Wednesday, November 25, 2009

4 Ways to get Your Cold Call Email Read

Email is the primary mode of first contact these days. But many cold-call emails go without a reply. Whether you are reaching out about a job, a sales inquiry, or just making a networking contact, here are four ways to get the response you want:

1. Personalize it. Don't send a generic email all about yourself. Focus on what you and the recipient have in common. Mention the group you found her through on LinkedIn or something specific you know and admire about her company.

2. Demonstrate value. What do you have to offer the recipient? Be upfront about what you can give her and why she should respond.

3. Include a call to action. Tell her what it is you want her to do: email you back, reach out to set up a call, or forward your email to someone else.

4. Keep it clear. As with all email, make it clear, articulate, typo-free, and to the point.

Today's Management Tip was adapted from "Did Your Email Get Lost in Translation?" by David Silverman.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Four Principles of Personal Development

1. For things to change for you, you must change.
2. For things to get better for you, you must get better.
3. Attitude is everything.
4. The Great Promise – You can have more than you’ve got because you can become more than you are. But if you stay where you are, you will always have what you’ve got.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Never Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will.
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill.
When funds are low and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out:
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far:
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not QUIT.

My Personal Philosophy

I give value first. Evidence of the value I give can be found in things that I do and the examples I set. Whether it is in my personal or professional life.
I help other people. To the ability that I am able, I provide help for other people. I provide help for people the same way others have provided it for me. I can't help everyone, but I help as many as I can.
I strive to be the best at what I love to do. This statement is as much an affirmation as it is a philosophical expression. Striving to be my best means I never quite achieve it, and I am always trying to do better. In essence, it says that so long as I am alive, I will be a student.
I establish long-term relationships with people. This means in every decision that I make, I am thinking long term. When you think long term, it's more likely that you will make better decisions, especially as relates to fairness and ethics.

I have fun and I do that every day. The daily dose of fun is as important a dose as you could ever find, or ever find time to do. By having fun every day, it means you're smiling every day. And if you need a deeper definition of this, it probably means you're not having enough fun. I found out a secret. If you LOVE what you do, all of your days are the same -- they're holidays -- and I wish the same for you.

Don't Just Communicate, Explain

Good communicators know they need to use energy and enthusiasm to persuade their audience. Great communicators know they also need to explain what all the excitement is about. Next time you need to share something important, be sure you convey enthusiasm, but also clearly explain what is at stake and answer the question "What does it mean?" Lay out what the issue, initiative, or problem is — and be clear about what it isn't. Use metaphors only if they are helpful to your point and share details that support your claims. Then, define what you want people to do by establishing clear expectations. Don't lose or confuse your audience with too many details, though — save those for written communications

How to Ask for Advise Without Looking Stupid

Jodi Glickman Brown

Last week, more evidence emerged in the Securities and Exchange Commission's debacle over the mishandling of the Bernie Madoff ├╝ber-fraud. While the SEC failed repeatedly to uncover the greatest Ponzi scheme in our country's history ($50 billion and counting), the New York Times revealed a tale of "unseasoned people uncertain about what to do and unwilling to ask for help."
But learning how to ask for help — and how to do it right — is critical to doing your job well and setting yourself up for success.
You may be afraid of looking dumb, but to be afraid to ask for and get the help you need is inexcusable, especially when the stakes are high. Asking for help in the workplace is a good thing. In fact, asking for help the right way can show how smart you are: it demonstrates that you've got good judgment and shows that you know what you know and what you don't know. Moreover, getting help up front saves endless time, energy and resources on the back end; in the Madoff case, it could have saved billions of dollars and immeasurable heartache.
Of course, it's not just asking for help — it's asking the right way. I recently coached a young man in commercial real-estate who relayed a conversation he had with his boss about starting a new regional initiative for his firm's brokers. Several times he asked, "How should I do this?" or "How should I think about this?" I cringed every time.
Instead, think about the following strategy to get the best answer — and show how smart you are — the next time you ask for help:

1. Start your question with what you know. Do your homework first. Get enough background information to put your issue or problem in context. Give the other person an idea of what you've completed to date or what you know already and then proceed to explain what's outstanding, where or how you're struggling, or what you need help with.
2. Then, state the direction you want to take and ask for feedback, thoughts or clarification. Form an opinion on what you think the answer should be. Don't just ask, "How should I reach out to the brokers?" Instead propose a course of action and get your boss's feedback: "I'm thinking of sending out a mass email to the brokers but I'm not sure if that's the most effective format...what do you think of that approach?"
3. If you don't know the direction to take, ask for tangible guidance. Instead of asking "What should I do?" ask specifically for the tools you'll need to make that decision yourself, such as a recent example of a similar analysis or a template for a given task. Or, ask for a referral to someone who has worked on a similar initiative or project in the past.

In the vast majority of cases, you'll get a lot further in your career by asking the tough, smart questions. Had the SEC junior staffers pressed senior management for more guidance and help, Bernie might have been stopped long ago.