We went with a “happy new year” theme for this year’s company holiday card, mostly because we’re slow to get these out in the mail! The artwork is from Watermark Design.

Let this serve as your reminder to touch base with customers and clients at the end of the year — they’re looking forward to hearing from you!

I’ve written about how tired I am of e-mail. It has its uses, but fails in many ways. Phone calls are great, when needed. Texting is fantastic for a lot of quick communication. I’ve been thinking, though, of doing more writing by hand starting with the end of this year.

No, no: I don’t just mean holiday cards. I mean letters. Not a lot. Just a few.

My friend Amanda is very, very good at this. She sends the best birthday cards and handwritten “thinking of you” notes I’ve ever received.

A little secret? I keep them all. I keep all the handwritten, mailed notes I get. I have a rather large drawer full of them. When I’m having a particularly crappy day, it is really nice to open that drawer and read the words of dear friends and family.

So why haven’t I returned the favor? I get hung up on the lack of awesome stationery and an available pen. (Pretty sure I can remedy that). I get hung up on the fact that my fingers are near a keyboard or a smartphone all of my waking hours.

I’m going to give it a whirl, though. I have two very special people to start writing to, and I’ll see where it goes from there.

Do you write by hand? Do you like it when you get something handwritten in the mail?

Joey DeVilla sums it up nicely with a handy flowchart. His point is, of course, if someone wishes you any kind of warm, thoughtful greeting — even if it’s for a holiday you don’t celebrate — thank them, and wish them well! It’s not an invitation to argue with them. It’s not an attempt to proselytize. It’s just a greeting.

Having worked in public relations my entire career, I’ve been conditioned to offer very holiday nonspecific greetings and am often, perhaps, overly careful to share the appropriate message. This post, though, makes me rethink that a little, and this year, I’m just going to wish people well however the mood strikes.

As we head into Thanksgiving, in that case, I wish you all a Happy Pie Day!

Yesterday was my birthday. Yay for birthdays! Many of us have known the joy of the Facebook birthday; the flood of messages from friends near, far, and from high school! It’s great fun. This year, for the first time, I was getting numerous birthday greetings on LinkedIn as well! LinkedIn has been taking cues from younger sister and “friends” social network (vs. business-only) Facebook and adopted some of the attributes we like best about Facebook. The birthday nudge that LinkedIn is using also reminds your network about job changes and work anniversaries for connections, giving us all a reason to engage with one another within LinkedIn. I approve!

What do you think? Will you wish work colleagues and business connections a happy birthday on LinkedIn?


linkedin birthday

It’s kind of funny that the same arguments, concerns, and battles about social media are still happening in the workplace. I forget that not everyone has adapted, adopted, and generally accepted that the internet, at the least, and social media tools of all kinds, are part of our daily work and personal lives. I forget that there are still some bosses, managers, and business owners who are afraid of social media or, really, anything internet-based. (I taught a class recently and this was brought up, rather emphatically, by a student.) It’s fear of the unknown, of course. The people with the biggest concerns are not users, themselves. There’s a lack of understanding of how the tools work, and an assumption that quickly follows, that IT MUST BE BAD.

If it’s important to you and your business that all of your employees stay off of social media at all times, but especially while at work, you’d better put that in a written policy that they sign, then enforce it consistently. Clarify that even using their own personal smartphones during work hours to access social media is a violation, if that’s how you feel about it. Be really up front with new employees and bring down the hammer on any current employees. Don’t complain about how hard it is to manage this or enforce it; we know that. But that’s the choice you’ve made: it’s more important to you to spend time making sure your people aren’t spending time in one specific way, than to establish what you DO want employees doing, in terms of communications.

I get that people abuse social media and, in general, the internet, but we’ve lost that battle across the board. You can’t effectively enforce all internet activity of people who work and in general, trying is not going to be worth the energy output.

But again, be clear, and when people keep doing what you don’t want them to do, they might just want a different job for an employer who doesn’t mind if they tweet. Help them be free to get that job.