Reply and be replied to

“Choice of attention – to pay attention to this and ignore that – is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.” W.H.Auden The Training Box is not alone in noticing that a lot people do not bother to respond to emails anymore. One recent article we came across, sourced from The New York Times, quoted people listing reasons ranging from “Replying will just result in more mail,” to “It’s easier not to reply than to say no.” Clearly, we have to accept that overloaded mailboxes will occasionally result in emails being missed or in delayed responses but not replying should definitely not be “the new no”. In what other communication channel is it acceptable to ignore the person who is reaching out to you without being considered to be impolite or rude? Your email is a reflection of you. Every email you send has the potential to add to your reputation or to damage it. Ignoring any email (other than spam, junk mail or circulars) is much more likely to send out a negative message. 3 very good reasons why you should always reply to your emails Treat others as you would like to be treated. If you ask someone a question or send them an invitation (whether in person or on the telephone or in an email), you expect a reply. How does it make you feel to be ignored and what does it say about you if you ignore others? Replying to requests...

Lead the way to LESS mail

  “Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential.” Will Cuppy   Good email etiquette is definitely about quality rather than quantity. There are no formal rules about how to use email but you can cultivate good habits in yourself and in your team that make life easier for everyone. Here is our Top 20 tip hit list. 1. Write less: one way in which to receive less mail is to write fewer emails yourself – pick up the phone or walk down the corridor to have a real conversation. 2. Write effectively: being succinct and relevant in crafting your mails may take you longer initially but in the long run, you will be more efficient and effective in what you achieve. 3. Encourage your team to write effective mails too: provide fair and constructive feedback to any team members who send lengthy emails and let them know that you would appreciate short, concise emails from them. 4. Use a clear heading in your subject line: get to the point with an accurate description of what the email concerns – be simple, clear and direct. Refresh the subject line if your reply takes off in a different direction. 5. Don’t get mistaken for spam: the subject line is crucial here. Avoid all capitals, all lower case, don’t include url’s or exclamation marks – these are all signs that could consign your mail to the spam folder. 6. Provide essential information about yourself: unless you are 100% sure, don’t assume that the reader knows you automatically. Write a one sentence introduction saying who you are, what you...

The communication cycle

Communication is commonly talked about in terms of a cycle. In any communication, the principal characters are known as the sender and the receiver: Ideas exist in the sender’s brain as electrochemical neuron systems, not words. Encoding is what happens when we convert these electrochemical impulses to sounds (or writing) – words and sentences so they can be transmitted. Decoding is what happens at the other end – the receiver’s brain converts the bits of sound back to electrical impulses If communication succeeds, the sender’s exact (or close) ideas end up in the receiver’s brain as electrical energy ready for decoding. Responsibility for successful communication lies with the person transmitting the...

Write a cover letter to go with your CV

In these days of on-line applications and e-mail, you may think that a cover letter is no longer important. This is NOT the case although it is fair to say that cover letters now come in various formats, of which the traditional letter is only one; it may be an e-mail to which you attach your CV, an e-mail to which you attach a cover letter and a CV or it may be on-line application which offers you the opportunity to write some sort of equivalent to the cover letter in part of the standard form. Treat them all seriously, giving due care and attention to what you say and how you say it. The cover letter (or equivalent) is important for a number of reasons; it is often the first thing the person at the other end reads; it allows you to “sell” yourself and say why you are applying; it sets the tone for the CV it introduces. As with the CV, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all cover letter”. Here are the most important things to watch out for: Make sure all address /addressee details are accurate and that the date is correct. Write no more than one page and pay attention to layout and eye-appeal. Provide your contact information clearly. Refer in first paragraph to the title of the position you are applying for and if appropriate where you saw the position advertised. Carefully compose a couple of sentences that highlight your core skills and competences, choosing ones that reflect back what you can see in the job description. Write...

CV’s with visual impact

When someone opens an envelope or looks at your files on their PC, what they see in front of them delivers an impression of you as a potential employee or colleague. Before they even get to reading the content, the visual attractiveness of your documents ( or lack thereof) will lead them to begin formulating an opinion about you. You need to take care of the look and style of your CV to make sure it is attractive and easy to read. Here are our top tips: Impact at outset: Start with your name (in bold text, 20 pts) and your personal details can be “boxed” underneath and in a smaller size. You do not need to use “Currriculum Vitae” or “CV “as a heading. To photo or not to photo: Opinions vary on the inclusion of photographs (there are advantages and disadvantages) but if you do use a photo, make sure it is professional in tone and style and that the resolution is suitable. Make good use of headings: Separate out sections, highlight key information and differentiate different types of information by consistent use of bold, italic styles or a slightly larger font height. Underlining looks messy. Font style: Choose one font that is simple, clear and readable.  Sans Serif fonts such as Arial, Calibri, Trebuchet MS work nicely. Take care with Serif fonts such as Times New Roman – they can sometimes look old-fashioned and a bit complicated. Font size: Select a font size that ensures ease of reading but balances this with compactness.  Making things smaller may help you to hit the target of a two-page...