5 Tips for Writing Fantastic Emails

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While we all spend time writing countless emails for professional and personal reasons, many people do not know how to write quality emails. We’ve all received emails, often in a professional capacity, where we aren’t sure what the person is trying to communicate or what they need from us. Sometimes, emails get confusing in the daily hustle and bustle of life, but there’s no excuse for many of the common mistakes we see in emails. If you want to be viewed as a competent professional, it’s important that you craft good written communication, no matter who you’re emailing or what you’re discussing. Here are some tips for crafting fantastic emails that can enhance your professional image.

Consider if an email is necessary

Before sending your email, think about whether or not you actually need to send the email. Could the issue be better handled through a phone call? Could you wait until the next time you see the person? Too often, information gets lost through email and tone is misunderstood. If it would be easier to ask your question or provide an answer to something, simply get on the phone with the person. You’ll save yourself time and can avoid possible issues.

Meaningful subject line

As you start your email, make the subject line relevant to the email you’re sending and keep it clear and concise. People too often send emails without a subject line, which makes the receiver less likely to open them since they do not know what they’re about. Create a short, clear subject line such as “meeting this Friday” or “quick question about x project.” Emails with a meaningful subject line make communication much easier and are clear on the topic being discussed.

Think about what you’re saying

When you write your email, put thought into what you’re saying. Make sure your tone is what you want it to be and that you’re not writing excessively. Consider different ways your message could be interpreted and edit it to make it as clear as possible to avoid confusion.

Make the words matter

Every word in an email is important. Avoid writing extra sentences that do not actually pertain to what you’re trying to say. While you do not want to be too short and you should be polite, it’s also important to make it as concise as possible so your question or response is clear and doesn’t get lost in fluff.

Proofread before sending

Finally, once you’re done with your email, proofread it. The last mistake you want to make is sending an email filled with grammar and spelling errors or that’s missing an important part of the message you wanted to convey. Make sure you’re spelling your recipient’s name correctly and that you’re actually sending the email to the correct person!

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How to Cultivate Communication in Your Office

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Communication is key to a successfully functioning workplace. It can be challenging to encourage employees to talk to their supervisors and one another, especially as new people come into the office and others are promoted or move on to different companies. Having strong communication in your business is the best way to make sure any issues are taken care of as soon as possible and more serious problems are avoided. Employees who feel comfortable communicating also feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. Follow these tips to enhance communication at your company.

Provide constructive guidance

Communication can be seriously impaired if employees feel their ideas are only being criticized and that management is not open to suggestions. As you interact with your employees, make sure the criticism you’re providing is constructive and doesn’t deter them from bringing new ideas to you or trying innovative things. If it seems like none of your employees are communicating, it could be an indication that the office culture doesn’t encourage it.

Encourage open feedback

Too often, employees have ideas they’d like to bring to management, but feel as though they cannot provide this feedback. Make sure your office is a place workers feel comfortable expressing ideas or even disagreements with how something is done. Have office hours and an open door policy to make management more approachable and consider periodically sending out an anonymous feedback form to get a genuine read on the atmosphere of the office.

Practice good listening

A huge deterrent for communication is that no one actually listens. People often think they are listening when others speak, but they aren’t really paying that much attention. It’s important to teach all employees at every level active listening skills that they should use no matter who they’re speaking with. Learning to be engaged in conversations is a guaranteed way to improve communication in the office.

Make transparency a priority

If your employees feel like there’s no transparency in the office, it’s going to negatively affect communication. You may not even realize that employees do not think you’re transparent, so it’s important to consciously work to improve this issue. Be clear about the company vision, how employees fit into it, and keep them regularly updated on major (and minor) changes and decisions within the company. Simply making sure that employees are up-to-date with what’s happening shows them that you value communication and encourages them to do the same on their end.

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4 Tips for Finding Balance Between Work and Life

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It can be challenging to successfully balance work and the rest of your life. Some people make it look simple, but most struggle to find this balance. If you do not learn how to balance your job and your life outside of work, it can lead to burnout at work and issues in your personal life. It’s important to do your best to find a work-life balance that helps decrease your stress while allowing you to excel in all areas of your life. Here are some tips for finding a great balance between work and the rest of your life.

Create a strict schedule

The key to a successful work-life balance is setting clear hours for when you’re at work and when you’re at home. While there might be times you have to adjust these hours, such as business travel or time off for a doctor’s appointment, you should stick as close to the schedule as possible. Have set working hours and then avoid doing work once you’re home. Keep your professional and personal lives separate and you’ll find it easier to balance the two. Begin carefully scheduling each day and week so you know what’s ahead of you. Keeping a careful schedule and sticking to it makes you more productive and helps achieve balance.

Learn to prioritize

As you work through your to-do list for each day, evaluate the tasks you have to complete and identify what’s most important. Avoid getting bogged down on projects that can wait and be done at some other time. Prioritizing your most important work to get done first makes it easier to breeze through other tasks and feel relaxed. If you tackle the hardest projects first, you’ll feel less stressed as the day goes on and find it easier to leave the office at the end of your workday. You’ll also avoid feeling stressed out at home because you didn’t finish something important or are worrying when you’ll get it done.

Take time for yourself

A vital aspect of work-life balance is taking time to relax and focus on yourself. That could mean exercising every day, reading for fun, or spending time with family and friends. Regardless of what helps you relax, find ways to integrate it a little into each day. Constantly working wears you down if you avoid taking breaks and simply relaxing.

Communicate with others

In order to achieve real balance, you need to talk to the people around you. There are likely tasks that can be delegated to someone else, whether at work or at home. Share responsibilities with whoever you live with and communicate who should be responsible for what. You can do the same at work; speak up when you need help and trust others to complete some tasks you’re trying to do on your own.

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5 Ways to Foster Your Creativity at Work

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Regardless of the industry you work in or what your position is, creativity is vital to your job. However, when you’re putting in full work days, it can feel like you’re simply doing enough to finish all your tasks in the day and get by. Even if you enjoy being creative, you can’t force it and you won’t feel creative every second of your work day. Instead of giving up on using creativity in your job, find ways to foster it and use it to your advantage. It’s time to snap out of your mundane routine and take back your creativity. It’s important to always work on your creativity and find new ways to do your job that make you and your work more effective.

Start your morning strong

If you’re rushing around in the morning to get to work on time, it can throw your mind off for the entire day. Even setting your alarm back by 15 minutes can make for a better day. Consider using a sleep tracker to find out when the best time to wake up is and set your alarm for that. Then, once you’re up in the morning, spend time doing something interesting, such as reading an intriguing article, writing, or some time exercising.

Keep learning

We should all strive to embrace lifelong learning. You do not have to go to school your entire life to keep learning; you can achieve this goal without ever leaving your home. There are plenty of online resources, such as webinars or classes that you can take to learn something new. You can also take single classes at a local school or attend workshops. Find a way to stay creative and learn something new and you’ll see the benefits at work.

Do something on the side

Whether you get a side hustle or a hobby that allows you to embrace creativity, doing something outside your regular job is beneficial. It can be an alternative way to earn income or it can just be something interesting. You have a chance to take a break from your regular job and learn new skills that could help you there.

Schedule time to brainstorm

If you want to foster your creativity in your current position, find time to brainstorm. It can seem a bit forced to schedule time for creativity, but it simply means you’ll stop what you’re doing and give yourself time to take a break and think instead of rushing through your to-do list. Giving your mind time to wander can have fantastic results for your creativity.

Find inspiration

Whether you find inspiration through other people or something else is up to you. Surrounding yourself with creative people helps foster your creativity and can motivate you to work harder on creative projects. You can also find inspiration through books or images; surround yourself with what helps you be more creative.

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6 Benefits of Open Office Setups

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Open office setups – your employees either love or hate them. People have drastically different opinions about open offices and sometimes these opinions can change in a matter of hours. However, there are lots of benefits to open office setups. If you manage this type of office layout correctly, you’ll see the many benefits and help your employees see them as well. If you have a smaller company or lots of younger workers, an open office plan is definitely worth trying out and can work well for your business.

Easy collaboration

Collaboration is the key to innovation in an office. When everyone is hidden away in their own offices, it’s incredibly difficult for employees to make the effort and collaborate on projects and ideas. Making it as easy as possible for employees to work on projects together encourages collaboration and the quality of work.

Flexibility in movement

There’s flexibility in movement for employees and for the physical aspects of your office. If desks need to be moved around because new teams are formed or the office grows, an open office plan makes reorganizing simpler. It also makes it easier for employees to switch to new seats or simply get a change of scenery while working.

Less of a hierarchy

While those at the highest levels of management may still have an office, individual managers and supervisors can sit with or close to the employees they’re managing. Instead of closeting away your entire management team, an open office reduces the sense of a hierarchy and makes management seem more approachable and leads to open discussion of issues.

Improved mental health

Being around other people means employees are less likely to feel isolated and struggle with mental health issues that go along with that loneliness. An open office allows workers to feel connected with the people around them and supported. Sitting close to other people means employees feel less alone and better connected to those around them.

Networking in the office

In more closed-off offices, it’s incredibly difficult for employees to get to know one another, especially if they work in separate departments. An open office makes it easier for employees to talk to one another and simply just identify other people who work at the company. Employees can network with each other, find new opportunities, and share useful information.

Better communication

A major issue in many offices is that people simply do not talk to one another. If people communicated better, many issues could be avoided and more easily resolved. An open office makes is easier for someone to simply walk to another desk to discuss a question or idea instead of trying to communicate over email.

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5 Reasons You Need Great Online Customer Service

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Maintaining a quality customer service department is more important than ever before, now that the internet has created greater transparency. There are many reasons your business should focus on providing excellent customer service, but they can generally be factored down into these five areas.

Good customer service builds loyalty

When your company offers good customer service, it builds trust and confidence in the consumer. If they know their concerns are important and will be addressed, they’re likely to return to your business when they need more products that you offer. Most consumers would prefer to stay with a business that has a proven track record of offering quality customer service, rather than take a chance with an unfamiliar company.

Low prices cannot compete

If you still doubt the importance consumers place on customer service, take a look at any recent consumer survey. The majority of consumers will pay more for a product, if they know the company selling it will back-up the purchase with efficient and courteous customer service. Too often, consumers opt for a lower price and end up with a bad product that the company will not handle properly when customer service is contacted. Conversely, a low price won’t attract customers, if they think the customer service department will be difficult if there’s any issues with the product.

It’s a powerful marketing tool

While most people think about customer service as a means of addressing customer complaints, it can be a useful marketing tool as well. Consumers satisfied with the quality of service tell others about their experiences, which helps build a positive reputation for your brand. The happier you can make your clients with customer service, the more likely they are to refer others to you.

Reduce conflict

You will never satisfy every single customer all the time, but how you handle complaints can be as important as the buying experience. When customers feel confident that you will attempt to resolve their problems, they’ll be more willing to return to your business.

Opportunity to connect

Today’s consumers expect a higher level of customization from their favorite brands and they like to feel as though they matter. Creating a quality customer service department, which is capable of addressing each individual concern, goes a long way toward achieving that goal. It’s a way to ensure that every customer can be satisfied and that they return to your company for their future needs.

Creating a quality customer service department may require a process of trial and error, but the effort will be worth it. Your brand’s willingness to put the customer first and address concerns to the best of your ability earns you consumer respect and engenders confidence in your business.

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5 Benefits of Taking Risks for Entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurship is as much of a staple in the United States as apple pie or baseball. Almost all businesses in the United States are, in fact, operated by entrepreneurs; nearly half of the nation’s employees are put to work by small-time entrepreneurs; these entrepreneurs’ businesses make up about 99.7 of the entire country’s business entities, which shows the country’s intense dedication to small businesses.

An inherent part of being an entrepreneur is welcoming risk into your life. Although risking it all can effectively put a self-employed businessperson out of business, shying away from any and all risk results in very low returns, poor levels of success, and general business failure. Without any further ado, here are several top-notch, solid reasons behind why every entrepreneur should take calculated risks.

You understand entrepreneurship

Remember this fact, that an entrepreneur who does not take risks is not an entrepreneur. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary makes clear that an “entrepreneur” is someone “who organizes, manages, and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise.” If you want to truly understand what it means to be an entrepreneur, you need to take risks.

Helps you stand out

Being risky will portray you as confident, in turn making it easier to stand out as unique among the crowd. While there are certainly other entrepreneurs who do not take risks, making sure you do helps set you apart from lazy entrepreneurs or just regular people.

Moderate risks bring great rewards

While taking risks is encouraged, don’t run with scissors, fall asleep with candles burning, or do other high-risk, zero-reward activities. However, never shy away from moderate-risk activities that have at minimum a moderate reward when it comes to your business.

Develop leadership skills

Further, entrepreneurs, at least the successful ones, are typically good leaders. Leaders are unique in that they often grab the first-mover’s advantage, an action that brings moderate success in countless scenarios. Leaders know the benefits of taking risks and aren’t afraid to do so.

Innovation involves risk-taking

Without innovation, humanity would never be fortunate enough to have new products. If there weren’t any innovation, there wouldn’t be social media, smartphones, global positioning systems, a polio vaccine; in other words, there wouldn’t be hardly anything we’ve come to take for granted available to us in society.

Some situations don’t call for innovation, but most of them will in the world of entrepreneurship.

Always remember that risk-taking isn’t totally blind – calculated risks are very real and you should use them

Calculated risks are exactly what they sound like – risks that won’t hurt much if they backfire but will return a moderate or substantial reward if everything works out like it’s supposed to.

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