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SevenTips for E-Mail Etiquette

I don't know about you, but when I look back at some of my earliest letters and emails, I cringe at some of the flowery and circuitous language I used. Here are a few tips served up by my friend, voice-over artist, Debbie Irwin and adapted with her permission. Some food for thought...

Salads & Starters (Before you Send Your E-Mail)

1. Just because you exchange business cards with someone doesn't mean you're instantly best friends. Keep your follow-up communications simple and business-like.

2. Leave discussions of personal hobbies and timeshare vacation opportunities for a live conversation or a phone call. Sharing tidbits of your lives is actually helpful for creating bonds, but only when you've gotten a clear signal that someone has the time and interest for a sidebar conversation.

Entrees (The Meat of the E-Mail)

3. Make sure the note is short and sweet. Reference where and when you met. Briefly remind them of the kind of work you do, and for whom. And be clear about what you want; give them a call to action.

4. Ask if you can stay in touch periodically either through your newsletter or a phone call down the road.

5. Make sure you have your contact information in the body of the e-mail. Don't make someone work to reach you. If you make it easy for them they will be appreciative, and you're more likely to be contacted.

6. If you have demos, a head-shot, a website or resume to share, provide a link in the body of your e-mail so that they can access them if they're interested. Don't decorate your email with photos etc.

Desserts (The Follow-up)

7. And finally, don't make half-hearted offers to meet for lunch, drinks, or dessert if you're not prepared to follow through. And if you do get together, don't dwell on business exclusively. This is an opportunity to learn about each other, find out what you have in common and have fun.

And that's it. Be aware that a poorly executed e-mail can ruin your contact's appetite for your services. So follow these Seven Tips and bon appetit!

If you have any other suggestions or pet peeves about e-mails, comment in this blog and I'll share them next months.. Let's all learn from each other's faux pas!

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