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URGENT: Why You Should Avoid Using ALL-CAPS And Other Melodramatic Fonts

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When I first opened the email with the above thread, I immediately thought of the Holiday Season. It reminded me of jokes that my mom might forward to me. The bold and colored text was quite effective.  Each person used a different color in the thread; as I read the email, I could almost hear 3 separate voices, singing “Oh Tannenbaum…”

We all know the basic rules of online netiquette, the first rule being variations of, Please don’t use ALL CAPS because it is the online equivalent of yelling.  We all had to learn this at some point.  A lot of people, myself included, started emailing in caps because we were AutoCAD or Excel users.  Or maybe it was because our lazy little pinky fingers had not yet learned to use the “Shift” buttons automatically after a period and space.  But in every case, someone who had slightly more internet experience would tell us, Dude, don’t do that, don’t use all caps, and we would reply BUT I HATE HAVING TO… and then we would learn.  Apple figured this out years ago, labeling some keys on their keyboards in lower case.

So why have these capital letters made such a comeback in Corporate America?  I believe there are two reasons, the first being the shear volume of emails sent every day.  In order to stick out from the crowd, many people feel the need to use capitol letters and melodramatic words like “urgent, help, needs attention”; I bet you have heard them all.  The second reason is the rise of social media, where people often argue using all caps.

The people who send those “URGENT” emails are often the same people who usually don’t read or answer your emails

I will let you marinate on that one for a second. It’s okay, take your time, no caps here…

When you are finished, let’s move off of the subject of the subject line, and move onto the body of the emails.  The word body is key here.  The body of the email should be treated the same way as the human body.  It should be healthy and mindful of its emotions.  I myself am guilty of using some very strong words in my emails, but they are just that: just words.

Seeing Red Again

I recently received an email from a coworker that was over 50% red bold text.  I felt my heart begin to race when I opened the email.  I was panicking before I read the first word.  Red is the color of stop signs, brake lights, market losses, sunburn, and worst of all, blood.  There are a some positive instances of red, of course. A red sports car can be appealing, or a woman in a red dress might stick out from the crowd at a nightclub. But most of the time, red means something is wrong.  Using red, bold fonts makes you sound like Satan.

After I read his email dipped in blood, I wrote my coworker and said that I felt the need to go bury it in my backyard.  I begged him to consider using another color in the future.  Green may not be as loud as red, but think about how many positive things are associated with the color green: go lights, money, charged batteries, and most importantly, Mother Nature.

Ask yourself, Would I rather receive an email from Mother Nature, or one from Satan?

You will never find me using excessive formatting, all capitol letters, or red text in my emails.  I DO sometimes use all caps to emphasize one word in a sentence, although I prefer italics or underlining. I use a lot of punctuation. I use bold when I want a  word sentence to stick out.  As you can see, this is much more effective than writing an entire paragraph or email using bold font.  You are basically wasting ink and/or causing stress.

What I am asking everyone to do, is to simply avoid adding unnecessary melodrama.  Please, stop using URGENT or other words in all capital letters, there is no need for it.  The only reason you should ever uses the word urgent is if you need something ordered today.

Most importantly, start treating the body of your emails like a body.  Keep it healthy and clean.  Use underline to emphasize, italics to quote others, bold to call out part numbers, highlight to reference something further down in the thread. If you must use a colored font in an email or document, please try your best to use any other color than red.



LinkedIn Is The New … Minesweeper?

In 2011, I wrote a blog post titled, Why Skype Is The New Solitaire, where I predicted that Skype would become commonplace in business once it was integrated with Microsoft Office and installed on every Windows computer.  Of course, it didn’t take a a crystal ball to see the future of the video conferencing, and I don’t take any credit for my divination skills. I do take credit for the witty Solitaire analogy, and this here witty-titled post is meant to be a “sequel” to that first post…

Last month (June 2016), Microsoft announced plans to acquire LinkedIn. This adds leverage to their current CRM software, by adding a large social network of adults, who are mostly professional.  I say mostly, because lately there has a been a surge of worthless content on Linkedin.  I hope this deal makes LinkedIn more about business, and less BS.

I used to praise LinkedIn for relevant content, and its gotten me more leads than any other online source. There is no definitive date of when The Old LinkedIn became what LinkedIn is today, but I personally felt the shift when the occasional annoying recruiters in my Inbox were suddenly outnumbered by periodic junk mail messages:

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But these messages don’t annoy me nearly as much as what I call the math problem posts, here is an example:


2732 Likes and 14506 comments on a math problem that a grade school student should be able to solve?   And for the record, the answer is -13. Following the order of operations, you first reduce the multiplier and multiplicand (3×6) and put their product (18) back in the equation 3-18+2 = -13.  But why is this on LinkedIn? Why?  Because you Like it, that’s why.

Let’s push the math problems off to the side for now, and look at how the LinkedIn / Microsoft deal could actually help your business to grow, work more efficiently, and sell more effectively, by adding functionality to your desktop, tablet, phone, or Surface Hub:

  • Minesweeper_XPThe Contact List Convergence–  You meet someone at a trade show, and send a LI request to be connected.  They accept, and are automatically added to your Outlook email contact list.  You send them an Outlook Meeting Request.
  • Office LinkedIn 365 – It will be easier to share presentations and edit documents within LI groups.  You will see live chats and webinars emerge within LinkedIn Groups.  Maybe there will be local LinkedIn Groups within your Exchange Server?
  • Skype Within LinkedIn – You see a job you like on LinkedIn and apply for it. A day later, you are asked to meet on Linkedin for your first interview, using Skype For Business.

These are just 3 examples of changes you may see as a result of the the Linkedin-Microsoft merger, but you need to be careful. Just like “Mr. Softy” got half of the world hooked on Solitaire and Minesweeper, many of you will soon be using LinkedIn and Skype on a daily basis. Don’t believe me?  Just try it, the first one’s free. Here’s a free download of Windows 10, and free Microsoft Word for your Ipad…. Look, a Skype button, let’s test it!  Wait, why is this sending an email to all of my Linkedin Contacts?  And what’s with all these math problems?

My Do’s And Don’ts Of LinkedIn Profile Photos

Social Media Networking

Audio & Video Chat Software



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A New Road For PK Audiovisual

By Paul Konikowski, CTS-D

About five years ago, I decided to become an independent consultant, doing business as PK Audiovisual. Now I am starting a new chapter in my career, working full-time as a Multimedia Solutions Architect with Strategic Products and Services (SPS).   As much as I enjoy running my own business, I believe this new position will provide me more job security and opportunity for growth moving forward.  I will be working side by side with sales, meeting with clients, and generating accurate Unified Communications proposals.

I feel like I am at a major crossroads in my life, and before I hit the road, I would like to take a few moments to look back at the variety of projects I worked on dba (doing business as) PK Audiovisual:


  • Designing the audio, video, and control systems for a new high school auditorium in Humboldt County
  • Retrofitting an older distance learning classroom
  • Blogging and working at trade shows with WiSA
  • Helping Revolabs build their social media networks
  • Specifying new conference rooms for
  • Helping non-profit groups like Sustainable Fairfax
  • Ghostwriting blog posts, whitepapers, and articles

As you can see from the above, I have not been a typical AV consultant who “just” designs audio and video systems. One reason I started PK Audiovisual was that I saw the need for better social media marketing in the AV industry. Trade shows have always been interesting to me, and working them was an awesome experience, but what I have really enjoyed the most while running my own business was the ghostwriting of blogs, magazine articles, and whitepapers.


Ghostwriting is when you do the bulk of the writing for another person or company, who then edits and publishes it as their own. I like to tell people, you don’t get credit, but you get cash. I have met other ghostwriters, and we have agreed that its often better to be in the shadows, than in the byline, because it gives the writer more liberty.


My new position with SPS will allow me to use my writing skills in crafting proposals, and I will continue to write posts on the weekends. will always be my personal blog, and I hope to find other opportunities for thought leadership in the audiovisual and unified communications spaces.  I want to thank everyone who supported PK Audiovisual over the last five years, especially the readers, guest bloggers, and former clients.  It has been a pleasure.