Who we are on social and digital media says a lot about – well, who we are. Or it can if we are authentic and write posts, emails and comments with our own voice rather than a formal, stilted version of our language.
Most of us learnt a formal style of writing and communication during our school English classes and have since adapted that style to suit the quick, bite-size communication required in most online business exchanges.
That is fine, but it also pays to be aware of some simple codes of netiquette that may impact our business communication.
In last week’s post I wrote about how your digital footprint and social media profile is the often first impression a person makes about you.
Other forms of communication also create impressions, including your emails.
As we all write so many emails, the question is how well do we write them and get the results we want? The key is to be concise in all communication and convey the most important messages. You don’t want to create negative perceptions and waste other people’s time for them to find the main point of the email.
Here’s a few tips:
Create a focused and specific subject line. It is the best way to make sure your email gets opened and read. It’s like a news line heading. You want it to stand out and grab attention. As an example, don’t just say, meeting. Say meeting, July 10, 3 o’clock, bring your reports.
Put your main idea first. Have short sentences and short content. Otherwise the person you send it to might not digest that lengthy email and then put it aside for later and overlook it completely.
Have an easy to read layout. Bullet points, bold for emphasis, headings and white space. You can also use double space between the points. Most of us don’t read – we skim. And more so now we’re checking our email on smart phones.
Do a quick review. Proof read and edit your email before you press “send”. Check your grammar, spelling mistakes and punctuation. If you don’t, people may form an impression that you are perhaps lazy or not smart.
Avoid abbreviations. In-house you may have some that you use as short-cuts. But don’t use externally. As an example, if I said I’m a member of AICI and PSA and I have worked in PR and at the ABC, you may not have a clue of what I’m talking about.
Limit use of reply all. It can unnecessarily clog your inbox and theirs. Email only the people who need to see the communication.
Close with a signature. A simple couple of lines with name, phone number and website details might be enough. Nothing worse that having to search for someone’s number when you want to make contact quickly. Also add a call to action if that is what you need, such as, please reply with a quick “yes” or “no” by 5 pm Monday.”
Reply promptly. Try to make a habit of replying to all e-mails within twenty-four hours, even if only to say that you will provide the further report in two days or that proposal by the end of the week.
Everything you say and do impacts your personal brand. If you would like to find out more about how to uncover and develop your brand, view my free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK, 3 Ways to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand.
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her professional development and profile building programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an influential professional brand.