Outlook

Pay attention to first impressions—the ones you’re making on others … Steel your resolve by clenching a muscle … Increase productivity by keeping one to-do list … Optimists find jobs more easily than their peers and are more likely to be promoted …

2 words to improve e-mail messages

December 16, 2010 Categorized in: OutlookRecognition

The biggest problem with e-mail, according to Scot Herrick, is that most people only use the tool as a way to manage to-dos, collaborate and move work along. Herrick believes that’s a problem because we should be thinking of e-mail as a personal branding tool, not merely as a workhorse.
A reader writes: “We have tasks assigned to us via e-mail, the phone, in-person, in passing, etc. I carry my notebook and keep it on my desk to jot down assignments and then transfer some tasks to Outlook, but I’m wondering if there is a better, more efficient way to keep track of everything. What are your secrets to staying organized and on top of all your assignments?”
Steer clear of “oversharing” when it comes to out-of-office messages sent to the rest of the office. For example: “I’ll be leaving the office at 4 p.m. today. I’m taking my daughter to the dentist. Please send any urgent requests to Pam.” Does the message really need to explain where the sender is going?
I have the opportunity in my teaching travels to witness many people hunting for the proverbial needle in the haystack, a.k.a. their Outlook® inbox. Like many of you who are technically inclined, I have to resist the urge to grab their mouse and keyboard and “show ‘em how it’s done.” Most of us don’t find that helpful at all, just intrusive. Instead, I thought I’d cover it here on my blog. There are 3 easy ways to quickly find what you’re looking for.
If you’re writing an e-newsletter or promotional e-mail for your company, remember: That “free” e-newsletter costs your readers time. And that could be the most valuable thing they possess. Persuading readers to click and read is more challenging than you might think. Heed these tips and tricks from the experts for writing more effective marketing e-mail:

E-mail sign-offs: Get creative

August 17, 2010 Categorized in: Outlook

“The last sentence of an e-mail is like the last words of a phone call,” says Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, author of the “Business Writing” blog. So sign off with a courteous closing that suits the communication. A few examples:
Proofreading alert! According to search engines Google and Yahoo, the most common misspellings in searches are not due to the difficulty of the word, but rather to sloppiness … Make restaurant reservations in a fraction of the time, now that Yelp.com and OpenTable.com have integrated their web sites … Reduce ink use and save money by changing your default e-mail font to Century Gothic.
Make your e-mail easy to read and respond to with these four tips: 1. Limit your e-mail messages to one topic. 2. Make sure your headline is clear, strong and descriptive. 3. Include all contact information within every e-mail. 4. Encompass all relevant information the person might need to answer the e-mail.
E-mail, that revolutionary productivity tool, has a dark side. It can create divisions between co-workers, hurt productivity and destroy focus, say critics. Some even draw a comparison between e-mail and gambling. To counterbalance the negatives, companies have been imposing “no e-mail Fridays” or “no e-mail weekends.” Anyone can take measures to keep e-mail addiction from getting out of hand, though.

It’s ‘Out of Office’ reply season

June 7, 2010 Categorized in: OutlookTravel

You’re leaving for vacation, so you dutifully set up the classic “Out of the office, will reply to your message when I get back” e-mail auto-responder. But the auto-reply message doesn’t get rid of the nagging feeling that you’re missing something. Before you go on vacation, set up a custom auto-reply system that will make it easier for you to relax.
Every night, when CEO Danny Meyer goes home, he reads a daily memo that his executive assistant e-mails him. “I don’t know how we managed without them,” says the leader of Union Square Hospitality Group. Consider using a productivity booster like an e-mailed daily memo to keep communication strong between you and your boss.
Elevate the clarity of your writing by using the inverted pyramid style that journalists use … Go ahead, give someone a high five or a supportive pat on the back … Send large files fast by using a free service such as YouSendIt Lite … Gain credibility by stripping “marketese” from your writing geared toward customers … Double-check e-mail messages where the stakes are high.