I was going to write a post about my disdain for the phrase “Please Advise”, but we had a little round-table discussion at dinner the other night and I found two other phrases that are equally nails-on-the-chalkboard-sound cringe inducing.
But first, let me start with the title phrase: Please Advise.
It may be one of the worst lines I’ve ever read in emails. Here’s an example: “I’m having trouble understanding your expense report for 8/11/12. Please advise.” What I actually read then I see that is, “I’m having trouble understanding why I’m such a douchebag. Please advise.” It just sounds so condescending to me. Like, I already know what you’re talking about, I just want to make you feel like an idiot for not explaining it in the way I want you to. Well, guess what? You sound like an idiot too. Next time you want to write please advise, consult your phrase thesaurus (if there isn’t one of these in existence, let me know. I’ll create one.) and choose a better phrase. Let’s eliminate please advise from our vocabulary forever.
It is what it is.
This is another phrase that seriously irritates me. While “Please advise” is mostly used in business settings, “It is what it is” can be used in either. It’s one of my mom’s favorites. She has it on a shirt and on a plaque in the kitchen. I’m pretty sure that’s just to piss me off, though. Anyway, not only is it annoying, it doesn’t really make sense. I mean, of course it is what it is. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be what it is. Duh. This phrase goes along with “It’s whatever,” but that doesn’t irritate me enough to make it into this post. Just a side note. If you say it is what it is to me, you run the risk of being throat punched. You’ve been warned.
This was my dad’s contribution. Someone makes a statement (usually in an email chain with more than one recipient), and then ends with “your thoughts?”. To me, this is a really passive-aggressive way of saying, I’ve told you what we’re going to do and I’m just asking your opinion to make myself look good to the other people in this chain. They aren’t going to take your input and apply it to the situation. They’re probably going to say, “That’s a great point, but blah blah blah.” A virtual slap down, if you will. If you’re making a statement of what’s going to happen, and it’s already been decided, don’t ask for other people’s thoughts just to be politically correct. It just makes a really long email chain that I don’t want to read, that really isn’t getting anything done.
Well, there you have it. A short and sweet (sour?) list of the top three worst phrases someone can use. If you hear someone use this, please politely point out that they sound like an asshat, and suggest some other phrases they could use. Until those get on my nerves, too. But I’ll be sure to let you know when that happens.
(Image taken from someone else who also takes issue with please advise)
And I discovered I’m awful at it.
Oh, right. I’ve been gone for a while. Sorry about that. I got a job in social media (yay!); but it’s part time so I’m also still working as a waitress (not so yay). Needless to say, I’ve been kind of busy. But I’m back.
So anyway, I went to a social media networking event today called Bridging The Gap (#btg12 on Twitter) which was an awesome experience. I learned a lot, and I met some cool people. But not as many as I’d like. But I think today was a good learning experience, and of course, I want you to learn along with me. So, networking advice I took out of today follows.
1. Have business cards
This is probably the most important thing you can bring with you. I got mine yesterday. For $30. They’re not the best quality, but for instant printing at Staples, I’ll take it. Okay, it was 4 hours. But that’s still better than waiting a week for super shiny ones. And they did the trick.
But I’m not in a business, you might say. Get them anyway. You can get networking cards specifically. They have all your information, and its a fast way to give your info to someone else. Pretty key in making connections.
2. Have your elevator pitch ready.
If you haven’t worked in sales or marketing, an elevator pitch is your 30 story you tell to someone about who you are and what you do. Basically what you would tell someone if you only had an elevator ride to talk to them. Personally, I try to avoid all contact with people in elevators, but that’s neither here nor there. If you want to make your rounds and talk to as many people as possible, you want to make sure you know what you wanna say and that it’s short and sweet.
3. Don’t be afraid to start conversations
This is where I struggled today. People have name tags with their names and where they work. Even if you go up to them and say “Oh, you work at such and such? What do you do there?” People loooove to talk about themselves, so if you open with a question, you’ll get the interaction you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself, either. That’s what you’re there for.
Finally, exchange cards and follow up with the person. Email them, follow them on Twitter, connect with them on linkedin. You never know where you’re next job opportunity might come from.
If anyone has any other networking tips, share them with me in the comments or on Twitter: @marymallard