Be Thankful

When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter? Thank you card? Mailed out a birthday card? Now, how many? If you had to think about this longer than a minute or two, then you should consider sending out cards more often.

With the technology* we have today, everything is done instantly. That is great for productivity and work, but not so great when it comes to building relationships. If you have read my relationship networking etiquette posts, this post like those help you create and nurture relationships within your network. The single-most effective way that has kept me close to the people in my network is by simply being thankful.

People enjoy the feeling they are appreciated, right? If I could meet for lunch and tell someone I value them I would. We know that our schedules do not always work with us, so why not express my gratitude in a card?

On Twitter, I won a drawing for a free book. When it came in the mail, it felt good to have something tangible in my hand instead of an e-version. The gesture to send a thank you card was easy and so worth the 10 minutes to do it!

After an initial meeting with a potential client, I always send a thank you card. Spending time with someone for an hour discussing how RT Consulting can increase their business is always worth sending a card.

Thank You!  |  Source credit: Rifle Paper Co. Booth 3124

When someone has responded to my e-mail, I thank them.

When someone has shared advice or encouraged me, I thank them.

When someone you know gets a new job or promotion, congratulate them.

Sometimes there doesn’t have to be a specific reason to send a card, but send one anyway.

Now it is your turn to tell your own network and relationships how thankful you are for them. Trust me, your gesture will not return void.

*For the technology driven, here are some apps for your smartphone to help send cards.

“Never Doubt And Keep Moving Forward” -RLT

Yes, I just quoted myself in my headline to make a point–NEVER DOUBT AND KEEP MOVING FORWARD. Ok, caps lock off. That’s what I have been telling myself lately knowing that my internship is coming to an end in about a month. I probably should be talking about graduation, but I do not fear what tomorrow brings because I know I am moving forward in what I want to do with my life. I am trusting in my faith that the impressions I have made and the hands I have shook will actually get me closer. Am I expecting something to be handed to me? Not at all! I am encouraging those who are struggling and uncertain about what the future holds to keep moving. Seriously.

  • Find out what you’re passionate about and dive into it. I love writing and am trying to blog more and hand write letters through the mail. When I am writing, I get to escape from my own head for a while and just become one with whatever I am writing about. When I write a letter, I make sure I express my how grateful I am toward the person who wrote me and give them a piece of my time like they have done for me. When I blog, I am looking forward to hearing how something I wrote had helped someone, which encourages me to write more. What are some ways you can do more in your area of interest?
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people. When I am around people who are creative thinkers, I feel more “artsy.” (You know what I’m talking about.) It’s the feeling of progress that comes out of being around those type of people. Last week at my internship, I heard a few keywords that sparked my interest. I won’t reveal what they are because it’s not suppose to leave the office, so I’ll say it’s something you can Google. (Not helpful, I know.) What I am trying to say is after hearing those key words I have been researching ways to make those keywords an action! The ideas are endless and puts me on a path that leads to “progress” until it comes to life. How are your surroundings?
  • Don’t be afraid to try. I know there’s a famous quote that goes like, “The journey of success beings with a single step” and that’s how I feel. If you do not try, then why live? Ok, that might be a bit extreme. I remember I used to mentally give up before I even physically started and felt defeated. Now, I take a moment and get the thoughts out of my head and onto something tangible. After it is tangible, I review the thoughts and make a move. I know it’s nerve wrecking and will be hard at first, but I promise you will feel much better about it after everything has been said and done. Take a chance and be brave!
  • Always be willing to learn and improve. I have humbled myself many times realizing I can always improve on something. (That’s hard to admit coming from a perfectionist, but it’s true.) The world is changing rapidly and maybe you are learning today and tomorrow you’re teaching others about it. Who knows! Allow yourself to be flexible and see where it takes you. Nothing happens overnight, but a little progress each day is easier than cramming it all at once. Try finding someone who knows something about what you want to know more about and refer to my network relationship etiquette after you spend time with them.

Good luck with your journey and I pray it brings you success and happiness!

Network Relationship Etiquette (Part 2)

Here we go, another blog that is written to help you. In my last post I talked about the basics of how important your name, e-mail, e-mail signature, contact phone number, and a landing page about.me. I hope you take the next few suggestions and apply them to your network and find success in your endeavors!

  • E-mail writing: is a whole topic in itself, but I’ll try to keep it simple and to the point. When you are writing a contact in your network, keep in mind they are a professional and represent what it’s like in the industry. Does your contact write with poor grammar? Probably not. When I am compose an e-mail for someone in my network, I tend to leave the “To:” field blank so I can reread it prior to sending it. I do this because on yahoo! it saves a draft automatically and alerts me the message cannot be send because the “To:” field is blank. That is my intention–for the e-mail to not get sent until I proofread my e-mail once, twice, and sometimes three times before clicking send.

E-mail writing advice:

  1. Try to keep the e-mail simple and to the point.
  2. If they have written you in greater length before, it is best to mimic how you received the e-mail unless what needs to be said can be simplified.
  3. Always say thank you at some point to be sincere and appreciative of the contact’s time.
  4. Allow your e-mail signature to leave your contact information, so there’s no need to have it typed out twice.
  • A “Thank you” goes a long way. Manners are a sign of respect and adds to your character, which ultimately enhance the image your are trying to represent. Saying it in response to an e-mail is fine, but what if you ran into someone in your network in public? Did that person give you a quick “hello” or a few minutes of their busy day to talk and catch up with you? Snail mail isn’t dead, so utilize the lost art of writing a simple “thank you” card to that person. You don’t have to scramble looking for your contact’s home address. Instead, try sending it to his or her office with an “Attn: John/Jane Smith” with an return address label. By doing this approach, the person will remember the gesture long after your e-mail has been sent and read.

Suggestions on “thank you” cards:

  1. Keep cards in good taste: avoid cliche or trendy cards unless you are more familiar with your contact’s taste and style.
  2. Universal “thank you” cards that are blank with a simple “thank you” text is more than appropriate.
  3. K.I.S.S.
  4. When writing the card, date the card when you wrote it (e.g. 10/2011) and reference when you saw or was thinking about them (e.g. It was nice seeing you last night).
  5. Don’t decorate the outside with fancy frills or stickers. This is not your pen pal or best friend… yet.
  • Social Media accounts are popular because we love to stay connected and be a part of something; however, staying connected with different groups of people can be challenging. If you have an about.me page like me , that is the only place I have most of my social media accounts “linked.” Linked is when live posts can be viewed on more than one site at a time. Once I did this, I made a metal note to only post material as if my mother was standing behind me. (You know what I mean.) What you post on the internet cannot be erased and a future employer or contact can view your angry post of your bad day, long after it took place. If you aren’t worried because your “accounts” are private–think again. Reports of social networking sites tell us they can sell your account information to generate revenue, even if it’s private. Does this mean a business can ask Facebook to look at your blocked account? Maybe, maybe not but why take that chance? Think twice before posting videos, pictures, and being tagged in friends and family’s media.
  • “Linked” accounts may sound convenient to show “anyone and everyone” all at once, but think about it… no, really think about it. If you have an account on Instagram, take a photo and upload it to site, it shares the photo on your Twitter account instantly. Now, it’s available to the public when the photo might have been intended for personal use. We are on social media to show we are active and engaging, so why not practice doing it? If you post relevant material, your network will notice and possibly generate more followers and friends. I am starting to read more and want to share my latest review on Goodreads, I can always use the copy the short code link and tell my network about it. Recently, I downloaded an app for my iPhone called iMapMyRUN. The app asks you go sign up with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account. It allows you to share with your network about your running stats based on what you want to share.
Suggestions how “linking” can be in your favor:
  1. I allow this blog to have a feed on my linkedin profile. I recommend posting links leading future contacts and employers to your blog, online portfolio, or current work you have done to showcase your talents virally.
  2. Your klout score could go up. (Klout is a website is designed to measure how you influence your network and how it influences you.)
  3. Sharing links can show your network you are active and trying to engage with them and in other hobbies and interests.
Questions and comments are welcome. Thank you for reading and hope we can continue to learn and grow from one another!

Network Relationship Etiquette (Part 1)

The professional world (outside of college) has its standards and expectations. The young professionals who are aspiring to make it into any industry must seek out what is accepted to make the mold. I am not talking about buying name brand items and accessories to “look” the part (although it does help). Without the proper etiquette, your look will get you no where fast. I am thankful to have a network that is honest with me and quickly corrects me if I slip somewhere. I appreciate all the advice and constructive criticism I have received that I have applied to my own young professional image. I am a senior who is anticipating for December to graduate with my B.A. in Communications. (sighs) I know once it gets here, I’ll look back and wish for time to have gone a little slower. In the mean time, I am here to help anyone who hasn’t received the help I have over the last year.

  • Your name. What’s in a name? Everything! If you have a nickname or another way to say your birth name you prefer to be called, make it professional and stick to it. (e.g. Nicole can be Nikki or Patrick can be Pat)
  • E-mail. If you haven’t already, register a professional e-mail at a domain of your choice. The hot domains are Gmail or your own personalized one through GoDaddy.com (I have Yahoo! because I’ve had it a long time.) It is very common to see a first and last name address (e.g. JohnSmith@gmail.com). Numbers are ok if they have a significance. If they don’t, why do you have them there in the first place? Make sure whatever address you decide on, it is unique enough to represent you without confusing a future employer or connection. Keep this account separate from your forwards of comic relief.
  • Insert an e-mail signature or type your own each time? Think of the time you’ll be saving if you did name a signature. It can be a personal choice to type your own and share what information or not with each contact. If you decide to make your own, keep it simple. Inserting a job title or degree earned is acceptable and adds creditability. A first and last name is sufficient with a contact phone number. Inserting a URL address is attractive, but make sure the URL is entered correctly and is ok share with all professionals. Adding images for the company you currently work for is certainly ok, but anything other image should relate back to you, the individual. I have seen some signature with little “tags” of social media networking sites with a URL attached. This is clever and can replace an about.me page*.
  • Phone number(s): The contact number you are displaying in your e-mail signature, make sure it is written correctly. (I have called someone’s contact number and it was the wrong person. Oops!) If you are giving a personal cell phone number, change your voice mail right now! Do not have anything that could confuse or not give your future contact a clear idea of who they are trying to reach–you. A common approach would be, “Thank you for calling ________ (first name or first and last name), please leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Have a great day!” I like to talk in 3rd person, so my current message is, “Thank you for calling Rachal Tarquin’s cell phone. She cannot come to the phone right now but if you leave her a message, I’ll let her know you called. Thank you and have a great day.” I have gotten a few laughs asking if I had a receptionist. If you are giving out a work number, make sure your work knows about it. Nothing is more embarrassing to have a contact call you at work and the person answering the phone at work not know who you are.
  • *As mentioned before, an About.Me page can be replaced with tiny images of certain social media networking sites. This can be a personal choice as there is no “best” way, but it is a trend to have for a one stop place for all your connections to see YOU. Nothing is worse than you portraying yourself to be a professional in one area and be something else. My about.me page is where I send current and future contacts. Before picking an image or what to write, I looked at many other about.me pages and got ideas. It is very easy to take a flashy picture of yourself as something else, but who are you trying to sell: the image or yourself? I was even considering have a professional take my pictures to get my personality “captured” in an elegant way to put on here. Seriously. As you can see (if you clicked the link), I ended up posting a picture of something that represents me in the simplest way–something green and my name. The first time Starbucks spelled my name right, I knew I had to capture the moment and am glad I did. I use it now on my page and get many compliment on it. My passion color of choice is of course green.

Stay tuned for next time when I talk about content on about.me, social media content, and anything you comment on to suggest!

Comments and suggestions are welcome.Thank you for reading!