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Hurt by a forward

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

When you want to send a note that you don’t want to circulate around the world, put “DO NOT FORWARD” in capital letters at the beginning of the note.

I didn’t do this, and a note I wrote, complaining to a coworker about our CEO ended up getting forwarded around the company — and now I’m getting fired.

Posted by blog reader John Mastick.

Editors note: Good luck John! Go talk to the CEO, grovel, tell him/her you’ve learned your lesson!

Don’t waste good news over email

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Sometimes, you get your best ideas from the people you are attempting to teach.

Yesterday, I gave a talk at a business convention and focused many of my remarks on email etiquette at work. As you know, I’m pretty passionate about this subject and even developed a training/edu-taining DVD (The Dirty Dozen Rules Of Email Etiquette).

My first piece of advice is “Don’t give bad news over email.” Why? Email is a weak channel of communication when it comes to conveying your intentions. This is true based on decades of communications research.

Dr. Albert Mehrabian at the University of California has studied how humans decode intentions throughout his career. His findings suggest that email is a terrible way to convey intentions. It may deliver data and simple answers, but it doesn’t deliver a fraction of the communication power of a phone call or face to face meeting. Consider this graphic:

What does this mean? If you have bad news, criticism or emotional charged things to say, pick up the phone or see them face to face. This way they will understand you are a coach, not a dictator.

After my talk, an audience member approached me with a wonderful suggestion: Don’t give good news over email, either. Same reason: Email waters down the message. Additionally, email is so weak as a channel, your recipient might confuse your good news with jealousy, envy or snarkiness. “I thought you’d like to know, you got the promotion” over a blackberry could have many meanings. But a phone call with your authentic enthusiasm saying, “Dude, you got the big job!!!” conveys all the excitement and allows the moment to be powerful. Great idea.

Pick up The Dirty Dozen Rules Of Email DVD

For your next meeting: Show up!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Here’s a simple piece of advice: Attend your next meeting device-free.

There was a cool LA Times article last week about going laptopless to meetings. While I like that idea, I think it doesn’t stretch nearly far enough. Don’t bring a cell phone, laptop, crack berry, anything! Bring a pen, paper and your attention. Why? Because you’ll have a more effective meeting and build relationships.

When I was conducting surveys in researching The Likeability Factor, I learned that the #2 reason your coworkers or customers might find you dishonest is your lack of presence during meetings. Your constant attention diversion to your cell, email pager or laptop sends a message to everyone that you are not with them, and don’t respect them enough to give your undivided attention.

This rule (no phones, laptops or email pagers in the meeting) is the bonus rule at the end of my new DVD product (The Dirty Dozen Rules Of Email Etiquette). If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, please do, and I’ll give you 2 for the price of 1.

Check out the video trailer for my email etiquette DVD.

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