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One thing that is hard is that you cannon control the impact of your words. You can influence it. With skill and perceptiveness you can strongly influence it. But you cannot 100% prevent someone from interpreting your words as an attack any more than the driver of a car can 100% guarantee he’ll never fatally collide with anyone.

Good resources for understanding how to control the impact of your words include the book Difficult Conversations and others from the Harvard Negotiation Project.

Agreed. A barometer of how well you're doing can be: how effective are you at persuading people when you need to? If you get in the "everyone around me is an idiot / don't know how computers work" head space you're probably lacking on communication skills. Being right is only half the battle - you often have to be able to convince others you are right.

The distinction between this and forms of communication often considered distasteful in technical circles is that you are - in fact - right (technical skill). It's not "sleazy" marketing if it really is "the world's best pizza!" :-)

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