Respecting E-Communications

 In Blog

Email and online communications are convenient, and they make business flow more quickly and efficiently, but sometimes, people get so casual that professionalism is lost and business stalls out.

Wearing my freelance newspaper writer’s hat recently, I was trying to secure an interview with a new business owner in Northampton via email. I proposed a specific date and time and asked where we could meet.

Her response, “Sure! We’ll be on the streets.”

It took me several subsequent emails to secure a meeting place, with me nudging and reminding her each time. In her excitement, she was forgetting to close the loop and take responsibility for creating a new business connection.

Likewise, I often send emails out and receive no response to an inquiry.

We all need occasional reminders on how to remain professional in a world of instant messaging and Facebook posts. Here are some tips toward that end, which I compiled with feedback from my colleagues in a new marketing, messaging and design collaboration called The Creative – Ruth Griggs, a marketing strategist with RC Communications of Northampton, and Maureen Scanlon, a graphic designer of Murre Creative in Florence:

  • Read an email – or any written communication – carefully to make sure you understand what the recipient needs from you, and respond accordingly, with the next action in mind.
  • Respond to email as if you were in person, remembering to close your email with appropriate courtesy. This will leave your reader with a positive feeling about what you’ve written. When you don’t close an email, or don’t respond at all, it’s like walking away from a live conversation without saying, “Goodbye. Thanks.”
  • Likewise, always respond to email within 24 hours, whether you return the message with a call, a reply email or other instant communication. This is courteous.
  • Having said that, my colleague with Beetle Press, Judith Kelliher, is always reminding me to be patient. Sometimes colleagues or clients are unable to respond right away. Be patient.
  • When you write your email, always read it before you send it, even if it is a one-line response. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and make sure you aren’t saying something that they could misinterpret.
  • When you edit your own emails, also be on the lookout for typos or grammatical errors and take the time to correct them. You want to put your best e-face forward. Make sure you check email sent from a “Smartphone” as they are not always so smart; their spellcheck functions can insert words you didn’t intend to use!
  • In this world of OMG and C U, with a business email, text or social media posting, don’t confuse short with clear. Think professional. Spell out your thoughts – literally – as that will make the recipient look forward to your emails. Practice your editing skills. A well edited email message indicates a respect for the reader.

Keep these tips in mind as you work to be clear and impactful with colleagues and clients. Put your best impression e-forward.

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