Saturday, April 17, 2021

Results from a recent U.S. survey about twenty annoying coworker behaviors


















There is an article by Kathy Morris at ZIPPIA the career expert on March 22, 2021 titled Survey: What each state finds most annoying in a coworker. They surveyed 1210 workers during February and March 2021 about how many were annoyed by twenty different behaviors. 















Results are shown above in a bar chart (Click on it to see a larger, clearer version). The five most common annoying behaviors are being Too Loud (86%), Gossip (61%), Laziness (53%), Bad at Their Job (42%) and a tie for fifth (38%) between Bad Personal Hygiene and Complainer/Whiner. (Being Too Quiet was only considered annoying by 7%).












As shown above, results also were reported for 49 states, with Vermont skipped for too small a sample. For 33 of 49 of states ( or 2/3 rds) being Too Loud was the most annoying behavior. For another four states each it was either Laziness (Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Nebraska) or Tardiness (Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island). For another two each it was being Bad at Their Job (Kentucky & Minnesota), Gossip (Delaware & Washington), or being a Negative/Pessimist (Iowa and North Dakota). For one remaining it was either Frequent Absences (Idaho) or Know It All or Other Smug Behavior (New Hampshire). Idaho has great fishing, which explains our frequent Absences.  













How many annoying coworkers did people have? As shown above just 8% had none, 27% had one, 54% had two to five, 6% had six to ten, and a very unlucky 5% had more than ten.  


But the ZIPPIA article didn’t discuss what to do. On December 23, 2017 I blogged about How to build a bad presentation – describe a problem but not a good solution. There is another article by Robin Madell and Peter A. Gudmondsson at U.S. News on November 30, 2020 titled 10 Types of annoying co-workers and how to deal with them. They discuss what to do about the loud talker, political agitator, gossiper, suck-up, overworked martyr, constant socializer, kitchen slob, weekend warrior, over-sharer, and know-it-all.


There also is a 56-minute YouTube video  from Oct 23, 2017 by Bob Sutton titled How to outwit workplace jerks. Sutton wrote a book titled The Asshole Survival Guide.


At ZIPPIA there actually is a second article on March 29, 2021 by Maddie Lloyd titled 8 Tips on how to deal with difficult people at work. I was told about the survey in an email from Kristy Crane (in public relations at ZIPPIA) on April 13, 2021 – which didn’t mention that later article.    


Sunday, April 11, 2021

How many words were in recent speech titles from the top three contestants in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking?












On April 6, 2021 I blogged about how Your speech needs a great headline – not just a title. That post was a response to an article by Lesley Stephenson titled Titles That Talk which appears on pages 14 and 15 of the April 2021 issue of Toastmaster magazine. She said five words or less is the maximum recommended length for a speech title. Where did that come from? She said:


“Back in 2014, the late Rich Haynes, DTM, and I researched speech titles used by competitors in the World Championship of Public Speaking® going back several years. We quickly saw that the vast majority of the finalists’ titles contained just one to five words.”    


How many years are in several? And, have things changed in the six years since 2014? I looked at the press releases from Toastmasters for the 39 titles used by the first, second, and third place speeches from 2008 to 2020.


Results are shown above in a histogram. 3 speeches had a single title word, 13 had two words, 9 each had three or four words, just 2 had five words, and only one had six words or ten words. Two was the most common number of words – for fully a third of those speeches. I think these very brief titles only will work for inspirational speeches, but will fail miserably for more common informational speeches. Lesley closed by noting that Aaron Beverly’s second place speech for 2016 took a title to the max (with 57 words). 













For comparison I also looked at the 60 titles for feature articles in issues of Toastmaster magazine from 2016 through 2020. Results are shown above in another histogram. Here four was the most common number of words.  38 of 60 articles (63%) had one-to-five word titles. The other 22 of 60 articles (37%) had six-to-ten words in their titles.  


Friday, April 9, 2021

A fraudulent email that is not really from NortonLifeLock










Today I received a phony email (shown above) that is easily identifiable as not really being from NortonLifeLock. The very first sentence reveals that it was not written by someone who speaks English as a first language:


“Thank you for Being a part and completing 1 year of Norton antivirus security.”


I also have put red circles around the peculiarly mis-spaced commas and periods.  

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

This is National Library Week, and today is National Bookmobile Day


















A web page for the American Library Association explains that the theme for this year is Welcome to Your Library. During the pandemic our libraries have been adapting to restrictions on in-person gatherings. In metro Boise most services are virtual, but books can be ordered online for curbside pickup. In the city of Boise library branches recently reopened for browsing on weekday afternoons from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM. On February 23, 2020 I blogged about Finding speech topics and doing research, and said you should start with the databases from your friendly local public library.


I am a huge fan of public libraries. When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, every Thursday a bookmobile (like the one shown above) with a busload of books parked just a half-mile from home. Shelves on it displayed a little of everything, including best-sellers for adults and a couple feet of Dr. Suess for kids. 



















Every couple of weekends my mother drove us a couple miles over to the stunning main Carnegie Library building in Oakland (shown above). It had hundreds of thousands of books. The Carnegie is a cultural jewel – a gigantic complex containing that library, museums of both art and natural history, and a music hall. That library and those museums opened up a whole world to me.   


In my early teens (perhaps age 12) I finally got a tan Adult library card to replace my pink Children’s card. At last I could roam the building rather than just the Children’s room. I devoured mass quantities of novels, particularly science fiction. One thing which amazed me was finding a translation of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s 1924 We, that described a dystopian Stalinist world of green glass earlier than either Aldous Huxley’s 1932 Brave New World or George Orwell’s 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four. The narrator and main character in We was D-503, the chief engineer responsible for building an interplanetary spaceship.


Along with circulating and reference books, the third floor reading room for their Science and Technology Department had an amazing display with an entire wall containing magazines including titles like: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Bicycling, Car and Driver, High Fidelity, Hot Rod, Modern Photography, Popular Electronics, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Road & Track, and Wireless World.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Your speech needs a great headline - not just a title



















The April 2021 issue of Toastmaster magazine has an article on pages 14 and 15 by Lesley Stephenson titled Titles That Talk and subtitled Short, clear, and compelling titles make a strong statement. It is good but not great, and unfortunately has major blind spots.


One excellent point she makes is that punctuation (like question marks or exclamation points) may not be understood by the audience when announced by your introducer.


But in her fourth paragraph she makes an outrageous claim that five words or less is the recommended maximum length for a speech title. To support that she says that the vast majority of titles used by finalists in their World Championship speeches contained just one to five words. Speeches for that contest are inspirational (an unusual subset), while most other speeches that Toastmasters give will instead will be informational (and often need longer titles). Her five word maximum reminded me of a similar claim Ryan Urie made in an article titled Make Your Slides Sing in the September 2019 issue of Toastmaster. Ryan claimed that a slide ideally should have no more than five or six words. I blogged about that in a post on September 23, 2019 titled How many words should be on a PowerPoint slide: 6, 12,20, 25, 36, or 49? PowerPoint templates instruct us Click to add title, so that’s what most of us do. 



























Her second paragraph says good titles have the impact of a billboard, and the article even is illustrated by a billboard with the word OUCH! But that is a bad comparison. A title is way more like the headline for a newspaper article (see above for an imaginary supermarket tabloid trifecta cover). She does mention newspaper articles in her fifth paragraph but never headlines. And the link in her second paragraph in red on steering audience focus is to another article by Judith T. Krauthammer in the January 2018 issue of Toastmaster titled Building your audience, one title at a time which mentions neither newspapers nor headlines. On April 25, 2019 I blogged about how Your presentation and slides need powerful headlines, and on June 4, 2018 I blogged about how A presentation slide, presentation, or blog post needs a great headline rather than just a title.


We can see current examples of headlines at the AP TOP NEWS web page from the Associated Press. Here are twenty with an average length of 8.6 words:


Official: Biden moving vaccine eligibility date to April 19

Police official: Chauvin was trained to defuse situations

Biden boosted by Senate rules as GOP bucks infrastructure

Authorities: Navy medic shoots 2, is shot and killed on base

As states expand vaccines, prisoners still lack access

World powers seek to bring US back into Iran nuclear deal

Israeli president picks Netanyahu to try to form government

EXPLAINER: Why is North Korea skipping the Tokyo Olympics

Capital officer remembered for humor, paying ultimate price

Viral thoughts: Why COVID-19 conspiracy theories persist

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands to 16 and over in NY

Musician couple hosts concerts to fundraise for food pantry

IMF upgrades forecast for 2021 global growth to a record 6%

Florida dismisses 2 nd breach risk at phosphate reservoir

Iran prosecutor say 10 indicted for Ukraine plane shootdown

France to open archive for period covering Rwandan genocide

Eating our lunch: Biden points to China in development push

Baylor beatdown: Bears win title, hang 86 – 70 loss on Gonzaga

Myanmar’s online pop-up markets raise funds for protest

The latest: Montana governor tests positive for COVID-19


My imaginary tabloid cover combined images of Elvis, JFK, and the Gulf Breeze UFO from Wikimedia Commons.


Monday, April 5, 2021

Trump continues with his Big Lie


















On January 6, 2021 Congress certified results from the 2020 presidential election. Almost three months later as reported in an article on April 4 by Eric Mack at Newsmax titled Trump: ‘Boycott’ businesses for opposing election laws he continued with the ‘pants on fire’ lie  that:


 “….They rigged and stole our 2020 Presidential Election, which we won by a landslide….”


But back on January 6, 2021 at Poltifact there is another article by Daniel Funke titled Here’s how we know Trump’s repeated claim of a landslide victory is wrong. On January 7, 2021 I also blogged about my disgust in a post titled Spouting Nonsense: a second Spoutly for Donald J. Trump.




















The Donald has lots of practice lying. At Forbes on January 31, 2021 there is an article by Dan Alexander titled Here are the lies Trump is now telling about his business. It details some  exaggerations about real estate. As shown above, he lies about the number of stories on four of his New York buildings. The average for three is 16% more than reality, but for the Trump World Tower he absurdly claims there are 90 stories rather than 70 (29% more).


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Motor vehicles and personalities








For the March 31, 2021 meeting of the Pioneer Toastmasters Club our Toastmaster, Melissa Towers, picked the theme What Do Vehicles Say About Our Personalities? Tons of articles have been written on that topic. As shown above, a red convertible sports car like the Jaguar E-type almost screams male midlife crisis.


Questions for Table Topics (the impromptu speaking section) also were about cars. One participant was asked what driving a hearse said about your personality. At the end of the meeting I commented it might only say you were very practical. Neil Young described that in his 2015 book, Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life and Cars.  















In Winnipeg Neil and three other guys were in a rock band called the Squires. They started out borrowing his mother’s Standard Ensign four-door sedan to get to their gigs, but barely could fit. Then in the summer of 1963 Neil bought a 1948 Buick Roadmaster hearse he named Mortimer Hearseburg (or just Mort), similar to the 1951 model shown above. It had rollers meant for the coffins to slide in and out, that also worked well for loading their amplifiers and speakers. Driving around in Mort gave the Squires an identity which set them apart from other bands. Later on in Toronto he bought a 1953 Pontiac hearse which he drove to California with Bruce Palmer. Neil and Bruce wound up in a successful folk-rock band called the Buffalo Springfield.














How about a Cadillac limousine? My parents owned a black 1956 eight-passenger Series 75 (as shown above) back when my grandma was living with us in Pittsburgh. I have two brothers and two sisters, so eventually we outgrew our 1955 Chevy sedan. Mom was looking at getting an eight or nine passenger Chevy station wagon. But Dad saw an ad in the Sunday paper for a used Cadillac limo. He joked that mom should look at that instead. They did, and decided (like Neil’s hearse) it was a practical vehicle for us. The limo originally had belonged to General Matthew Ridgway. We were its fifth owner.  


Most of Mom’s sisters lived near Cincinnati, so we often did that ~300 mile drive. We typically stopped for gas southwest of Columbus, at Washington Court House. One time we heard locals, who assumed a black limousine meant a funeral, whispering Who Just Died?


When I was in sixth grade our elementary school science club was going to visit the Buhl Planetarium across town. One of the mothers had to cancel at the last minute. Mom just told the other six kids who would have rode with her to join us, and we crammed twelve into the limo.