How to Leave the Perfect Voice Mail Message

answeringMachineDON’T.  I absolutely despise voice mails.

I’m not really sure when my hatred for this time wasting event started…I remember a time when voice mails were my life, circa 1991.  I would race back to my dorm room to see if my answering machine had a blinking light…if it did, it usually meant a boy had called me.  {sigh}

Today however…if I see on my iPhone that I have a voice mail…I am not a happy camper.  Almost all of my friends know better than to leave me a vm because a. I have either told them not to or b. I don’t listen to their voice mail ever, i.e. sending them the message that I don’t do voice mails.   I can see that you called my phone so to me that implies, “call me back.”  I don’t need someone to leave me a message just to say “call me back.”  I get it!

If you really want to get me fired up…leave me a voice message and say “Call me back, I have a question for you.” ——What?? What is the question?? If you are going to go ahead and waste time by leaving the message, go ahead and tell me why you are calling…specifically. Do people think this air of mystery will make me want to call them back quicker? I usually just text back and say “what is your question?”

One of my all time favorite movies is Swingers (I have a huge crush on Vince Vaughn), in this movie, Jon Favreau, leaves several voice messages on a girl’s answering machine…just painful to watch.  I found this great article that talks about voice mail and this particular movie scene. 

So all kidding aside, sort of…if you must leave a voice mail, here are a few tips:

1. State your name clearly and repeat your phone number at least twice.

2. State the reason for your call and the reason you need that person to call you back.

3. Keep it simple and to the point.

4. Try really hard not to leave a voice mail!






The Friday Fab Four


Here are four articles I found interesting this week.

**Helpful Tip: You can create ‘recipes’ to do just about anything with your smartphone or computer by using IFTTT. (If this, then that)

  1. How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of  Your Day.–Ron Friedman (I do love Bourdain)

  2. How Americans Pronounce Common Tech Terms–Megan Garber (This cracked me up!)

3. Why You Should Never Cross Your Arms Again–Leo Widrich (Fascinating stuff…I prefer the Superwoman pose)

4. So You Are Feeling too Fat to be Photographed–Teresa S. Porter (I am so guilty of this)




I’m Not Sorry (Anymore)

“I’m sorry.”  I must say those words a million times a day.

“I’m sorry but I think we should use a different photo for the ad”

“Sorry, I didn’t have time to answer your four paragraph email”

“So sorry, would you mind turning down your music”

“Sorry, but you are in my seat.”

My gosh, it is an epidemic! Why do I feel so sorry all the time? A female co-worker shared this great article (by Jessica Bennett) with me and she said in the email “I’m guilty of this.” And after I read the article, I realized I am guilty as well.  Sometimes, I feel if I preface a tough statement with the word ‘sorry’ the sentiment won’t be so terse…why do I have to apologize for being terse? I don’t think men say the word ‘sorry’ near as much as women.  I even wondered if it was a southern thing…like how I say “Bless Your Heart,” but this article leads me to believe that it is not a southern thing…it’s a female thing.

A while ago, I read an article that said people use the word ‘busy’ to one up each other about how busy they are as if they are the only people on earth who are busy.  I hear this every. single. day.  So, after reading that article, I work very hard not to say that I am busy…I try to say something more positive and genuine.  We are all busy, so why is it some badge of honor to tell everyone how busy we are?

Sorry, I digress.  UGH! See, there it is again.  I am going to work very hard to stop apologizing for basically existing in this world.  From now on, I will assert myself and not apologize for having an opinion.  I will stop apologizing to the waiter when I need more butter with my french toast.  Starting today, I will not apologize when someone bumps into me at the grocery store.  I will certainly not say I am sorry when it was your phone that dropped the call!

Will you join me? Let’s all stop saying we are sorry unless we truly are sorry and need to apologize for something.  So, if you know me and you hear me use the word sorry when I shouldn’t, please ask me to stop!

Here’s the commercial by Pantene mentioned in the article…it hit very close to home for me.


Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.”–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Friday Fab Four

Here are four articles I found interesting this week.

**Helpful Tip: Read a great article (or blog post, hint hint) that you want to post through your social media channels? Use Buffer.

1. Smart People Should Create Things–James Clear (like the Post-It note!)

2. Understanding Facebook’s Lost Generation of Teens–Ryan Bradley (Interesting…my 16 year old hasn’t been on fb in at least 4 years)

3. The Frustrating Slow Pace of Making Changes–Leo Babauta (So painstakingly true)

4. Your Company is not a Family–Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh (Yes! Teams!)

The Un-Meeting



Are you tired of sitting in long, boring meetings? So am I! What can we do about this? Day after day, meeting after meeting I sit and wonder… what would make this meeting better, more productive?  So here are a few of my ideas!

The Standing Meeting: Ok, hang with me here a second…if we stood up during our meetings I almost guarantee the folks speaking at the meeting would talk faster and more efficiently because they want to go sit down.  I believe standing meetings would make the meeting more social and more interactive.  If you can see each others body language better, you would get a better idea of what people really think in meetings.  (People can hide non-verbal clues under a boardroom table.)  Now, the stand up meeting isn’t for every meeting, only those 20 minutes or less meetings.  This type of meeting is great for Monday morning staff meetings or project update meetings. I particularly like this type of meeting because it reminds me of a huddle…so many great things are accomplished in a good huddle. Go Team!

3 Tips for Effective Stand Up Meetings

The Walking Meeting: Truly my new favorite type of meeting. It is just how it sounds…you walk and meet.  I’ve started meeting individually with my staff for 15 minutes a week and we walk around downtown.  Not only are we getting out of the office and in to the sunshine but we are also getting exercise.  What is equally great, I’ve discovered my staff talks more in depth on these walking meetings.  They seem to like the uninterrupted time with me and I like the change of scenery.  Next time someone pops in your office and wants to meet, ask them to walk with you…I think you will really like it.

Join POTUS and Zuckerberg, they like walking meetings! 

Meet Anywhere but the Office Meeting: Much like the walking meeting just get out of the boardroom! If your staff meets in the same room week after week, change it up and go somewhere new.  People dread meetings and if you throw them a curve ball by having the weekly meeting across the street or in the lobby, this will make your staff take notice and pay attention.  Meetings do not have to be around a table to be effective.  They could be around several tables or couches and coffee tables.  No matter the configuration, get your staff out of their meeting rut. Hit the local coffee shop and buy a round!

You Have to Start Meeting Like This

If you have more ideas for better meetings, please share.  I am always on the lookout for good meeting ideas.


Billboard Marketing



How do you feel about billboard advertising? Everyday we are inundated with billboards on our highways.  I am not completely anti billboards, they do have a function and some companies utilize them quite well.  However, I am surprised almost daily at the companies who spend a lot of marketing dollars on really bad billboard ads.

When you are on a road trip and you need to tell the kiddos that McD’s is just ahead…billboards are great for telling you how many more miles to gas, food and lodging.  Too many times, I see billboards that try to be all things to all people.  This does not work in billboard advertising…doesn’t really work in any advertising.

Copy that is too small, calls to action like ‘follow us on twitter!’ (Really? If I’m alone in the car how am I supposed to do that?)  In my opinion, billboards should be nice large images that are compelling with few words.  I literally saw a billboard this week on Interstate I40 that listed every single social media icon…as if I could reach up and physically tap the icon. This tells me that their ad was probably made for digital and they decided to throw it up on a billboard.  Waste of money.

I think clever and funny billboards do a great job of getting someone’s attention and there are many times that I am driving and see a clever billboard and think, that company just got my attention! Here’s an article about really clever billboards. Which one is your favorite?

According to About Advertising, there are six basic rules of billboard advertising. 

1. Six Words or Less is Ideal

2. Don’t Make Your Billboards a Huge Distraction

3. This is Not the Time for Direct Response

4. Billboards should be smart but not too clever

5. The More Billboards the Better

6. Don’t Say it, Show it

The Friday Fab Four

Here are four articles I found interesting this week.

**Helpful Tip: Read a great article (or blog post, hint hint) that you want to post through your social media channels? Use Buffer.

1. Why You Hate Work— Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath (Depressing statistics…more evidence that office culture is key)

2. 5 Reasons Great Leadership Matters–Jacob Shriar (I especially love #4)

3. Heading for Home–Rick Reilly (I love his examples of how sports matter…best of luck to you Mr. Reilly)

4. You Already Know Everything–Alexandra Franzen (little miracles!)



What I’m Reading Now–June 2014

Year W/O PantsI learned about this book when my dad shared an article with me that Scott wrote.  I can’t put this book down.  Not only am I learning about the world of WordPress (where my blog lives!) and Automattic but I love Scott’s thoughts on managing teams.  There are a lot of great ideas in this book including, office culture examples, leadership roles and how to work with creative people.  He has a nice writing style and he holds nothing back about his first year at Automattic.

“Any manager who eliminates superfluous traditions takes a step toward progress.  If removing a restriction improves performance or has no impact on performance but improves morale, everyone wins.”  The Year Without Pants, Scott Berkun

It’s another book that I recommend buying the physical book so you can dog ear pages and highlight text!