Will zero-cost community college become a nationwide reality?

Years ago, at a meeting of parents fighting for the local school budget, I saw one parent wearing a T-shirt that said, “If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance.” I thought of that while listening to the president’s plan for zero-cost community college. An educated society is in everyone’s interest, not just parents and students.


Too busy to read? Here’s how to make more time for reading in your day.

The abundance of required college reading left me jaded. When I graduated, I had no desire to read and initially avoided books in favor of newspapers and magazines. This post is chock full of helpful tips to get back on the reading bandwagon. I especially like the idea of utilizing micro time and am a big fan of Kindle. Tell us how you fit reading into your day.

Itchy Quill

Haven’t finished a book since you graduated? Keep making excuses about not enough time and being too tired? Reading has been shown to reduce stress levels by up to 68%, and it could lead to a significant reduction in your chances of developing dementia in later life, not to mention the advantages it gives you in terms of ability to communicate, understanding of new concepts and cultures, and countless other problem solving, intellectual and communicative advantages. Reading is an almost essential part of getting a higher wage and personal advancement, and yet nearly half of British and American adults no longer read for pleasure.

We’ve all been there. It could be that you are a lover of fiction, but every time you finish work you are too tired and would rather veg out in front of the TV/Netflix than get your nose in a novel. In the UK, nearly…

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Armed with the power of influence

I remember an incident on a new job when I successfully swayed someone who was on the fence about an important decision. Not being aware that my manager was all ears, I was surprised when she approached me after the call and said, “You have good influential skills.” I suppose it came naturally to me because until then, I didn’t even realize this was a skill. However, once aware, I built on it and and now consider it a valuable proficiency.

An article on Inc.com offers ten tips for influencing people. I would add one more that partners with an essential communication skill: adapting to someone else’s style. People are not typically influenced by someone they don’t like and we tend to dislike those whose communication styles are very dissimilar.

If you’re talking to someone with a calm demeanor, tone down the volume and adopt a soothing inflection. If your listener is outgoing and personable, show your personal, friendly side. Depending on the person’s professionalism, language level, state of mind, etc., adjust your language, tone of voice and animation to bring yourself into their comfort zone. Stay focused and organized to influence someone who is detailed and cautious. Avoid too much detail with someone who is overwhelmed and hurried. Likability is key whether you’re selling, servicing or soothing. This skill also applies to interviewing, on both sides of the table.

The ability to influence is not restricted to politicians. Almost every field requires this skill; sales, customer service, law and politics, to name a few. And remember, if executed correctly, not only will you win over the person on the phone, but you may earn accolades from your manager who is listening.