We just launched an exciting new way for people to experience the new HP ElitePad 900. We have partnered with First Great Western to bring the HP brand to two trains and we’re putting HP ambassadors on the trains to give customers a trial of the HP ElitePad.
If you are a First Great Western customer, look out for the team on board the trains to experience a demonstration of the HP ElitePad and try it out for yourself.
We’ve also running a campaign at Heathrow and there is an HP demo area in the BA Club lounge in Terminal 5 with three products on display: ElitePad, EliteBook Revolve and EliteBook Folio 9470m.
Email continues to be the communication channel of choice in business, and while social media might be muscling in on our personal lives, it hasn’t killed email just yet. Unfortunately, despite the practice we get by sending 144.8 billion emails a day, most of us are still really bad at it. And it’s driving everyone mad.
So, here are 25 tips to help you get to the point, get read, and get a response.
- Make sure your full name appears in the sender details. Do you answer the phone from a withheld number? Then who is going to open an anonymous email?
- Choose your recipients judiciously. Don’t bother those who don’t need to know.
- Prevent premature delivery by leaving the ‘To’ field blank until your email is ready to send.
- The subject line is there for you to summarise clearly and concisely the point of your email. If you want it opened, don’t call it ‘Hey’ or ‘Meeting’. Be specific, tell them what the email needs them to do.
- When you’re in a long thread, and the topic of conversation changes, change the subject line. Keep it relevant (with the original in brackets so everyone remembers how it all began).
- Respect your reader’s time. Keep everything short, sweet and to the point.
- An email should only ever cover one topic. Don’t muddy the message and make the reader have to think about what you want from them. If you have lots to cover, call the person or have a meeting.
- If you’re sharing documents and data consider whether collaboration tools, like Basecamp, would be better than email.
- Email is simply not suitable for some things: don’t fire people, argue or cover personal and sensitive topics with a medium that is notoriously open to misinterpretation.
- If there is no objective to your email, why are you sending it? Don’t fill your recipient’s inbox with white noise.
- Use plain text. “All those pretty colors and fancy type faces and styles make me want to puke,” says Guy Kawasaki, “If you can’t say it in plain text, you don’t have anything worth saying.”
- Don’t faff about. Get to heart of the matter in the first line. Tell them what you want them to do, or what you want them to know. Chris Brogan blogged about one of the greatest emails he’s ever received. Look at why.
- Write plainly. As with all writing, avoid jargon and meaningless words that will make your reader zone out.
- Check your spelling and grammar. Yes, it does matter, it affects how people hear your tone and if you don’t think enough of your recipient to take the time to get it right, why should they take the time to reply?
- Don’t be afraid of emotion. Use emoticons, or extra punctuation to clarify your tone and keep things friendly!!!
- Having said that, don’t email when you’re emotional. If you are angry or drunk, then step away from the keyboard.
- Be conversational. Keep it human in order to keep it engaging. Email is electronic, your reader is not.
- For marketing emails, be sure to focus on helping the reader, rather than boasting about yourself. The results speak for themselves.
- Speak to specific audiences. Marketing emails need to be just as relevant and informative as any other email, so target your emails.
- When using email for sales, always make sure you answer ‘What’s in it for me?’ early on in the message.
- Reiterate your main point and spell out what you want your reader to do before you sign off. ‘Reply and let me know if you are free at 2pm on Wednesday.’
- Include links to social media or websites with your signature, but don’t go mad. People want to know how to get in touch, not your life story.
- Stop. Breath. Think. Re-read. Send.
- Reply. Set a good example. If you want people to respond promptly, and pay attention to your emails, then return the favour and practice what you preach.
- And finally, never forward an email that contains the words, ‘LOL’, ‘FAIL’ or ‘CAT’.
Cash is king and the key to the throne is getting your customers to pay you on time. In my experience early payment discounts and late-payment penalties don’t work very well but here are some tried-and-tested tips to get the cash rolling in:
- Be clear about your payment terms. Use a colour printer to highlight the due date of an invoice in big, red letters so that customers know what you expect.
- Invoice quickly. Don’t wait until the end of the month to do an invoice run. If you have delivered the goods, send in the invoice. Every day’s delay costs you money.
- Check they got the invoice. A week after you send in an invoice, call your client and politely check they received the invoice. The old excuse ‘it got lost in the post’ is still common but it’s much more likely to get lost in someone’s in-tray. So get confirmation that they have actually received it.
- Be friendly (but persistent). It also helps to establish a friendly channel of communication with your client’s accounts payable people. If cash is tight, they’ll often delay payments to companies they don’t know or who don’t chase them. You want to be in the other category from the start. And you definitely want to be polite (if firm, diplomatic and persistent) rather than angry or stressed.
- Send reminders. Send a reminder about a week before the due date and then on the due date. Once the invoice is overdue, you can use colour and design on your statements and invoices to emphasise the invoice status.
- Give people lots of ways to pay you. The worst way to get paid is a cheque because it can get lost and it takes time pay in and clear. Make it easy for people to pay you online with PayPal or direct into your bank account with BACS. You could even look at accepting payment in bitcoins (like WordPress.com).
- Go nuclear. If persistence doesn’t pay off, a lawyer’s letter should produce rapid results. You can even sue someone online at the Courses & Tribunals Service’s Money Claim site. There’s a risk to the relationship, of course, but a court summons usually produces instant results.
- Re-consider your business model. Can you charge a retainer? Accept credit card payments? Ask for an advance payment before you start? There’s no law that says you have to invoice after the fact and then accept a 90 day wait for payment. Change the rules if you can.
PC Magazine says of the black and white HP LaserJet Enterprise 500 MFP M525f: ‘If your office is looking for a rich-featured monochrome MFP for heavy-duty text printing, it's worth a close look.’
And it is equally positive about the colour MFP M575dn model, saying it ‘is very fast for a color laser multifunction printer and prints excellent graphics.’
This video gives a great overview of why HP’s new MFPs are so cool – it’s about so much more than just printing.
Analyst firm Gartner gets straight to the point: ‘HP’s latest document management solutions address three major trends in enterprise printing: workflow digitization, cloud and mobility. Workflow digitization reduces the burden of a paper-heavy document system in several ways. It saves storage space, decreases paper consumption, reduces costs, saves time and makes document processes more efficient overall.’
Education is one of those universal experiences. We all went to school, of course. Many people, like me, have young children in school. And all of us are relying on our education system to produce happy, productive members of society. So, what happens in schools is important.
Here at HP, we passionately believe in the power of technology to make a difference in the classroom. It can help in many ways:
- Improve attainment with personalised learning. Give a child the tools and the right guidance and they can discover the world.
- Allow students to learn anywhere, any time. Inspiration doesn’t follow a timetable or live in one building.
- Bridge the home-school divide and get parents more involved. Parents can see how children are progressing and how they can help. Students can access resources outside school.
- Streamline and simplify routine school admin. Technology can free teachers from time-consuming paperwork and help them spend more time educating.
- Equip students with real-world skills. Students, especially as they approach school-leaving age, need to discover what the world of work is like and become familiar with the technology they will need in it.
These opportunities are worth seizing. This is why HP is committed to the education market and why we are investing heavily in developing next-generation technology that will turn these opportunities into everyday reality.
It’s also why we are co-sponsoring the TES Schools Awards. In just seven weeks we’ll help celebrate the best schools, teachers and support staff in the country and an HP-sponsored ICT award will recognise real innovation and examples of excellent ICT teaching practice.
Watch out for short list nominations in the Times Educational Supplement or online later this week.