The Fashion of Communicating Professionally

13 Sep

As a merchant intern at Bloomingdale’s this summer I was not treated like the typical intern, meaning that I did not make copies, staple papers, or run errands.  Instead, I performed many of the tasks of a full-time Assistant Merchant.  These tasks included communicating constantly with vendors through e-mail, which proved to be my most daunting task.

Each time I sent an e-mail, I second-guessed everything about it; did I include all of the necessary information?  Was the tone professional? Were there spelling or grammatical errors? Sometimes I spent almost fifteen minutes re-reading an e-mail trying to answer these questions, which many will agree was not the most efficient use of my time.  Thankfully, I learned a great deal from my summer experience and I now have some tips that will be helpful if you feel uneasy about sending e-mails.

1. Outline Beforehand

Nothing is worse than realizing, the second after sending an important e-mail, that a vital piece of information is missing.  The easiest way to avoid this problem is to take one minute to outline what you want to include in the message on a piece of paper. Not only will this help ensure the inclusion of all necessary information, but it also provides an organized structure for the message, making the construction of the actual e-mail almost effortless.

2. Think of how you communicate with your friends and do the opposite

The use of social media and text messaging is extremely useful but has become a burden for those of us who are trying to correspond professionally.  In most business environments certain abbreviations that are acceptable on Facebook or Twitter are not up to business standards. It’s important to remember that the business world is made up of people from different generations and we must speak in a way that is relatable for everyone. When communicating with a colleague, try to talk as you would with your grandmother, rather than your college roommate.

3. Quietly read out loud and check your spelling

Receiving an e-mail with a spelling or grammatical error is a clear sign that the sender did not take the time to read it over.  While it is extremely easy to make one of these mistakes, they are also very easy to prevent. Read the e-mail out loud (quietly!) to make sure that it sounds right and don’t forget to press the spell-check button – it’s there for a reason!

Sending an e-mail is not only a way to communicate information and ideas to others, but it is also a portrayal of you. So, the next time that you send an e-mail in a business environment, remember my three pieces of advice that can help you avoid making mistakes and represent you in a professional light!

by Sarah Saeli

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One Response to “The Fashion of Communicating Professionally”

  1. Silke Sen September 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Excellent advice, Sarah!

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