Optional meeting invites

An optional meeting is a meeting where you truly do not care what the reply will be. The optional attendees can come or not come and the world will be exactly the same. Anything more or less than that? Do not mark the invitation as optional. It’s preferred, recommended, prioritized, pointless, a waste of time — some other adjective that’s not “optional.”

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Put this in your kudos folder

Vague compliments certainly aren’t bad. But to make gratitude meaningful, to prove you’re paying attention and really understand how someone’s actions and decisions and talent combine into something worth noting, you need to scratch a bit below the surface.

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Replying to angry emails

The best thing to do when you’re on the receiving end of a “What the hell happened here?!” or a “This is unacceptable!” email is to think of it as a great opportunity to show how cool you are under pressure, not as you getting in trouble. This, we realize, is pretty worthless advice.

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Emailing when you’re angry

I feel compelled to write Bad News emails because I don’t have a very practiced in-case-of-emergency plan. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know I’m supposed to dump baking soda on a grease fire. Similarly, I think I know to be cool-headed and gracious when there are work fires to put out. But it’s a challenge to override the instinct to just run around flapping my arms. Or, to blast off outraged emails. In this edition: when to not email, what to do instead, and how to calm your rage.

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