Technology makes you more connected and with that, comes a rush to always be responsive. But in that rush, you may be tempted to take some shortcuts with your messaging. Your messages over social networks, texts, and e-mails are still a reflection of you and your professionalism, no matter how impressive your response rate is.
In other words, you are what you tweet. Mistypings, poor grammar and spelling, and shortening words by omitting letters or using abbreviations (particularly ones that the other person may not know the meaning of) may make you appear less professional.
You might not realize how costly those seemingly little errors can be, particularly if they appear in the description you write on a home listing ad. About 43 percent of 1,291 people surveyed online said they would be less inclined to tour a home if its online listing contained misspellings or improper grammar, according to a study earlier this year by Redfin and the grammar experts at Grammarly.
“A home listing filled with misspellings or grammar errors sends a signal to potential buyers that details are not important,” says Allison VanNest at Grammarly, a website offering grammar and spelling checkers.
Likewise, any message you send out to clients — whether just over e-mail, text, social networking, or other channels — could have that same effect of showing them that details aren’t important or could make you look less professional.
Here are two tips for professional correspondence:
Slow down and proofread:
Take a moment to do some copy editing before you press “send” to reread your e-mails and text messages carefully. Don’t rely on spelling and grammar checkers to catch everything. For example, in the Redfin and Grammarly study, they mentioned common offenses like incorrect words in listing ads that wouldn’t be caught by these tools – such as “master bedroom with walking closet” or “fresh pain and carpet.”
Also, besides your spelling and grammar, make sure that your message is clear and the information you’re writing is correct. In a rush, it’s easy to accidentally forward the wrong document, hit a “reply all” button, or even call your client by the wrong name.
Don’t be abrupt:
Your client has a question and you have the answer, so you may be tempted to ditch all the formalities and just give the point-blank answer. But when you’re abrupt with your message, you may send a message to your client that you don’t really care or aren’t willing to give them your full attention.
Be polite, not abrupt, with your messages. Include a signature line with all your e-mails so that the client has your contact information on hand. If you’re texting, make sure you identify yourself; don’t assume the other person has you in her contact list and knows who sent the text.