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Admit the Things You Don't Understand and Other Must-Read Business Tips

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A roundup of the best tips of the week from


Effective communication between managers and employees in any company, and especially in a startup with a small staff, is crucial. But in some cases, managers may not fully understand some employees' skill sets or the benefit to be derived from their work. One way to bridge the gap is to admit when your comprehension is lacking. Think that will show weakness? Your employees are probably already aware of your ignorance. "People know when you don't understand their skill set, even if they'd never admit it," says serial entrepreneur Matthew Toren.

Your job as a manager is to be able to critique their work constructively as a non-specialist. By having an employee walk you step-by-step through what would be required to implement a project, says Toren, "you'll learn more about their process and your employee will learn that you care about their talent." More: Managing a Growing Startup? 4 Ways to Keep Your Criticism Constructive

Not all countries are created equal.

When it comes to doing business abroad, some countries are more likely to give you a fair shake than others. Watchdog NGO Transparency International released the latest version of its annual Corruption Perceptions Index this week, and the big takeaway is that the Scandinavian countries have some of the lowest levels of public sector corruption in the world. New Zealand, Singapore, Australia and Canada also made a good showing. Less salutary environments for business include Italy, Mexico and the Philippines. Unless you have a high tolerance for risk,'s recommendation is simple: Go north, young man. More: The 10 Most Corrupt and Least Corrupt Countries in the World

Client service is even more important than you think.

Even in his first job as a high-school junior working at a J.C. Penney department store, Jim Joseph learned the importance of good client service. "I learned to laugh with my customers, listen to their stories and instill the trust that I was going to take care of them," says Joseph, the North American president of New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe and the author of The Personal Experience Effect (Happy About, 2013). "These are similar emotions to what my clients to this day need from me." Another valuable lesson: how to interact with clients of diverse backgrounds and adapt to their needs. More: 5 Important Business Lessons I Learned From My First Job

When writing, don't mix up your mediums.

It's often said that the medium is the message. In 2013, we have more communication mediums than ever before, and if you want to get your message across you should tailor it to the medium you're using, says Steve Tobak, a managing partner of Invisor Consulting, a Silicon Valley-based management consulting firm. As an example, "phrases and bullets are fine for some mediums but not acceptable for others," he says. Blog posts, tweets, Powerpoint presentations and prepared speeches each require a different tone, format and style than the rest. More: 9 Steps to Becoming a Great Writer

Write your tweets with retweets in mind.

Social media is a viral medium, so it's a smart move to compose your tweets in such a way that others feel compelled to interact with them. "By writing content from a consumer's perspective, you can increase engagement," says Branden Hampton, who runs the @notebook account. While it may not be on-brand for you to share the sort of lovey-dovey messages that @notebook specializes in, you should think about tweeting quotes and photos that your target audience will want to share. More: 5 Steps to Supercharging Engagement on Twitter

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