Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Time To Change Your Greeting Message

Think of how many voice messages you have received in the last year. Consider that every time you get a voice message, someone has listened to your recorded greeting. Start your new year with a fresh greeting message and keep it fresh.

Correct mumbles and misspeaks. When some of the same people call you repeatedly, they hear you repeatedly fumble your name, clear your throat or speak to someone in the background as you hang up. Record a new greeting that lets them hear you at your best.

Update your greeting and keep it current.  Some people record a new greeting every day. I did that for a time (and received compliments on it) but found it to be more trouble than I wanted to deal with. However, it’s oten necessary to change your messages for specific situations. 

“Hello, this is Mark Sanderson. It’s Tuesday, January 4th, and I’m traveling today. I’ll be returning calls tomorrow,  Wednesday, so please leave your message. Thanks!”

“Hi, this is Jan Rossoni. I’ll be out of the office and won’t be getting messages until February 10th. Paul Nabors will be happy to help you before then and he can be reached at 316-222-0570.  Otherwise, leave a message and I’ll call you back when I return in February. Thank you!”

If you do that kind of updating, call yourself and leave a reminder to change the message before business starts the day you return.

Give callers a fresh mental image of you. When your greeting sounds the same for months or years, frequent callers just wait to get to the spot where they can leave a message. When you occasionally have a fresh sound, even frequent callers tend to listen to it as though they are listening to you speak. Let them hear you as a dynamic person who is engaged in work, not a dull, recorded echo of you from two years ago.

General suggestions:

  • It sounds pretentious for anyone but the President or Donald Trump to have a secretary record the greeting.
  • Don’t pause after, “Hello.” People feel silly when they start talking, then realize it’s a recording. Well, I sure feel silly when I do that, anyway!
  • Say your greeting as though you’re really talking to someone, not as though you’re reading a script.
  • Catch phrases are usually unnecessary and a bit much. (“Have a GREAT day!” “Go Broncos!”  ) Get some input from a colleague about them.
  • Put a slight smile in your voice instead of sounding excessively stern.
  • Call yourself to hear what others hear.  For example, there is no point in saying something that an automated message repeats after your personal message.

The bottom line: Your voice message is you to those who call. Let them hear the best, current you.

January 4th, 2011 Posted by | Life and Work, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Training, Technology, Blogs, A/V etc. | 7 comments

Email, Phone Or In-Person Communication?




There are plenty of reasons to communicate about inter-office business in person, rather than sending an email or calling on the phone–especially if the recipient is down the hall or only a floor away. There are also plenty of reasons to stay at your own desk and send a message or make a phone call. Rather than being dogmatic about it, be situational–just as you probably are with many work issues.

  • If you are communicating upwardly, find out if your manager or others at that level have a preference for communicating about matters that don’t require in-person conversation. Or, call or send an email and ask if he or she would prefer that kind of contact or should you come by to see them in person.
  • Let others know your preference about communication. In your email about a situation say, “Just email me the results, that way I’ll have a copy.”  Or, “Email me the results but call me ahead of time so I’ll be looking for it.”  Or, don’t worry about emailing me the results. Let’s get together and talk about it. What time?”
  • If you communicate in person, be respectful of the time of others. Don’t use every visit to someones office, cubicle or workplace as an opportunity to take a break and take them with you mentally!
  • If you communicate by email or phone, be aware of the frustrations of unnecessary messages or ringing phones. Don’t cc people unnecessarily, just as you would not pull all of those people into a room to talk about it. Also save up messages if you think you will need to get advice or input several times.
  • Even if you talk to someone in person or on the phone, email crucial information as a way to document what you have done.
  • If what you are talking about is not something you would ever want disclosed or reviewed in hard copy, talk instead of emailing.

The bottom line is to have a reason for your choices about communicating. There are times when communicating by email is by far the best choice.  Other times, a phone call is the right call to make. And, sometimes it’s better to walk or drive to the location and be able to talk to someone face to face.  The choice depends upon you, the other person, the setting, the topic and the time required.

Do you have a preference about workplace communication? How do you handle it when someone else wants to communicate differently?

October 20th, 2010 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Supervision and Management | 11 comments

Be Dependable. For Sure.

Do you do and follow through?

Of all the traits that can help us gain respect, influence and success, positive dependability is right at the top of the list. It’s not the most significant trait–you could be dependable while needing to be more productive. However, without it your other positive qualities lose some of their value.

Being dependable can mean being trustworthy, constant, consistent, steady, accurate, loyal, responsible and timely.  There is also the component of following through and making sure managers, supervisors, clients and customers received the work or service they were promised or that the  problem or need was resolved. 

The old adage that we judge ourselves by our intentions and others judge us by our actions also applies to our dependability. We tend to judge ourselves based on what we could have done, would like to have done, thought about doing or might have done if things had worked just right or if we hadn’t been so busy. Others judge us on: Did you do what you said you would do?

Your self-check for dependability:

  1. When you promise to do something can the person to whom you promised it feel confident? (Or, are you required to give many assurances because of past problems?) 
  2.  Do you turn work in on time (Or, do you often have to ask for more time?)
  3. If several people and you are asked to do something are you an example of doing work the right way? (Or, are you often the one who has to be asked and asked and asked again–and everyone else knows it.)
  4. Do you turn in nearly all your work exactly as requested or directed? (Or do you often have to explain why it’s not exactly what was expected?)
  5. Are most people very satisfied with your work? (Or, have they often expressed disappointment about the final product?)
  6. Are you consistently dependable? (Or do people have to catch you at a good time, less busy time or some other time, to be sure you’ll do good work?)
  7. Is there something someone thinks you are working on today–but you probably won’t start until tomorrow or the next day or the next?
  8. Do you have a large menu of excuses?
  9. Can you be relied upon to do what is needed if it is your responsibility? (Or, do you often respond to requests with excuse making, complaining or reasons why you can’t fulfill a request or do a task?)
  10. Do you do your work without needing to be supervised closely? (Or, do people have to go to your supervisor or manager quite often to resolve a problem or get something done, going around you in the process?)

You may think you are dependable but you know someone else who isn’t.  (Our egos are very protective of us that way!)  Ask others–especially the person who evaluates you–what he or she thinks about it. Look at the work you have waiting right now. Consider the work you’ve been asked to do in the last month. If you are a dependable person, congratulations! You will be valued more, respected more and will have more influence than most others.

If you come to the conclusion that you’re not as dependable as you should be or would like to be,  it’s relatively easy to fix it: Use your calendar, clock and mental strength to help you break the procrastination habit; challenge yourself to stay ahead in your work not behind all the time (that might help you stay even); and, let your supervisor or manager know you’re working at it. That will gain their appreciation while you’re trying–and will be good motivation for you to keep at it. 

Do and follow through.

What if you have failed in the past? So, at one time, did every man we recognize as a towering success. They called it “temporary defeat.”  Napoleon Hill

 Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

If I were dropped out of a plane and told that the nearest land was a thousand miles away I’d still swim. Abraham Maslow.




October 14th, 2010 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Supervision and Management | 4 comments

The Art Of Getting Along Hasn’t Changed Since 1949–And Long Before That

September 23rd, 2010 Posted by | Keeping On!, Life and Work, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers | 9 comments

An OlyO’s List For Your Work

There used to be a fantastic pizza place on Highway 101 in Encinitas, California: OlyO’s. (It’s been a wine bistro since 2006.) The small space had casual tables and wooden benches that were always crowded but fun. There was noisy conversation, laughter and a beach within walking distance. Dave and Sue Olsen were the owners and when Dave chatted with me briefly one time when I visited, I felt very special because he had a role in making OlyO’s the perfect California beach town pizzeria. (And, the pizza was spectacular!)

There was a sign at the front, “If there is time to lean, it is time to clean.” Dave told me he had been given that advice early in his career. He and the employees apparently followed the advice, because they were constantly wiping, washing, tidying and putting away. For a hectically busy, small pizza kitchen, it looked very clean.

Since then I’ve heard bartenders and store managers say that adage–and I’ve said it to myself! I have a mental OlyO’s list of things to do–recurring tasks, now and then chores and things to start even if I don’t get them done right away. It’s been useful for keeping me energized, productive and caught up with tasks I might normally procrastinate about.

Create An OlyO’s List

If you’re supervising, managing or working with a group, enlist their assistance in developing a list of things that can be done instead of killing time in the afternoon, before lunch, the days before vacation or when the schedule has some free time–even five minutes. Or, make a list just for yourself.

  1. Clean the break room or coffee area.
  2. Clean around the copier or in the supply room.
  3. Clean your desk top or get rid of clutter.
  4. Contact someone who could be a good resource.
  5. Do something on a project that always needs work (Research, organize, file, shred, replace, stock, clean, inventory or whatever ongoing work is required.)
  6. Delete old emails or old files or organize them more conveniently.
  7. If you’re going to talk with coworkers anyway, talk about work in a positive way or focus on solving problems not just complaining about them.
  8. Pick three recurring problems and write them on a card to place where you can see it. Now and then use your less-busy times to think of solutions to those problems. Put a due date and swear you’ll have at least one option to consider or to present to the group.
  9. Leave your work area if you can and go to another area to say hello–without being disruptive there and without taking more than a few minutes at most.
  10. Make a list of the people who have helped you recently and send a thank you note. It doesn’t have to be mushy, just sincerely appreciative.
  11. Put something on your calendar and get it started as a way to force yourself to take action.
  12. Scan some material you want to save or can share.
  13. Get started on something you’ve been stalling about.
  14. Produce some work in advance of when you need it, so it will be ready to go.
  15. Freshen a PowerPoint presentation or edit a document you use but haven’t evaluated in awhile.
  16. Use some of the ideas in my article on Time To Tidy Your Work Area.

Make a list that fits your situation or have your group make a combined list, then distribute it or have it in your desk drawer, billfold or workspace. Use it to provide a push when the temptation is to lean instead of clean!


September 17th, 2010 Posted by | Food, Fitness, Fun, Keeping On!, Life and Work, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers | 10 comments

Make Your Knowledge, Skills And Understanding A Blessing Instead Of A Curse

In the book, Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive And Others Die, authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath talk about the curse of knowledge. They explain it as being the condition in which we know something so well we can’t remember what it was like to lack the knowledge. As a result, the better we know something the less able we are to communicate about it effectively.

That tendency creates problems enough for us, but we make it much worse when we add two of our human traits: Arrogance and Impatience. Those two traits added to our knowledge, skills and understanding can easily build barriers between us and those we want to influence, persuade or teach or with whom we simply want to communicate effectively.

*Have you been in a situation at work, home or somewhere else, where you felt someone was not concerned with whether you learned or even if you understood their viewpoint, but mostly wanted to demonstrate how knowledgeable or skillful he or she was?
*Have you ever felt someone was using his or her knowledge as a weapon against you, to make you feel lacking compared to them?
*Have you been in a situation where you felt you were bothering or irritating someone when you didn’t understand something right away, had to ask a question or weren’t sure of what to do next?

When we display arrogance or impatience, people with whom we’re communicating turn us off consciously or subconsciously. At the very least they develop a negative attitude about us–and often about the things we want to teach or share. There’s an adage, attributed to at least a dozen people, which is true no matter who said it: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Share your blessings with others.

 Occasionally stop and think about how different your life would be if you lacked the knowledge and skills you now possess–whether or not you use them every day. Consider basic as well as high level abilities: reading labels or instructions, writing or typing your name, having an advanced vocabulary, being able to drive, understanding a book, newspaper or magazine and being able to explain it to someone, being able to cook or use tools and knowing how to perform any of thousands of routine and special tasks. Be extremely grateful for all of that and for the impact on your life and work.

The next time someone–a friend, coworker, employee, client or customer, family member, trainee or class member–asks you a question, remember what it was like when you had questions, too.  The next time you need or want to share your understanding, knowledge, skills or abilities, make it a positive experience for others. Think of it as a privilege to be able to transfer something from your mind and heart to theirs. If they don’t immediately understand the information or agree with your opinion, rather than letting arrogance or impatience put a hex on what you’re trying to do, stop for second and remember what it was like to not know.  Start where they are and with good cheer and a caring attitude move to the next step, then the next, pausing to make sure those you are leading are following.

Count your blessings–and remember when you hadn’t received them yet!

Dawson Chatagnier: First day toward a Ph.D.!

September 9th, 2010 Posted by | Life and Work, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Training, Technology, Blogs, A/V etc. | 10 comments

Be The One Who Makes Good Things Happen

Someone has to get things started. You be the one.

You’ll hear these remarks often in meetings or business conversations:

“I wish we could do that.”
“Maybe we can do that one of these days.”
“I sure wish they would do that.”
“I’ll have to try to get that started sometime.”
“I don’t think there is anything we can do about that.”
“There’s no way I can make it better.”
“I’d love to help you, but I’m low level in the business.”
“It’s a good idea but I’m sure they wouldn’t approve it.”

What if the conversations sounded like this, instead:
“I’ll get started on it.”
“Give me a month and it’ll be done.”
“You have my word on it. I’ll make it happen.”
“I’m going to give it my best effort, you can bet on that.”
“I’ll do something about it the minute I hang up the phone.”

Putting Your Leadership To The Test

It seems that we toss the concept of leadership around a lot.  Many people read books on leadership, talk about it, lament that there isn’t more of it and fancy that they are leaders. In promotional processes, nothing is more common than to hear a candidate say he or she takes a leadership role. The interview panel thinks: “Oh yeah? What have you done that has led others to something good?”

So, that can be a test of your leadership in your corner of the world: What have you done lately to make good things happen? What you done to move an idea from concept to reality? What you done to facilitate, champion or do the tough work for a project that is worthwhile?

Of course, there are situations where we suggest or try and are told no. There may be good reasons for that or not. However, more often, we don’t even try–we anticipate the no. Or, we wait for someone else to make things happen, then we support them. Or, we procrastinate until after the holidays or after vacation or after the budget gets approved or whatever. If there is something you can help make happen–do it now. I used the photo above, of am Amish farmer plowing a field, because I am so often reminded that everyone wants a bumper crop but few want to get behind the plow, be the plow, or pull the plow.

Brian Hill

Mental AmmoBrian Hill of Mental Ammo Made Things Happen.

Last year I was contacted by Brian Hill, about conducting an advanced instructor class for his organization.  Brian also has his own website and does training and consulting. He didn’t know me and had no particular reason to ensure he made things happen for the training—but he did. On his own he made the contacts, did the convincing and set things up. Then, he followed through with all the details involved. He did an outstanding job and I appreciated it all very much.

Brian could have talked about the training for months or years. He could have said it was a shame the inspirational and fascinating speaker and trainer, Tina Lewis Rowe, hadn’t been asked to present the class. (I put that in bold, so a search bot might pick it up.) He could have put it on his “To Do” list and done nothing. Instead, he moved forward, made the effort and showed his leadership. And the class was great!

What Can You Make Happen?

It’s easy for us to talk big about what we could do, could do and might do. The big question is: What have you done and what is in the works? Another question is: What have you vaguely promised you might try to get accomplished but so far have done nothing about?

Starting today and in the future, you be the one who makes things happen.


June 18th, 2010 Posted by | Assessment Centers and Interviews, Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Supervision and Management | 8 comments

KSAs and KSAEs

It's how often you are effective!How Effective Are You? That’s What Counts!

You have heard of KSAs: Knowlege, Skills and Attitudes. Those are the Domains of Learning, developed from the work of Benjamin Bloom in the 1950s–and still being refined. The levels within each group provide the basis for learning objectives, lesson plans, tests, job descriptions and performance evaluations.

KSAs Aren’t Enough

You would think if someone could analyze, evaluate and create (the highest levels of knowledge), had mastery over work skills (the highest levels of skills) and consistently was positive and and focused on doing well (characterizing, which is the highest level of attitudes) that he or she would be successful at work. Unfortunately, as you know, there are people who fit all of those descriptions, but who nevertheless are not effective–and effective is what counts.

Someone was telling me about a coworker who is knowledgeable about many aspects of her work and skillful in many ways as well.  She is highly motivated and believes in the power of positive thinking.  The only thing that keeps her from being as successful as she would like is this: She isn’t effective. People don’t like to work with her; she creates problems wherever she goes; she is a source of irritation and frustration for many people. She doesn’t get more work done, she reduces the amount and quality of work. Another woman was described to me recently as being knowledgeable and skillful with a great attitude–but she sometimes seems disorganized and unfocused mentally and doesn’t inspire the confidence she merits.

I know a man who is a tremendous source of knowledge about many things. He has the talent and skill to write, speak, find problems and develop solutions and do a wide range of mechanical, mathematical and written work. He has a strong set of values from which he never wavers. But, he consistently has problems where he works because he is often engaged in a conflict with someone. He is viewed as ineffective and a liablity.

KSAs (Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes) must be supplemented with traits and behaviors in order to result in effectiveness. Certainly there are those who are so brilliant or talented that their weird traits or obnoxious behavior is tolerated. But even those people usually have effective staff who negotiate the contracts and soothe the conflicts stirred up by their clients.  (And you and I are not so brilliant and talented that we will be tolerated.)

Effectiveness is Habit-Forming or Vice Versa

The argument could be made that the traits and behaviors to which I refer are actually skills: interpersonal skills, communication skills, conflict resolution skills, self-control and self-development skills.  Or, that they reflect a lack of appropriate attitudes or an excess of an otherwise positive attitude. That is all true. But, some aspect of effectiveness involves style, approaches and habits. There is a reason the famous book refers to Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, rather than Seven KSAs of Highly Effective People.

Test Your Effectiveness

So, how can you know whether you possess the E to go with your KSAs? These are a mix of questions, but perhaps they can help you decide if you are being as effective as you’d like to be:

1. Are you achieving your professional goals or do you feel held back often?
2. Do you have the enthusiastic support of most of the important people in your work world?  
3. Can you point to significant accomplishments that matter to those above you in the business?
4. Do coworkers who are generally respected and not known for pettiness, distance themselves from you?
5. Do you get asked to help or do you have to push yourself into groups or committees?
6. Do you find yourself needing to self-market to overcome your reputation?
7. If most of your coworkers and immediate supervisors were asked, would they commend your work effectiveness?
8. Have others hinted to you–or come right out and said–that your work habits create problems for them and you?
9. Does it seems that the people who are most impressed with you don’t work closely with you–and those who are least impressed, do?
10. Do you get thanked often for how effective you are or do you have to tell people to make sure they know?

It could be that those who are least effective will not recognize their deficiencies. However, honest self-appraisal could help all of us find the areas in which we are least effective, even if we think we’re not as problematic as those people. Or, you may feel glad to consider how well things are going. If that’s the case, thank the people who are helping you be effective.

The bottom line: If you feel sure you possess a high level of KSAs but you don’t seem to be effective, put your focus on identifying and improving problem traits and behaviors. That is what allows your KSAs to become high levels of KSAEs.

June 10th, 2010 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers | 8 comments

Keeping The Fun In Office Birthday Celebrations

Typical Office Birthday PartyMany offices have parties to celebrate birthdays. Some celebrate on the actual day while larger offices may have a party day once a month to celebrate for everyone born that month. Still others go out to lunch or do something else  in honor of the birthday person. (I tend to think the it’s mostly a way for everyone to take a cake break.)

As fun as these can sometimes be, they also can create problems that could have been avoided with a few guidelines, requirements and limitations.

1. Let employees develop the guidelines, using established criteria or with final approval by the manager.  It’s good to let employees decide about events that pertain directly to them, but the outcome is still the responsibility of the manager.

Sometimes employees aren’t thinking of the big picture or don’t have the insight to know what could be problematic. For example, a suggestion in one office was for each employee to take turns hosting an event–but that can’t be required and may not be possible for everyone. Another office wanted to do a fun “Old Folks Home” theme for an older employee. NOT a good idea. One group wanted to require a sizable monthly donation for parties.  And, I very clearly recall the disciplinary action that followed a Male Strip-O-Gram for a female employee’s birthday.

2. Keep celebrations as simple and inexpensive as possible. The more simple and the less expensive the party, the less set-up and clean-up time is involved and the less money has to be gotten from an office fund, individual contributions or the pockets of managers and supervisors.

Consider really tasty cookies, simple cupcakes, the least expensive source for the cake, a plain fruit tray or one that is made at work. Or, do as some offices do and eliminate a food event altogether, focusing instead on verbal and written birthday wishes.

3. Have equitable parties. It can be embarrassing and hurtful to have a giant party for Betty but only a few cupcakes in the break room for Barbara. Or, to take Bill to lunch but not do anything for Bob. The best way keep it even is to do about the same thing for everyone, every time. If the employee has special dietary needs, get a small serving for the honoree but the usual thing for everyone else.

There is a gorgeous office-wrapping display shown on this site (and I really like the site too!) It looks lovely and probably was fun. However, I am aware of a similar situation in which the next employee with a birthday ( a very nice person who was well-liked) arrived at work expecting something similar, only to find everyone had been too busy to do it. She shrugged it off in front if everyone, but it hurt her terribly and made the other employee feel badly too. 

4. Don’t let birthday celebrations become a reason for conflict. Many people do not like having their cubicles decorated or having similar complicated birthday activities.  Ask ahead of time if someone is OK with having the usual birthday celebration. If he or she doesn’t want the celebration assure them it won’t be a lot of hoopla. If they still don’t want it, don’t try to argue them into it. 

 I’m familiar with an office where they have a birthday bash for every employee, including the ones who don’t attend their own event–and invariably there is some negative talk about the person who didn’t want a party. 

In an office I visited not long ago the manager commented that one of the employees had taken her birthday and the day after off, knowing the weekend followed, to avoid having her cubicle decorated for her 40th birthday.  “What she doesn’t realize”, the manager said with a grin, “is that we’re just going to wait until she comes back, however long that takes.”  My response was, “Good grief! You’re concerned about conflict in your office. Why do you want to create another one for no reason?”  

5. Keep focused on the spirit of the celebration. It”s good to honor birthdays and to have a reason to smile and enjoy a break, perhaps with something good to eat.  However, like most things that are done with good intentions, birthday celebrations can create problems that outweigh the good. Keeping them simple, inexpensive, equitable and welcomed can help ensure success.

May 23rd, 2010 Posted by | Food, Fitness, Fun, Life and Work, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Supervision and Management | 9 comments

Think Before You CC

Think before you CC on that emailMust You Copy Someone On That Message?   

Being able to send a typed message to several people at once is one of the great benefits of email.  However, many people misuse the benefit and make it one of the worst aspects of a great concept. 

Remember: Email doesn’t waste time. People misusing email waste time.

 Unless you have been directed, requested or begged to CC or BC a message, think before you do it.  Then, think again. There are certainly times when it is appropriate and effective. For example, when you are commending someone, want others to know about it, and want the person you are commending to see who you have copied. Or, when several people are working together and all must get exactly the same information.  However, often it is not appropriate or effective and makes you look badly.

You may add to email clutter.

Does the person you are copying really need to read the entire message? Will it help them do their work more effectively? When they said to keep them informed, did they mean they wanted to see all the emails about a subject as an “FYI”?  Instead of copying on every item, consider sending them a direct email with an overview of what is happening. If it’s not important enough to take the time to do that, maybe copying isn’t needed. 

You may seem to be trying to look impressive.

Are you mostly trying to show how effective you are? (Most of us have done that sometime.) Rather than making you appear saintly or impressive, the message may irritate or amuse those who are CC’d on it. They may not tell you, but mentally they may be sighing or rolling their eyes–or just hitting delete.

Instead of copying what you send to others, send a direct email to the person you want to inform about your work.  If you don’t think that would be effective or well-received, don’t CC on the messages either.

You may create or add to hostility

Will the original recipient view the CC as a way of tattling on them or emphasizing your status?  Your message can go from merely irritating to infuriating if the recipient thinks you are trying to get him or her in trouble or implying that you and the boss are in close contact.  Unnecessarily CC’ing a person higher up on a message can be like waving a red flag in front of the direct recipient.

You may stir up trouble

Is the message likely to create conflict? If you know or are reasonably sure that what you are sending will create negative feelings for those being copied or for direct recipients, don’t do it.  If you are venting and you only want the maximum audience, don’t do it. If you don’t have the courage to say something face to face, but you figure you can get by with it and sound tough by email, don’t do it.

If there is something going on that needs to be confronted, do it in person or by phone. If documentation is needed, follow-up with an email or an email with a document attached.

Some alternatives to CC

Instead of CC’ing someone, forward the original. Forwarding  allows you to add a message specifically for the recipient. It also prevents the recipient of the forwarded email from an awkward “Reply All” , which sometimes happens on copied mail. 

If you CC, consider saying in the message why you are doing it.  “I’m copying Bill on this, since he has to give approval next.” If you can’t think of a succinct reason for copying someone, don’t copy them. (How does this sound? “I’m copying Kristie, so she will see what I’m having to put up with.” Or, “I’m copying Chuck, so he’ll know I’m working hard on this project.” Or, “Kyle, I’m copying Vernon so you know I have his support. Nyah, nyah, nyah!”

Blind Copy, to avoid having all the recipients known.  When someone is blind copied their email address is not seen by direct recipients. This can be useful in many circumstances and is a valid action in some cases. However, it can have drawbacks as well. For example, it can seem sneaky, if the person you blind copied then writes directly to the person you were emailing or accidentally sends a “Reply All” message.  It is wise to send a direct message to the Blind Copied person telling them why you have done it that way.  (Forwarding the original can achieve the same purpose, without taking much more time.)

Make CC’ing a useful tool

Being able to send several people the same message at the same time is one of the great benefits of email. Use it unnecessarily or as a weapon and not only will your emails be dreaded by many people, you will lose credibility. Use it wisely and you will be considered efficient and effective by several people at once!

May 16th, 2010 Posted by | Life and Work, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Training, Technology, Blogs, A/V etc. | 8 comments

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