Mastering Email 101

In this very techno age of doing everything on a PC, Laptop, or Hand-held device you would thing that something as basic as mastering Email is somehow an acquired skill in our DNA.  So why then do people have such a difficult time with certain functions of Email?

Let’s see, most of us know how to turn on the device and locate our email, and see all the people who have sent us messages.  Check one!

Reading email seems to also be a mastered skill by most who have an email account, as I often send email to people with a read receipt feature that lets me know when they have opened the email I sent them  Check two!

Quite a few people are capable of sending an email to individuals and even several people at once.  Check three!

And while I believe most folks know how to delete a message in their inbox, it does me no harm if they want to keep a thousand emails that they are never going to read, except that it can interfere with the least used function of email.

Where things seem to really get bogged down is in the use of the “Reply” function.  Why is it so difficult for people to run that little cursor over to the reply button and click it?  My, would that facilitate communication and avoid guessing or what!

Earlier this week someone sent me an email letting me know they had received a package I sent them, and were interested in talking with me that very afternoon.  They sent this email at 7:58AM and I responded around 8:11AM that I was available and to let me know what time they wanted to talk.  My read receipt told me they read my email at 8:32AM.  By 3:00PM, I redirected my response and politely asked if tomorrow would be better since I had not heard from them.  (He probably doesn’t know how to “reply” to an email).  He read that email a few minutes after I sent it!

Two days later and I am still waiting on a response.  I can’t help but wonder how this person functions all day without the ability to respond to emails that are sent to him, especially when those emails are responding to his original requests.  It must be frustrating for him, and I know it is frustrating for those of us that are wondering what the heck is going on at that company.

Although today’s blog is an attempt at humor, it is also a serious performance issue that many of today’s employees exhibit.  They are wasting their time and the time of others because they are unable to use email properly.  It is not really a lack of skill but rather a lack of will.  It is inconsiderate and rude, and yet tolerated way too much!

I guess I could call this person, but I wonder what would happen if I don’t reach him and have to leave a voice message.  Could he “return” the call?

Telling The Truth Won’t Kill You!

In the current political environment you would think that telling the truth would somehow be the end of life for the very people lying their butts off lately.  I’m so tired of listening to “the spin” and trying to figure out what people are trying not to say, that I long for the days when people just told the truth.

The sad part is that most of these professional liars are so into their version of the truth that they have convinced themselves that they are being truthful.  Even when they are confronted with annoying little things like facts they ignore the conversation and start in again with an even more exaggerated version.

Okay, sadder still is the vast amount of people listening that are being duped into believing the lies!  I want to just yell at everyone to stop lying and just tell the truth.  Face up to reality and let’s fix the problems.  Leaders should be leading in a positive way, and stop all this finger-pointing.  As my good friend Linda Galindo would say, “it is time to take personal accountability!”

So for those of you that are fearful that telling the truth might kill you, I’m pleading with you to try first and see how your relationships actually improve when people trust you more.  And for the politicians seeking a vote, you might be surprised how obtaining trust will help.

Me A Mentor?

“Shouldn’t it be an honor to be a mentor?”  A former training manager that worked for me several years back asked me that question.  She is an RN in a hospital in Nevada now, and had found a person who she thought was the perfect model of competency and human compassion.  She approached her about being a mentor and the person reacted as if she was being fired.

I am a firm believer in mentoring as part of our learning process, so at this former company I was Chief Learning Officer; I encouraged both formal and informal mentoring relationships.  This training manager thought this to be the norm in an organization, and experiencing first hand the positives of mentoring; she sought out this relationship in her new career in nursing.  Yet she was not prepared for the negative reactions she has been getting to find a mentor.

I explained to her that I agree that it is an honor to be selected by someone to be a mentor.  Every time someone has asked me to play that role, I get almost flustered at the thought they picked me out of the crowd of possibilities.  Yet, because I understand the value in the mentoring role I always jump at the offer.  I then explained that unless someone has witnessed the positive results of mentoring, or been a mentor themselves it is a bridge we must build for most folks.

Not only do we need to help people understand the value of mentoring, we need to spell out the responsibilities in the relationship.  Be prepared to describe what you are seeking from them as a mentor, and what the time commitments are of what you are seeking.  I suggested she approach the next person with an opening like, “have you ever been a mentor before?” and then proceed with either your definition, or if they have been a mentor, you tell them you would like to see if they would mentor you.

I’m happy to say that in the past couple of weeks my friend has found a mentor that is “honored” at the role, and opened to learning how to be the best mentor ever.  What my friend did is my advice for everyone today, and that is to keep trying.  Having a mentor benefits both of you, and if you keep up your search, the right match will surface eventually.

The Guy In The Glass

Sometime around 1985 I was on a Holland America Lines cruise to Alaska when I heard the Cruise Director, David Lawton, read a poem called “The Guy In The Glass.”  After a couple of days the words stayed with me and I asked for a copy that I just found this week.  I would like to share it with you.

The Guy In The Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self and the world makes you king for a day, go to the mirror and take a look at yourself and see what that guy has to say.

It isn’t your mother, father or wife who’s judgement on you must pass.  The fellow who’s verdict counts most in your life is the guy staring back from the glass.

You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum and think you are a wonderful guy.  But the guy in the glass says you are a bum if you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years and get pats on your back as you pass.  But you’re final reward will be heartaches and tears if you’ve cheated that guy in the glass.