A Publication of WTVP

Empathy, Please
Online customer service agents who use emoticons and are fast typists may have a better chance of pleasing their customers during business-related text chats, according to a recent study published in Computers in Human Behavior. In the study, people who text-chatted with customer service agents gave higher scores to those who used emoticons and responded more quickly, suggesting customers prefer agents who can demonstrate their empathy through a more genuine back-and-forth conversation.

Big Bucks for .Sucks
Last month, the URL suffix “.sucks” went on sale to the general public, allowing anyone to buy a “” domain for just $250 from online registrar Vox Populi. Prior to the June 19th open-purchase date, the company offered businesses owning their trademarks an opportunity to pre-emptively purchase the domain for an annual $2,500 fee—a small price to pay to protect the reputation of one’s business, or a case of extortion?

Soothing Sounds
Using natural sounds as opposed to conventional “white noise” in offices may boost employee moods and improve cognitive abilities, according to researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. These benefits, they state, are in addition to the advantage of sound masking, or decreasing speech distractions in the workplace. The key to choosing natural sounds, such as flowing water, is that they possess enough randomness to not become a distraction, researchers explain, and instead, potentially soothe.

Got a Problem? Write it Down!

As our days get more complicated and our lives more complex, it seems that chaos abounds. Work, family, bills and obligations eat up our time, and keep us bouncing from one circumstance to another, like a pinball caught in a never-ending game.

But one expert believes something as simple as taking a few minutes each day to write about your life can not only help you bring it into focus, but can make the tough stuff a little easier.

“Writing about your life—what we call ‘journaling’—can improve job satisfaction, help solve unemployment, aid in juggling modern family dynamics, bring focus to marital and work relationships, and simply bring about a sense of emotional, physical and spiritual well-being,” says Maureen Daigle-Weaver, author of Write Yourself Free: Conscious Living and Personal Peace Through the Power of the Pen. “One of the quotes attributed to the Greek philosopher Socrates is ‘Know thyself,’ and the basis behind the thought was that by discovering who we really are inside and out, we become our best [selves]. Our dreams, aspirations and goals become closer to reality because our self-knowledge helps us live that reality. Journaling is the easiest way to explore that idea.”

Daigle-Weaver believes people can derive benefits from journaling in a wide range of areas, including:

“Sometimes when we get totally overwhelmed by the demands on us, emotional turmoil and stress build up, and we end up dumping it—on the wrong person at the wrong time,” she says. “Journaling is a safe, effective and healthy way of venting, and then helping to make sense of the dilemmas you face. It is a creative and transformational skill that can easily be learned and used by practically anyone for finding inner peace, personal power and freedom.”

Interview Your Future Company

Interviews can unnerve even the most confident of job hunters. Your palms sweat, self-doubt creeps into your mind, and you think: What if I’m not qualified? Will they like me?

Jacqueline Whitmore, business etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says most people think about job interviews as a way for the company to find the right employee, but they are also a chance for the applicant to interview the company. Her advice? Take control of the interview, highlight your strengths and go beyond the job description:

For more tips, visit 

Crystal-Clear Communication

“A new technology built upon an ancient principle.” That’s Crystal—a personality-detection app developed in the Harvard Innovation Lab which analyzes public data to help users communicate more effectively. Crystal mines the social media posts of your email recipient and suggests edits to your communication, using the words, phrases, style and tone in which the recipient prefers to communicate, rather than your own preferences.

Though a bit creepy with its personal data mining, the concept behind Crystal is sound. Understanding different communication styles is critical to ensuring accurate communication in the workplace. According to blogger Stephanie Reyes on, it seems simple: successful communication requires a sender to share information, and the receiver to get the message and correctly interpret it. But among other obstacles, differences in communication styles can cause your message to succumb to a tragic fate. Understanding how to interact effectively with coworkers from the four main communication styles can help you avoid a communication failure. Reyes outlines the following styles and tips:

The Relator. This interpersonal style is all about relationships. Relators are generally warm and friendly, and good listeners. Expression of thoughts and feelings comes easily, but they operate at a slower pace and prefer less intrusive interactions. To connect effectively with a relator, you should use less intense eye contact; seek their opinions, then listen; try not to counter their ideas with logical arguments; and aim for mutual agreement on goals and deadlines.

The Socializer. This affective style is characterized by a preference to work with others. Socializers are fast-paced and unafraid of risks. To connect effectively with socializers, make direct eye contact, support your ideas with the opinions of people they respect, follow up with a brief “to do” list so they remember what they agreed to, and maintain a balance between fun and achieving results.

The Thinker. This cognitive style is closed, personal and analytical in approach. He/she tends to proceed cautiously, and is generally slower to open up. To effectively communicate with thinkers, be more formal in your speech and manner, present the pros and cons of ideas along with options, be punctual, and present information in an organized and comprehensive way.

The Director. This behavioral style is generally more aggressive and competitive in nature. Directors have an emphasis on results and little concern for relationships or feeling-sharing. To communicate effectively with a director, get to the point quickly, be specific, don’t over-explain or repeat yourself, minimize small talk and focus on results. iBi

For more tips on effective communication, visit To learn more about Crystal, visit