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In This Issue
Think Before You Send
The Two Minute Rule
Practice Safe Text!
E-bloopers and a Little E-humor
SCS e-xpress
Sept/Oct 2011

etiquette2A Message from Sarah & Chris:
 

The theme of this issue is "E-tiquette."

As children, we were encouraged to "mind our manners" and treat others with respect.  We were taught many "do's and don'ts" pertaining to social interaction, and we learned which eating utensil was appropriate for each meal course.  In today's "E-world" of technology, similar "E-tiquette" lessons apply.  We still should mind our manners and be respectful, and we need to make sure we always choose the appropriate method to deliver our message.  
 
Email has become pervasive in our society. When used effectively and when proper etiquette is followed, it is a fast and efficient way to stay in touch with our customers, co-workers, friends and family. 

 

We hope you enjoy our free SCS e-newsletter.  Please send us your ideas and suggestions for future issues.  Have a great day!  

 

 Where We'll Be

  
National Harbor, MD
10/23/11 - 10/26/11

Dimensional DC Annual Conference
Santa Monica, CA
10/27/11 - 10/28/11

New Orleans, LA
03/18/12 - 03/20/12

2012 Power of 3 Workshop:  Save the Date!

The 2012 Power of 3 Workshop will be held from April 18 - 20, 2012 in Savannah, GA.  For more information and to make your hotel reservations now (space is limited), click here.  

 

Workshop event registration will be opening within the next month - watch for more information coming soon.  

Today's Tips

Tip #1:  See Sarah Simoneaux in action at the 2011 ASPPA Annual Conference.  Attend Monday's Workshop #15 and hear her speak on the topic "Not Your Ordinary TPA: What Walmart and Nordstrom's Can Teach Us."

 

 

Tip #2:  Are you a millennial or do you manage millennials? If so, you'll want to put The Millennial Success Quotient, by Bill Feldmaier, on your reading list.  (Bill is a managing director of institutional sales for a major financial services firm.  Proceeds from the book go to the The Millennial Success Foundation.)

Today's Quotes
There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts:  what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.
 - Dale Carnegie, 
      American  Educator 
 
Diamonds are forever.  Email comes close.
- June Kronholz,
     Reporter/Editor 

 

Today's Laughs

Email Notice Received: 

 

Attention!

 

Aliens are coming to abduct all the good looking and sexy people.  Don't worry - you are safe. I'm just emailing you to say goodbye. (www.thepocket.com

 

 

halloween

 

 

Q.  How do you mend a broken Jack-o-Lantern?

A.  With a pumpkin patch.

 

 

The doorbell rang and a man answered it.  

There stood a plain but well-dressed boy who quickly said "Trick or Treat." 

The man asked the boy, "Who are you dressed up as for Halloween?"

The boy replied, "I'm an IRS agent." 

Then the boy grabbed 28% of the man's candy and walked away - without even a "thank you."

                                               email pledge 

Think Before You Send
  
 

Proper email etiquette promotes efficiency and productivity in the workplace and helps foster strong relationships.  However, when used incorrectly, email can damage business and personal relationships and destroy personal careers.  Here are a few "do's" and "don'ts" to remember.  

 

DO:

1. Think before you send.  Slow down and re-read your email, checking tone and grammar, before pressing send.  (A corollary:  Fill in the "To" line last - so if you accidentally hit send before you are ready, your email won't go anywhere.)

2. Use a subject line and keep it relevant by changing it if the email thread changes direction.

3. Put questions or actions up front (BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front).  If you have multiple questions, number them.

4. Remember KISS: Keep It Short and Sweet.

5. Include a standard signature with your contact information.

 

DON'T:

1. Put anything in an email that you wouldn't want to read on the front page of the New York Times.

2. Deliver bad news or negative feedback by email.  Do it in person if possible; otherwise do it over the phone.

3. Type in ALL CAPS.  (It's like YELLING!)

4. Perpetuate negative or unproductive emails or inappropriate jokes.

5. Email if you've been drinking.  Seems obvious, right?  Apparently Google thought it was enough of a problem that they invented "Mail Goggles," a take-off on "Beer Goggles," to help people with this problem.  I'm serious - check it out here! 

 

Click here to learn more email "do's" and "don'ts" or contact SCS to conduct a "Communication & E-mail E-tiquette" session for your firm.  To show your commitment to improve your email etiquette, take the E-mail Etiquette Pledge.   

 timer 

    The Two Minute Rule 

 

 

When we communicate face-to-face, we have the benefit of non-verbal cues - body language and tone.  Experts tell us that approximately 55% of a message comes from body language, 38% from tone and only 7% from the actual words.  In telephone conversations, tone comes through loud and clear and we can usually determine the mood of the other person and whether or not he or she is speaking sincerely.  With email or texting, the recipient has only the words to go by and often reads emotion or tone into those words, so we must take the time to choose our words very carefully.  But how should we respond to an email from a customer who is clearly angry about a bad customer experience with our firm?  That's where the "Two Minute Rule" comes in.

 

Often our first instinct in this type of situation is to get angry or defensive and fire off an email back to the customer pointing out all the fallacies in his email and using language that would make a drunken sailer blush.  Wrong answer - avoid the nastygram urge! Take two minutes to read over the customer's email carefully and empathize with his experience.  Take a deep breath and then immediately pick up the phone and call him. This quick display of customer service will likely surprise the customer and hopefully will please him.  Now for the hard part.  Say "I just received your email and I apologize for the inconvenience we have caused you.  You have every right to be angry."  (Think about it.  Once you've acknowledged and given him permission to be angry, he is much more likely to be receptive to what you have to say next.)  This approach shows  more professionalism than responding to the compliant by email and has a much higher likelihood of producing a positive outcome and restoring your firm's relationship with the customer. 

 

Difficult situations arise as a normal course of business, and if email is used improperly, it can lead to business liabilities or law suits. It is important to educate employees so that they understand the firm's policies on what should and should not be said in email correspondence. Nancy Flynn and Tom Flynn offer some great advice in their book Writing Effective E-Mail. "By requiring employees to use appropriate, businesslike language in all electronic communications, employers can limit their liability risks and improve the overall effectiveness of the organization's e-mail and Internet copy in the process."

                                               texting and driving 

Practice Safe Text!

  

When we think of addiction, we typically think of alcohol or drug abuse.  But today's world of video gaming, Internet, social media and texting has developed a new affliction - "techno-addiction."  Recent research has shown that texting and the immediate gratification of getting a text back can stimulate our internal dopamine systems, producing a  euphoric rush comparable to the feeling that an addict craves. Given the statistics that teens today send an average of 3,000 texts a month, it's not only important that we monitor our own texting habits but also those of our children.  "Neuro-imaging studies have shown that those kids who are texting have that area of the brain [the brain's pleasure center] light up the same as an addict using heroin," said brain specialist Dr. Michael Seyffert.

 

Here's a few texting "don'ts" to help you practice safe text.

 

DON'T:

1. Text while driving. (The reason should be obvious, but here's proof.)

2. Text while walking. (You might run into a lamppost, another person - or worse, a moving vehicle.)

3. Make texting more important than the person(s) you are with.

4. Forget to turn off the volume when in a restaurant, meeting, wedding, funeral, movie, etc.

5. Answer your cell phone or text while you're in the bathroom.

                                               LOL 

E-bloopers and
a Little E-humor

 

 

In today's world of overflowing inboxes and information overload, we often find ourselves multi-tasking while we are reading and writing emails.  When we don't give an email our full attention, we could be setting ourselves up for an E-blooper and E-mbarrassment. Imagine the anguish a certain manager experienced when he realized he had just emailed the details of his entire staff's salaries to a company group email list. What did he do next?  What any quick-thinking genius would do!  He immediately set off the fire alarm, and once everyone had exited the building, he went around to each computer and erased the email. Not every sender is as lucky!  Read about this E-blooper and others here.  

 

Since much of our day-to-day work revolves around being "connected," catch a glimpse of what some employees do when the network goes down at the office.

 

And for those of you who think you are more productive when you multi-task, we suggest you take this simple test.  

 
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