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The Simplest, Biggest Missed Opportunity to Engage and Inspire Others While You're Sipping Margaritas

August 2, 2016 Emily Plahanski

Out of Office

I’ve had some serious success having my prospects respond to my out of office. It’s so successful that I must share how I do it.

I am a firm believer that, no matter your title, you are in sales. Whether you are a parent trying to influence your child or a recruiter selling a candidate about the benefits of working for your company, you are in the business of influencing people’s decisions. Dare I say, “You are a salesperson.”

No matter your position in your organization, you should be using your out of office every time you are unavailable. It’s the perfect opportunity to engage and influence your viewer. An out of office sends an instant tailored response to whomever proactively emailed you. That’s FREE marketing. Using the typical OOO message is simply a missed opportunity.

Bottom line: You have an opportunity to inspire people to take action based on your OOO.

It’s easy. It’s proven effective. I’ll show you how.

Follow these 3 steps to create an OOO to remember:

  1. Show Personality

    “Personality” does not mean “unprofessional.” It’s okay to add personality to an out of office even in the most professional workplace environments.

    Let’s say you are a Human Resources Director and you are on your way to a SHRM event. Tell your viewers what event you are going to. It’s likely they would benefit from knowing about it or may be there themselves. In addition, think about what that does for your culture. The message you are sending is that you are dedicated to taking time to network and align yourself with an organization that is dedicated to engagement in the workplace and personal and professional growth.

    Who doesn’t love talking about vacation? If you are going on vacation, it’s okay to say you are sitting on the beach or you are taking time to enjoy life with your family! I can guarantee it will serve as a conversation starter when you return to the office. Not to mention, simply being honest shows you are a human being, not an automated response tool.

    I will be at a 3-Part Seminar for HR professionals hosted by the ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers in Timonium on Health & Safety in the Workplace. It's featuring some really awesome speakers such as Grant Gamble, Jason Perry & Dr. Greg Degnan.
  1. Add Value

    One of the BEST pieces of advice I received early on in my career is you are never bugging someone by calling, emailing, or outreaching to them if you are adding value. Make sure your out of office adds immediate value. Take the example above, you could add additional value to this out of office by sharing a link with more information of the seminar. Or, even a link to a video where someone could watch a recorded presentation by one of the speakers/presenters. Add value, always.

  1. Call to Action

    You already know what is important to the people you are communicating with. Make sure it has a call to action. A call to action doesn’t have to be accompanied by a marketing campaign or blog. You can easily include a call to action in your out of office. It’s a great way to get the most out of the digital real estate you have.

    For example, if you are a hiring manager, put an open job on your out of office and a link to apply. Perhaps you’re in charge of events for your organization? Post an upcoming event and link where people can sign up to attend.

The majority of people are underutilizing the potential of the out of office. By showing personality, adding value and a call to action, you are positioning yourself for a greater reach and a greater impact on your contacts. If you strive to have a strong influence while you’re in the office, why would you pursue anything different when you’re not around? Don’t use an average, bland auto-response. Spice it up. Use it as the powerful marketing tool that it is.

TOPICS: High Performance, Marketing, Employee Engagement