learn to read the underlying messages behind what people are saying, what they really mean.. it's related to the point about seeing things from their perspective, but basically it's listening intelligently. eg, SinnedK, when your boss said "You excited about the staff retreat?", he probably didn't really care if you were excited or not. What he probably meant was "you guys have been really sucking lately, I pushed hard to get some funding for a nice retreat and nobody seems to be giving me and appreciation for it, you're always so miserable around the office can this at least chear you up?"... or something like that... so hear that, and then respond the same way... "Oh yeah, I really appreciate that you guys are sending us on this retreat, it should be fun and I'm sure we'll learn a few good points from it. We're always working together but this will be some good time for the team to get to know each other in a more relaxed environment and I'm sure we'll bond better. So yeah, it sounds like it'll be a good time. How're you feeling about it"... notice the follow up question, the guy's obviously thinking about it and wants to tell someone what he's thinking. +1 last year my company took all the sales people for a 4 day retreat, with spouses, to aruba. I had reports that bitched about how long a flight it was.