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It is no secret that nowadays the majority of our correspondence is handled through email and social media messaging. But, we need to make sure that whatever we send is projecting the same professional image as a carefully crafted “snail mail” on company letterhead.


Projecting the same professional image as would a carefully crafted “snail mail” sent out on company letterhead

Here is a checklist to help ensure that all your electronic communication projects an appropriately professional image:

  • There should always be a subject line that gives a brief description of the contents of your message. Make it easy for the recipient to identify the email and give it the appropriate priority, especially important for people who receive a lot of emails.
  • There should always be a professional salutation line. “Hi there” or ”hi and a first name” do not fall into this category. The salutation, needs to read the same it was going to read if this was a letter written on company stationery, i.e. “Dear ……”
  • Paragraphs should be short and concise. Read your message aloud to see if it makes sense.
  • Never use all capital letters. Doing this is as if you are shouting to the other person.
  • Leave appropriate space between paragraphs. It makes the message easier to read.
  • Be very careful using irony or sarcasm in emails. In the absence of facial expressions the message may be misunderstood.
  • Adjust the formality of the letter according to the recipient. You may write using slang and not care about spelling mistakes when writing to a friend, but when the email is addressed to a prospective client or employer then special attention needs to be given to its composition and tone.
  • Avoid writing anything in an email that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Remember, your email can be distributed to a lot of people without your permission.
  • Send the email only to the appropriate person(s). Pay extra care when you press: “Reply” or “Reply All” or “Blind Copy.”
  • Take the time to read and revise your email. Some words can sound fine when spoken, but not so when seen on the screen. And once the message is sent, it cannot be taken back. It can also be retrieved from a company server if needed at a later time.
  • Sign your emails and give your title and other pertinent company information. Do not assume the recipient will know who you are especially if your email address is not your full name.
  • Don’t use the computer to send “thank you” notes. A hand written note on a nice card is always appreciated and will help you stand out from the crowd. Often it will be cherished and perhaps displayed on someone’s desk for a longer time than its email counterpart.

It is important to always project the professional image we would like to be known for. And using our computer properly can assist us in doing just that.

Having ourselves and our employees follow these simple rules when corresponding with prospective clients or other business associates via email will save money, while the professional image of the company will not be compromised.

Author: Margaret Develey is a consultant, speaker and writer. Her company, The Develey International Group, specializes in business etiquette, dining styles and international protocol. Her expertise in these fields enables her to work successfully with clients from all professions, ages and backgrounds.

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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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