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timeforcake: E-mail tips, technology & five links

Erin Pheilspecial to the daily

Are the e-mail replies you receive addressing only a portion of your points or questions? Perhaps some of your e-mails go completely unanswered? Following the (very simple) tips below can make it easier and more convenient for your recipients to reply – which ultimately increases your odds of receiving timely, meaningful responses.- Make sure your requests are clear and direct. Open-ended requests take more time and energy to process. Replying to “Maybe we should ask John if he can help with the site?” takes far more work than replying to “Call John tomorrow and explain the issues we’re encountering on Page Y of our website. Please e-mail me back once you’ve confirmed he’ll be able to work on the issue and when he expects the fix to be completed.”- Use meaningful titles in your subject lines. E-mails with vague subject lines (such as “Hi!” or “Question” or “XYZ project”) are often given less attention than e-mails with subject lines containing clear calls to action or requests (such as “Project Summary Report Needed by 3 p.m. Friday”). Esteemed blogger and consultant Chris Brogan suggests going a step further and capitalizing your subject line’s major point, such as “MAINTENANCE SCHEDULING: Check Tuesday or Friday.”- Provide Deadlines (if applicable): Work to keep your e-mails from being placed in the “I’ll-respond-when-I-have-the-time” category by providing clear deadlines, such as “Please confirm or reschedule by 10 a.m. tomorrow.”- Keep it Short and Sweet: Though easy for many people, I personally find this tactic the most challenging, by far. Brevity is beauty when it comes to crafting e-mails which require replies. Help your recipients quickly determine what you need by stripping out the unnecessary and placing your most important points at the top.

Yes, yes, I understand you have little to no fascination with fonts. This being said, I think there’s a chance you might find my latest font discovery of interest. The font, called “iQ,” was developed by two typographers – along with the assistance of a professional race car driver. The typographers instructed the driver on the various movements they were looking for that would create specific shapes, and the driver worked his magic via some well-timed braking, strategic reversing, and high-speed precision. A computer tracked the location of the car’s tires at all times. The result? A car-created font containing the full alphabet (both lowercase and uppercase), 0-9 number set, and related punctuation and special characters (exclamation mark, question mark, @ symbol, ampersand, etc.) View the 2:43 video clip showing the font-creation process here: http://vimeo.com/5233789.

1. http://tinyurl.com/2a5ew2u – Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife: here are some of 2010’s best viral videos. Perfect when you need a chuckle.2. http://tinyurl.com/6uruzp – Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts (with video).3. http://letsfreckle.com – Time tracking and time management for consultants and small teams.4. http://tinyurl.com/2f963ys – Learn how women and men use Facebook in different ways.5. http://tinyurl.com/25rc42b – How to replace your computer’s dead power supply. erin pheil is the owner of timeforcake (www.timeforcake.com), a Web design/development studio in Frisco. She can be reached via e-mail at erin@timeforcake.com.


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