition does just fine for the rest of us. When you first meet a person, try and use their name right away and as often as possible without sounding like a weird-o, such as, “And how ‘bout you Lars, do you like fro-yo? Really, me too! What’s your favorite flavor of fro-yo, Lars?”


Basic First Aid: chances are you’ll never need more than a large collection of My Little Pony Band-Aids but just in case, you should know the principles of first aid. How to treat mild burns, fevers, and if you have kids, how to get marbles out of nostrils are all great things to know how to do. Taking a CPR class at the Y or through the Red Cross looks great on your resume and also can help you save a life. The Mayo Clinic  has a great guide to all sorts of basic first aid info, from black eyes to human bites (kids again, probably).


Creating a Basic Budget: whether you’re well on your way to being featured on Extreme Couponing or if you’re one step away from Shopaholic’s Anonymous, you should know how to create a budget for yourself and how to stick with it. Start off by writing down your expenses for a month, writing down everything you buy. Be as specific as possible; so if you spent $37 on Amazon, write down that it was on collector Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and yarn instead of just putting Amazon. After the month is up, make a list of your monthly income and then necessary expenses, like the utility bill and mortgage. Finally, subtract all of your expenses from your income. Is the number positive or negative? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably negative. Which is scary, but with a few adjustments, you too can start spending less than you earn. If you’re looking for some great budgeting tools try Mint or this handy dandy Build-a-Budget Worksheet. 


Have any guesses for the next three? Leave me a comment below! For the rest of you, come back later in the week to find out!


Photo by Eugene Hood

  • Mar 03 / 2012
  • 0
Smith Home Security Blog, Uncategorized

Five Ways to Make Your Weekend Better

Between work, carpool, spring-cleaning, and that perpetual traffic jam, it seems like we’re all constantly on the go go go. So when we finally reach the weekend, it’s very tempting to just veg out on the couch and watch reruns of Grey’s Anatomy. Instead of chilling out in your sweats this weekend, why don’t you try out one of these fun (and cheap!) alternatives?

1) Go to the zoo! How many times do you get to see a baby orangutan and a sun bear all in one place? The zoo is a wonderful place to let loose and become a kid again. Best part? It’s pretty cheap. Many zoos have student/senior/military discounts.

2) Join/create a book club! Whether you follow Oprah’s list or come up with one all your own, having a book club is a great way to reconnect with your friends and family. Don’t have time to meet every month? Join an online book club!

3) Learn to knit/crochet! Knitting is no longer reserved for grandmas or cat ladies; it’s a full-fledged competitive sport! Watch a couple YouTube videos or read some online guides and you’ll quickly be on your way to a new blanket, vest, or hat. Why pay $30 on that fancy scarf you’ve been eyeing when you can make it for half the price?

4) Join a city sports league! Soccer, Softball, Basketball, Volleyball! Signing up to play a sport you already love or a sport you’ve always wanted to try is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in the community as well as stay fit.

5) Go Geocaching! Grab your shovel and get your cargo pants ready because you’re in for an adventure. Geocaching is the best way to get to know your community and connect with people from around the world. Look up the location of some coordinates or get a geocaching app and see what you can discover.

Your weekend never has to be boring with so many great opportunities out there. So go out and explore!

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