Creating A Friendlier Email Signature
According to a 2011 statistics report published by The Radacati Group, Inc., the average office worker sends and receives over 100 emails everyday. Whether you’re sending a quick message to a coworker, or a formal email to another company, with each composition is an opportunity to represent yourself, your department, and your business as a whole. Make a positive and lasting impression by incorporating these email signature suggestions.
Make It Easy: When creating your email signature, imagine that you’re the recipient of your message. In fact, email yourself at several accounts to get this point of view. Ask yourself, is it easy to identify whom this email came from? Have I provided a way for others to contact me other than email? Am I providing so much information that it’s overwhelming? Is the information I’m including current? Does the image I’m using get blocked? Is my signature still readable on mobile devices? Having a clear, concise and informative signature is your top priority and something everyone can appreciate.
Make It Personal: While you don’t want your email signature to be too busy, you also don’t want it to be so bland that it’s forgettable or so stiff that it’s intimidating. Instead, find a way to work your personality or your occupation into it, but still keep it professional. Having a creative sign off other than “Sincerely” and “Regards,” or including an inspirational quote can add a touch of warmth and individuality to your emails.
Make It Shine: Your signature acts as your personal brand. It’s also the last thing your recipient sees, making this portion of your email prime real estate. Consider doubling your signature as a marketing tool by including a single link to a new project, award, or publication. This can help frame you as an authority on a specific topic while giving your recipient quick and relevant information about you.
Startup companies Uber and Lyft are popping up in cities across the US the last few months, offering a game-changing alternative to traditional taxi cab services. In essence, both Uber and Lyft operate like a taxi cab, and standard taxi cab etiquette applies. However, Uber etiquette and Lyft etiquette both present a few important differences, especially in social interaction. If you want to join this growing trend in social ridesharing, you’d be well served to keep these etiquette standards in mind.
1. Connecting through smartphones
Uber and Lyft both use smartphones to connect riders and drivers. You sign up via the app, and in fact Lyft requires Facebook login to use their service. Both Uber and Lyft are hyper aware of safety and trust, so the integrated social media piece allows them to apply necessary social norms to the experience. If the experience is less than enjoyable for either party, the rating affects your ability to use either service in the future. But more about that in a minute.
Once you request a ride, the driver will usually give you a call to confirm the request (but not always). Be polite and provide any specific directions of info on your pickup location, or gate code if needed. You’ll be able to see the driver’s progress, and it’s polite to be waiting outside as they arrive. Each service will show you a picture of your driver, and the make and model of their car.
2. Arrival & getting in the car
Lyft markets itself as the fun and funky service of the two, and it comes through right from the beginning. Be prepared to see a car with a large pink moustache affixed to the grill, and when you get in, the driver will offer you their mandatory fist bump. Uber cars usually have an illuminated Uber logo on the bottom of their winshield, and markets itself in a sleek, modern, stylish vibe. Just a quick glance at their websites and apps confirms this! You’re welcome to sit in the back or front seats, depending on your comfort level. I’ve always chosen to sit up front, because of what happens next…
I’ve used both Uber and Lyft, and what I enjoy the most about ridesharing is meeting people and hearing their stories. Unlike Taxi drivers, Uber and Lyft drivers are not in this full-time, and have jobs outside of driving. Many people use it to supplement income while pursuing a dream, judging from the writers, musicians, entrepreneurs, and freelancers who have driven me around. Since I share so many of these interests, the value of ideas swapped becomes an important value-add to the service!
However, what rings true in taxi cab etiquette also applies to Uber and Lyft. If you have work to do, a book to read, or just don’t want to engage in conversation, then after your greeting and small talk, just kindly tell the truth! You could say “I’m really tired and would like to rest” “I’m really in to this book” or “I have a talk to give in a couple hours and would like to rest my voice”. Many drivers have water, mints, and phoen chargers available for consumption and use, which is a nice addition to the service.
4. Paying & Rating
When your ride is completed, keep your wallet in your bag (or pocket)! Sign up requires a credit card on file, so that all fees are paid directly through the app. Anyone who’s ever haggled with a taxi driver over a “broken meter” will appreciate this feature! You simply thank the driver, grab all your bags, and get out! Also, remember the tip to write down the medallion number on your taxi? With social integration, there’s no need with Uber and Lyft, simply contact support and provide the name of your driver (it’s saved in your history) and what was lost.
When the ride is completed, you’ll have the opportunity to tip and rate your driver. If you want to leave a tip, you must do so before rating them. Just tap the credit card or tip button on screen. Driver and rider ratings are a huge part of the Uber and Lyft services, in fact if you rate your driver 3 stars or less, you will not be paired with him/her again. Now, the same goes for you! Drivers rate riders, and a consistently low rating will make it tough for you to get a ride!
This rating system, paired with the presence of social media, present a unique implementation of proper etiquette in a short-lived setting. Everyday etiquette will prepare you nicely for this growing trend of sharing a ride with strangers, and stepping out of the car as friends.
Have you taken any rides with Uber or Lyft? I would love to hear your thoughts and additional tips on this growing trend!
Whether you’re hailing a cab in the big city, or staying safe on the way home from a party, taxi cab etiquette can help get from point A to B with grace and ease. Business travel is booming, and it’s likely you will find yourself on a trip and needing to hail a taxi cab to get around town or to and from the airport. I think you’ll find that taxi cab etiquette uses many of the same skills present in business etiquette and simple everyday etiquette, so use these quick and easy steps for a smooth ride.
Photo by Angelo DeSantis in the Creative Commons
1. Hailing a Taxi Cab
Most cab companies will happily send a cab to your location if you know when and where you need to be picked up, but if your schedule is a bit more flexible, most will choose to wait by the curb and hail the next available taxi cab. In big cities, a line may have formed, so politely queue up with everyone else and wait for the next cab. Just as in any line situation, jumping line and “stealing” a taxi is considered very rude, so don’t do it! If a person around you wants to split a cab, or vice versa, it’s perfectly fine as long as you’re going in the same area.
2. Getting in and out
If you’re with a friend, and especially a man and woman on a date, it’s polite for the man to offer to open the door for the lady on the curb side. Always ask “May I?” and give her the option. If you’re in a big city and traffic is heavy, the first person to enter should slide across the seat, making room for the other person. If the traffic is light, simply walk around and get in the other side. Upon exiting the taxi cab, offer your hand to help the lady out, then close the door behind her.
3. Greet the driver and be ready with your destination
Don’t just flop down in the cab and start directing, say hello first! Plenty of people shout directions, you may be the only person to give the driver a warm hello and how are you. Afterwards though, you both have business to get to. Be ready with the address of your destination, and if possible the area of town and landmarks. Drivers should know where they are going in the city, but if you’re being driven outside of the city limits you should be able to offer some assistance yourself.
Also, write down the taxi cab medallion number when you’re able, it should be posted in several places, including your receipt. This will help if you need to file a complaint, praise, or lost item report.
4. Wait on your food, be careful with your drink
The taxi cab is a driver’s small business storefront, be careful! Don’t eat your burrito or salad while in a taxi cab, because if it spills, most likely the driver is going to be doing the cleaning. Just hold on until you reach your destination. Drinks are ok if they have a lid, but still keep it safe and steady while the car is moving.
5. Proper Personal Protocol
Drivers, like all people, range in how much they want to chat with others. On both sides of the glass, it’s polite to inquire about their day, but you should feel comfortable politely ending a conversation with “Thank you, but I’d rather not talk right now”. Of course, you should be prepared for the same response if you engage the driver in conversation. If you do choose to kindly ask about their day and learn a little of their story, you’ll probably be surprised at the stories you hear! If you’re in a new city, ask the driver for recommendations on where to eat and what to see.
6. Know your rights
As a paying customer, you have rights the driver must adhere to. If they are on a phone call, you may ask them to hang up, since most states have laws against phone usage in cars, even with hands-free sets. The same goes for the music and air conditioning, as the customer you can request it be changed or adjusted. Also if you ever feel unsafe or the driver isn’t going where you want to be, it’s within your rights to request the taxi cab stop immediately. Remember in this case you should have the medallion number written down to file a complaint.
7. Give ample warning to arrival
Once you are within a block or sight of your destination, give the driver ample warning of the location. Simply saying “It’s up here on the right, by the bakery” is a helpful little heads up to driver, and helps keep everyone safe. Try to avoid the exclamation of “STOP NOW!” as the taxi cab passes your stop.
8. Tip like a restaurant
One of the biggest questions I get about taxis is how much to tip, and in what form. Taxi cabs all offer both cash and credit options, so don’t be fooled if they say it’s a cash only service. You have both options for tipping as well, but the general rule of thumb is to tip 15-20% of the total fare (if the tip equals less than $3, go ahead and tip at least $3). If they were rude and unsafe, less is fine, but conversely if they were very helpful and kind, or helped you with bags, it’s great to tip a little more than 20%.
I hope this little guide to taxi cab etiquette helps out next time you’re visiting a new city on business travel, or simply getting around your hometown. Next week we’ll cover the basics of using ride-share services like Uber or Lyft to get around town, and the different social dynamics of this fast-growing trend.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and millions of cards, flowers, and candies will be exchanged between friends and loved ones. If you’re worried about following protocol for a holiday with romantic associations, don’t despair! At the core, Valentine’s Day etiquette isn’t that different from everyday etiquette. We still seek to form and strengthen positive relationships, make others feel valued, and create a comfortable, safe atmosphere. Follow these quick tips for a day that’s memorable for all the right reasons.
1. Ask around
If you’re not sure the other employees are passing out Valentine’s Day cards to each other, pluck up the courage to ask! Everyone enjoys giving and getting a little something, no matter what day it is, but ask around to see if you’d be the only one showing up with cards and candy.
2. If you give to one, give to all
Whether at the office or the classroom, you may want to give a card to that one special someone. But instead of putting that person on the spot, include everyone else and give a gift they all can partake in. This goes for your children’s classmates as well!
People don’t want to feel left out when others are picking and choosing the “special someone”, so make sure everyone feels included and loved on Valentine’s Day. If you are feeling bold, just write that special one an extra line or two!
3. It’s not personal, it’s business (but it’s still sweet)
Unless you’re in a romantic relationship with the person, make sure your gifts are not too personal. Here are two helpful guidelines to help you decide if a gift is too personal.
If you think the gift might be too personal, it is.
Don’t give any gifts which will touch the other person’s body (all clothes, perfume, cologne, etc).
However, a gift can still be sweet! Find out the favorite candies of people in the office, that way you give something thoughtful, but still stays within proper boundaries.
4. Hand write your notes
In our increasingly digital world, the power of a handwritten note is special reminder of how much we care. Take the extra time and be an etiquette superstar with a fun card and handwritten thanks. For the children, it can be a fun and educational time with parents. As you’re writing, ask your child to describe the boy or girl they are writing, and some things he or she has noticed this year!
5. Follow up
Many people give and receive gifts throughout the year, but not nearly enough of us return than you cards and notes. You don’t need to over-complicate the process either, simply use this guideline!
Thank you so much for the (gift) and (gift) on Valentine’s Day! Your thoughtfulness on this busy day was very much appreciated. I’m grateful to spend (life, work, school, etc) with you, and look forward to more good times!
How to Make Valentine’s Day Special
People we love are used to getting some nice things on Valentine’s, from candy and flowers to cards and dinner. But what about people who may not always feel so appreciated, or don’t have anyone around to care for them? The biggest impact you may have on Valentine’s Day may be with people you don’t even know! To do something special this day, here are ten suggestions and ideas to brighten someone’s day who may need it the most.
- Leave a bunch of cards at the Veteran’s Hospital.
- Take a vase of flowers to the nearby nursing home.
- Bring a bag of coffee or box of tea to your teachers.
- Schedule dinner with a friend who’s feeling lonely.
- Host a dinner party for your single friends.
- Take your kids to the children’s hospital and hand out cards.
- Personal coupon cards for your family (hugs, coffee break, taking out the trash).
- Cards or candy to the fire and police departments.
- A gift card for the school crossing guard.
- A phone call or card to an old mentor.
I hope these tips have helped take the worry out of Valentine’s Day for you. If you haven’t heard the story of how Valentine’s Day came to be, or want learn more about everything else that occurs with the holiday, the History Channel has a great list of videos and resources. It’s a wonderful holiday with an amazing story, and I hope we can all be a part of sharing kindness and gratitude with each other this year.
Happy Valentine’s Day,
P.S. – need last minute cards or gifts? My friends at Hallmark have you covered! See if there’s a store nearby you, and hurry!
Last week we learned a few different ways to fight heart disease. This week, I want to let you in on some very specific ways you can physically reduce your risk of heart disease. The wonderful and frustrating thing about our health and fitness is that it’s completely in our control. No one can get fit for you, but no one is stopping you from living a healthier life!
We were Born to Move!
An important factor in the fight is our personal activity and fitness routines. Even just 30 minutes of movement each day can help reduce your risk of heart disease by 30-40% and your stroke risk by 25%. We literally risk our lives by not taking the time to stay healthy and active! Even if you think there isn’t an extra 30 minutes in the day, I want to help you find that time, just by re-structuring your routine and re-prioritizing your responsibilities.
What’s a Bad Day?
To start, let’s examine what could be described as the least active day a person could have.
Wake up and drive to work.
Park as close as possible.
Sit at a desk all day.
Drink lots of soda.
Eat lots of processed food (preferably fried).
Eat lots of processed food (preferably fried).
Sit and watch TV.
Go to bed.
Re-structured Good Day
Now, let’s tweak the routine a little, and see the difference.
Take a 15 minute walk.
Drive to work.
Park as far as is reasonable.
Take the stairs.
Drink lots of water.
Walk to your car and back.
Eat some fresh vegetables.
Go for a walk after dinner, and bring the kids.
Stretch and watch TV.
Go to bed a little earlier.
You probably noticed the day doesn’t include a 30 minute workout block. That’s ok! In fact, research showed that breaking up your exercise into three 10 minute blocks was just as effective as one continuous workout. Your body is adaptable enough to take advantage of whatever activity you feed it, just give the body something to work with!
Use “Everyday Equipment”
Ok, maybe you’re unable to walk for 30 minutes, or simply don’t want to. One other suggestion is to use everyday household items as strength equipment. You can do bicep curls with a can of beans, shoulder presses with a gallon of water, or upright rows with a tote bag full of toys. Get creative! You can break up your strength workouts the same as a walk or run, with 10 minute bursts throughout the day. There’s even a way you can workout all day, and not even break a sweat…
None of these suggestions are revolutionary, or require any equipment. Just making a few tweaks to your diet and routines can make a significant long-term impact on your health. As we learned about the power of the cue-routine-reward system, perhaps the evening walk routine is rewarded with some chocolate for dessert! We have a responsibility to ourselves and our loved ones to take care of our bodies, so we can in turn properly care for others. It just takes a little intention, and a lot of consistency. So let’s get started together.
February 7th is National Wear Red Day, bringing to light an issue which was largely out of public awareness for a number of years.
The issue at hand is women’s heart health, and heart disease in women specifically. Heart disease is normally thought of as a health risk in older men, rather than women, but did you know heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States? The numbers are so high that women die from heart disease than all forms of cancer combined?
In 2004, heart disease claimed the lives of over 500,000 women
That number must go down. Too many wives, mothers, and daughters are being taken by this disease, and we need to band together to help other women take steps necessary to live longer, healthier lives.
That’s what Go Red for Women and National Wear Red Day are all about. The lives impacted and the stories we hear are at the core our own stories, since many (if not all) of us can think of a woman in our life who has struggled with some aspect of heart health. For many issues, simply raising awareness and education is a step in the right direction, and that’s why I hope you will wear red on Friday with millions of other women (and men)!
With awareness comes education and action, and there are several ways you can be an important part of both. One way to educate can be to point others towards the American Heart Association’s website, which lists the signs and symptoms of heart disease. For older friends and family who may not have internet access or feel comfortable navigating the site, please print out the article for them.
Apart from chest pain (uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest), the most common symptoms women experience during a heart attack are:
Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort
Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
Source: American Heart Association
A second way is to share the Heart Attack Risk Calculator, and use it yourself! Regardless of your age and activity level, heart health is something we should always pay close attention to! Another way to raise awareness and educate is by watching the funny, tongue-in-cheek viral video titled “A Little Heart Attack”. In this video, actress Elizabeth Banks shows many of the signs of heart attack, including a few that women are more prone to experience than men.
The most important thing to point out is that one of the main dangers to women are ourselves! We want to take care of others, have a clean house, a career, and everything else under control. Banks’ character continued to ignore the signs and symptoms, even when her son was seeing them! To me, the most laughable, sad, and honest line was right at the end, when mom has accepted she’s having “a little heart attack”.
Emergency operator: “Ma’am, we’ll have an ambulance there in two minutes”
Mom sits up: “Two minutes?!”
Looks around, sees the mess
Mom: “Can you make it ten?”
This perfectly illustrates the situation we find ourselves in, but we can’t keep up appearances when our collective health is at risk. When a woman dies of heart disease every 65 seconds, changes need to be made, and bold action must be taken!
What else can we do? Here are three additional actions you can take to help raise awareness and education on women’s heart disease.
Start a Conversation
Ask the women in your life how they are handling their risk factors, and lovingly encourage them to make changes if needed. If they’re healthy, make a commitment to intentionally follow a plan to stay that way together.
Join or Start a Walking/Running Group
A fitness routine can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Sometimes, changing your thinking about what a workout is can be just as helpful. The Kitchen workout is a great reminder that you can do a simple, effective workout using what you have available in the kitchen! Making exercise a social event helps increase the likelihood you’ll stick with the habit, since the accountability of a group will help everyone!
Leverage Social Media
On February 7th, use the hashtag #GoRedChallenge on Twitter and Instagram, and post pictures to the Facebook page. Each of us have a community we can share this information with, and the ripple effects of our actions can spread in ways we can’t even imagine!
I hope you will join me and millions of other women (and men) wearing red and fighting heart disease. The life you save may end up being your own.
For more information, and to stay updated on heart disease in women, visit the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women website.