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The Ultimate List Of Useful Templates For Your Work Emails

The Ultimate List Of Useful Templates For Your Work Emails

Sending emails can become an enormous time-suck, pulling you away from the important tasks during your work day. Message templates for some common and not-so-common situations can help you trim out the excess minutes you spend hemming and hawing over email correspondences. Browse through some of these email template scenarios and identify the messages you often waste time on. If you’ve had to send a certain type of email more than once, it might be time to create a template for it!

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1. New Marketing Announcements

If you or your company has a significant online following or a mailing list, then you understand just how important it is to send out clear and error-free emails. When you announce new products or services, it’s vital to provide your audience with key points about the launch. Create a basic email template so that you can include minimum necessities, such as:

  •      What the new product or service is
  •      Timeframe (when the new product or service will be available)
  •      Why this product or service is relevant to your audience (the value proposition)
  •      How customers can obtain it
  •      Where customers can find a new service or product, if you have a brick-and-mortar location
  •      Your contact information

Unbounce and Constant Contact have even more tips for creating compelling marketing templates.

2. Asking for Introductions

If someone in your network is connected directly to an influential person in your industry, you might want to ask for an introduction. Having a template for these situations can help you overcome your nerves and just ask for a connection already. Here are some key points to include in your email:

  •      The name and title of the person you’d like to be introduced to
  •      Why you want this introduction
  •      The ideal method of communication (in-person, phone, or email)

You can get more tips on requesting introductions via email at The Muse and Forbes.

3. Upcoming Events

Are you trying to boost attendance at an upcoming open house, conference, or some other work-related event? Or maybe you’re trying to spark interest internally for an optional training session or post-shift happy hour. Instead of crafting a new email from scratch each time something comes up, you can just plug your request into an email template and sent it to the relevant parties. Here are some details to include regarding the event:

  •      Date
  •      Time
  •      Location
  •      What will be covered
  •      Additional incentives
  •      Who will be there

Get inspired while writing email invitations by checking out suggestions at Eventbrite and Constant Contact.

4. Social Media Requests

Most people relegate those annoying “Invitation to Connect” emails from social media companies to the spam folder, especially when they arrive in a work inbox. Some have learned to distrust these social network invites, since they are often automatically sent to everyone in an address book. You can avoid being overlooked by sending a personalized request template directly from your own email, so that the recipient understands who you are and why you’d like to connect on social media. Here are some points to include:

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  •      How you know each other
  •      Mutual contacts
  •      Relevant shared interests
  •      Why you’ want to connect

CareerRealism has a great write-up on how social media invitations can increase your audience.

5. Client Follow Ups

If you haven’t heard from a client in a while, then you might want to touch base to see how they’re doing. You’ll likely want to create a template for follow-ups sent during the purchase decision process and follow-ups for after the transaction is complete. Be sure to consider these points:

  •      Don’t rush clients or be pushy for an update
  •      Recap the last conversation you had
  •      Ask if there’s anything you can do to help

Inc. and emedia have excellent tips on creating great follow up emails for clients.

Looking for Work

1. Inquiry Letters

Not every company posts a clear description of their current openings online. Sometimes it’s better to get in touch with a recruiter directly, so that you can learn more about their positions, company culture, and application processes. If you are sending inquiry letters to learn about available positions, here are a few things to include:

  •      A brief introduction of yourself and your professional background
  •      How you learned about the company
  •      Ask for their application procedures – don’t just include your cover letter and resume with the assumption that this is it

You can learn more about inquiry email etiquette at Business Insider and CareerOneStop.

2. Reference Requests

You should have at least three or four go-to references while you search for jobs, since they might be contacted on short notice during the application review process. If you haven’t secured your references yet, then you’ll need to ask some former supervisors, colleagues, and academic connections. Here’s what to include when you request a reference:

  •      The position and company you’re applying to (or the general field if you’re applying to multiple places)
  •      An update on your professional life (if you haven’t been in touch recently)
  •      Links to your online portfolio or professional social media profile

The Muse and the U.S. News and World Report both offer additional tips on requesting references.

3. A Thank You

After you meet with a recruiter for an interview, it’s important to email them a brief message and thank them for their time. These thank you messages might seem pretty straight forward, but they help recruiters keep you in mind as they interview other prospective applicants. Here are some key points to address:

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  •      Your appreciation of their time
  •      Your contact information
  •      An invitation for recruiters to ask you any additional questions

Business Daily News has posted several Thank You Letter examples.

4. Follow Ups

It’s been two weeks since you’ve applied to a company. Or maybe the notification time period you were given after an interview has lapsed. Of course you’d like to follow up and see how your application review process is doing, but you also don’t want to inconvenience recruiters. Here’s what to include in your single, well-timed follow up so that it’s not awkward:

  •      A reminder of who you are and your last interaction
  •      A request to confirm the receipt of your application or the response time frame after your interview
  •      An invitation for recruiters to ask questions or request additional application documents

Learn more about application follow ups by checking out this U.S. News and World Report resource.

5. Declining Offers

There are many reasons why you might decline a job offer. Perhaps you’ve already accepted employment elsewhere. Or maybe you don’t feel comfortable accepting the pay rate or duties associated with a particular offer. Whatever the reason, you might want to have an email template on hand to decline. Here are some aspects to keep in mind:

  •      Don’t burn bridges. Be careful with what you say, since you might seek out this employer again in the future.
  •      Provide positive feedback and let the employer know if you had a positive experience while applying and being interviewed

Monster and Forbes weigh in with some great offer declining tactics.

Streamlining  Professional Communications

1. Asking for Clarification

While you’re trying to hammer out the details for an upcoming task or project, it’s easy for people to get vague. You might need to ask for further clarification before you can proceed. Create a template that addresses these questions:

  •      The scope and size of the project
  •      Needed resources
  •      Who your main contacts will be

SkillsYouNeed has published a fantastic tutorial on how to ask clarifying questions.

2. Identifying Common Resources

If you become known for your expertise at work, you might receive emails from other employees or professional connections who want to pick your brain about resources. Instead of replying to each one individually, create a template with this vital information. Be sure to include:

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  •      Your personal best practices
  •      Links to internal and external guides
  •      Other company employees who can serve as a resource

3. Asking for Additional Resources

You might begin a task or job, only to find that you don’t have access to enough resources. You’ll need to identify the supervisor or project coordinator that can provide you with these resources. If you have to submit these inquiries frequently, be sure to ask about:

  •      Project specifications
  •      Important points of contact
  •      Budgetary constraints

Learn more about asking your employer for additional support at The Glass Hammer.

4. Apologetic Corrections

Email is a tricky art. At work, you might send dozens of emails a day, and sometimes you cross wires. You might need to issue a correction or inform someone that they weren’t the correct recipients. Here are a few handy templates to keep on hand, in case something goes wrong.

  •      Notifying a recipient to disregard a previous email that wasn’t intended for them
  •      Notifying a recipient of a correction to an email’s content
  •      Apologizing for a belated email correspondence

Instructional Solutions provides businesses with additional ideas on apologizing via email.

5. Going On Vacation

If you’re going to be out of the office, you need to inform your coworkers and clients who their next available point of contact is. Auto-responders that inform people that you’re out of the office are rarely surprising, after all, we all need some time away from work. Here’s what to include in your auto-responder:

  •      The timeframe of your vacation
  •      At least two alternative points of contact
  •      A promise to follow up once you return

Get inspired by vacation auto-responder emails listed by Mashable and BlueLeaf.

The Tough Stuff

1. Declining New Tasks Gracefully

If you’ve got too much work on your plate, you’ll likely need to turn away additional responsibilities. It’s important to do this on a timely basis, so that the other person has the chance to find a replacement. It is possible to say no without being awkward, rushed, or impolite. Here are the main points to address:

  •      Thank them for their confidence in your abilities
  •      Tell them that you either don’t have the necessary time, experience, or resources to complete the said task
  •      Wish them well in finding a different employee for the job

Zenhabits and The Muse provide succinct advice on how to say no without it being awkward.

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2. Questioning Your Supervisor

It’s extremely difficult to challenge your supervisor’s decisions. However, you can do so tactfully and it might not be apparent that you are questioning them at all! Here are some ways to reduce the tension while questioning your supervisor’s methods or decisions.

  •      Provide a summary of what your supervisor wants. You might be misunderstanding their directions, and this gives your supervisor a chance to clarify.
  •      If the decisions go against company policies, mention it. It’s usually better to cover yourself rather than go along with potentially illegal or unauthorized tasks.

Monster provides some great tips on challenging your supervisor without getting into trouble.

3. Submitting Complaints

HR departments exist for many reasons. You might need to submit a complaint about unprofessional behavior in the workplace, which can be an incredibly tough thing to do. If you decide to file a complaint, try to be as objective as possible. Examine your HR complaint procedures and keep the following factors in mind:

  •      Only report the facts. Don’t speculate about an incident. Report relevant times, names of people involved, and locations.
  •      Let them know if you’ve already informed your supervisor of the incident.
  •      Be polite and use professional language. While you might be extremely upset during a work conflict, your credibility can be lost if you’re using vulgar or extremely emotional language.

CBS Money Watch provides some wise advice on when and when not to contact HR.

4. Leaving Your Job

Quitting a job can be uncomfortable, no matter what the circumstances. However, you might want to have a resignation letter template on hand, just in case you find a new job, need to leave for personal reasons, or just want to reassess your professional situation. Here’s what to cover in your resignation letter:

  •      Your preferred last day
  •      A declaration of your resignation
  •      Relevant contacts for shifting responsibilities
  •      A general “thank you” to your colleagues

Take a look at some example resignation letters on Monster and Business Insider.

5. Saying Goodbye to Coworkers and Colleagues

After you submit a resignation letter, you might also want to send goodbye notices to your fellow colleagues and clients. Depending on the nature of your work, these people might need to know that you will no longer be a point of contact at a company. These goodbye letters should cover:

  •      Important contact information for those taking over your duties
  •      Where to find resources you’ve created for the company
  •      Your thanks
  •      An invitation to connect via social media (only if outside communications are permitted by your current employment contract)

CareerBright provides some great advice on saying farewell without cutting important professional ties.

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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