Some of the notes that I get from our many learned members fill me with dismay. I often wonder, do they send notes with spelling and grammatical errors just to me, or do they provide this special service to everyone in the world?
I do get a chuckle over some of them, but by and large I get concerned that the bad habits inherent in not checking their work creep over into all of the correspondence that they turn out. Some of it might even be for jobs they would give their right arms to have.
It is all very easy to think that when you are writing to friends you don’t need to be “on your game.” I respectfully disagree.
The discipline I have always followed is that everything that comes off my desk needs to be right. No exceptions. I am an accountant by mental training, and I believe that those who hire financial officers EXPECT us to be precise individuals. (Oh, it was either $1 or $1 million, what’s the difference?)
I don’t believe that there is any better way to hone your writing/typing skills than applying them to ALL of your attempts at communication.
Although I type 90 words per minute, I know that all of you are not speed typists. This is all the more reason why you need to check and recheck your work and make it part of your daily discipline. If your eyes are getting as old as mine are, typos that you used to catch, you may not pick up on as easily.
Most email systems allow for spell checking and I would recommend that you use them if you are at all prone to not spelling words correctly. You never know if that networking contact, even within the friendly audience of The FENG, may be the one person who has to decide whether or not to introduce you to another friend. Will he/she be as likely to do so if they think you can’t spell or put a coherent sentence together?
If you really want to play it safe, you can always create your messages in Word and copy/paste them into your email. I always do this when it comes to really important messages of a business nature.
Another part of the discipline you need to apply to your email correspondence is the addition of a proper outgoing signature. I have 3 outgoing signatures that I use in Outlook. My default is for business and the others are for personal use since I write to my wife and kids during the day and “Regards, Matt” didn’t work for them so I constantly had to change it.
The convenience of the outgoing signature is that you don’t have to type this information each time. It should provide all of the easy ways to contact you including your mailing address. However, at a minimum it should repeat your email address and should include your day and evening phone numbers. It should also include a city/state so others will know your time zone. You never know when someone will decide based on your message that they want to call you right then and there. Don’t make it hard for them to do so!
The “it’s on my resume” reaction underestimates the power of the human brain not to see what is right in front of it. Your resume may not be open at the moment and your best strategy is to make sure that anyone who wants to reach you can.
If you want others to consider you to be well spoken and well written, you have to work at it.
Like the sign in the restaurant said, “Good food takes time. Yours will be ready in a second!”
Don’t be a “fast food” writer. Take your time and make it write (or is that right?). (Their I go again, being a wize gi.)