Electronic Etiquette Advice

Tips to Make a Great First Impression

These days the first point of client/customer contact is often through email. Most of us are blowing this opportunity to create a wow first impression. Far from making a great impression, we’re not even making a good one.Email etiquette cartoon

Beyond good grammar

Sloppiness, poor spelling and grammar are the usual email etiquette culprits. Professionals check their spelling and grammar and don’t use texting shortcuts. But if you go beyond this you can make a wow first impression with electronic etiquette that stays in people’s minds for years.

This makes it great

Several years ago I received an invitation from Midge, the manager of communications and professional enhancement for the AB.VMA (Alberta Veterinary Medical Association) to speak at their conference. As anyone involved in hosting a conference knows, there are dozens of emails that are exchanged back and forth long before an actual speaking engagement happens.

Far from the maddening crowd of emails

Midge didn’t just come across as professional because of her spelling and grammar. What made her stand out from the crowd of email senders was that every time I forwarded a document she requested, she would reply “Acknowledged with thanks.”

Thoughtful and efficient

It was a relief not having to wonder if emails I sent her were actually received. Was it a boilerplate reply? One that she had stored somewhere on her computer? Probably, but that didn’t make it any less thoughtful. In fact, if it was boilerplate, that made her thoughtful AND efficient.

Winning electronic etiquette

Midge created a positive impression long before I actually met her in person. And when we did meet face to face, I was predisposed to like her. Guess what? Her winning personality matched her electronic presence.

So I stole it

I immediately stole (adopted) this practice of acknowledging emails with thanks myself. (Yes, I created a boilerplate “Acknowledged with thanks”).

Pretty soon many of my clients starting “stealing” this email best practice tip too. It has become a positive chain reaction that I hope keeps rippling on.

Good, the bad and the …

In our business etiquette to wow seminars, we always give the advice that you can learn from the bad as well as good. If you see a practice you like, add it to your professional toolbox.

Reverse Tip

But if you see something you don’t like, make sure you’re not doing it or anything that makes life difficult for your e-mail recipients. Instead try something that makes you stand out positively, like “acknowledged with thanks”.

You’ll stand out as a consummate professional long before they’ve even met you.

Posted by Joanne Blake – Canadian Business Etiquette Expert, Trainer and email first impression co-ordinator

PS – If you want to stand out – attend one of our upcoming Alberta public Complete Professional seminars, Oct. 3 in Calgary and Oct. 29 in Edmonton or an Electronic Etiquette lunch and learn.

About the author 

Joanne Blake

Canadian speaker, corporate image consultant & business etiquette expert. If you're interested in booking a presentation, keynote or coaching, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

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