When you attend a training conference, or go to a Chamber of Commerce meeting, or join a business discussion group – you expect your colleagues to act and look “businesslike” and professional. The conference attendees may be from all over the country; the Chamber may include familiar faces; the discussion group may be close peers.
You want to create a positive, professional impression. You may want to make contact with experienced professionals in your field; you may want to promote new business; you may want to further increase a business friendship. You extend your hand and introduce yourself to those you don’t know. You smile and greet those you know. You may exchange a story with someone you know very well.
You read people – react to their nonverbal cues. You assess people: their appearance, their diction, their conversations. Your first impressions. And, in turn, you are read and assessed by others. (Did you know you have 11 seconds to make a good first impression!)
WRITING IMPRESSIONS When your customer, client, peer, or manager receives your email or letter, they expect that you will provide clear, concise communication. Your opening line is your business handshake.
The words you select covey a tone – serious, friendly, concerned, as well as pompous or stuffy. The appearance and organization of your document add or subtract to your professional image. In the time it takes for someone to read your opening line and scan the email, letter, document, your professional image has been assessed!
What kind of first impression do you make? Serious or pompous? Competent or Incompetent? Smart or Smart-alecky? Unctuous or Friendly?