Fashion For Real Women

Correspond Like A Pro

As the number of emails increase, it seems that the level of professional correspondence has decreased. Tacky notes, mis-spelled words, sentences that drone on and on -- you've probably seen it all, as have I. But never forget that people judge you by whatever means you interact with them. That includes notes, phone messages, and yes, the ubiquitous email.

Here are some tips for getting the most mileage from your words:

1. Handwritten notes are all but extinct. Write one to say thank you, congratulations, my condolences or anything else that you would like to relate by going this extra mile. Doing so on personalized stationery is always an elegant touch.

2. If you must leave a voice mail message, don't just tell the person to call you back. Tell them why you called, when's the best time to reach you, and how quickly you'd like to hear from them. This allows them to gather any necessary materials and "have their act together" when they get you on the phone. Remember, time is money. Use it wisely.

3. If you have a voice mail system in your office, update your outgoing message on a regular basis. If you're going to be out of the office for the day or a week, say that in your message and give callers an alternate name and number to call in the event of pressing business. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting anxiously for a return call that won't be returned for several hours or days.

4. If you use email, say what the message is regarding in the subject line. You'll get it opened and acted upon that much more quickly.

5. Use the professionally accepted written standards in all your correspondence. Remember:

*ALL CAPS SCREAMS AT THE READER and is very difficult to read.

*all lower case is childish and makes you look like a fifth grader. you know what i mean?

*Use the spell checker on your word processor. It won't catch all grammatical errors, but it should catch the mis-spells. You want your recipient to concentrate on your words, not stumbel on yur speling misteaks...

6. Never use foul or inappropriate language in any correspondence, even if you're angry. I've received nasty emails from people who would never treat me as poorly face-to-face. Don't hide behind your keyboard. It marks you as a coward.

7. Never put anything in print that you don't want repeated or passed around. You never know who will see it.

Take the time to correspond like a pro in whatever medium use, whether by letters, voice mail, or or email. Your recipients will be pleased, and your professional image will remain intact.


Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of "Business Wear Magic," an ebook that shows women how to increase their income by dressing appropriately for their line of work. Visit her online at  .
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