EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Creating actionable messages

I’m a pretty organized guy. If I weren’t, it would be impossible to get all the things done in a day that I try to accomplish. (Sometimes I have even gotten all my email up to date!)

Still, a few times a day I get an email from someone with incomplete information.

A few years ago I wrote to a new member applicant and asked him to send me a resume with his educational information. Not a smart thing to leave off your resume. But okay, these things happen. He was also lacking a sponsor as far as I knew, so I mentioned that as well.

The note back read in part: “Attached is a revised resume and, oh by the way, I do have a sponsor and I sent that information in already.”

Okay, let’s see if I understand this. He knows that I don’t know the name of his sponsor, (otherwise I wouldn’t have mentioned it), but he simply made a reference to the fact that I somehow had it. Just exactly how difficult would it have been for him to have told me again? As Yogi Berra once said “You can’t make this stuff up.”

I get other messages during the week which sound quite urgent and end with: “Please call me.” If you think that a phone number follows their signature, you’d be wrong. Sometimes they have even changed jobs and want help finding someone to hire. If you think they end with their new FULL business card information and/or have updated their directory listing, you’d be wrong.

I sometimes wonder if I am losing my mind. Is it possible that the sender of these messages is unaware that I am lacking some critical piece of information? I have to believe that this is the case.

Subjects in the emails I get are also often lacking in clear thinking. (By the way, “Hi” is a really bad one.) Is it really all that difficult to come up with a meaningful subject? Friends, it is worth the effort.

I often get the question: “Should I send a resume when I want to network with a fellow member of The FENG?” I always answer yes! In today’s electronic world it doesn’t cost anything and it makes it easier for me to know if I want to speak with you. It also will save us both a lot of time. If I have your resume when you call, you don’t have to “explain” your background in quite as much detail. I can also sort of be prepared to know if I can really help.

I have also amazingly seen resumes where the current employer is left off. In parenthesis after a vague description of the company is the phrase (if interested, please ask). Does anyone really think that someone will? I guess they do. Well, again, they’d be wrong. No one actually has time for guessing games. (Or, the proverbial riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.)

As you write your business and personal communications in the days, weeks and months to come, think before you hit send and ask yourself: If the person at the other end is perhaps getting more than one email today, will he/she know what I am talking about? (By the way, “Thanks for your help!” is usually followed in my mind by “For what?” If you don’t mention our earlier correspondence, and/or it isn’t there, I will have to search my sent mail to know what I did.)

Help me out and help out those who WANT to help you by creating actionable messages.

Regards, Matt

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