jump to navigation

That Guy’s Tips For Not Looking Stupid On The Internet, #4 October 29, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Did I Hear That Right?, Technology Trouble, Tips for Not Looking Stupid.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Don’t type when you’re frustrated.

funny pictures of dogs with captionsAs a writer, I know that writing is one of the best ways to work out frustrations — you can put together a fantasy e-mail, do a quick story where your character kicks your boss’s character in a very uncomfortable place, whatever — as well as your fantasies. Some of which are driven by your frustrations.

But remember this: if you’re at work, you’re likely using a computer owned by the company. You’re probably complaining to a co-worker about how annoying or stupid someone is. You might even be doing it via IM instead of e-mail.

Don’t. Just stop. Step away from the computer.

Example: over the last two weeks, a client asked my department to mount a logo onto one of our pages and send them the mockups. I did so. They sent it back, saying they weren’t pleased with the amount of space around their logo. I increased the space (by decreasing the size of their logo — the area available has hard boundaries around it) and sent it back. They said it still wasn’t enough. Finally I e-mailed back my client representative (the person who is a co-worker of mine who actually talks to the clients so my department doesn’t have to) and said “please ask them to tell us exactly how much space they want, and warn them that, as I increase the space, their logo will get correspondingly smaller”.

Finally, after three more days, they gave me an exact measurement and I was able to provide them with a mockup they liked. But instead of going back to my CR and saying “this has been an exercise in futility”, I mentioned it to her during a meeting we were both in. I didn’t commit it to anything electronic because it’s perfectly within the company’s policies to hold such words against me — and in this economic client, you really want everything that reflects upon you to do so positively.

By the same token, proofread your “to” and “cc” fields; if you’re discussing something a client sent, make sure the client is removed from the chain. Before the reorg, whenever people replied to customer comments, they often did not remove the “all-production-employees” e-mail address, and we were just lucky that very few people realized exactly what they had.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

That Guy’s Tips For Not Looking Stupid On The Internet, #3 August 26, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Tips for Not Looking Stupid.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Use professional fonts.

fonts

I couldn’t even use those fonts in WordPress because WordPress knows that you shouldn’t use them for professional communication. I could probably hack the stylesheet, but why?

Professional fonts include, but are not limited to:

  • Arial
  • Calibri (default font for MS Outlook 2007)
  • Courier/Courier New
  • Helvetica (the new hotness)
  • Myriad Pro
  • Tahoma (what I use in my own e-mails)
  • Times New Roman (falling out of favor, but still acceptable)
  • Verdana

What do all of these fonts have in common? Simple: they’re all easy to read. You have to make your e-mailed communications easy to read or people won’t read them.

The CorporateSpeak research director uses TwCen/Century Gothic, and in that light-blue color. It’s almost impossible to read her e-mails, and they’re not the kind I can ignore easily because I need that data. Some of our marketing people use this version of Bodoni on their meeting handouts, which seems nice on the screen but doesn’t translate well into print.

Think about what your favorite books and websites use. Even humor sites use the fonts above. You should too. Follow this rule: if someone’s used it in a brightly-colored or sparkly MySpace layout, you probably shouldn’t use it at work.

And, for the love of all that’s holy, avoid Comic Sans like the plague.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

That Guy’s Tips for Not Looking Stupid on the Internet, #2 August 5, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Did I Hear That Right?, Economic Downturn, Getting Fired, Getting Hired, Technology Trouble, Tips for Not Looking Stupid, Unsociable Networking.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Don’t ignore the power of social networking while you’re still employed; the moment you get fired, you’ll need it.

For the last six years or so, CorporateSpeak employed a long-term contracted freelancer named Ivy. Recently, though, it was decided that Ivy’s contract was not going to be renewed and her duties would be assumed by an existing full-time employee. Ivy was unhappy about this, but I think we all understood the economic reality of the current U.S. market.

One of the first things Ivy did when she got home was update her Facebook thusly:

Ok, I am gonna be better about updating my status. Ok, I am actually going to start updating my status. The pressure to be relevant.. sigh.

Ivy used her Facebook a little bit before this, but not as much as her co-workers did — even her partner, who was let go at the same time. She would occasionally post about what she was doing, or put up some photos, but she wasn’t active on Facebook (or, to my knowledge, any social network). Now that she’s unemployed, though, she’s got to find a new job, and she’s figured out rather quickly that networking is the way to do it.

Just don’t tell everyone. It makes you look like you’re better than everyone else, like you’re saying, “well, I had a job for a long time, and now I don’t, so I’m going to do what all the cool kids are doing and use Facebook to find a job.” Coming across as elitist on a social network is a sure-fire way to lose regard with a potential employer, especially one that you want to hire you for a high-profile or high-paying position.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

That Guy’s Tips for Not Looking Stupid on the Internet, #1 July 30, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Did I Hear That Right?, Technology Trouble, Tips for Not Looking Stupid, Unsociable Networking.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Your Facebook status update is not the place to have a conversation.

Everyone’s on Facebook. Odds are good you’re on it right now — or you at least have a FB tab open somewhere on your browser, even if you’re not looking at it at this very second. And odds are even better that you’ve got a relative on Facebook who doesn’t know exactly what s/he should be doing right now.

My mom’s best friend joined recently. Here’s two recent status updates of hers, with her name changed to protect her identity:

Patricia Smith Zimmerman Thursday it is. Hopefully the weather is good for the pool after as well We will speak tomorrow to confirm what we are doing and a time.

Patricia Smith Zimmerman Hi just touching base and wanted to know if you located Rachel’s address. Let me know when you can get together. Hope all is well Patti

So, what did Patricia do here? Simple: she posted a status update that should have been a personal message or at most a wall post. If Patricia is concerned about the weather (“Hopefully the weather will be good for my pool day tomorrow.”), then she should post that. And no one wants to know if “you” — whoever “you” is — located Rachel’s address. Who’s Rachel? Why should we care?

I suppose the argument there is “why does anyone care about the minutiae of your life?”, but then, you could just un-friend someone who’s not interesting, right?

Anyway. As you begin using Facebook for job-related purposes or trying to find a new job, remember that you not only need to keep track of what you’re posting so it doesn’t embarrass you but also so you don’t look stupid.

I’m not sure how many of these “Tips for Not Looking Stupid” I’m going to do, but just in case, here’s the first.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine