Every School Should Teach This

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Speaker 1:

And I always tell them, I say, guys, and they put so much pressure on themselves to choose the right major. It’s not about the right major. What I tell students all the time is take a communication course. Make sure that when you get out of college, you are a solid communicator. You may not be the best communicator in the world, but you are a solid communicator because no matter what the job, it requires it. Correct?

Mike:

Sure. Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

No matter what you’re doing, and two, take a finance course, know your numbers, because I think so many times when we’re students, you kind of shy away. You’re like, oh I suck at math. And I’m totally guilty. I would always say like, oh, I’m not great at math, and then I thought, I may not be great at math. Fine. Maybe algebra isn’t my thing, but that’s not an excuse for not understanding the numbers that guide my company and understanding financials and being able to ask smart questions.

Same thing on the communication side. There are students who say, I don’t really like public speaking. It’s not about public speaking. It’s about being able to convey your ideas. And if you are going to work in any professional capacity, you have to be able to express yourself in a way that connects with other human beings.

One of the things I’ve played with and the idea of, Mike, lately, and I’m saying this. The first time I said it out loud publicly is I’ve almost thought about doing a course that teaches young professionals and maybe older professionals how to send business emails because I’m shocked at the level of people don’t know how to write a business email and I teach that to my employees, my younger employees all the time. And I realize nobody in school teaches that. Why don’t we have a class that teaches the art of sending a business email, especially when so much of our communication is done through the written word.

Mike:

So let’s talk about that. You got my attention now. What is the art of sending an inappropriate business email?

Speaker 1:

It’s so contextual. But I have people who write, who send business emails and they won’t use punctuation because they think it’s like texting. It’s not texting. There’s an email etiquette. Or I taught another young friend of mine, not an employee, but a young professional who’s starting her translation business. She said, “I see this like BCC. What is BCC for?” When do you blind carbon copy someone? What is that? That’s not a feature most people use or they fully understand, or even how to convey lots of information in an email. Writing a two page email is not smart. What is the action you want people to take? When is something due? And when is it appropriate to use email versus slack versus getting on the phone with someone.

Mike:

Okay. So if you don’t mind, I have a couple of personal pet peeves I’m going to ask you about and see what you think about them.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Ask away.

Mike:

Okay. Number one, subject line. How do you feel about subject lines? Number two, reply to all. Number three, how you begin an email in terms of how you address a person? And lastly, how you end? Those four things.

Speaker 1:

All right. You might have to remind me of those, but I’ll go through the email top to bottom.

Mike:

Subject is first.

Speaker 1:

That’s where your pet peeves are.

Mike:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Through the whole thing.

Speaker 1:

Through the whole thing. So the subject line.

Mike:

I’m hard to please.

Speaker 1:

The end and the sending.

Mike:

And the reply to all, yes.

Speaker 1:

And their sending of it. Yes.

Mike:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

So reply all. Funny thing is usually when people are CC’d, it’s either A, because they need to be CC’d for whatever reason, but so often it’s a passive aggressive move and it’s such a bad use of cc because it’s like, I want you to know that I want this person to know what’s happening. So I think there’s all these kind of political things that are at play sometimes.

Subject lines, interestingly, it is something that I probably am most guilty of as well, which is vague subject lines or continuing a chain without clarifying what that email is about.

I actually had a professor in high school, a teacher in high school and he was amazing because every subject line was so clear. So for example, and I don’t want to give away his name in case he doesn’t want me to share it, but let’s say his last name was Mark. All right. His subject line would say, “Mark says hello to [inaudible 00:04:53]. Mark recommends these resources for [inaudible 00:04:59]. But they’re so great because they’re so easy to find, catalog, and it’s something that I wish that I was even better at and I took the time to tweak the subject line each time. I do think it makes a difference.

What else? How you should address someone. I think that’s very contextual. If you are writing to your colleague your friend, I think it’s fine to say, “Hey, Mike.” Totally acceptable. I do think sometimes we struggle because it’s like, I want to be polite, but then you end up with a lot of I hope you’re doing well.

Mike:

Yeah. Okay, sure. Might not be necessary. Right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Mike:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And so I think you end up with some sort of filler stuff, but again, there’s just certain things that are so subjective that I think make it difficult. Some people get, and I didn’t even know this was a thing, but I recently heard that some people get really annoyed when you send them your calendar invite because it’s like, oh, you want me to choose something that’s convenient for you? And it’s like, no, I was hoping we’d choose something that was convenient for the both of us, but rather than go back and forth, to me, it seems like an efficient time saver, but it’s interesting that some people felt like that was disrespectful. Anyways, there’s a huge debate on LinkedIn about this, which I thought was interesting.

Mike:

Yeah. Putting something on someone else’s calendar by sending them an invite sort of thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Or this was even actually more explicit than that, that I think is a total, no, no. Sending someone a calendar invite they didn’t sign up for, but this was more like, let’s say you and I are trying to connect for a meeting. And I say, “Mike, please choose a time that works for you.” And I send you my calendar link and you’re like, well, I guess I’ll just pick something that works for you rather than you ask me what works well for you and sort of go back and forth. To me, I thought that’s super efficient, but there are people out there who feel like that is not as respectful as just going back and forth.

Mike:

Right. Okay. Okay. Good. Well, I thank you for sharing that. You said to start depends on it’s contextual, but you said, Hey Mike, for example, so I am a big believer in hey, hi, something besides my name, because when you just put Mike, it’s almost like I’m getting ready for you to tell me what I have to do. Instead of hi, Mike. Still tell me what I have to do, but at least you’re-

Speaker 1:

Pleasant.

Mike:

Huh? Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Pleasant.

Mike:

Right. Yes, yes, yes.

Speaker 1:

Yes. It’s kind of like when you go to France. A lot of times they find Americans very disrespectful because we’ll just say like, hey buddy, can you show me where the Eiffel Tower is or whatever, but really the right way to do it is to say, bonjour, wait because then when they say bonjour, they’ve given you permission, and now you may ask them the question. So culturally versus here like in the US, we’re very like, hey, can you tell me if I’m on? And it’s like, wait, I didn’t give you permission to ask me that. So I think certain things are funny because they are cultural as well.

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