Hitting Send.


The other day, I received an email.  At least, I think it was an email. It had missing words, zero punctuation, and so many misspelled words and phrases that I could barely get through the content of it.  

I do feel bad for the person who sent it to me, since they do not see how they are presenting themselves.  Badly, in case you were wondering. I’m also saddened, because it is obvious to me that no one has shown them or taught them a better way.  

Here are a few tips to ensure your email presents you and your message in the best way possible.  

1 – An email is an electronic message, not unlike a text message on a phone, that has a sender, a recipient, and content.  It is like a letter, except that some parts are automatic and easy to use.

2 – Have a professional and/or practical username and domain.  (i.e. YourName@ website .com)  Please, please, please, do not use “sweetkitty” or other such “cute” usernames.  Unless, of course, it is your business name and therefore, should be your domain.  

3 – Use salutations.  I know this sounds silly, but “Dear”, “Hello”, and “Thank you” really can go a long way in an impersonal, electronic medium.  

4 – Use punctuation and spacing.  Capital Letters belong at the beginning of sentences.  Sentences have periods at the ends of them. Commas, save lives.  The space bar is not there to annoy you. The enter button is not just for submitting a post on social media.  Please use these tools. They are there to support you. No one wants to attempt to decipher a “wall of text”, because you wrote something on your phone quickly.  FYI, your phone keyboard has an “enter” key. Promise.

5 – Remember that you are reaching out to another human being.  Words on a screen are just that. Tone of voice, tempo of speech, accents, dialects, etc. cannot be “read” into an email accurately.  Unless you know the person very well and they email in their manner of speaking.

Please note, these are my tips, based on my experiences. Your experience may (will) vary.

Just pick up the phone.

A few years ago, I was about two months into a new job that required information from clients to get to various teams.  I had one client that hadn’t responded to a single email I sent.  I went to my boss and asked, “What do I do?”  Her answer: “Pick up the phone and call them.  Talk to your clients face to face.”

This was such an easy answer.  Pick up the phone.  Call the client.   TALK to them, person to person.

Life requires phone calls.  Actually picking up a phone and talking to a human being.  I’ve talked to a lot of people lately who are terrified just thinking about doing this.  Here are my tips to making it easier.

1 – The worst answer you will get is “No.”. Embrace the no.  Expect the no. This then prepares you to use a back up plan.  Don’t have a back up plan, well, you’re going to need one.

2 – Use a script.  I have scripts for EVERYTHING I do on the phone.  My outgoing voicemail, my out of office voicemail, my email out of office, I even have a script for when I leave a voicemail for someone else!

3 – Have notes, a list, your questions, written down and ready in front of you.  

4 – Take notes.  THis way, after the call has ended, you can send the callee an email recapping what you just discussed.  That way any action steps are in writing. It will be harder for you and them to forget!

5 – Make calls in a quiet place, using speakerphone if needed.  I love making calls in the car. Not while driving, unless it’s my mom or other family members where I don’t have to remember specific details.  (I know I’m going to pick up nephew’s birthday gift. I don’t need to write that down in that instant.).

 

Here is my script for leaving someone a voicemail.  

“Hi, this message is for *Callee*.  This is Safety Pin Queen. You can return my call to 312-456-7890.  I am calling about setting up a meeting to discuss my current project about phone calls. I’m available all week.  Again, this is Safety Pin Queen and you can reach me at 321-456-7890. Thank you. Goodbye.”

 

One last tip, when leaving your return phone number, pretend like you are writing it as you say it.  I know, sounds silly, but how many times have you had to re-listen to a message just to get the phone number?  Pretend you are writing it down, it will force you to speak slower. Bonus, the person you need to call you back will actually be able to and you won’t have wasted their time.