“Delete All” Is Not an Option

I’m fighting my emails and they’re winning. Some days I aspire to simply hit the “delete all” key and – problem solved! At least until an action that was required comes due.

It’s a real problem for me – and frankly, I hope for others as I don’t want to think I’m the only one who can’t control these pesky little entries. The other day I was so excited because I started the day around 450 and when I left I was at 247 – progress… And it’s not a case of reading and deleting, almost everyone required an action that took from 1 minute to 20 or more.

So why do I have so many? Part of it is that my job requires travel and when you average 100+ emails a day, a one-week trip puts you at 1,000 plus. I try to keep up through the BlackBerry but that doesn’t always work.

One thing that would help is clearly identified subject lines; I would then at least know the urgency of the item. Chris Brogan also recently commented on emails and he noted that subject lines matter. Here are a few of his suggestions for subject lines –

  • DECISION NEEDED: Picking the corporate logo today
  • SCHEDULING: Check Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday
  • PROMOTION HELP: Looking for some blog and Twitter love

He says that we should make every email definitive. If you’re planning a meeting, put out three or four days and dates. For the most part, emails should exist to inform, move ideas around, and then stop,” Chris wrote in a recent post.

I had a designer who urged me to send him copy and in the subject line list what the copy was and whether art was included. It made it easier for him when he was laying out the publication – he could identify the email he needed quickly. He trained me well.

Perhaps he could train everyone who is sending me emails before I hit the “delete all” key.

The Power of the Ask

“Just ask.” That’s my new motto.

A few years ago when Pam Stallsmith and I were co-chairing the 2007 NFPW conference, we knew we needed to raise funds. I’m not really good about asking for money, but if you don’t ask, you definitely won’t get anything. And so taking Pam’s advice to “just ask,” I began my calls.

And then, I asked.

And most everyone gave.

As I was preparing to become president, I needed to find members to serve on the appointed board. Pam reminded me, “Just ask.”

Our members want to be asked. More importantly they understand the power of making NFPW stronger.

I called Teresa Ford in Colorado and asked if she would design our newsletter. I had been impressed by the design of the NFPW conference program in Colorado, which she had designed. I gave her time to think about it.

When I called back she said she was busy but would do it because she, too, is involved with volunteer groups and it’s hard to get people to volunteer. She didn’t want to be the one who didn’t.

I asked Linda Koehler to edit the newsletter. Texas was only her second conference but we had spoken last year — we connected because she is from my home state of Pennsylvania. She said yes.

Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas offered several excellent suggestions during our general meeting on membership. So… I asked her to join the board spearheading membership. She was a tough sell because she wanted to be sure we (or should I say I) was going to do what I said I would do as president. But I asked, and she said yes.

And so I’ll continue to ask.

I hope you’ll answer.

How Does Your Community Grow?

Are you part of a community? Of course you are! And more than one. In fact, if you are on Facebook you are part of the 4th largest country in the world! That’s because Facebook now has more than 300 million accounts.

This means that how we communicate is changing – and rapidly. Many youth today don’t even pick up a phone to talk; they pick it up to text. I don’t send emails to one of my dear friends because she won’t read it. If I send a message on Facebook, I know she will get it, read it, and answer it. By the way, she’s 70!

Last week I attended the PRSA-Richmond chapter meeting. We heard from Dave Saunders of Madison + Main, who talked about social media, which he says “is the marriage of creativity, technology and interactiveness.”

With more than 1.5 million people on the Web today, he says it’s critical to be connected. Most in the audience raised their hands to say they are participating in social media through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Several had a blog. Then he stumped us. “How many have Tumblr” accounts? Very few hands. I don’t know much about it. If you do, I’d love for you to comment. 

When I Googled it (and when did that become a verb?), I discovered it is a “free and lightweight blogging platform aimed at quick and easy linking and sharing.” I’ll start experimenting soon; heck, I’m still adjusting to life with a blog. I promised myself I would post every Sunday and Wednesday so while I’d love to be reading a good book, I’ve got to finish this post. It’s just like being a reporter on deadline except that the only editor standing over me is in my head.

Dave also shared the benefits of social media and what it won’t do.  As for benefits –

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Reputation management
  • Improved search engine rankings
  • Increased Web site traffic
  • More sales for your product or service (if you didn’t know it, Dave says, “Cold calls are dead.”)

 What it won’t do –

  • Fix a broken company
  • Make you rich
  • Replace your other forms of marketing or PR

Quite simply, social media is another platform that is used to enhance your community, personally or professionally. So how does your community grow?