Why is basic etiquette in business communications so difficult for some people. Especially when it comes to email. Is it a function of the “I’m too important to bother” syndrome? Or maybe the, “I can be more efficient if I don’t reply” syndrome.
Let’s review some basics:
- If someone emails you asking a question, respond. Even if it’s a simple “We’re thinking about it.”
- If it is an email that requires a third person being pulled in to the conversation, let the originator know the email has moved on to the third. Even better – copy the originator into the forward.
- Be clear in your subject line.
- Don’t SHOUT unless you mean it.
Email will be with us for a long time and we all get a lot of it. That doesn’t excuse boorish behavior.
One of the challenges that organizations face with the growth in social media and the blogosphere is the issue of employees blogging about their work. I had an interesting discussion with a staff person from an international non-profit. This person raised the issue from a security perspective. There is a certain amount of risk in allowing an individual to blog about their work from a country that may have security issues. The knee jerk reaction was to create a policy that would govern what blogging was allowed, what wasn’t, or would cut it off altogether. I think after some discussion, I was able to share some insights about the value of training rather than policy and the value to the organization to have staff tell the “real-time” story of what is being accomplished. Here are some points to consider:
- The personal voice of a staff member can have huge impact to their immediate circle and beyond.
- Be cognizant of the potential danger for staff who live in risky areas of the world. Communicate that danger to those who are headed to those areas of the world.
- Train your team members to communicate clearly.
- Consider providing a centralized avenue for blogging with minimal controls.
- Be clear about what is not acceptable.
- Recognize that short of termination, you really can’t stop the blogging.
- Remember, that for many, blogging may be cathartic and a way of releasing the stress of the work place.
I hope that helps.
Overcoming inertia in a nonprofit can be particularly difficult. This stems from many sources but is most often expressed in the sentiment, “We’ve always done it this way.” As a good friend of mine often says, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over expecting different results.”
Starting small with some test runs can be a great way to get past the initial ‘disbelief’ that making use of new tools will have value for the organization. Here are some thoughts to consider:
- Recognize that you will likely make a mistake along the way. The initial run may not be perfect. That’s okay. Learn from it, remember it, move on.
- At the same time, remember that quality is still important. You can’t have a poor appearance and expect great results.
- Determine what you want to measure to determine success. Dollars raised may not be the correct measurement. Especially with your first few attempts.
- Remember, your audience is going to be different (probably) than your organizational website. That’s why you are doing this. Expanding your reach.
- Because of #5, don’t just repeat your website. Provide something different, in a different tone, different appearance, etc.
- “Build it and they will come” is not necessarily true. You will need to promote your applications. Expand your reach. Think outside of the box.
Plan on building slowly. Once you have established your metrics, go wider. Determining who in the organization will be ‘responsible’ for the ongoing development and management of the interaction will come with experience. Successful 2.0 applications will likely develop conversations with your constituency. You need to be prepared to respond so somebody should be the designated communicator.
Hope that helps.