Exclamation Point or Not?! … E-mail Takes on New Role… Employers Say College Degree Is Key

Exclamation Point or Not?!

The exclamation point was once reserved for hard selling (Buy now!!!). But today, the punctuation mark has become pervasive, being inserted throughout professional communication as a way to soften a request or add levity to a message.

Critics, however, note that such use can make an author appear inexperienced, immature, or unprofessional, especially in e-mails sent in workplace situations. These tips can help guide young professionals to hit the right tone without abusing a punctuation mark.

  • Restrict exclamation points for beginnings and endings: Good morning, Mark!and See you later at the meeting!
  • Respond in kind. When replying to a message that contains an exclamation point in the body, match your response to the original.Thanks for the heads up!can be replied to with You’re welcome! whileThanks for the heads up. merits a more measured reply: You’re welcome.
  • Avoid the double exclamation point for work-related messages. It’s overkill and unprofessional.

From Business Insider

E-mail Takes on New Role

With Slack and similar apps being used for quick responses and texting becoming the de facto informal communication mode, e-mails are taking on a new role as the more formal communication vehicle—and one that requires careful execution.

However, the ease with which an e-mail can be sent often leads to sloppy or misleading content. Prudent writers may want to remember a few pointers before hitting the send button.

  1. Wait. It’s tempting to rush through e-mail, but sending without taking a moment to read the message often leads to confusion—and more e-mails to clear up that confusion. Experts advise stopping to edit e-mails for clarity. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 60 seconds before hitting the send button.
  2. Edit. Long, meandering e-mails that don’t get right to the point are a recipe for miscommunication. Well written e-mails remove redundancies, fillers, qualifiers, adverbs, and adjectives and are composed using a conversational tone.
  3. Revise. E-mails that are so brief they lack necessary details can be as bad as wading through wordy prose. Complete e-mails contain all the information necessary for the reader to do what the writer intends.

E-mails written in the workplace should also take the right tone. Researchers suggest reading e-mail aloud to catch words that may convey sarcastic, angry, or offensive language.

From Fast Company

 Employers Say College Degree Is Key

A college degree is essential, according to new research published by the Association of American Colleges & Universities. The findings from the report come from an examination of two surveys, one of business leaders and one of hiring managers, with a thousand respondents combined.

Specifically, the report notes that 82 percent of executives and 75 percent of hiring managers consider a college education “important” or “essential.” Nearly 90 percent believe a college degree is worth the time and money spent to earn it.

The results also indicate that business leaders have more confidence in American colleges and universities than the American public, and that any degree produces a “well-rounded individual … prepared to interact with high-level employees.”

Communication skills top hirers most desired qualities in employees, with 80 percent of executives and 90 percent of hiring managers calling oral communication their number one priority, and written communication coming in as the third highest important skill for recent grads.

From aacu.org

Number Style: Word or Figure?

[Instructors: Download this exercise and the answer key at the end of the post.]

Whether to use words or figures to express numbers is governed by convention. That is, we follow customary techniques or rules. Here is a summary of frequently used number rules:

  • General rules. Use words for numbers one through ten. (We have ten computers and three printers. She travels 30,000 miles each year.)
  • Beginning of sentence.Never start a sentence with a figure. (Twenty-five candidates applied.)
  • Money. Use figures. (Her ticket cost $699.55, and her luggage fee was $20 more.)
  • Dates. Use figures when the day follows the month (May 5). Do not add the ordinals th, nd, rd unless the day precedes the month (fifth of May) or stands alone (on the fifth).
  • Clock time. Use figures when clock time is expressed with a.m. or p.m. (at 9 a.m.). Use either words or figures when clock time is expressed with o’clock (at one o’clock or at 1 o’clock).
  • Periods of time. Follow general rules (a three-month leave for 90 days).
  • Business terms. Use figures for interest rates, contracts, warranty periods (2 percent, 6-month rental agreement).
  • Addresses. Use figures for all house numbers (3450 Main Street)except the number One. Use words and ordinals for street names tenand under (Fifth Avenue, 17thStreet).

Revise the following sentences to correct number style.

  1. After sending out twenty-five résumés, Amanda was pleased to have 3 job interviews.
  2. She prepared her résumé in about 10 hours and spent 35 dollars on paper and copying.
  3. Her first interview was scheduled for June 18th at eleven a.m. in the morning.
  4. The address for 1 interview was 4821 Thirteenth Avenue.
  5. During a 4-week period, she talked with at least fifteen interviewers and managers.
  6. 2 or 3 interviewers at each company questioned her for about twenty minutes.
  7. A well-known company offered her thirty thousand dollars as a starting salary, but she was hoping for forty thousand.
  8. One job candidate spent 3 hundred dollars on a new wardrobe and traveled fifteen hundred miles to a promising interview.
  9. That candidate received 2 offers on the 15th of the month, but he asked for 7 days to decide.
  10. He graduated with sixty thousand dollars in student loans at a five percent interest rate.
  11. His best interview was at 1 Rockefeller Plaza, which is just off 5th Avenue.
  12. He had only three dollars in his pocket, but a taxi ride would cost at least 15 dollars.
  13. Eager candidates submit their résumés to 1 hundred or more companies.
  14. He was asked to decide before one p.m. on the twenty-third of December.
  15. It took him only 1 hour to return the 3-page employment contract.


KeyNumber Style

Influencer Marketing: Cool or Not So Much?

Influencer marketing—the practice of hiring personalities with a large social media following to sell a product or service (think Colin Kaepernick)—is running into some ethics walls, and at least one major manufacturer is drawing a line in the sand.

Unilever, maker of such varied products as Hellman’s mayonnaise and Dove shampoo, has drawn attention to the fact that many influencers are using fake bots to ramp up their numbers, especially those with 50,000-100,000 followers. Companies that track influencer marketing claim that advertisers are paying these influencers millions of dollars a month for fake followers.

This fraud has marketers seething and they are calling the practice not just misleading, but corrupt. Buying followers is simply not the same as individuals choosing to follow an influencer, says Keith Weed of Unilever, and he’s calling for social media platforms to increase their oversight to clean up the problem.

The dramatic rise in influencer marketing makes the issue all the more important. A survey conducted for the Association of National Advertisers found that out of 158 marketers, 75% used influencer marketing, and of those, nearly half intend to up their spending next year.

Critical Thinking Discussion Questions

  1. How do you think consumers would react if they were more aware that some influencers claim to have as many as 20% more followers than they actually do?
  2. Why do you think influencer marketing has become so popular in recent years?
  3. How might marketers encourage consumers to use consumer evaluation rather than rely on influencers?