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Opinion Editorials

How to Watch a Debate




I don’t write about politics on any of my blogs, and I won’t do it here on Agent Genius. Some of my friends out there in cyberspace know what my views are. I never argue about it and am always fascinated by other peoples points of view. I’ll never change so arguing with me is a waste of time, if you can get me to argue at all. My views on some of the issues change, because my world is not black and white, I see shades of gray too. I listen to the news and it seems like the media is always trying to tell me what I think or what my opinion is. I am not easily influenced, and hate being told what my opinion is.

Do you smell something burning?

This post isn’t about politics it is about how to get the most out of watching candidates debate. The debate between the vice presidential candidates will be held on Thursday October 2 at 9:00 EST. I wouldn’t miss it. I plan to go downtown and get some fresh popcorn from the local candy shop. I would make it myself but lately I have been burning just about everything I cook and the neighbors are tired of all the sirens.

Twitter + Twittervision + Television

The best way to watch the debate is to find a comfortable chair and a TV. I like to set my laptop up so that I can see Twitter vision on one screen and Election 2008 on the other screen. I can watch the world on twitter vision and read what people are saying. The election 2008 site will publish a hash tag that people can use on twitter to discuss the debate. The screen will show the commentary from people using the tag.

Talking Heads Don’t add Value

This is all so much better than listening to the talking heads on TV. I can watch the debate and see the actual reaction to it all over the world without any spin. Just people talking about what is going on. The comments are honest and often insightful. Most won’t have ties on, just the regular people on the internet tweeting up a storm.

Join the fun on Thursday night. Not saying which candidate I think is a joke. Watch and see for yourself. I am not a talking head. I don’t talk much at all, I mostly write.

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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  1. Chris Shouse

    October 1, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    You are so correct on the *Talking Heads* they do not add any value and I do not need them telling me what I heard or telling me how to interpret what I heard.

  2. Chuck G

    October 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    I keep politics out of my site as well, and I watch very little TV. But I have to admit that there’s a HUGE red circle on my calendar for tomorrow night….

  3. Jim Duncan

    October 1, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I like the drinking games on Twitter, too.

    Every time Obama says change or McCain says “my friends” (or with the benefit of hindsight, every time Obama says, “John is right” 🙂 – drink up.

    I’m planning to watch the Senate this evening with several drinks in hand.

  4. Bob

    October 1, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I think the replay version on SNL this weekend will be far more entertaining to watch.

  5. Missy Caulk

    October 1, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I like to watch them, and make up my own mind, about who wins or looses. The commentary and after depends on which channel you watch. I’m looking forward to it, and like Jim will watch the vote tonight.

  6. Paula Henry

    October 1, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    I just checked out Twittervision – only, I didn’t see anyone I know. i think I’ll check it out tomorrow night though and see what the reaction is to the debate. Popcorn is a must!

  7. Jason Farris

    October 2, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    popcorn is a popping!

  8. Rhonda Porter

    October 2, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    twittervision is unreal…makes me dizzy! I bet my cats would enjoy watching it. 🙂 The hashtags for the debate is #vpdebate

    Drinking games on Twitter? My life has changed so much from blogging…I don’t even know where to start!

    I wondered if I was going to just have popcorn for dinner or actually make one… a cassoulet is in the oven simmering.

  9. Teresa Boardman

    October 2, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I live twitter vision. debate time. two hash tags #current and #vpedbate

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Opinion Editorials

How to sound more confident in your next interview or office email

(OPINION/EDITORIAL) After COVID, collectively, our social skills need a little TLC. What words and phrases can you use to sound more confident at work?



Interview with woman and a man opposite as they each sound more confident/

In-person work communications are on the rise, and it’s no surprise that, collectively, our social skills need a little bit of work. CNBC shares some examples of common phrases people tend to use when uncomfortable – and what you should use to replace them to sound more confident in your next interview or office email.

After explaining a personal philosophy or situation, it’s all too common to say, “Does that make sense?” Aside from occasionally sounding patronizing, this question more or less implies that you believe your worldview or lived experiences to require validation. CNBC suggests saying “I’d like to hear your input” or – if you’re in an inquisitive mood – asking “What are your thoughts?” instead.

This invites the interviewer to give feedback or continue the conversation without devaluing your own perspective.

CNBC also recommends getting rid of weak introductions, listing examples like “For what it’s worth” and “In my opinion” in order to sound more confident. Certainly, most of us have used these phrases to recuse ourselves from perceived criticism in meetings or emails; the problem is that they become an indicator of lacking self-confidence, at least for employers.

Simply jumping straight into whatever it is you have to say without the soft-paws introduction is sure to be appreciated by higher-ups and colleagues alike.

Passive voice is another thing you should remove from your communication when trying to sound more confident. For example, saying “I performed this action because…” instead of “This action was performed because…” shows ownership; whether you’re taking credit for an innovative decision or copping to a mistake, taking responsibility with the language you use is always better than removing yourself from the narrative.

“I’m not positive, but…” is yet another common phrase that CNBC eschews, opting instead to start with whatever comes after the “but”. It’s always good to maintain a certain amount of humility, but that’s not what this phrase is doing – it’s getting out in front of your own process and undermining it before anyone else has a chance to evaluate it. Regardless of your position or responsibilities, you should always give your thoughts the credit they deserve.

Finally, CNBC suggests removing perhaps the most undervalued phrase on this list: “I’m sorry.” There is absolutely a time and place to apologize, but “sorry” gets thrown around the office when a simple “excuse me” would suffice. Apologizing in these situations belies confidence, and it makes actual apologies – when they’re necessary – seem hollow.

The language people use is powerful, and as arbitrarily contrite as the workplace may inspire many to feel, humility can absolutely coexist with confidence.

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Opinion Editorials

10 tips for anyone looking to up their professional work game

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s easy to get bogged down by the details, procrastinate, and feel unproductive. Here are a few tips to help you crush your work goals.



work productivity

Self-reflection is critical to a growth mindset, which you must have if you want to grow and improve. If you are ready to take your professional game to the next level, here are some stories and tips to help you remain focused on killing your work goals.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, as the quote goes. And, in the workplace it’s bound to make you second guess yourself and your abilities. This story explains when comparison can be useful, when to avoid it, and how to change your focus if it’s sucking the life out of you.

2. Burnout is real and the harder you work, the less productive you are. It’s an inverse relationship. But, there are ways to work smarter and have better life balance. Here are some tips to prioritize your workload and find more ease.

3. Stop procrastinating and start getting sh@t done. The reason we procrastinate may be less about not wanting to do something and more about the emotions underlying the task. Ready to get going and stop hemming and hawing, you got this and here’s the way to push through.

4. Perfection is impossible and if you seek this in your work and life, it’s likely you are very frustrated. Let that desire go and learn to be happy with excellence over perfection.

5. If you think you’re really awesome and seriously deserve more money, more responsibility, more of anything and are ready to drop the knowledge on your supervisor or boss, you may want to check this story out to see if your spinning in the right direction.

6. Technology makes it so easy to get answers so quickly, it’s hard to wait around for things to happen. We like instant gratification. Yet, that is another reason procrastination is a problem for some of us, but every person has a different way/reason for procrastinating. Learn what’s up with that.

7. Making choices can be a challenge for some of us (me included) who worry we are making the wrong choice. If you’ve ever struggled with decision making, you know it can be paralyzing and then you either make no decision or choose the safest option. What we have here is the Ambiguity Effect and it can be a real time suck. Kick ambiguity to the curb.

8. If you are having trouble interacting with colleagues or wondering why you don’t hear back from contacts it could be you are creeping folks out unintentionally (we hope). Here’s how to #belesscreepy.

9. In the social media era building your brand and marketing are critical, yet, if you’re posting to the usual suspects and seeing very little engagement, you’ve got a problem. Wharton Business School even did a study on how to fix the situation and be more shareable.

10. Every time you do a presentation that one co-worker butts in and calls you out. Dang. If you aren’t earning respect on the job, you will be limited in your ability to get to the next level. Respect is critical to any leadership position, as well as to making a difference in any role you may have within an organization, but actions can be misconstrued. There are ways to take what may be negative situations and use them to your advantage, building mutual respect.

You have the tools you need, now get out there, work hard, play hard, and make sh*t happen. Oh, and remember, growth requires continual reflection and action, but you got this.

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Opinion Editorials

The actual reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. But why else would you work for one?



leadership Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: Flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in the popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When employees find themselves personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits in the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are maybe a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth. This allows them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters. Instead, it’s a clue that work environments that facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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