Category: Sustainability

5 tips for responding to emails that will save your professional life

Emails are one of the most dynamic and unwittingly dangerous communication tools that exist. And they are here to stay.

As we jet through facebook, tweeter and google+ on to the emerging applications of the future, the email will take the ride buckled into the seat right beside ours, sipping a cocktail, sure of its destiny.

The use of this powerful tool calls for no license, training or mentorship. It is a technology open for all to use — freely and innocently. The email is seen as an efficient, flowing and communication-fomenting vehicle.

Until your first crash.

It is then that you realize the amount of damage this tool can cause in the blink of a human eye. And you also realize, much to your horror, that emails are less biodegradable than steel. They are permanent.

Once you push the send button, they cannot be taken back or amended. Ever. Just that simple thought makes me shudder.

As a content and communication strategist, I believe we all need a little guidance to avoid disasters — a few handy tips or rules that will help to keep our professional relationships healthy and robust.

Before I go on to the 5 tips, however, I first need to make a confession.

A few days ago, I broke my own key rules on responding to professional emails. I also broke the back-up rule that I had set up in case I wanted to break a key rule.

Of course, a small crash ensued.

Continue reading »

Be innovative. Your public eats cheese.

But not just any kind of cheese.

Thousands of people living in my city of Barcelona are following a particular diet that consists of low carbohydrates, low oil, low fat intake, lots of vegetables and high protein content. Just imagine how many folks in this grand metropolis are happily munching on low fat cheese right this minute as you read this article. It is a growing trend that will probably hit very large numbers within the next few years in Europe and North America.

Yet in this same city, there is not one restaurant that I know of that serves even one specially designed meal that these hungry people can easily identify on the menu, sit back, relax and enjoy with the rest of the restaurant-going population. They are left feeling alienated or must break their diet when dining out. For some, this can bring on tinges of guilt, frustration, as well as altered social relations.

Something is not quite right in this picture. 

Continue reading »

Fibs, tricks and lies: A true tale

The desperate salesman

A woman who lives in a large metropolitan area is trying to sell an apartment that sits empty in a small town just outside her city. It has been for sale for over two years. Four agencies have it listed, and what seems like an infinite stream of other agencies call weekly wanting to list the apartment as well.  They all seem understandably desperate. The woman politely says “no thank you” to them all, telling them she does not wish to list with any more agencies.

One day a man calls and asks to see the apartment; he is very interested. He says he represents an agency and the woman says, “I already have it listed with four agencies and that is enough, but thank you for calling”. And the man says, “Oh, but I am the one interested in the apartment, not my agency. I am looking for an apartment in this particular town with a large terrace. You see, I have to move from where I live now, an apartment with a terrace, and this is why I am interested in yours”.

The man’s story makes sense and she makes an appointment to show him the flat.

The day of the appointment, she makes the half hour drive to the small town, meets the man at the apartment, and he takes a look around. He is carrying a small black notebook, very official looking, which he absentmindedly passes back and forth from hand to hand as he quickly looks in each room.

He then says, “if you would like to tell me the square metres of this flat, our agency can…” The woman interrupts, “but you said the flat was for you”. The man stammers “well, yes, er, uh, well, you see, it is out of my price range and our agency would be interested…“ The woman interrupts again, “I told you I did not want to list with another agency, and you told me you were the one interested, which is why I came to this appointment”. The man stammered some more, fiddling with his shiny black notebook, and the woman repeated herself and the man stammered and the appointment came to a cold and uncomfortable end.

Why?

Because the real estate agent lied.

Continue reading »

Zero tweets

The digital era is cool. It’s seductive and extremely convenient. It can make life easier, faster, and even more visible.

Except when it doesn’t.

Some things can actually become invisible. The lives of some people.

In our world of work, there is a very large group who are invisible to the digital gaze. Even in our own projects or enterprises, people who are doing some of the most important work might never show up at the top of a Google search after we enter their name and tap the return key.

The great majority of the people working on projects, often times very large projects, are busy with the work that must be done in order for the project to function. The general public rarely, if ever, sees their names in large illuminated lights. 

Continue reading »