To improve your communications in 2016, I propose five things you should stop doing. If you’re making New Year’s resolutions, consider some of the items on my list to improve your relationships with clients, prospects, and referral sources.
1. Sending emails with missing or poorly written subject lines
For starters, never send an email with an empty subject line. People like me often delete those emails, assuming they’re spam. Another subject line “don’t”: keeping the same subject line even after the topic has changed.
If you’re writing to request an action, put that action in your subject line.
If your email is simply an FYI, say that in your subject line.
Whatever the purpose of your email, communicate that in your subject line.
For more on emails, see “Top four email mistakes to avoid when you’ve got a referral” and “4 reasons your emails don’t get results.”
2. Publishing or sending any written communication without proofreading at least once.
Sigh. I missed this typo.
Mistakes, especially stupid mistakes, make people wonder about your intelligence and attention to details.
Even writer geeks make mistakes. I am the poster child for that. I was so excited about finding a Strunk and White grammar rap video, that I posted it to my blog without proofreading my post. Oops! An obvious typo sneaked in.
3. Not blogging because you think your writing isn’t good enough
If you have a valid reason to blog, you can find a way to make it work. Keep your blog posts short. Use audio or video, if you’re more comfortable in those media. You can improve your blog post writing skills with my financial blogging class.
4. Avoiding social media
Social media isn’t going away. Dip your toes in the water. Get on LinkedIn and connect with as many people as possible, even if your Compliance Department limits your activity. You may be surprised by what you discover. Already on LinkedIn? Check out Twitter. Here’s how I built my Twitter following, which currently consists of more than 11,000 followers.
5. Ignoring your most common writing mistakes
You have lots of company if you’re making “Bloggers’ top two punctuation mistakes.” If you’ve moved beyond those mistakes, you may benefit from my favorite online resources for grammar, punctuation, and word usage help.
Thank you, Dorie Clark for inspiring this post!
Clark’s “5 Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012” is a good read. What are your New Year’s resolutions related to writing and communications?
This blog post was edited on June 11, 2012 to correct a typo and in Dec. 2015 to update the post, which was originally published in 2012, for 2016.
Image courtesy of Prakairoj/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net