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Why Nobody Wants to Read Your Emails

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You know how easy it is to ignore an email… right? I mean you see it pop up on your phone… maybe you read it … and then you figure “eh… I’ll respond later.”  And then you don’t.

Well you’re not alone. An article out of Boomerang says when you send an email, there’s only a 34% chance you’ll ever get a response.

In OTHER words… 2 out of every 3 emails you sent today are never getting a response.

… and that’s as good as it gets.

Here’s what makes it worse:

  • Typo in the email subject line: Your chances drop to 29%
  • Starting off with a lowercase letter in the subject line: Your chances drop to 28%
  • Sending it on a Monday: You’re more likely to make those typos and sound angry in anything you write.

BUT…. 

Here’s what you can do to to improve your odds:

  • Limit the subject line to 3 or 4 words
  • Keep the content of the email between 50 and 125 words

In OTHER words… keep it short and sweet.  Remember… it’s an email… not a monologue.

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Mastering the Art of the Handshake-Fist-Bump-Bro-Hug

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This week I was at a fancy shmancy event in Albany and I ended up shaking a few hands. Know what I realized? A LOT of people don’t have a CLUE about how NOT to shake someone’s hand! I know…seems trivial BUT the right handshake is important if you want to give the right impression.

So tonight I present: “How to Shake Hands Properly Without Skeeving Everyone Out”

  • Keep your handshake firm… but not crushing. A firm handshake says you’re confident while a weak one says you’re a wimp and a crushing one says you’re overcompensating for something. Good rule of thumb is to try and mirror the same pressure the other person is using.
  • Make sure your hand is clean. Sweaty hands or dirty ones are all someone will remember about you. If you have to, wipe your hand on your pants when nobody is looking
  • Maintain eye contact and smile. If you look angry or seem to be scanning the room, people will think you’re a psycho.
  • Stand tall. This is the easiest thing that most people overlook. Always stand up to give a handshake… you’re not the Queen of England. Also keep a good posture to look confident

Ok so now that you’ve mastered “Handshaking 101”, let’s get to WHEN to handshake…and when to do something else like the “fist bump” or the infamous “bro hug”:

  • Handshake: When in doubt, always go for the handshake. It’s generic … it’s easy…  it’s a little uptight and formal… but at least you won’t confuse or offend anyone (or make a fool out of yourself). But always ALWAYS use the handshake for anything business-related or formal.

  • Fist Bump: This is pretty typical if you’re on a team or we’re talking about 2 guys who are pretty good friends…. or if you’re sick and don’t want to infect everyone with your disgusting diseases.
    • How to master:
      • Approach the other person with a closed fist no less than 5 or 6 feet away (otherwise they’ll think you’re about to punch them).
      • Smile (otherwise they’ll think you’re about to punch them).
      • Bump fists
    • Warning:
      • Don’t make any “boom” noises or pretend you have exploding fists. You’re not in middle school.

  • The High Five: A pretty similar alternative to the fist bump but unless you’re in a 1980s movie then it’s a little too old school and you’ll probably look like you’re trying to hard. The one and ONLY time you can get away with this is if you’re congratulating someone and literally say something like “nice job”
    • How to Master
      • Approach someone with your hand up in the “stop” position
      • Wait for them to put their hand up
      • Slap hands
    • Warning:
      • Watch your aim or you could be slapping them in the face.

  • Bro Hug: Usually done between 2 guys who know each other pretty well but don’t want to go full-on “hug” (because after all, they’re guys… we don’t hug). Usually it’s if the 2 bros haven’t seen each other in a long time or if they’re at a bar, gym, etc. It’s less formal than a handshake and more manly than a fist bump (definitely a no-no for any type of professional setting). It says “I like you but not in that way.” But you have to be sure the other guy is into the bro hug too or he might think you’re attacking him.
    • How to Master (execution is a little tricky for this one):
      • Start off with hands extended but instead of shaking hands you smack them hard together
      • Clasp tightly
      • Drag the other bro towards you
      • Follow up with a full-arm wrap-around
      • End with 3 or 4 strong pats on the back
      • Optional: a grunt or a roar
    • Warning
      • MUST keep the lower half of your body away from your Bro’s lower half otherwise it gets a little awkward (remember: men don’t hug and don’t want anything remotely resembling a hug)

Ok so that’s the down and dirty when it comes to greetings (I’m not even going to go into the alternate-cheek-kiss thing because this isn’t France). Please PLEASE memorize this list… because honestly you’re creeping everyone out.

How to FAKE Being “Smart”

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Ever want to be the SMARTEST person in the room? Its easy – all youve gotta do is PUT DOWN THE BEER CAN!

Ok let me explain.

At some point, you’ll be in a social situation or a professional setting and you’ll suddenly realize that you’re way out of your league and you don’t have a clue what everyone else is talking about… or you’ll realize that you really are smart but everyone thinks you’re not.

There are 2 kinds of “smart people” in the world

  1. People who are BORN smart (thanks to genetics or plain luck); and
  2. People clever enough to know how to FAKE being smart

And if you do that 2nd one RIGHT… then nobody will be able to tell the difference!

I wont tell you which category fall into … but I have a few hacks to making yourself APPEAR to be SMARTER.  This is actually pretty important than you really are:

  • Don’t hold a beer. You might be at a company retreat or a social setting but 99% of the time, people do stupid things after drinking too much…and (sorry to say) beer is the most common drink that leads to “big drunk stupid things.” So if you’re holding a beer, you’re going to look less intelligent (and possibly drunk) no matter what you say.

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  • Walk at the same speed as everybody else. Ok this seems stupid BUT studies show that if you walk faster or slower than everyone around you… they tend to think you’re stupid (on a subconscious level). I know… it doesn’t make any sense. Just go with me on this one.

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  • Put on glasses. Alright this SEEMS to be an old wives tale but it actually works. Sure you might think you look less attractive… but to everyone else you’ll be looking a whole lot more intelligent.

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  • Use a middle initial. Experts say your middle initial actually has a pretty powerful effect on how people perceive you. In most cases, the middle initial bumps up your perceived social status. If you don’t like your middle initial you can always make up one… who’s going to question it?

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  • Write simply. Most people think a HUGE vocabulary will make you look smart but you’re at a bigger risk for using a big word in the wrong way … so it could backfire and make you seem stupid. You also don’t want to seem “aloof.” Some of the smartest people speak with the simplest words.

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  • Use graphs. Ok obviously you’re not going to whip out a graph during a casual conversation but the first thing I learned in grad school was that people will believe just about anything if it looks scientific. The best way to make something look official and scientific – use a graph. I worked in the Federal government and this little trick got me out of many a sticky situation.

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  • Speak expressively. Sure… “calm, slow, and serious” used to be the big thing back in the 1950s … but in 2017, a little more excitement goes a LONG way. Feel free to speak a little faster and louder with fewer pauses and greater variation in volume… it’ll make you seem more enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the topic.

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  •  Look people in the eye. Looking at someone while speaking to them will make you seem more confident and give more authority to what you’re saying

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  • Dress smart. Ok this is a bit of a trial-and-error situation. Dress stylishly … but not boring.

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  • Smile. Stop scowling… if you have “resting b*tch face” then work on getting rid of it. “High intelligence” faces usually smile more.

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  • Remove your facial jewelry. Yes… In an “ideal world” everyone would appreciate how unique and brave you are to pierce your entire face… but it’s going to work against you when you’re trying to flaunt your IQ (sorry but it’s true). Plus people will be more focused on your cheek ring than on whatever you’re saying anyway.

face jewelry

  • Be funny. Tricky if you’re not a funny person BUT a good sense of humor is seen as a sign of intelligence. And I’m talking about “funny”… not “goofy dad joke” but “funny dry wit.” This trick also works when trying to score free drinks from the bartender.

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  • Always speak with authority. I tell EVERYONE this. Even if you have no CLUE what you’re talking about, speak as if you’re 100% sure of what you’re saying. You’ll always seem like an expert and nobody will challenge what you’re saying for fear THEY could be wrong.

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Now if you pull this off just right … then any babbling you do this weekend will just make you seem like a crazy genius.  Good luck!

How to Nail the Perfect “Online Photo”

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So lets talk about your online photo. You know you have one. Whether it’s for a company website, LinkedIn, or your own person bit of cyberspace on social media, chances are that you’ve got your face somewhere online…and there’s a pretty good chance that it looks like a mug shot.

A new study came out and it’s basically a DIY for nailing the RIGHT kind of profile photo. But for men and women, it’s totally different (so pay attention):

  • For Guys: Look straight at the camera and smile… but do NOT show your teeth
  • For Women: Look away from the camera (like off to the side or something)… AND show your teeth!

Why? No clue. BUT, somehow this is what seems to get the best responses online.

A few more tips and tricks for BOTH men and women:

  • DO
    • Make sure you’re the ONLY one in the photo
    • Try some candid shots where it doesn’t look like you’re posing (sports and action shots are best if you can work those into something)
    • Artsy back-and-white photos go over well (just don’t overdo it or you’ll look like you’re trying too hard)
  • DON’T
    • Photos of you at the beach (it looks like you’re bragging and it’s pretty unprofessional for anything work-related unless your job is “lifeguard at the beach.”)
    • Wear sunglasses (you look you’re hiding something)
    • Photos with crazy filters (you look insane)
    • and do not EVER use a “bathroom selfie” for anything! You know … the kind where you’re taking a photo of yourself in the mirror. Not only is it completely unprofessional, but also it basically says “my best friend is a goldfish, I spend all the time in the bathroom looking at myself, and I don’t know how to figure out my iPhone’s camera.” Never a good look.

Good luck!

Everyone Hates Your Resume

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Applying for a job anytime soon? Stop “thinking outside the box”…. you look like an idiot

Ok let me explain: A woman who’s read over 40,000 resumes just posted a list of the most annoying things she sees over and over that make her want to instantly throw a resume in the garbage.

  • Misspelled words and typos. People see a ton of resumes…. they’re always looking for a reason to toss some in the trash right away.
  • Too many cliché phrases and buzzwords. Like saying you “think outside the box,” or that you’re a “team player”…  it’s 2017 so that doesn’t really mean anything. One of two might be ok to throw in… just not 10.
  • A really long summary or “objective statement.” Most people skip this in 2017 but if you do include it, don’t over do it since it’s considered pretty old-fashioned anyway.
  • Starting bullet points with the phrase, “Responsible for [blank].” I know it’s tempting. Like under your current job, you might say you’re, “Responsible for daily updates” but honestly there are better ways to get your point across so you just end up looking kinda lazy and boring to be “responsible for” something.
  • Being too formal. Once upon a time it was all “suits and professional haircuts” but today managers are kind of sick of seeing stuff like, “I utilized my prodigious writing skills and leadership capabilities to bolster client engagement.” *snore* You’d be better off saying “I used my writing and leadership skills to connect with clients.”
  • Relying too much on a resume template. Changing up the font or the layout can help you stand out. Just don’t get TOO creative or you’ll look like a crazy person.
  • Having too much blank space on the page, or not enough.Sometimes a page that’s totally filled with writing is even more annoying than one with huge margins… especially if you’re using a tiny font to fit everything on the page. Either make two pages, or start cutting stuff.
  • Taking up too much space with contact information. Your name goes at the top. Then your phone number and email address should be directly underneath it, without a ton of space in between…. and even though some people still put their mailing address in there, you don’t really need to these days – if you take it out, you can fit all your contact info on one line under your name.

So there are the top tricks according to “Business Insider.” Good luck…. and if you do get a high paying fancy job definitely let me know…

… I’ll send you my resume.

Want to Ace the Job Interview? Go on a Blind Date

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Going for a job interview this week? The best way to might be to go on a blind date!

Ok so the kids over at Glamour Magazine did some digging around and found the top tricks to acing an interview… turns out its basically the same advice you’d give someone on a first date:

  • Assume it’s all going to go great
  • Psych yourself up beforehand about how excited you are
  • Start things off with some small talk (weather, traffic, etc) to build some trust before getting into anything heavy
  • Prepare to brag about yourself and all your accomplishments; and
  • For the love of God… DON’T over-rehearse for it because you’re going to sound….well… rehearsed.

So keep this in mind next time you’re going for a job interview… or you could just forget the list and practice by going on a bunch of blind dates (and let’s be honest – that’s probably a lot more fun).

You’re Tinder-ing Wrong

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Ok so it’s Monday. A brand new week. Anything’s possible. So let’s talk about what you’re doing wrong on Tinder. I mean… it IS a Monday so there’s like a 99% chance that tonight’s activities are going to consist of swiping up a storm while binge-watching the new season of “Orange is the New Black.”

Well I tracked down a few hacks to getting better Tinder matches thanks to a few experts*:

  • Don’t make your profile about what you want. Your profile should really focus on who you are. If it’s all about your “type” then you’re totally limiting who’s going to respond… you could be missing the perfect match because you like “red heads” and they’re a blond.
  • Stop being negative. Nobody wants to date someone who’s always complaining… and if you just rattle off a list of pet peeves then everyone’s going to assume you’re the kinda person who complains all the time.
  • Don’t jump into the heavy stuff until you’ve actually met each other. Everyone has baggage but NOT everyone wants to hear about your family drama and how your ex left you with a house of one-legged cats.
  • Ask your friends for advice. ESPECIALLY when it comes to profile pictures. It’s 2017… online dating isn’t something that only the sketchy perverts do anymore. Just about everyone is online so ask your friends if they think you’re putting your best face forward or if you’re coming across as a tool.
*experts = Cosmo magazine and a few others