Archive for March 2007

You’ve got e-mail…

Monday, March 26th, 2007

When e-mails first hit, we opened our computers hoping for an inbox full of good stuff.  As time passed, our precious inbox also turned into a place for solicitors, unwanted spam, and even unsolicited semi-pornographic images.  Filter or no filter, e-mail will probably be part of our reality for awhile.

So why do so many people misunderstand and even misuse it?  Most people should realize e-mail is a form of official business correspondence.  As such, you could be liable for your writing behavior on company time and hardware.  Most companies even specifically outline proper and improper use of e-mail.  Do you care about how your e-mail reads once you hit send?
 
Would you ever send a letter by regular mail without proofing it?  Not once, but perhaps multiple times?  In many cases, you might even have others take a look at this official form of correspondence before you put it in an envelope and attach proper postage.  What troubles me are e-mails with no attention to the kind of proofing necessary in the business world or even in social circles.
 
Of course, I don’t think I’m error-proof.  In fact, one time I accidentally sent out a group e-mail to friends about a race I was running…only to realize I had misspelled my own first name because I was in such a hurry.  I then sheepishly sent out another e-mail apologizing for the frenzy of not spelling my name correctly.

With business e-mails, I tend to double, triple, and quadruple-check my writings.  If you’re not a good proofreader, ask someone else to do it.  But by all means, take pride in this kind of communication.  Because it takes only one misspelled word or misplaced semicolon for your intended target to think about hitting the delete button on you.

Looking Back to Move Ahead

Monday, March 19th, 2007

I just had the most rewarding experience.  I decided to write a thank you letter to my business advisors, mentors, clients, prospective clients, plus some friends in the legal and media worlds.  The purpose?  To recognize their contributions to Roshini Multi Media’s first year in business.

As I wrote, it was amazing to recap the last 13 months of actual incorporation and the months prior to launch of brainstorming and planning.  In doing so, I realized and reflected on my own hard work plus the great ideas, encouragement, and support from others.

The letter will go out this week.  I can’t wait for all these amazing people to see what they’ve done…what they’ve helped build.  From Minnesota, to Michigan, to Massachusetts, it indeed took even more than a village to start raising this start-up company.  And looking back on that, I feel excited to move ahead.

May you also take the time to look back and get the smiles to fuel your days ahead.

Less is MORE

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

You’ve probably heard this expression:  Less is more.  But what does it really mean?

I mean we probably all want more money, more time, more peace.  But unless you adore snow, the recent white outs in Minneapolis should hit home why less is more.  More was actually dangerous.

One area where most of us can stand to conserve is our use of language.  When I worked in TV news, I had to make less really equal more because one minute-thirty second stories (or shorter) were the rule of the day.

Now with my clients, I’m constantly reviewing “less is more” strategies.  Whether that be giving media training and teaching about effective sound bites.  Or as presentation coach, instructing about re-phrasing $10 words to their more colorful, concise, and clear cousins.

Whenever I give a presentation myself, I aim to leave my audience wishing I’d go on awhile longer.  Hoping to deliver so effectively they don’t even realize 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or even more have passed.  Expressions like Best wishes!, Great job!, Nice going!, all convey in short what a longer line risks not communicating.

To my journalism students, I teach the Elimination List:  a, that, the, of.  Is every use of these words necessary in your writing?  Try reading your document, script, or proposal out loud and see how many words from the Elimination List you can cut.  Of course, some the’s are a must.  But where they’re not, why not make fewer the greater way to phrase?

Good luck!  I wish you less worry and more satisfaction on your journey to great expression.