Jan 27

Brouillard, Brainerd or just bad manners?

January 27 - stockdown I've received some pretty amazing, unsolicited e-mails over the years. But, two recent ones were exceptional in their sloppiness.

The first came from the editor of a leading industry trade publication, inviting me to submit ideas for a new daily news feed. That was cool, but the editor ended the note by adding, 'And, Steve, please pass along this note to other executives at Brouillard Communications." Ouch. I left Brouillard in August of 1995. Could it be time to update your database, Mr. Editor?

The second came from a job seeker who had seen our recent posting for new hires and exclaimed, 'I cannot tell you how excited I'd be if I got the junior account executive position at Brainerd Communications!' Ouch. Brainerd Communications? Is the job seeker related to the industry trade editor?

Needless to say, neither the Brouillard nor Brainerd notes lived to see another day.

We're all in a rush, but sloppy e-mails are an embarrassment for all concerned. In the case of the trade editor, there's no real damage done since his publication will do just fine without our commentary. But, the job seeker cost herself an interview. And, in this horrific economy, that's inexcusable.

So, the next time you're about to send an e-mail to more than one organization, do everyone a favor: update your database and be sure your note is going to the intended recipient. The job offer you save may be your own.

Jul 15

There’s a fine line between aggressive and obnoxious

July 15 - Your Plaque Preview It's got to be brutally tough to work for a media property these days.

Newspapers and magazines are falling faster than the Mets' winning percentage and resumes from unemployed journalists are washing up on my desk like the flotsam and jetsam of some 19th century shipwreck.

Desperate survivors are doing anything and everything to make money for their ailing properties.

I'm typically inundated with any number of spam e-mails offering discounts on this magazine's conference or that trade publication's e-newsletter. And, whenever Peppercom is cited in some sort of awards or rankings issue, I receive unwanted solicitations from the cottage industries that surround the media like pilot fish around a shark. 

July 15 - email
I respect the fact that everyone has to earn a buck and put food on the table. But, I found this  particular entreaty amazingly boorish. I'm neither interested in the 'award' nor in ordering a plaque for a mere $129 (plus $12 for shipping).

But, it's the fait accompli tone of the spam that set me off. It reflects poorly on the individual and the organization she represents.

There's a fine line between aggressive and obnoxious. And this communiqué crossed it.

Before I end, though, I wanted to let you know about a special offer: just post a comment on this particular RepMan blog and I'll send you an engraved plaque containing your comment. All you have to do is send me an e-mail to confirm your $129 purchase (and, guess what? You'll save $130 with our special 'Christmas in July' RepMan discount).

Jun 09

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Guest Post by Anonymous

June 9 Once upon a time, people relied on this cool invention called a telephone to remotely communicate with others. Then, e-mail came onto the scene and people practically forgot about this nifty communication device. While e-mail can be a time-saving method for getting messages out, it can also be unreliable ― an aspect that can be a reputation killer in today’s fast-paced business world.

For example, a reporter recently sent me a request via e-mail, which I gladly would have replied to if I had received it. However, due to the mysteries of e-mail servers and fiber optic cables, the message never reached my inbox.  Instead, it ended up in that black hole known as “cyberspace.”

Now, you may think this seems harmless, but this reporter was extremely offended by my lack of response (mind you, I was completely unaware of his request). Rather than pick up the phone to determine if I received his message, he decided to email the head of my company and bash my PR skills. Thankfully, my boss knows I would never be so unprofessional so he did not take this to heart. However, if I did not build this rapport with him this email could have completely damaged my reputation. 

All that said, my advice to everyone is to remember that e-mail is not always reliable. So whether you are managing your reputation or others’, if  e-mail is not getting the job done, take AT&T’s advice: “Reach out and touch someone.” 

Nov 08

Yup, we’ve got those

A Randstad USA poll of nearly 2,500 U.S. workers found gossip and ‘reply-to-all’ e-mails were the biggestGossip_2
office nuisances. No surprise there. What I did find interesting, though, were such other ‘irksome’ things as:

– Unwashed dishes in kitchen sinks (that drives our receptionist over the edge)
– Potent smells like perfume, food or smoke (occasionally a pungent Middle Eastern takeout lunch will totally disrupt our office. And, I used to work for a guy who lit a cherry tobacco pipe every workday at 5pm. Talk about overpowering. Ugh.)
– Speaker phones (when I did my job swap for a day, I literally couldn’t concentrate at times because a certain someone was sooooo loud on her speakerphone)
– Loud talking (we have a few prime candidates)

As the number one ‘reply-to-all’ e-mail offender of all time, I thought I’d also list a few office pet peeves not found on the list:

– People who come into the office sick as dogs and summarily infect others
– People who use their blackberries during management meetings
– people who neglect the courtesy flush in the men’s room (now known generically as "pulling a Bray" within our office)

The other interesting finding in the Randstad survey (btw, who or what is a Randstad?) is the worker complacency about such transgressions: only one in four would confront a loudmouth; only 33 percent would say something to a rumormonger and only one in four would complain about reply-to-all e-mails.

Maybe working alongside passive-aggressive employees should be another pet peeve?