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February 17, 2019

What does "Ping Me" mean?

If you have heard the word 'ping' being used in everyday conversation, it probably means:
To send a quick, short message over a texting platform (SMS, Instant Messenger, Chat) used to check in, keep someone in the loop about something, or ask about something, with the expectation of a quick, short response from the receiving party.

Let's look more into the origin, use in daily conversation, examples and translations of this modern day slang. 

Where does PING come from?
PING was not originally a word, but an acronym or abbreviation. PING, written in all caps, stands for Packet Internet or Inter-Network Groper. As an IT or tech industry specific jargon, "ping" is a technical term that means to check on the status of another computer or another server to see if it's online (a sort of acknowledgment). It's an electronic message that loosely translates to, "Are you there?" 
Check out our Email and
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According to Your Dictionary,  "The ping command is particularly helpful in verifying whether a host is working and whether a system is attached to the Internet."

Examples of Pings (send through text messages):
Wife to husband, "Pick up some milk on the way home."
Child to parent, "I'm all done. Can you come pick me up?" 
Business partner to business partner, "Is it ready? We are down to the wire."
Colleague to colleague, "Wanna meet for lunch today at 12?" 
Husband to wife, "I'm on my way."  
Friend to friend, "How did it go?"  

Of course here, I have given examples of pings in complete sentences, but most of the time people may use texting language, abbreviations, or slang in ping messages to make them even shorter. Also, since the messages are so short, much of the context will only be known between the two parties.

Translations of Questions Using "Ping"
  • "Can I ping you at 8?" - "Can I send you a text message or make a quick call to see if you are free at 8?"
  • "Can you ping me when you are ready?" - "Can you send me an SMS or call me when you are ready?"

Translations of Statements Using "Ping"
  • "I'll ping you when the meeting is over." - "I'll get in touch with you when the meeting finishes."
  • "Ping me with the status." - "Send me a short message by email, SMS or IM me with updates."

How do I Ping Someone?
Pinging is done through a quick communication, usually by electronic means, but sometimes over the phone. It depends on the other person's preference. So pings can be done over:
  • The cell or mobile phone (SMS, text)
  • E-mail
  • Instant Messaging (Internal company system, Google, Skype, Facebook, etc.)

How do I know which one to use?
If you don't know the person well, say it's your client or colleague onsite, it's better to ask, "How do you prefer me to ping you?" Don't assume because for instance, text messaging in the US is charged in most cases regardless of sending or receiving, but maybe receiving the message on WhatsApp or another mobile app or email may be free for that person (as long as they have a data plan).

What is Said in a Ping?
Ping messages are short. Any of the below suffice:
  • I'm ready.
  • Call me.
  • 10 more minutes.
  • Let's meet at 5 instead.
  • Can I call you to reschedule?
  • Let's go for lunch. I'll meet you downstairs in 5. (Meaning 5 minutes.)

Are There Synonyms for Ping? 
Of course. The exact synonym depends on the person and their preferred ping method sometimes.
    "Ping me at 4." synonyms:
    • Get in touch with me at 4.
    • Call me at 4.
    • Send me a text at 4.
    • Facebook me at 4
    • Give me a shout out at 4. ("Shout out is another slang. Don't actually shout!)

    Have you heard any other uses of the word 'ping'? Do you have other ideas for synonyms of 'ping'? Feel free to ping me your thoughts in the comments section below.
    Jennifer Kumar works with co-located and distributed teams to improve communication, workflow and productivity. Contact us for more information. 

    Related Posts: 
    Instant Messaging (IM) Etiquette at Work 
    Why isn't my American colleague answering the phone? 
    How to decline a meeting invite?
    How to send acknowledgement emails 

    February 11, 2019

    Expat Success Coaching for Career, Life and Language Success in Salt Lake City

    Our goal is to help you be successful in your new home and new country, especially if you are: 
    • An expat from another country 
    • A highly skilled immigrant, international business visitor or immigrant entrepreneur looking for support in success in the USA
    • A trailing spouse setting up your home and family here in Utah and the USA 
    • An educated professional who is looking for help understanding American culture and being successful at work 
    • A foreigner who knows English, but needs help with American English, making conversation with American business colleagues and how to make friends in the U.S. 
    • An international student, expat or adult looking for individualized advanced English as Second Language (ESL) coaching and help with setting up your new life in the United States 
    • On any of the following visas: J1, J2, H1B, H4, F1, F2, B1, etc.
    Chinese Heritage Gate, West Valley City
    Chinese Heritage Gate, West Valley City

    To be eligible for our coaching you: 
    • May be new to the U.S. 
    • Planning to move to the U.S. (international assignee, expat preparation, going onsite for client relations, etc.). 
    • May have lived in the U.S. for a few years or a few decades, but still need help understanding the culture because you may not have much chances to interact with locals or American citizens who were born here.
    • Have a good grasp in English. You may have even studied in English medium schools or colleges in your home country or native place. You may even have studied in English in a school or college in the US, as an international student, but still need to grasp finer aspects of American culture or American English to be successful in your career and job in the U.S.
    • Should be able to speak English enough to make simple conversation (I do not teach English from scratch).
    • Want to build your confidence in speaking and understanding (listening comprehension) in English with Americans at work, in the community, at church or other normal daily life settings. 
    • Want to learn how to communicate effectively at work with Americans. This includes spoken English and written English; such as writing effective emails and how to create and conduct presentations and meetings that leave a good and long-lasting impression.
    View of Salt Lake Valley looking south from Ensign Peak at sunset.
    Jennifer Kumar, your coach, standing from Ensign Peak
    with a view of Salt Lake valley below.
    We do not:
    • Focus on grammar. If you want to improve your English for an IELTS test, TOEFL test or want detailed English language and grammar classes, I'd suggest other resources. 
    • Teach English from scratch. 
    • Focus on accent or speech patterns, though we can work on it on a small scale. 

    Cherry Blossom Festival at Capitol Hill, Salt Lake City
    Where do we meet:
    • We can meet in person downtown in Salt Lake City at a library, coffee shop or other location (we do not have an office)
    • Online or on the phone (so, I can meet with you even if you are not in Salt Lake City)
    • In real life settings. For instance, I have coached people (through role plays) to get a library card, bank accounts and other real life situations, then taken them to the library to help them set up their library card, bank accounts, etc. Or, how to order food or coffee in a restaurant and coffee shop. The possibilities are endless. 

    View of the Wasatch Mountains from Salt Lake City library.
    View of the Wasatch Mountains from Salt Lake City library.

    Costing and fees: 
    This is being posted in February 2019. When you contact us, refer to this post for a special rate of US $35 an hour until May 2019. 

    Payments accepted: 
    • Paypal, Venmo or other payment in person or online in US Dollars
    • Indian Rupees (INR) by bank transfer within India, plus GST (for those in India) 
    Hindu Temple - Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple - South Jordan, Utah
    Hindu Temple - Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple - South Jordan, Utah

    Cultural Nativities and Creche Displays: Christmas at Temple Square
    Cultural Nativities and Creche Displays: Christmas at Temple Square

    About your coach: 
    Jennifer atop the popular Living Room Hike.
    Jennifer atop the popular
    Living Room Hike.
    Jennifer Kumar is an American by birth, married to a citizen of India. She is a transplant from New York to Salt Lake City. Jennifer has been coaching international students and expats in the US since 1998. She has lived in Kerala, India where she did cross-cultural business coaching for IT professionals for more than 6 years. She has also volunteered for English Skills Language Center, the Refugee & Immigrant Center and the University of Utah English Language Institute in Salt Lake City. See more of her profile here.

    Get in touch:
    US Phone/Text: (385) 218-0947 
    India (Whatsapp only): 91-95-393-47529

    Other resources for newcomers and expats to Salt Lake City:
    Internations Salt Lake City group 
    Living Color Utah, Discover Diverse Utah (photo below from display at the Silicon Slopes tech conference, 2019) 

    Living Color Utah Diversity Statistics

    More Photos of Salt Lake City and Surrounding Areas

    Public Transport: Trax at Fort Douglas, University of Utah
    Public Transport: Trax at Fort Douglas, University of Utah
    Pioneer Day (July 24) Parade Float, 2018
    Pioneer Day (July 24) Parade Float, 2018
    Temple Square and Capitol Hill as seen from Zions Bank Building
    Temple Square and Capitol Hill as seen from Zions Bank Building
    View of Salt Lake Valley looking west from Rattlesnake Gulch Trail, Millcreek.
    View of Salt Lake Valley looking west from Rattlesnake Gulch Trail, Millcreek.

    February 5, 2019

    Cold Email Tips and Sample Templates

    Tips for writing cold emails to clients in the USA
    To be clear, I do not endorse cut and paste e-mail templates. Learning how to write an effective email is an art form. And, while there is no one way that guarantees each and every cold email to get opened and responded to (if you have heard of this happening, let me know), we can apply certain techniques and approaches that can increase our chances of starting a conversation with prospects that will take us through the sales process.

    I have experience writing cold emails, but am really writing this post for many clients I have worked with who are based in India and have been trying to increase their open, response and close rates with prospective US clients. I will share three video tutorials in this post with an outline of the highlights and where applicable, I will share a sample email written in the suggested format.

    Cold Email Video Tutorial 1

    Marc Wayshak Sales Research & Insights
    5 Down & Dirty Tips for Sales Emails That Prospects Actually Read

    Overview of Contents of Video:
    Putting yourself in the shoes of the reader of your email.
    1. Think subject and first sentence
      How are they seeing the email? Probably just browsing subject lines and first sentence. Make them simple, to the point, and written for the person you are writing to.
    2. Drop flowery language and fancy words.
      Try to make it more conversational. Aim to be respectful with a hint of casualness, but not to familiar or unprofessional.
    3. Personalize with research
      Name of person you are writing to, company name, why your product or service is a good match for them.
    4. Make the email super short.
      Do not use this email to education. The email should be short, eliminate attachments as they probably won’t be read anyhow.
    5. Engage with a question
      Statements don’t engage. Use a question. Assure a question mark is used at the end of that question. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but I have seen many emails with questions that end with a period (full stop), which will be read more like a demand, not a polite question meant to spark conversation and curiosity.
    Jennifer's Thoughts
    I liked this approach because it helps us to look at the cold email from the perspective of the reader. Also, it will take a little effort on the part of the writer to do a little research to tailor their message to the prospect. No one likes to get the same messages as everyone else (we call that a 'cookie cutter' message). I am sure you have gotten those emails before. You open it and just know this is a message everyone else has got, it is not tailored to your need or your business. And, what happens to it? It's deleted, of course.

    Be conversational. Don't use fancy English (do not use of "esteemed company" or "esteemed client," for example). Use simple English and short, sweet sentences. Avoid run on sentences or questions that are multiple questions in one. Also, be careful about attachments. Remember, who you are writing to is busy. Will it be electronic clutter or a quick and impactful reference?

    It may also be relevant to review your e-mail signature. Make it short, impactful, and not more than one or two links. If there are images in the signature, limit the number of images or select only ones relevant to the client you are trying to target.

    Cold Email Video Tutorial 2

    Big Vision Show

    Overview of Contents of Video:
    James suggests a simple approach of not using more than 10 words in the subject line and body of the email to get attention. I've outlined that below using a template (wherever there is bold text, you can replace it with your information).

    Approach: Idea for initial contact

    Subject line: Are you interested in working more effectively with US clients?

    Body of email:
    Reply and let me know.

    Thank you,
    Jennifer Kumar

    First Follow Up
    Once you get a response, follow it up like a normal conversation. Do not dive into sales speak. Do not push marketing materials. Instead use any of these or other responses to create a conversation:
    • “I’m curious to know what you have tried to solve this so far?”
    • “Tell me a little more about what you’re looking to achieve.”
    • “What have you tried so far to get XXX outcome?”
    • “Why is this important to you?”
    • “What would motivate you to solve this?”

    Use a response that seems natural, like a conversation, and nothing salesy or pushy. In most cases, it is ideal to use a question here rather than a statement. Do not forget the question mark at the end of the question!

    Second Follow Up
    After their second response, ask them to jump on a call or request a time to talk with them. It is important when trying to engage with US clients to ASK for the meeting in the form of a question with a question mark, not a statement with a full stop.

    For example:
    Do: When would you like to jump on a call?
    Don't: Let's jump on a call tomorrow at 2pm your time.

    Do not write a question as a statement:
    Do: Would you be free tomorrow at 3pm to talk?
    Don't: Would you be free tomorrow at 3pm to talk.

    If you are requesting something, you are asking for something, so it must be a question with a question mark at the end. Again, this may seem basic, but in the hundreds of emails I have reviewed over the last 5-7 years written by India-based teams, sales professionals, and others, I have lost count on how many times I have had to correct this problem.

    For more examples on how stakeholders in the United States will write meeting requests and tips to accept or decline meetings, see this post.

    How to use this template for follow up e-mail (one word has been added)

    Subject line: Are you still interested in working more effectively with US clients?

    Body of email:
    Reply and let me know.

    Thank you,
    Jennifer Kumar

    Cold Email Video Tutorial 2
    Mailshake How to write good cold emails

    Overview of Contents of Video:
    In this video, Sujan Patel shares six different templates to use. Again, the reason I pick out these templates is that he is giving a formula that forces you to be creative with your language and fill in the blanks with the information that will sway that prospect in that situation. Let's take a look at some of the templates.

    Note: In all the samples below that I have given example text for, I have not inserted the greeting and closing. Do not forget this in your email. 

    Template 1: Attention- Interest- Desire- Action

    Subject line: What would you do with more time in your day?

    Attention: How would you use your time if your development teams could drive the meetings in your place?

    Interest: I ask because I have worked with managers and teams across India who have said they aren't able to focus on their managerial tasks because they were spending too much time on client calls and escalations because their client facing teams depended too much on them. 

    Desire: Just imagine what you could achieve with more hours in a week.
    Interest: I look forward to sharing how we can create a unique intervention to fit your team's needs. Would you have some free time next week to talk?

    Template 2: Sujan's 3 Sentence Format

    Subject line: Work Effectively with Offshore Development Teams

    Intro: Hello! My name is Jennifer Kumar. I know you get a lot of emails, so I'll make this brief.

    Describe: I came across your profile, and noticed your team in the US works with offshore teams in India.

    Ask: Would you like to get on a call to discuss how we can help your teams work more effectively across cultures? 

    Template 3: Before - After- Bridge

    Template 4: Problem - Agitate- Solve 

    Template 5: Praise- Picture- Push

    Praise: Congrats on your partnership with (client name) I saw posted on your LinkedIn's company page. That is an exciting next step in your company's journey!

    Picture: I am Jennifer Kumar, an American who has worked with offshore teams in India since 2011. 

    Push: I have compiled 6 tips that your teams in US could use to build relationships and work more effectively with their Indian counterparts. Hope you find this article useful

    Template 6: Challenge the Current State 
    Cold Email Template Idea

    I hope some of the ideas in this post are helpful for you and your sales team as you craft your cold emails. If you need any help, or would like any help in reviewing the copy or Americanizing the English in your cold emails, follow up emails and other email communication with US clients, get in touch with us.

    Jennifer Kumar, author of this post works with teams like yours to improve email skills with sales teams, client facing project teams and other stakeholders in addition to building client facing skills on virtual, cross-cultural project teams. Contact us to know more.

    January 31, 2019

    What is Football and The Super Bowl?

    Super Bowl 2019
    Super Bowl LIII (2019)
    New England Patriots (top) vs.
    Los Angeles Rams
    at Atlanta, Georgia
    Small talk about sports is common in American workplaces. Today, I ask Matt Wade a few questions about [American] football and the Super Bowl, which will be on February 2, 2020 (the same day as Groundhog Day).   

    Who is playing?
    Super Bowl 54- yet to be determined.

    Where can I watch it in the U.S. and in India?
    It will take place in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Few will go to the stadium to watch it as tickets are priced anywhere from $2,500 to over $4,000

    So, most of the people watch it at home, at a bar, a restaurant or outdoor venue. 

    Where can I watch the Super Bowl in the US?
    Watch it in the U.S. on Fox TV starting 6:30pm EST (5:30pm CST, 4:30pm MST, 3:30pm PST) on Sunday, Feb. 3rd. 

    Where can I watch the Super Bowl in India?
    Watch it in India on Sony Six on Monday February 4th at 5am. Or try live streaming here. 

    What is the Super Bowl?
    Small Talk about American Football
    Buffalo Bills Game
    Credit: Nikhil Punnakkali
    The National Football League (NFC) championship game, played annually between the champions of the National and the American Football Conferences (AFC).  The NFL is the highest level of professional football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in September of the previous calendar year. The 2016 Super Bowl will be the 50th Super Bowl.  

    When is the Super Bowl?
    The game is played annually on a Sunday as the final game of the NFL Playoffs. The game is currently played on the first Sunday in February. 

    Why is it called Super Bowl Sunday?
    Because the Super Bowl is always played on a Sunday. 

    What teams usually play in the Super Bowl?
    The champions of the National and the American Football Conferences (AFC & NFC) 

    Are there Super Bowl celebrations?
    On Super Bowl Sunday, millions of people gather to watch the Super Bowl. Some such gatherings are known for the large amount of food that is consumed by attendees.

    What is American Football all about?
    Fellow Keralites "Couchgating"
    Credit: Jophis Eilas

    I have heard of tailgating. Is this related to football? Is it done on the Super Bowl, too?
    Yes. Tailgating is a strong tradition among American football fans, both college and professional.

    What is tailgating, exactly?
    The term tailgating derives from the tailgate of a pickup truck. People used to park at games, put down the tailgate on their truck and use it as a table for food and drinks that would be consumed before entering the stadium for the game.  Now, tailgating is more sophisticated as people will drive motor homes, with BBQ grills, lawn chairs and other equipment in tow.

    What is American Football?
    Bills vs. Vikings Ticket
    Credit: Jophis Eilas

    What kind of foods do people eat or drink at a football game?
    Common foods are hamburgers and hot dogs, while soda and beer are the most popular drink selections.

    How is football played? What are the rules? 
    See this post for video tutorials. 

    Is it expensive to go to a football game or the Super Bowl?
    Because there are only eight home games and the demand is so high, ticket prices for football tend to be rather high. For the Super Bowl, since it is such a major corporate event, the prices are often too high for the regular fan.

    How can I make small talk about football or the Super Bowl with my US colleagues?
    Good questions to ask would be:
    1. What team do you root for?
    2. (If you don’t follow a team) I am thinking of following the NFL.  What team do you recommend I begin rooting for and why?
    3. What is it like to go to an American Football Game?
      At the football stadium
      Who do you think is going to win?
    4. Who is your favorite player on each team?
    5. Where are you watching/where did you watch the Super Bowl?
    6. How many times has your team won the Super Bowl?  When was the last time?
    7. How long have you rooted for your team?

    Are there any idioms or phrases people used related to football?
    1. Blitz: a term used to emphasize sending many defensive players to tackle the quarterback before he can pass the ball
    2. Interference: a term for when a defensive player hits a receiver before the ball has been received by the quarterback
    3. Downhill runner: When a running back runs quickly through blocking lanes and doesn’t hesitate
    4. Halftime show: the entertainment program that happens between the second and third quarters

    Previous Years' Super Bowls:
    2019: Super Bowl 53: LIII New England Patriots (13) vs. Los Angeles Rams (3)
    2018: Super Bowl 52: Philadelphia Eagles (41) vs. New England Patriots (33) 
    2017: Super Bowl 51: New England Patriots (34) vs. Atlanta Falcons (28)
    2016: Super Bowl 50: Carolina Panthers (10) vs. Denver Broncos (24)
    2015: Super Bowl 49: XLIX: New England Patriots (28) vs. Seattle Seahawks (24)

    More photos of people capturing the football spirit:
    Green Bay Packers fans: Amanda McMahon

    Face Painting at the Football Game: Jophis Eilas

    Taking a Limo to the Football Game: Jophis Eilas

    Start 'em young: Jophis Eilas

    Another time of the year Americans are football crazy is during Thanksgiving. Read more about Thanksgiving

    Author, Matt Wade is a thought leader in academic and career planning, a product evangelist, and a vanguard of higher education’s progressive movement. 

    If you are preparing to move to the US as an international student or expat, take a look at our program on preparing for a successful transition to the US

    Related Posts: 
    Small Talk Made Easy 
    Transition from Small Talk to Business Talk 
    TV Channels in the US
    Updated: May 2018

    Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

    We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.