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Should I Send An Emayl or Txt Msg?

Publish on July 24, 2012

Last month, we discussed some Texting Tips to keep up with the millennyalz. Today, we’ll address another pressing time management issue: whether to send an email or a text message. To decide the best method of delivery for your message, just consider these three simple questions:

1. Do you want to have an extended conversation right this very minute?

In this modern day, it is expected that whenever you receive a text message, you will immediately respond, if only with “ :-P “ (to decode, turn your head to the left and drink some Scotch.)  By contrast, it is acceptable to leave up to 3.6 hours between receiving and responding to an email. Unless you need an answer RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, leave yourself wiggle room to ignore the message, and send an email.

2. How did the person you’re talking to get in touch, and do you like them?

It happens to the best of us; that horrible moment when you have to communicate with a sub-par specimen of humanity (probably born after 1986.) When stuck in this unfortunate situation, the email-text message conundrum offers an opportunity: to passive aggressively make the sub-par specimen’s life more difficult, respond with whichever technology they did not contact you with.

3. Should your conversation stay on the record?

Remember: your six-year-old grandson can hack into your email and change your password to “TebowRockz,” but no one knows how to retrieve that text message you accidentally deleted with the directions to the golf course and new gentlemen’s club. If your message needs to stay secure, stick with text messaging.

I’m Travelling Internationally, And I Mean It

Publish on June 28, 2012

Back in the good ol’ days of being a young consultant, traveling abroad was the opportunity of a lifetime. Visiting new places, practicing your French pick up lines, leaving your passport at the Moulin Rouge, and most importantly, no contact with the folks back stateside with the exception of a few hastily scribbled postcards sent from the airport.

Today, all that has changed. We’ve already been to all the interesting new places, all the French people speak English anyway (or they should, it’s the 21st century), the hotel puts your passport in the safe, and the interns in your office wrote you a tutorial on how to “Post Pictures of Paris on Pintrist” (whatever that means).

Need to get the message out loud and clear that you’re not available? Have your interns set up this OOO message for you, it’ll keep them busy:

Dear person contacting me,

I am currently out of the office for international travel. As a reminder, “international” does not mean “accessible.” I will not be checking my email, my voicemail, text messages, instant messages, my fax mail, or any other kind of mail. I will not get back to you, even if I promised last week I would. If you have an emergency that needs my immediate attention, that is unfortunate for you.

[your name]

This note may not dissuade them from bombarding you with unsolicited messages, but it will give you a convenient out when you forget a friend’s anniversary dinner, a new client meeting, your wife’s birthday, or your son’s graduation.

ISTJ Looking for Adventure

Publish on June 20, 2012

Dear Myers Briggs Man,

I am an ISTJ, and yes, I’m an accountant. But an ISTJ looking for a thrilling adventure. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7:09 a.m., I see the same woman at my favorite coffee house. I know there’s energy between us – she’s as anal about her routine as I am about mine. I want to approach her but my introversion preference keeps talking me out of it. She’s definitely glanced in the direction of my table where I always sit. How do I build on her flirtation and get her to join me, at least on Thursdays?

Mr. ISTJ - Intense State of Terminal Jitters

Dear Spineless Wonder, 
Obviously, as an accountant, you know how to keep track of credits and debits. Just think of your shy nature as a gi-normous debit that is between you and your ability to fully utilize your “S” (sensing) preference. If you keep that in mind, your answer becomes simple: create a T-account of pluses and minuses of why you want to get to know this person. This will give you the evidence you need to suit your thinking preference (“T”). Then just analyze the shit out of it. This will give you the courage to overcome your inner wimp. She’ll be at your Thursday table in no time.

The Perfect Voicemail

Publish on June 12, 2012

Leaving the perfect voicemail is an art.

First, you want to be sure to call when you know the recipient is in a meeting so there’s no chance of them actually picking up the phone. If that happens, hang up. You don’t have a plan for speaking to them directly, and you can always say you butt-dialed them later if they have caller ID.  

Here’s an example of a perfectly worded message. We have provided the decoding at the end for your further reference:

“Hey Carl!  Hope you’re having a good day. I’m circling back after our meeting yesterday to see if we can get the team together for a real quick meeting this afternoon. This is an all-hands initiative coming down from ‘the big guys,’ so please spread the word. How does 3:00 pm work? I’ve got a conference call at 3:30 that I have to take, but you’ll be fine leading the conversation once I leave. Let’s catch up later this week. Lunch? It’s been forever since I had an update on Cynthia and the kids. And you must be LOVING this great tennis weather.  Hey, we should play sometime! Alrighty - just ping me when you have a sec. Cheers!”

Let’s break down and decode this voicemail:

“Hope you’re having a good day” 
- Not completely insincere, but you’re generally required to start the message with some sort of pleasantry.  Make Carl believe it. 

“Circle back”
- Nobody says “follow-up” anymore.

“Real quick”
- This will not be quick. In fact, it’s likely to be tedious and shitty. But you need people to show up so setting a tone of lightness and ease is critical.

“All hands”
- This means even the staff who really don’t need to be there need to be there.  You want those people to leave the meeting thinking, “Why did I have to be there?”  And the answer is because you told them to. It’s okay to love a power trip.

“The big guys”
- This is obviously Bill & Larry, the jerks you make fun of incessantly with Carl when it’s just the two of you. It’s okay to be ingenuous in a voicemail.

“Conference call”
- Yep, you have other clients, and Carl shouldn’t forget it.  He won’t know which client is more important than this meeting, but it is critical that he knows you are also more important than this meeting.    

Update on family & hobbies
- Build rapport.  Do you honestly want to hear about lil’ Jack’s 4th grade play? No. (And how many kids are named Jack these days, for crying out loud.) However, asking about the family is code for “Hey we’re still buddies, right?  I know this meeting sucks, but we’re cool, right?  Right?”

- I’m cooler than you.

- I’m definitely cooler than you.

Coach Convicted of Identity Fraud

Publish on June 1, 2012

Well-known executive coach JR Pickens was charged with fraud and barred from the International Coach Federation (ICF) this week. “It started out innocently enough,” his attorney drawled, “but what he done just ain’t right.”

While on vacation in Rhode Island, Mr. Pickens was repeatedly stopped by strangers in the hotel lobby and asked for more details on “Phase 2.” Confused at first, he soon discovered he was a dead-ringer for a conference leader conducting a training workshop in the same hotel.

“The restaurant staff just kept calling me Mr. Fisher and all my meals were being comped. So I just started signing his name on everything. It was so easy. I don’t know what came over me.”

In a sadly ironic twist, we later learned that Mr. Fisher’s workshop was on business ethics.

Texting Tips as Easy As XYZ

Publish on May 21, 2012

Feeling unsure about how to communicate with millennials without looking like an outdated idiot? Here’s an easy rule of thumb to get you started: just remember to use the letters X, Y, and Z!

Example: You can text him or her about the emayl you just sent. You can suggest discussing the accountz over coffy – or would she prefer a xotch? So what if it’z before 11, you’re totally rad, bud!

The problem with millennials is in making that initial connection, and these three little letters can make all the difference!

The letter i? Boring. The letter y? So hyp! What about s? Been there, done that. It’z all about the z, dudez! And alwayz, alwayz remember to ztay Xtreme!

What Do You Mean You’ve Never Seen ‘The Empire Strikes Back’?

Publish on May 14, 2012

You’re telling me you’ve never seen ‘Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back’? How could you have missed that movie, it was only the biggest movie of 1980! You’ve seen ‘A New Hope’ and ‘Return of the Jedi,’ but not ‘Empire’? How does that even happen? ‘Empire’ is the best one, anyway! 

Wait, so did ‘Jedi’ even make any sense to you? I mean, ‘Empire’ is pretty important for the plot, with the whole Darth Vader father thing… and Yoda! What about Lando Calrissian, and Han being encased in carbonite? I could understand maybe watching the first one and it not being your thing, but then you went and didn’t watch the third part of the trilogy? Who does that? 

You did that with Indiana Jones too?! Of course ‘Temple of Doom’ was the worst of the three, but still, you’ve got to watch them all! It’s a trilogy! “Kali ma! Kali ma!” You don’t know what that is? I’m not sure I can work next to you right now.

How to Limit Working with Those Pesky Millennials (Generation Z)

Publish on May 4, 2012

Chances are there are people born after 1986 working in your office. Young, energetic, optimistic, outgoing people. Some call them “millennials.” They’ve just graduated from college, and they think they know it all – the computers, the software, the smartphones and iPads. They’re good to hire because your company can pay them next to nothing; they don’t care, they live on peanut butter and Schlitz (or whatever the kids are drinking these days). And they’re not intimidated by the term “social media.” Appreciating them stops there, though. They’re annoying. And if you follow our handy tips, you should be able to avoid contact with them at all costs. 

1)  You’ve probably had longer marriages than these kiddos have been alive, so make it a point to talk about things from days past. Ask them about the most recent Fats Domino record, or try to spark a discussion about how Chaplin’s film ‘Monsieur Verdoux’ obviously had a tough act to follow. Or ask, “That Ann Margaret really was something, huh?”

2) Be sure to remind them that they’re lucky to have the Internet. Back in your day there weren’t even computers. Things had to be written by hand, calculations had to be done on paper, and there was no Twizzer or Faceplace or Wahoo websites. People spoke to each other face to face or wrote a letter, and if you wanted to get a call from someone you had to sit at home. Be sure to discuss this at length during their first week.

3) Stock up on baby diapers in the supply room, with the note, “[their name] – just in case.”

4) Buy all of the young people in your office booster chairs for their desks. Feign genuine concern for their comfort and accessibility.

5) Eat as many onions as possible right before you have a conversation with a millennial. The more you smell like onions, the better. Every time you open your mouth, the smell should permeate the entire room. This can also create flatulence which you can use to your advantage: with no additional effort you can establish an onion-fart barrier around your office door for extra protection.

You Might Be An Old Fart Consultant If…

Publish on April 25, 2012
  • You don’t have ear plugs in the whole time you’re sitting at your computer
  • You feel more comfortable if you have hard copies of everything
  • You still wear a phone case on your belt
  • You gave your electrician brother-in-law a subscription to Wired magazine
  • There’s a photo of you on your instructional DVD, holding your instructional DVD
  • You can recite all 16 MBTI types from memory in under 30 seconds
  • You have a motivational poster in your office picturing a soaring eagle with the word “Affirmation” at the bottom

Consultant Requests Execution: “Please Shoot Me!”

Publish on April 20, 2012

Classic Pitfalls: The mistakes we have all made so that you don’t have to.

This Classic Pitfall comes from one of our executive coaches, Dean Delaney, in Peoria, Ill., who witnessed the unfortunate collapse of one of their community’s newer members, up-and-coming coach Jerry Newsome.

From Mr. Delaney: “On Tuesday one of my colleagues threatened to kill himself at the Ramada Inn. We were in Ballroom A meeting with seven other team development consultants. We were scheduled to spend three days discussing ways to create a new training company. It was late morning of day one and we were still on the introductions.  Everything was okay until Norm took forty-five minutes to describe every single frickin’ consulting gig he’s ever had since 1984. It was getting pretty intense since it was going on noon and we still had three people to go. That’s when our new fella’, Jer, just tore off his clothes and ran from the room screaming, ‘Oh my God please just shoot me!’ None of us have been able to get in touch with Jerry since. We’re all pretty upset about it.”

Note: Mr. Delaney spoke to us on condition we would advertise his new training company: Team Building R Us.

While there may be urges to take center stage, we must always remember that collaboration requires the success of ALL participants.