One thing I love about public relations is that there are always opportunities to have a good time. Maybe it’s just me, but I try not to take myself too seriously. Occasionally, I like to share the silly things I find in life or on the internet with my fellow PR friends. Perhaps other career paths allow for a little humor (although I don’t think I’ll ever understand accounting humor…), but because PR can relate to nearly anything and everything, the laughs abound!
Here’s one I found courtesy of George Takai:
Ha! Grammar Pirates!
Oh, and another:
Have you had a laugh today?
Yesterday I received an email from someone with the salutation, “Greetings!” While this is a commonly used introduction into an email, it made me chuckle, because the only way I could read it was in an extraterrestrial-sounding voice followed by the word “Earthlings…” It got me thinking about my email salutations, how I use them and why.
And then, as if a sign from the internet, when I opened up Huffington Post to see what’s going on in the world today, there’s an article about Email Sign-Off Etiquette! And because of that, I figured a blog post was just meant to be.
Just as everything you do in public relations requires you to think about the public first, email salutations and signatures are no different. You wouldn’t send the same signature to your mother “Love you!” as you would to your boss “Love…er…my job!” While those are two extremes, you get the point.
Here’s my basic go-to, that might work as a good guide for you as well:
- Close Friends/Family: Very casual, often includes exclamation points and words like “Hey” “Thanks”
- Peers/Colleagues: Slightly less casual, but not formal – Hi and Thanks are still used. Always use their name in the intro. (what if you accidentally entered the wrong email address?). Here you can use “Best” “Kind Regards” etc. to close out the email.
- Superiors: More formal; often more to-the-point and less conversational. These emails need to be succinct. Use the person’s first name (if that relationship is established, formal name if not) and close with a “Thank you” or nothing at all (see HuffPost article and note below)
- Unknown: Best to err on the side of formality; salutation includes formal address “Mr. Smith,”; email closes with a detailed thank you hinting at a call to action, such as “Thank you for assistance in this matter.” If you’re unsure of the person’s title, call their assistant and ask.
It’s important to remember that email is just another form of communication. Everyone uses language differently, and you always need to portray your individuality. For example, I don’t ever use “Hello” in an email because I can’t remember the last time I actually used the word. I use the word “thankful” more than “gracious” because that’s how I speak, and I want my email to portray who I am.
The HuffPost article mentioned above recommends getting rid of salutations unless they add something to the email. Don’t close with “Thanks” unless you’re actually thanking someone for something. (I guess I always considered it as shorthand for “thanks for reading my email.” But does that really add to the conversation?) So, this week I’m going to pay closer attention to my salutations, and taking a shot at leaving it off when I can.
How do you handle your salutations and signatures?
Just a few weeks ago a new social media platform was added to your potential communication outlets – did you know? It’s called Favorite Words, and has the potential to become a great tool for those of us in the communication field.
I signed up today to learn a little bit more about it and wanted to share my experience with you. If you’re considering signing up, I recommend jumping in. It’s free, so why not give it a shot?
My favorite thing about favorite words is that it provides me with a place to collect words to come back to at any time. Feeling bored? Scan your words and see who else shares the same interests. Need some creativity? Review your words to see what once inspired you and see if you get some more inspiration. Want to expand your vocabulary? This seems like a great place to start!
The important thing will be to keep the platform in mind while your going about your daily tasks. Hopefully enough people catch on that it can sustain, and we’ll always have a place to go back and look at our favorite words.
I don’t think Favorite Words is going to become the next big internet sensation. (I’ve said it here, so when that does happen we can all point at laugh at my bad prediction.) However, I think it has the opportunity to be a useful tool for those who truly work with words on a regular basis.
Check it out. Connect with me. Let me know what you think.
I had a blog back in college. And then I forgot it ever existed.
I wrote about how tough some of my classes were, how cute the boys were, how fun the party next weekend was going to be, how I didn’t want to go to work just a 3-hour shift – you know, the typical ramblings of a college student. I kept this up for a few months, as all of my friends had blogs and we all thought we were oh-so-important that everyone wanted to know our life’s details. After the honeymoon of blogging wore off I stopped writing. And somewhere between the age of 18 and 26, I forgot it existed, until recently.
I changed jobs back in August of this year and it was one of the best decisions I made. Yes, the previous job was rewarding, paid decently and was great experience for someone new in the field, but the benefits of the job were not worth the stress I endured. In my new position I work normal hours, have an average workload and get paid fairly. People asked me if I changed jobs for a pay raise and my answer is no, I changed jobs for a quality-of-life raise.
This all comes back around to this here blog I started up today. With the lower level of stress, I have more time to read and study the public relations field that I somehow happened upon between starting studying psychology in 2004 and now. In some of my online PR research, I came across this gem:
And what better way to practice writing than keep a blog? So here it goes! Time to get over the fears of sharing my thoughts and being judged, and jump in feet first (or is it head first . . . that seems more dangerous and yet much more exhilarating).