Monday, November 28, 2016

The Ultimate Way to Say Thank You at Work

"Nice work on this one." That was the five word email that made not just the day, but the week of a friend of mine. He's a young patent attorney who writes patents for major tech companies in Silicon Valley. His client was not known for lavish praise or lengthy emails and he sent that five word email to him just after finishing up a patent application. That email alone would have probably been enough to put a smile on his face that day, but what really made the difference was that when he got that email his boss was also copied on it.

Not only did he feel the gratification knowing that his client was happy with his work, he looked good in front of his boss, the person who arguably has the most impact on his ability to grow and advance in his career at his firm.

In the United States we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving. This holiday creates many reminders to say thanks. In my family on Thanksgiving day, we all go around the table before we eat and say what we are grateful for. While I’ll admit that most of the things discussed at the table are on a personal level, this holiday can be an opportunity for you to express appreciation to those in your professional life as well.

In the professional world one of the most impactful and underrated ways you can say thank you at work is to not just direct it at the person to whom you are grateful, but to send it to their direct manager. Here are three tips on how to do this.

  • Be specific. Don’t just say “thanks for a great year.” Highlight a specific project or a moment where you were particularly grateful for their help.
  • Thank the boss as well. While you might be primarily grateful for the work or help from a specific employee their boss can take at least a little bit of credit. You can say something like. “I wanted to thank you for all the hard work your team put in on this project, I’d like to specifically call out the work on the part of the project that Sue did, she really knocked it out of the park.” 
  • Say thanks for the little things too. Don’t wait for some massive milestone to be hit. At that point they’ll probably be getting thank you’s and praise from all over the organization. Look for the quiet, unsung tasks that can be so critical but often go unnoticed.

If you do this, these emails will be cherished by those that receive them. Don’t be surprised if they even end up in their performance evaluations as well.

While you're craving turkey and feeling the holiday spirit, take a few minutes, write an email and make someone’s day, week or even month by saying thank you.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Meet My New Assistant, Calendly

I've always told myself that once I have a personal assistant, I'll know I've made it career wise. I despise scheduling meetings, it takes up way too much time. Since I started working, I've been looking forward to the day someone else schedules my meetings.

I'm happy to announce that I now have a personal assistant, it's Calendly. Ok, so it's not a human, but it's software that has taken the pain out of scheduling meetings.

I schedule a lot of meetings. To schedule a meeting with a co-worker is pretty straightforward and easy with our internal systems, but try to set up a meeting with someone not at your company and it's a lot more work. I'm meeting with people every week outside of my company, people in the industry, students or even catching up with different professional contacts. The time is takes to set up these meetings adds up.

Calendly makes this really easy and is saving me at least 30 minutes a week. This is how it works.

Step 1. Sign up for Calendly
Step 2. Sync it with your calendar
Step 3. Set up different types of meetings that you have, filling in each one with important details like, what time of day you prefer, call-in information and a ton more. See examples of all my meetings.

screenshot of calendly schedule page
Step 4. When someone wants to meet with you send them a link and it will show them when you are available to meet by automatically checking your calendar and seamlessly creating an invite with all the right details you pre-populated like where meet or what number to call.
screenshot of calendly meeting page
If you get a lot of people requesting to meet with you, this is a must have tool. It's not often a piece of software comes along and has such a quick impact on my work, but Calendly really has saved me time.

There is been so much talk of AI lately, that this is a good reminder that great software can be better than AI.