30 December, 2008

Benefits of the Simple "Thank You" Note

This post highlights the importance of sending thank you notes to benefit your professional advancement. With the coming new year, many of us look back and take mental note of the many things we are thankful for.

For me, if you read the archives of this blog, you will learn that New Year's Day last year (2007), I broke my leg during a sledding accident. I was in crutches and rehab for over 6 months, and almost a year later, I am thankful that my leg has fully recovered and that I am walking without a limp. I am also thankful for completing my Masters Degree, and for the birth of my new baby boy born on Nov. 19. This was a crazy year, I am thankful that my family and I have made it through, and I'm thankful for all of you have lended your support and encouragement,

This type of feeling toward gratitude can be applied to your business correspondence and image as well. Whenever someone takes the time to interview you, have a business meeting with you, if someone sends you a thoughtful email about you and your work, or if someone does something nice for you...say thank you.

Believe it or not, I see people not saying thank you after a kind gesture. I guess I'm from the old school, but I consider it a sign of respect and consideration, where you bestow value on the person. Not saying thank you makes you appear rude and inconsiderate. The person who helped you didn't have to do something nice for you, but they did, at least say "thanks". In raising my kids, they know that I think highly of saying "Thank You" when appropriate, and if they don't say it someone's going to get into trouble.

In business, this is just as important, but if you want to take it step further, extend that gratitude by sending a simple "Thank You" note. Sure, a simple thank you email or thank you e-card is fine, these suffice and ecards are fun, but the "Thank You" note reigns supreme as the best choice. Use it judicially and in times when you want to make the most impact. Here are four excellent reasons why this works.

  1. Classy: Sending a handwritten note, is a refined timeless and personal form of expression. In our new digital age, many people don't write personalized handwritten letters anymore. The fact that you took the time to do it makes you look good.

  2. Nice Surprise: The recipient of the "Thank You" note, will probably get the note in a mail box, where the note will be discovered while sifting through a sea of bills or unwanted junk mail. The note will be a pleasant surprise especially if it follows a business meeting or job interview that went over well.

  3. Spreading Love: There's not enough love going around in the world. Here's your chance to spread some around. Everyone wants to be loved, respected and valued.

  4. Marketing: (This is the most interesting) Sending a "Thank You" note also gives you another opportunity to get in front of the person in charge of making the decision. In a competitive market where there are many talented people competing for the same jobs, you now have a second chance to make a nice sincere connection and impression a few days after the initial contact. Also, many people are not that quick to dispose of or recycle a nice card, so you actually get to hang out on the person's desk a few more days. That's cool.

As an exercise, I tell my students to imagine themselves interviewing for that dream job. The meeting goes well, you look sharp, you're alert, you seem to connect with the interviewer, you ask great questions and you give a slew of competent answers. Both parties leave thinking that the meeting was successful. There are other people who have had similar successful interviews before and after you but you have feeling that you will be one of the finalists. Now imagine this interviewer getting a thank you note from you thanking them for their time, and how it was a pleasure meeting with them. You now have just instilled personal value in that person reading the thank you note and you have also instilled value in yourself. Not only are you skilled and the perfect match for the job, but with the thank you note, you are perceived as thoughtful, polite, classy, stylish, sharp and that you will work well in a group. These are nice attributes associated with your name. Unlike your competitors, you have subconsciously been reconsidered a second time. Isn't it amazing what a single, simple, well written note can do?

So the next time you are up for an interview, a business meeting with clients, or if you just want to tell someone that you appreciate them, send a simple "Thank You" note. You"ll be doing yourself and the world a favor.

Not sure where to go....Here's one set that has a lot for a reasonable price. Hopefully the banner underneath will show more choices, but for now, this will do. Good luck.

16 December, 2008

"Western Spaghetti" by: PES

PES is an animation studio who has gotten a lot of attention. Time Magazine voted PES's short "Western Spaghetti" the #2 Viral Film of the Year, and has also been selected to be featured in Sundance 2009. If you have never seen the animation, its quite amazing.

The entire animation is stop motion, and as animators, if you have ever done any kind of stop motion animation, you will agree that it takes a considerable amount of patience and shot planning. The concept is clever, interesting and the visual treatment is engaging and surprising. I found myself sitting through the entire animation to see what comes next.

"Western Spaghetti" is unique because in many scenes breaks our perception of things. It forces us to look at things in new ways as it draws together our notions of functionality and shapes attributed to objects. A good example of this are the... candy corn stovetop flames?

Other objects that find movement in this animation are Post It Notes, Googly Eyes, foil, Pick Up Stix and Rubic's Cubes. What other objects can you find? For those of us who are more experienced, I'm sure you'll recognize a lot of the objects from your childhood.

Be sure to spend a few moments to check it out and support PES by visiting their sites below, I can see myself easily becoming a fan. The PES website is located here, and the official PES Youtube Channel can be found here.

Thanks for sharing Dr. Duncan. : - )

09 December, 2008

"A Gentleman's Duel" : By Blur Studio

A few years ago, Blur produced this animated short called "A Gentleman's Duel". Back then, my first impressions of the animation were that it was well crafted, it had great animated characters, story, backgrounds, layouts, and I also liked how it had an adult twist on the subject matter. The art direction and their soft treatment to the sets adds to the period, making a unique stylized animation. Seeing it again for the second, third and forth time, it still is awesome to watch.

Enjoy "A Gentleman's Duel" and when you get a chance, check out the Blur Studios site to be inspired.

03 December, 2008

Marek Denko: 3D Modeling Demo Reel

This is Marek Denko's demo reel from two + years ago, and by today's standard, it still holds up. As usual, he's got great lighting, texturing, particles, in some of his large city scenes a great handle on atmospheric perspective, and an over encompassing interesting and thoughtful presentation to his pieces. You'll like it a lot. Keep watching the demo reel until the end and you'll be able to see his mesh structure and breakdown. Great work Marek. If you read this message, let us know how you are doing.