No need to reply

In a minute, I’ll give you the secret to getting an email reply from almost anyone. But first, some context… Even though I’m only very slightly known in a niche and local industry, I get a lot of emails from strangers – and I do my best to reply to all of them. The majority are kind words with a simple request, which I tend to reply to quickly. It’s usually something straightforward like “Can you recommend a mortgage broker?”: either I can or I can’t, and it’s a one-line…

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How to make everyone think you’re great

Maybe it’s because we’re British, but the two of us are fantastically adept at brushing off compliments whenever we receive them. “Oh, this old thing? Got it in the bargain bin at Tesco, and the buttons won’t do up because I’m so fat. Have it if you want – it’s bound to look better on you.” That kind of thing. We’re also rather shy about saying what we’re good at – and when we do say anything, we normally feel the need to work through lots of self-deprecating background information…

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More of what matters

This week, due to “life”, I’ve only been in a position to do a couple of hours’ work each day. I’d like to report that I spent those couple of hours focusing on big-picture projects that kept everything surging forward. But no: I had no choice but to dedicate the little time I had to the essential tasks that prevented everything from falling apart – like making payments, replying to critical emails, and having a call with my bookkeeper. Effectively, the business has been in maintenance mode. So annoyingly, most…

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“Going deep”

Whenever we’re with friends or new acquaintances and the conversation is getting a little bit stale/whiney/gossipy/surface level, I have a habit of bringing out my secret weapon: a list of questions I’ve collated from various websites and resources, which are intended to both reactivate the chat and “go deep” at the same time. I don’t even bother with segues like “Hmmm, well, speaking of death…”: I just pull out my phone and shriek, “Hey! I have a bunch of questions that are really fun to answer – Tim Ferriss uses…

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Internet commenters in “not entirely supportive” shocker

Despite generally being a grumpy and sceptical so-and-so, I couldn’t help having my heart slightly warmed by a story I read this week. If you have a moral objection to the Daily Mail, don’t click this link and I’ll summarise instead. In short, a young couple from the UK had a baby. They’d saved up, so during the mother’s maternity leave they could go backpacking – with the baby – around Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Good for them, right? Nope, apparently not! Here’s a selection of some of the…

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