- Author and Founder, Anna Yen, who spearheaded investor relations efforts for industry leaders like Tesla Motors, MarketWatch and Pixar Animation Studios.
- Social Media Pioneer and C-Level Entrepreneur, Lisa Stone, who has used technology to create and scale consumer movements and communities having founded BlogHer, Women.com and Law.com, among others.
- Brand Strategist and Founder, Sara Schor, who has provided insights and strategy to small and large brands.
The panel’s discussion kicked off with the thorny topic of handling conflict in the workplace.
Yen and Stone emphasized that direct communication is the most effective way to resolve workplace issues. However, while this seems obvious, it’s not always done since many prefer to avoid conflict. Yen and Stone said that instead of going to a person’s manager or going to your manager to discuss an issue, talking directly is the best way to find resolution.
Schor shared several useful strategies that she regularly uses:
- Respond, don’t react. How many times have you fired off an email without thinking, only later to realize you said something you shouldn’t have? When you feel yourself reacting without thinking, Schor suggests taking a little time to think through your response. Try typing a draft (without putting any email addresses in the “To” field, just in case) and letting the reply sit overnight since things can often look different in the morning.
- Take three deep breaths. When faced with conflict, Schor said your body’s fight or flight response automatically kicks in. Taking a few deep breaths gives your body time to relax, reduces the fight/flight instinct and helps you respond appropriately.
- Remember difficult things and how to positively overcome them. Schor shared the story behind a blog called “How a Password Changed My Life” by Mauricio Estrella. Depressed and in the middle of a divorce, Estrella used his password as a tool to find forgiveness. Typing “Forgive her” every day - sometimes multiple times a day - for one month had an unexpected healing effect.
- Think about the email recipient, what is their pain point? Knowing this will focus your email.
- Consider the recipient’s attention span and try to formulate your message so they can reply with a simple “Yes” or “No”. You could lose the reader’s attention if the email is too long.
- Use bullet lists to simplify information sharing.
- Use keywords in your subject line like “Reply Needed”, “Action Required” or “This is Interesting”.
- As an email thread grows and the topic evolves, change the subject line so it’s relevant to what’s being discussed.
- Put questions or requests in bold to draw attention.