Think of your readers and their needs.
- Use professional language with a sincere, personal touch
- Be as brief as possible
Writing personal notes to your fellow employees, business contacts, and company superiors helps to create a friendly, more personal relationship.
Here are some occasions when sending a personal note may be a good idea:
· Thanking someone for a business lunch out
· Saw this and thought of you
· Upon the death of a loved one
· Thanking someone for a gift
· Giving praise for performance or work completed
· Motivating someone to reach their goals
· Establish the possibility of a possible future business relationship
A personal business note should either be typed or handwritten – not emailed. You message can be on a card, business letterhead or notepaper. If you do not have a prior relationship with the recipient, then enclose your business card.
Notes are not letters and they are meant to be brief and to the point. A typical note is just a paragraph or two in length. Many notes are even just one or two sentences. The point of a note is to send a short, yet meaningful, message with a personal touch to a business associate.
Important things to remember when writing a personal business note:
· If you do not have a personal relationship with the recipient you should avoid excessive familiarity.
· Keep the note as short as possible while still keeping a tone of friendliness, especially if you are personally aquainted with the person.
· Notes should be addressed to a specific person
· Be concise and to the point – don’t use a lot of fluff.
Depending on how well you know the person, your note will either be formal or informal in terms of the greeting.
For example, if you have known a person for several years and are on a first-name basis with him or her, than you would begin the note with “Dear John” or “Dear Sue”. On the other hand, if you are just becoming acquainted with a new business prospect and are still calling him or her “Mr.” or “Ms” than your note would begin “Dear Mr. Santle” or “Dear Ms. Brown”.
Since a note is short to begin with you will need to explain who you are and what the note is about in the first few lines. Of course, if you have an established relationship with the recipient, they will know you by your name. However, if you recently met someone at a conference and are following up, you may need to refresh their memory as to your relationship with them.
It was great sitting next to you at the Aloha Atlanta seminar. I really liked your ideas on possibly working together to revise Mento International’s website…
It’s important to send your note out soon after the event or occasion. If you are thanking someone for a gift they sent a month earlier, they may see your note more as a negative than a positive. Notes are meant to build business relationships, not distance them.
Close with your formal name and title on the signature line. If you know the person well, sign the note by hand using your first name. Otherwise, sign your full name.
Even a note sent with the best of intentions will not be well received if it contains errors in spelling, grammar or punctuation. A note full of errors says to the recipient that you didn’t care enough to take the time to proofread before you hastily mailed out the note. Since notes are brief to begin with, proofreading will only take a few minutes and doing it could save you from offending the person you are trying to impress.
Here is an example of a personal business note:
Business Emails and Email Etiquette
· Use a business-like writing style
- Make the subject line meaningful
- Be sure your full name is in the “from” field
- Don’t type in all capital letters or all lowercase letters
- Always proofread an email before you hit “send”
- Never type angry. If you do, save it and read again later before sending.
- Write as if you are typing on company letterhead
- Remember, every email you write can be forwarded, saved, and documented – be careful about what you write!
E-mails are increasingly replacing inter-office memos as the primary means of business communication. But all too often, writers don't follow the same common sense rules with e-mail as with printed memos. In fact, business e-mail should be even more carefully written than paper mail because e-mail can easily be forwarded, attached to another message or kept indefinitely in an electronic filing system. E-mail records are increasingly being subpoenaed for use in both civil and criminal legal proceedings. Here are the basic points of email etiquette in the workplace:
Respond Promptly - Not responding promptly to incoming business email that requests some sort of action: an answer, an attachment, a phone call, etc. can leave an impression that you are disorganized or that you do not consider the sender's email important. You should always acknowledge an associate’s action email with at least a quick response, even if you cannot get to it right away.
Include a short and meaningful subject line – Many people determine whether or not they are going to open an email by reading the Subject field. The subject line of business emails should always be short and clearly indicate the topic of the email. Subject lines that are too long will end up being cut off by the recipient’s email program. It’s important that the main point be clear and at the beginning. For example:
Change: Subject: Wondering where the latest report on the Wesson, Inc. account is
To: Subject: Wesson, Inc. report status
Use a different subject when discussing separate topics – This frequently happens when you e-mail an associate weeks later about a new topic but you reply to the same email from two weeks ago, without changing the subject line. Not only will that surely confuse your recipient, but it will leave you looking lazy and disorganized. Also, if you are regularly emailing someone; keeping separate topics in their own email strings will help both parties to keep on the same track.
Begin with a greeting – You should always begin a business email with some sort of greeting (Hello, Hi, Good day) followed by the recipient’s name. However, if you are sending the email to several people, then it’s okay to omit the names and just use a greeting. An introduction is a staple of professional business communications and shouldn’t be overlooked in emails.
Be brief and concise – Business emails are designed to get a result: to communicate information, or to get a response. You should get to your point as quickly as possible. If you find yourself typing paragraph after paragraph, perhaps a phone call or printed letter would be a better idea. If you absolutely must be wordy because of critical information, you may want to apologize for such a lengthy email at the beginning of the message.
Write as if you are typing on company letterhead – You should use the same professional guidelines as you would when writing a printed letter. Remember, a business email helps to create an image of you and your company. Here are some simple rules to follow:
- Use Mr., Ms, Dr., etc. unless you are on a first-name basis with the recipient.
- Do not use text-messaging-type abbreviations. Like U for you, or 2 instead of two, plz, thx, etc. Those informal abbreviations may be fine for your personal emails or text messages on your personal accounts, but not for business emails.
- Use formal language (complete sentences, business letter formats and correct spelling) along with a thought-out outline.
Be thoughtful when copying others to an email – E-mailers love to overuse the CC field. In a business email, you should only copy others when the information being shared is truly relevant for them to see. The business people involved in a CC email should know each other or have at least been introduced and don’t have a problem with their email address being shown to the parties involved. If you are not sure if a business associate would mind their address being made public, ask. If you're listed in the Cc: field you are being ”FYI'd” and a reply is not mandatory. Unless you have something relevant to add to the conversation, you needn’t respond.
Never forward chain emails or spam – When you are on company time and using a company email account you should never be forwarding any type of non-business related emails. Forwarding an email chain letter or a “top ten list” isn’t appropriate no matter how funny you may think it is. Sending out something personal may leave others thinking you aren’t working hard enough and that you are spending company time surfing the web or reading personal emails.
Only email requested or approved attachments - All email accounts have capacity limits. Sending a potential new client a large file they didn’t request will not only fill up their inbox (and possibly shut down their email ) it will certainly tarnish your relationship with him or her. Sending an attachment that is unnecessary and unexpected reflects a lack of consideration towards the recipient. Before emailing an attachment to any business associate you should always:
- Ask if it is okay to do so
- Be sure they have the program that is needed to open your attachment (Photo Shop, Excel, etc.).
Use auto response messages when away – An auto response message alerts anyone that sends you an email that you will be away from the office. That way, an associate won’t be offended when you don’t reply to an email right away.
Example: I am currently out of the office and have limited access to email. I will be back in the office on Monday, May 17. In case of any urgent work, you may contact Mr James Daniels at Jdaniels@mycompany.com during my absence.
Only use the “Priority” setting when time is truly of the essence – If you send every email branded as important, you stand to minimize all future emails and possibly offend your recipient by misleading them with a statement of urgency. This feature should be reserved for those occasions where your e-mail is in fact timely, so use the “Priority” setting sparingly and with discretion.
End with a closing signature: You email should end similarly to a business letter, with a closing (such as Thank you, Sincerely, Yours truly, Best regards, etc.) along with your name, title, company, phone, fax, and website link. Don’t get carried away with slogans, awards, associations, quotes, etc. A signature line should be at most 4-6 lines long. Anything longer may well be received as a bit egocentric or in some cases unprofessional.
Example: Amy Green
Denault Associates, Inc.
Proofread – Because business emails are composed so quickly and sent so frequently, writers tend to let their grammar and spelling slip. Keep in mind that anyone can read an email you write, from the CEO on down. So being sloppy with grammar and spelling may mean putting forward a less-than-desirable impression. Plus, if you are writing to a customer, your poor grammar will reflect poorly on your company as well! Be sure to proofread each and every email you send out – once you hit that send key you won’t have another chance to!
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