Email in Real Life

By Kelly Gerrish

Email was never meant to be a tool for status reports, project management, approval tracking or document storage. Yet that’s what it’s become.

Spam, out of office replies, messages unnecessarily marked as urgent – the list goes on. The truth is, email can be really annoying.

Have you ever really thought about what you sound like in an email? This video from comedy duo Tripp and Tyler shows us what the office would be like if our email behaviour spilled out into our real-life interactions. Some of this will be very familiar …

Look Who’s Talking

By Kelly Gerrish

When talking about your product or service, you’re hoping your email or website copy will spark customers’ attention and get them to buy. You have to impress with your words so it’s easy to fall into the trap of hype.

But modern day consumers are more suspicious than ever when they know they’re being sold something. Some adjectives are used so frequently that they have become meaningless, adding nothing to your message and actually reducing credibility. Think twice before using these overused marketing buzzwords in your promotional copy.talking

Advanced: Seen in marketing copy across every industry. Advanced technology, advanced processes, advanced ingredients. It’s used so often it no longer has any effect.

Revolutionary: Unless your product literally started a revolution (doubtful), avoid using this.

Groundbreaking: Very few products have actually created a new market which didn’t exist before. Notable exceptions are the iPod and sliced bread. Same can be said for its sister, breakthrough.

Cutting edge: A favourite in the technology industry, essentially meaning not behind the times. This meaningless filler slows your reader down and increases the risk of them switching off.  See also state of the art.

Exclusive: Is your product only available to one person? If not, it’s not exclusive.

Unique: We all think we’re special and there’s no one like us. But just saying it has no value. Demonstrate the benefits of your product to enable readers to come to their own conclusion.

Pioneering: Unless you’re truly leading the way in research or development of new products or were the first to climb Mount Everest, it’s probably best to avoid this one.

Innovative: If you have to say your product or service is innovative, it probably isn’t.

Instead of padding out sentences with empty words, simply tell people why your product is good and why they should care. Make the benefits the stars of your copy, and the product will sell itself.

Boosting Trust With Virtual Teams

By Kelly Gerrish

In our office, we all work in the same building. In fact, we work so close together that often we just direct a question across the office rather than walking over or emailing. We have casual, informal contact points everyday. We see pictures on one another’s desks and we know about each other’s weekend plans. In short, we know each other which helps us trust each other.

Take the same group of people, spread them across the world and put them in different time zones. Limit their ability to sync up on the phone to once a week and their face-to-face time to once a year, if ever.  Suddenly these same teammates may begin to doubt one another. There’s no way around it – trust is easier close up.

But virtual teaming is the reality of our future. For many of us, it’s our reality now. So we need to create trust even from afar. Here are 7 tips to help your virtual team work better together.

Discuss a variety of topics – not just work. Taking a few minutes to ask about their family or their weekend plans promotes teamwork.

Share time-zone burden. If someone has to get up in the middle of the night to join the meeting, rotate it so it’s fair for everyone.

Standardise communication methods. If you prefer a weekly call, ensure everyone knows this is how to brief and discuss projects.

Clarify goals, roles and expectations. There may not be a time you can sync up to ask questions later, so ensure everyone knows what their role is before you end the call.

Rotate power. Have a different team member lead the call each week to avoid one person being seen as the leader.

Communicate frequently. You may only have a weekly call but check in regularly via email.

Be reliable – do what you say you will do.

Face to face teams have numerous opportunities to clarify roles and expectations. We see and hear what others are working on, so we know if there’s any overlap. In virtual teams you have to work harder to achieve this. As trust grows, so does the team performance.