Archive for the ‘Etiquette’ Category

Never Sip and Send

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

19drunk-600

Last week, the New York Times ran a side splitting story about people who send emails or texts while under the influence of alcohol (Drunk, and Dangerous, at the Keyboard).

Funny, but true, we can wreck our lives over email if we’ve been drinking!  In the study behind The Dirty Dozen Rules of Email Etiquette (an excellent program to bring into your company), we found that grammar and syntax errors jump almost 50% when users send emails after having a single cocktail or a few beers.  Their use of profanity jumps too. 

The lesson:  Never assume you can master email while tipsy.  Much like driving, alcohol will give you a false sense of security. 

Master Your Subject Line

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Face it; your emails are part of a snow storm blowing into someone’s Crack berry.

Your carefully worded opus is part of a day’s load of information that you expect to poke through, get read and hopefully elicit a response.

If you want to jump out of the e-noise and improve your readership with your email buddies you need to hone your skills at writing good subject lines.

The basics are:
* Vague is bad
* Hey! is not a real subject line
* RE: RE: FW: FW: is not attractive and will not be read right away

When I know someone well, I will make a call to action in the subject line if my email is intended to get someone to do something. If I need to change a call, I put it in the subject line. If I need you to send me a file, I put it in the subject. You’d be amazed how your response rates jumps.

When I am in a less intimate business relationship, I work on a three to five word subject that zeros in on why I’m sending the email. If we are working on an event together I’ll put “About the sales conference” in the subject.

When you reply, feel free to start a new subject (too often we just reply and the subject line stays the same, except now with a RE: before it.) Let the new subject line redefine where the email thread is going. This not only helps to focus the email exchange on a real outcome, it keeps the conversation going.

This is especially true if many of your email buddies are on black berry. They scroll through subjects and make their choices almost on impulse. Most of the devices (like the TREO) will just show you subjects, not authors and you have to open it to know more.

In those cases, you can be the most effective just putting your name in the subject line. When I’m reconnecting with someone, for example, I always put “From Tim Sanders” in the subject line. Again, I’ve noticed a much quicker response.

All the comments on the blog are helpful and I’d like to invite readers to contribute their best advice for writing a subject line that gets results! This is an advice blog, so let’s start cross sharing advice — espcially if it can improve our email lives.

Share one of your email tips or stories with us and win!

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

When I created this blog (and the company behind it), the whole idea was to create a knowledge community around how we use email in our business life. Email is a huge part of how we communicate, and it dominates our digital life. To master it, is to become much more effective.

Have you got an email horror story to share? Have you figured out a special tip or technique that helps you be successful in your email life? Have you found a solution to a common email related problem?

If so, write a post for this blog, and if I use it — I’ll send you an advance copy of “The Dirty Dozen Rules Of Email Management”. This DVD is not available anywhere yet, but you get one with a thoughtful post.

Thanks in advance!
Tim Sanders, CEO of Deeper Media Inc.

I need down time!!

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

There was a story in the LA Times recently about email invading our downtime (LA Times story on email). I thought it was right on.

People can not and should not be expected to work seven days a week. Much less after regular or normal business hours. We all need time off to recharge our batteries. Which brings me to Rule #6 of the Dirty Dozen Rules to Email Etiquette, Don’t send email at unprofessional hours. Don’t send an email at a time of day you would not call on the phone. Did you call thirteen times on your managers honeymoon last year?

Well, that’s what you did when you sent him thirteen emails. Research shows that there is a 40% higher turn over rate in service companies were employees get emails and work calls after normal business hours. Research also shows that a manager that sends their people late night emails will cause them to log on more and more and work later and later.

Late night emails breed anger and contempt. Keep it simple. No emails after hours. Please no sipping and sending! Sipping and sending emails are usually very poor quality and much better never sent.

Page Moseley
Certified EmailAtoZ Trainer
paqe@emailatoz.com

No “Nastygrams please”

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Ever gotten an email from someone that just made your blood boil? And before you could stop yourself you just had to tell them what you thought through a good old “Nastygram”? You very carefully and with rising blood pressure, put together and stream of words and thoughts, fit only for drunken sailors. You hit the send button sit back and realize you have just made a huge mistake. Maybe you shouldn’t have said his golf swing looks like a bad Benihana chef. And the comment on her hair was most uncalled for. Did you see the exclamation point after the last word in the last sentence? OMG there wasn’t one? Sometimes we think that the send button is our punctuation mark. It is not.

Do not send an email that you may regret. Save yourself by never pre-addressing an email. Take out the line on the To line. Write your Nastygram and and then walk away. Go to lunch or go home for the the night . Come back to your potential career killer and see if you really want to send that email. Think before you send. Most times just taking a step back will help you temper your temper. Remember never pre-address an email!!

What do you think? Send me an email to page@emailatoz.com or visit www.emailatoz.com.

The Word BY:

Page Moseley

Certified Trainer

Don’t be an e-drag

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

It seems like broadband has made us heavy handed emailers. We don’t think twice about attaching MP3’s, high resolution photos, massive PDFs or bloated Power Point presentations.

Recently, someone just sent me a 26 meg file via email. Ouch. It took my program about fifteen minutes on a weak wireless broadband connection to pick it up. Meanwhile, other messages that were timely patiently waited in cue.

What if I was on dialup or a slow WIFI connection on a trip? That would hijack my computer. On top of that, not all broadband services deliver the same speed. Some blaze (wired at work connections), other only crawl a little faster than an ISDN. Do not assume your email buddy can gulp down your massive file.

I could reset preferences to only allow messages below a certain size, but then I would be rejecting emails — and some of them could be business opportunities. There’s a lesson here, especially if you are in sales and service. When it comes to the emails you send, don’t be heavy without permission.

If you have a video, massive power point or hi res photo that you want to send — here are two polite options:
1. Use the service You Send It. It is free and offers up to 1 Gig storage! You upload your massive file to the service and it sends your email buddy an email with a link where they can pick it up.
2. Send an email first asking permission.

Saved by Dirty Dozen Rule #1

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Email Etiquette Dirty Dozen Rule #1, “Don’t give bad news over email. Email is for saying, ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ and ‘Maybe,’” recently saved one of my relationships, gave me the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons, and jettisoned the success of a video production for which I am responsible.

Here’s the skinny. I decided to let one of my contractors go. I did not like working with him. I felt that he lacked communication, collaboration and consideration. Letting go of someone is so stressful. I didn’t want to deal with it and was tempted to cop out and send him a termination email with a list of complaints, but then… I remembered Rule #1.

So I emailed this individual only to ask for a face-to-face meeting.

We met. I learned a lot. I realized that I had told him what I did not like about the way things were going, but never clearly delineated my expectations. My bad.

So I spelled out what I needed from him in order to keep him on board. The confusion cleared. He agreed to my terms. In fact, he seemed relieved to have things laid out with no gray areas.

I didn’t fire him. Now, I really like working with him. I will use him in the future, as well as recommend him to my colleagues.

Rule #1 saved this relationship. Putting it into practice increased my emotional capacity for meaningful and difficult dialog. I learned the importance of conveying my expectations with a positive orientation. I got in touch with my innerCEO.

The best part is that Rule #1 helped my contractor learn and be more professional, too, as well as keep those referrals coming in.

Jennifer Gordon, Cool Breeze Marketing

Observe The 2 Minute Rule

Friday, July 11th, 2008

I’ve just had a bad customer experience that could have been avoided with a phone call.

I hired a company to help with develop a product. They gave me a specific delivery date, then missed it by weeks, causing me to lose money. When I emailed my sales rep to tell him how disappointed I was, I received back a very short email from him that basically said, “This is why it happened. Thanks for understanding.”

I emailed back with more specifics on why I was upset and he replied with another short and sweet email (hoping I would go away). I’ll never do business with that company again. His emails made the problem worse. What should he have done? He should have picked up the phone immediately, called me, and smoothed it out in realtime.

Here’s a good rule for running a business, I call it the 2 Minute Rule.

If one of your customers sends you an email that indicates that they are not happy with your service or product, within two minutes, pick up the phone and call them to talk about it. If you can, do it even faster.

This will produce surprise and delight.

Imagine emailing a sales rep at one of your vendors a nastygram and then having your phone ring a few seconds later with an answer. Chances are, you’ll have a conversation that leads to a positive resolution. Chances are, the business relationship would continue or maybe improve through the experience. Try it. If you run a company, you should require your sales reps and customer service managers to live by the rule.

As I mentioned before in a previous post, research indicates that tone of voice is five times more effective at conveying your intentions than words on paper (or in an email). When you pick up the phone, you increase your effectiveness at resolving customer service issues.

e-Ubuntu, Baby!

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

The African philosophy of ubuntu focuses on people’s relations and allegiances with each other.

“A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Proper email etiquette stimulates ubuntu… that wonderful allocentric buy-in of your people. Proper email etiquette helps create a safer, more productive and compassionate corporate community, within and without.

Ubuntu has become my communication criteria, - and, more specifically, my emailing criteria. For example, I am learning to review my emails carefully before I send them. I check the tone, the wording, and the necessity of the email before I send. Because I belong to a greater whole, I want to respect my colleagues’ time by refraining from unnecessary emailing. Because I truly want to be open and available, I ask myself if an email, a meeting, or a phone conversation is the best approach.

Everyday brings valuable new lessons in how to communicate better with my colleagues, my clients, and my friends. e-Ubuntu, baby!

Guest blogger: Jennifer Gordon of EmailAtoZ.  Contact her at jennifer@emailatoz.com for more information on bringing email excellence to your company!

Learn a lesson from Leo

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Leo is a friend of mine out of Toluca Lake, California. He is in the mortgage business and told me a story about forwarding an email to the wrong person. He had gotten a suspension from a bank on a loan he had submitted for a client. Instead of giving his client a call he forwarded the email, only he sent it to a different client. One he had not even taken a loan application for yet. The perspective client thinking that he could not get a loan through Leo went to another mortgage broker to get his loan. Which brings me to these two points that I teach in my training programs.

• Email Rule #4 Think before you forward
• Email Rule#1 Don’t send bad news over email

Leo forwarding folly with his client not only cost him a loan, but a good referral source too. Business is ALL about relationships and service. Email is for saying yes, no or maybe. If you have bad news that you have to share, pick up the phone. People can hear your intentions over the phone. Who wants to work with someone who doesn’t care enough to call in a difficult situation?
Page Moseley, certified Email Etiquette trainerGet more information here

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