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Things to Keep in Mind When Sending Business Christmas Cards

Things to Keep in Mind When Sending Business Christmas Cards

It’s almost “that” time of year again: the Christmas holidays. Will you see this as an opportunity to reach out in a special way to your business associates—employees, co-workers, collaborators, investors, clients and customers? What might be the payoff in terms of the cost in time and money spent? If you decide to send out holiday greetings, you’ll need to make many decisions. Will you send real mailed cards, ecards, or both? Can you present yourself and your company in a positive way without being impersonal or spammy? What would be the most effective design, format, etc? If you are sending business holiday cards, but are not sure how to proceed with all of the above choices, you are not alone.

These are guidelines that will help you.

Appropriate or inappropriate? Businesses have been sending out Christmas cards for a long time. Often, they were sent to promote a brand. When sent correctly, they can augment your brand. But there are errors that could be fatal, actually making your business look less favorable. Over the years some etiquette and “do’s” and “don’t’s” have been developed. A few items are controversial, but at least the following list of considerations will provide you with confidence that all of the bases have been covered.

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Primary considerations

1. Your purpose

You first need to decide what is your purpose of sending a greeting. It’s best to just send a warm personal greeting and not include copy or advertising. Everyone wants to be appreciated. There might be an occasional instance where you would combine the greeting with a campaign or use it to show off a newly developed software.

2. Your recipient

Who will be receiving your greeting? Will it be a millennial or a more traditional person? The traditional person will appreciate a mailed card. The millennial an ecard. Usually your message and design should be non-denominational—a “season’s” greetings.

3. Your business card

Should you include a business card? Most experts say “no,” but advise a hand-written company name or company stamp after your hand-written signature.

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4. Timing and address

It’s best to mail early—a week before Thanksgiving, but definitely not after December 15. Send the card to the colleague’s business address, unless you are also intimate out-of-the-office friends.

5. Personalize

Hand write your signature, add a hand-written personalized message, and hand write the address on the envelope. Check for proper spelling. Include your hand-written return address so that the recipients know right away who it’s from and to be sure they have your most current address.

6. Ecards

These are more environmentally friendly and less costly, but not as permanent and for some not personal. On the other hand, ecards are more sharable (over social networks), can contain a click thorough or call to action, contain associated metrics and are more readily customizable. There are plenty of sites to obtain stock photography, vector illustrations, clipart, audio files, video and animation. Ecards allow your company to try something that has more style and pop. With animation you can show more by telling a story.

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You could choose to see this as an opportunity to not just remind your clients of who you are, but also remind them of how good you are at what you do. Homemade ecards showcase the web designer, image software expert and an email application or code. Personalize your corporate holiday e-cards as much as humanly possible, remembering to remain as inclusive as you can be, while still sticking to your corporate culture and personality. Keep things simple, fun and cheerful. Put the ecard on your own site and send out links to it in a personal email, or you could send it as an email itself as an attachment or URL.

Some other design and content considerations

1. Include assistants in your greetings list.

They are important people who deserve recognition and influence what their bosses see.

2. Stick to ‘Season’s Greetings’ and ‘Happy Holidays’ type sentiments.

You should also be very careful with humor making your greeting tasteful and of high quality.

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3. You could try something experimental perhaps . . .

. . . like some really great code trick that you haven’t found a use for. But don’t let yourself get carried away—too many bells and whistles will start to look tacky.

4. Incorporate a donation to charity.

So that sending an ecard doesn’t look like you are trying to be cheap. The ecard modernizes a time honored tradition of sending cheerful season’s greetings to those who matter to us the most. And don’t forget that there are other holidays with possibilities to reach out with appropriate greetings.

Featured photo credit: http://www.shutterstock.com via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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