Posted by Todd Smith
Have you ever stopped to think that every email you send makes an impression on someone? Each of these impressions plays an important role in defining your personal brand.
As I pointed out in the post What’s Your Brand?, just as products carry a brand, people also carry a brand.
We are all branding ourselves every day in every way—by how we sound on the phone; by our appearance; by our physical shape; by how we acknowledge people and even by the way we communicate through email.
Take a few seconds to think of someone who is very friendly in his or her communications with you. Have you thought of someone? What’s your impression of this person?
Now think of someone who sends one-line emails, who gets to the bottom line quickly and who seldom sounds friendly. How do you view this person?
If I were to ask you to give me the name of someone who seldom returns your emails, whose name would you give me? How do you feel about this person?
Are you beginning to see how email communications affect how you view people?
If the people you have communicated with over the last 30 days were to take an online survey to describe your personal email brand, what would the survey results show? Think about it. It’s important.
Now take a second and think about your goals and consider the person you need to become to achieve your goals. Would these survey results be consistent with this person?
My mentor Jim Rohn said, “For your life to get better, you have got to get better” and email communication is part of getting better. Don’t ever allow yourself to think that something doesn’t matter; everything matters.
Here are my top six email branding tips:
1. Take the time- If you have read my time-management posts, you know I think about time management every day. While I place a priority on effective time management, how I’m viewed is more important.
Even though it may take an extra few minutes to make sure my emails are properly composed and reflect a sincere and friendly personality, it’s worth it! Since email communication is my #1 method of communicating with others, I am intentional about how I present myself.
2. Return emails-If you fail to return emails or you don’t return them in a timely manner, you will negatively impact your brand. People who do not return their emails are considered by most people to be inconsiderate and irresponsible.
Let me encourage you to return 100% of the emails where a response would be considered appropriate. Let me also recommend responding to all emails where someone has done something for you, even if a response is not required. Saying something as simple as “Thanks, Josh” will be appreciated.
In today’s world, I believe most people expect a response to their emails within 24 hours. While it may not be possible to return all your emails within 24 hours, make it the exception rather than the norm.
3. Use their name- Everyone likes to see and hear their name. In Dale Carnegie’s timeless book How to Win Friends and Influence People, he talks about how people love to hear their names. Let me encourage you to take the extra 2-3 seconds to address people by their names.
4. Be Friendly- One of the most important keys to your personal and professional success is to be viewed as someone who is likable. The more likable you are, the more people will be attracted to you. I believe the number one way to be considered likable is to be friendly.
Take an extra two seconds to put “Hi” or “Hey” in front of a person’s name.
Let me also suggest that you take an extra 5-10 seconds to open and/or close your email with something friendly. A few examples:
“It’s great hearing from you.”
“Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.”
“I hope you have a fun and relaxing weekend.”
“I appreciate all you do.”
This extra effort will be recognized because so few people do it.
5. Be Clear and Concise- After a friendly opening, my goal is to communicate my message with clarity, using the fewest number of words possible.
I want to be clear so people immediately understand my email without having to think about it or study it for its real meaning.
Being concise is valuable because it keeps me from typing unnecessary words and increases the odds of my email being returned in a timely manner.
Starting today, really work on saying what you want to say as clearly as you can, using the fewest number of words. This exercise will improve all of your written and verbal communications.
6. Proof It- Don’t allow yourself to get sloppy. Proof every email you send. Under no circumstances do I send any email without proofing it at least once. If it is an important email, I will read it two to three times to make sure I am proud of it.
If you will be intentional about the way you present yourself through email as described in this lesson, your efforts will make you stand out from the crowd.
Since email communication is one of the primary ways people communicate, don’t underestimate its role in defining your personal brand.
Email Communication, Entrepreneurship, Personal Brand, Relationships, Sales
Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.
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