Corporate Contractors - Winter 2021 Newsletter

Speed Limit A state police officer parked by the side of the highway spotted a car driving only 22 miles per hour. He started up, turned on his lights, and pulled the car over. As he approached the car, he saw the driver was an elderly woman with three friends, one next to her in the front seat and two in the back. “What’s the matter, officer?” the driver asked. “I wasn’t speeding.” “No, ma’am,” the officer said, “but you were driving much lower than the speed limit, and that’s just as dangerous.” “But the sign back there said 22,” the woman said. The officer chuckled and explained that 22 was the route number, not the speed limit, which was 65. Embarrassed, the woman apologized and thanked the officer. Then he peered into the car. “Ma’am, are your friends all right? They all seem a bit frightened.” “Oh, they’ll be all right in a minute, officer. We just got off Route 119.” Create A Spirit Of Innovation On Your Team Sparking innovation in a team or organization depends on a number of factors. Concentrate on these to get the most from everyone’s creativity: • Challenge. Bored people don’t come up with great ideas. Look for tough problems to solve or difficult projects to accomplish—as long as they’re not too overwhelming. • Autonomy. Allow as much freedom as possible to get things done. People are more creative when they can make their own choices. • Recognition. Make sure to praise good ideas when you hear them. Even if they don’t work out, you’ll reinforce people’s innovative spirit. • Debate. Encourage open discussion. Don’t let meetings run too long or turn into arguments, but do make sure everyone feels free to explore ideas honestly. • Support . Team members should help each other develop their ideas. The more support people feel, the more eager they’ll be to make suggestions. • Collaboration. Ideas may come from individuals, but they usually require a group effort to bring to life. Establish common goals so everyone feels a stake in coming up with the best ideas and making them work. How To Compose Emails That Readers Will Actually Open And Respond To The ability to ensure that your emails get opened and read is becoming increasingly important in today’s communication-heavy business environment. You’ll boost responses—and your career—by following these tips from the Fast Company website for writing subject lines that get attention and action: • Don’t ask questions. Phrasing your subject line as a question reduces the open and reply rate, especially if the reader doesn’t know you. Recipients may feel put on the spot if they’re already busy, and delete your message or save it for later. • Get to the point. Skip personal greetings like “Hi, Bill” in your subject lines. Again, if people don’t know you, attempts at familiarity may turn them off. Use personal material in the body of your email, but use the subject line to describe a benefit up front. • Use numbers. Readers tend to trust hard data, so putting numbers in your subject line will usually catch their attention and increase open and reply rates. Metrics offer credibility that most people will respond to. • Use capitals. No, don’t go for ALL CAPS in your subject lines, but capitalize key words: “Increase Your Profits” instead of “Increase your profits.” This conveys authority and gives your email a more formal tone that recipients will respond to. Odd Jobs Of Future Famous Writers Few great authors spring up overnight. Most work odd jobs while they struggle to create. The Literacy Site shares stories of these writers before they became famous: • Langston Hughes. The would-be poet worked as a busboy at a prestigious Washington, D.C. hotel. One day the well-known poet Vachel Lindsay came to lunch, and Hughes worked up enough courage to show her some of his poems. Lindsay was impressed by his talent, which led to him being discovered and going on to lead the Harlem Renaissance. • Kurt Vonnegut. The future author of Slaughterhouse-Five and other classics owned the first Saab dealership in the U.S. He went on to serve in the United States Army during the World War II, which had a major impact on his later writing career. • J.D. Salinger. Before breaking onto the literary scene, the author of The Catcher in the Rye and other classics worked as entertainment director on a Swedish cruise ship. SPEED BUMP Dave Coverly