My Nana was a stickler for doing things right. And there was always a right and a wrong. (Nana = right, everyone else = wrong).
After the holidays, the four Fitts children were required to write thank you notes and zip them off to Nana and Grandad in Boise, Idaho. Most grandparents treasure these notes with the difficult lettering and likely misspellings of a young child. Not Nana. These notes were promptly returned with corrections and highlights. To Nana, spelling, punctuation and grammar mattered. Saying thank you was an important part of any relationship; saying it with a preposition at the end of a sentence was not tolerated.
We live in a world of conversational messages and hash tags. 140 characters create the demand for shorter bits and bytes. Even so, there is no substitute for a well-crafted message. I recall a LinkedIn experience where a young man asked me for an introduction to a CEO friend of mine. Sadly, his intro was full of misspellings. At that time, I didn’t have the gumption to email him back and channel my inner Nana. I simply ignored his request.
As you peruse these tips to improve your electronic life, feel free to visualize my Nana – or yours:
- Always spell check. If you know you’re a challenged speller, or wonder whether persuasive has one ‘S’ or two, get help. I love my Mozilla Firefox web browser because it points out any misspellings for me — a great little short cut.
- Proofread your postings before you submit. I see a mistake or two a day that can be chalked up to being in a hurry. Granted, leaving out a word or typing something incorrectly isn’t the end of the world. But to a reader, your postings can demonstrate your brilliance, or reveal your lack of care. Be part of the conversation, or be ignored. Why invest time in social media if you’re only going to be ignored?
- Remember that manners matter. If you’re reaching out to connect with someone, include a personal note in your request. The hollow and generic request on LinkedIn is just that, hollow and generic. It doesn’t provide any context or personal touch about why you’re interested in connecting.
- Your friends are a reflection of you. If you are ever concerned about a connection request from someone, simply decline. If they don’t know you, they aren’t likely to be offended. If you feel compelled to respond, simply reply (without accepting) and ask them to share a bit more about their request and why they think connecting would be a good idea.
- Finally, in keeping with Nana’s rules, always say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’ When someone sends you a connection request and you accept, quickly send a thank you note. It helps solidify the relationship. You can use this ‘Thank you’ as an opportunity to position your business and share a bit about how you help your clients.