Tag Archives: tips for getting what you want

February 1, 2012, 2:53 pm

How to appear competent in one easy step

Manage your email inbox well. That’s all there is to it.

Photo of cat in a cardboard box

Not that kind of inbox.

I understand that there are faculty members and administrators who receive many, many hundreds of emails a day and find it nearly impossible to keep up with the volume. I wish them good luck. However, if you are a graduate student or postdoc, you do not receive “too much email.” You might think that you do, but you are wrong. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You are simply managing it poorly.

If you miss important announcements, if you regularly fail to respond emails from collaborators asking for input, if you can’t get things done in time because you “didn’t know” about them (because you didn’t see the email), you will be perceived as incompetent and a drain on more productive people. However, if you are able to quickly…

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October 27, 2011, 7:06 am

How to get people to respond to your requests

Disclaimer: Note that the title is not “how to get people to DO what you want” – obviously I am no authority on that topic. These tips are just for getting people to acknowledge that you made a request and increase the likelihood that they will do it.

Two gray tabby cats fighting

Pro tip: Catfighting is never a very effective way to get what you want.

I spend much of my energy trying to collect information: research reports, budget numbers, statistics on software downloads, names of people who will attend events, etc. I also need people to do things, like send out my press releases, give seminar talks, or show up to meetings. After more than a year in this job, I’ve discovered several things that seem to be pretty effective for getting what I want.

1. Never send your request on a Friday afternoon. It will get buried over the…

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