Do you ever cringe when you get ready to open your email inbox in the morning? I know sometimes I do. Why? First of all because so many emails came in, second because some of them ramble and third because the subject lines have nothing to do with the content.
Here are my tips for upping the chances that your email messages (whether a standard email or an e-newsletter) get read:
- Be clear. Are you asking for help? Do you need a response? Are you simply sharing information? Make that clear in the message so the recipient knows how, or even if they have to, respond.
- One issue per message. Don’t have a subject line that mentions, “XYZ Project” but then go into the “ABC” and the “LMNO” projects. One subject per email and the subject needs to relate to your subject line.
- Be brief. If you can’t wrap up your email in a hundred words or fewer (unless the recipient was anticipating a wordy response) then you might want to pick up the phone. There are times, though when a detailed email response is a great reference for the future, but you need to know when this is the case.
- Make sure your grammar and spelling are impeccable. Grammatical errors will make your reader subconsciously doubt the rest of your words.
- Steer clear of industry jargon and acronyms unless you are certain your recipient will immediately understand them.
Be polite. Be brief. Be read!
The written word, in some cases, is being mangled by the average user. Why? In part, I believe because of the proliferation of text messaging. When it comes to text messages, many people use short cuts rather than writing complete sentences or even complete words for that matter.
When you’re corresponding with business colleagues, your business grammar matters. Why? You could be the most well-versed expert in your niche, but when you send an email full of spelling and grammar mistakes, the recipient may subconsciously doubt all of your words and facts.
How can you make certain your email messages and business correspondence are top notch? Here are a few ways:
- Be clear and stick to one topic. Veering off topic is disconcerting at best and dilutes the message at worst. If the topic of the email is technical or involved, it’s likely best to pick up the telephone or have a face-to-face.
- Be brief but be friendly. Correspondence without body language can “sound” curt and abrupt. While you don’t need flowery prose, you do need to be cognizant of the recipient’s time while still being personable.
- Check your spelling and grammar before you hit send. If you’re hesitant on a word or a phrase or the use of particular punctuation, ask someone for advice or Google it.
BONUS tip: Don’t throw around your industry acronyms unless you’re certain the recipient will immediately understand your meaning.
How clear is your business grammar?
When is the last time you celebrated a small milestone in your business? Many people feel they can only “celebrate” when they close that BIG deal, or when they lose 10 pounds or when they finish writing their book or business plan. Why not celebrate when you close ONE deal or lose two pounds or write a chapter in your book? Marking the progress you make along the way goes a long way in helping you meet those larger goals.
There are coaching clients with whom I work that sometimes suffer analysis paralysis — that need to know each and every single possible outcome of whatever project is on their plate before they can move forward. It is a state that leads to almost nothing getting done and that stymies their overall business growth.
What can you to do celebrate small milestones and why should you? Here are some options:
- Not celebrating small projects completed negates their importance. Take a 15 minute trip away from your desk and do something you enjoy as a way to treat yourself for a job well done.
- Tell a colleague or share with your coach a milestone. If you work with a coach or an accountability partner and you achieve something he or she had talked with you about, you should pick up the phone an make note of that — after all that is the benefit of having an accountability partner or coach.
- Celebrate every new customer! Why? Every customer you bring in is entrusting him- or herself to the services you provide and that means you should celebrate them! How? Note it on your social media pages. Pick up the phone and say a heartfelt “thank you for being part of our client family.
What will you do to celebrate your next milestone?
When is the last time you updated, or even looked at, your professional online bios? If you’re like most people, you set up your online profiles. I know in the rush of take care of my coaching clients and building my business, I don’t always think to go into my online profiles and update them when I have learned a new skill, or start offering a new service or even begin a new endeavor. It’s not always top of mind, but updating our online professional bios should be part of our business strategy.
Take time today to look at your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles and your business page. Here are some items to pay attention to:
- If a potential client was seeking you out, does your current bio speak to your unique skills and to the audience you’re reaching out for? Make sure there are key words and searchable terms in your bio that a potential client would use to search you for.
- List your top three qualifications and highlight them on your profiles and in the headlines on your social media pages.
- Readers have short attention spans. With this in mind, put your most important information at the top of your bio and keep it short. Use bullet points to break up text and focus on your most relevant information.
After you’ve updated your online professional profiles, share that information with clients and potential clients, you can say, “I’ve recently updated my profile to better show the world who I am!” You can even ask, “do you agree?” and solicit insight from your followers — they may have information or a word you can use in your bio that you never thought of.