I just learned a valuable lesson. I had a person sign up to learn more about my work at home business. She came in through a coop I was participating in and was a bit confused as to why she received communication from the person who ran the coop as well as me. She simply wanted to know who I was.
I responded to her in my normal, witty manner. The problem was that she didn’t know me and she wasn’t impressed with my response. In fact, she was actually insulted. She was kind enough to remind me of the old saying,” You never have a second chance to make a good first impression.”
As I thought about this I came to realize that when dealing with people that you don’t know and that don’t know you, you really need to take care in how you respond and interact with others. So, I wrote a few “Follow Up Etiquette Tips” that seem appropriate.
Tip 1: Respond quickly. Too often we may receive an e-mail or have a message on our answering machine that we just put off responding to. That person was kind of enough to take the time to learn more about what we are offering. We owe it to them to respond to them as quickly as possible. After all, it will be a benefit to us to do so.
Tip 2: Take the time to think out a good response to the question. Be prepared before you return the call. Read and reread a response to an e-mail. Make sure you have answered the question or be as prepared as possible to do so.
Tip 3: Don’t try to be too clever or witty with your response. Although you may try to be funny, the person you are dealing with may take it a different way and actually be insulted.
Tip 4: Do not request delivery and read receipts. Simply ask the person the body of the e-mail to let you know that they got your message.
Tip 5: Don’t use abbreviations. There are many e-mail abbreviations used in order to save time in typing. But many of them are confusing and can be misunderstood.
Tip 6: Keep is short, simple and to the point. Remember, a person’s time is valuable. They want there question answered in as little writing as possible. They don’t want to read a novel.
Tip 7: Be courteous and polite. Even if you are asked a question that you have already answered or that the answer seems obvious, take the time to explain it. Do not make the other person feel “stupid” for asking the question.
There are many other “etiquette” guidelines. These are just a few that I have personally learned. The bottom line is this: When someone wants to know about you and your business, you owe it to them to respond quickly, clearly, and professionally.
After all, not only does it help them, it helps you as you deal with someone who may be your next team member.
(For more information on e-mail etiquette, visit: