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Judith Halliday

Juggling Professional With Personal

Sealed with a kiss ...

Posted on: 19/11/2012   By: Judith Halliday

Sarah was a consummate professional - an advertising manager on a newspaper and always in control. She was always a good daughter - ringing her mum every morning from work for a quick chat in the days before mobile phones. Every day, she finished her conversation with her mum with a heartfelt ''Love You!'' ...

it's rare to handwrite a letter these days, but the etiquette should remain the same

it's rare to handwrite a letter these days, but the etiquette should remain the same

You might have guessed where this one is going - it's just a pity she didn't realise just before she signed off an advertising deal, verbally shook hands with the company director who'd just signed up for thousands of pounds worth of advertising - and then ended the call with ... "Love You!!" Her mortification was matched only by the hilarity that flowed through the rest of the office.

And that was then, in a long gone, faraway time when the lines between formal and informal communication was very clearly defined. How Sarah is coping now, I'm not sure, but I can imagine she has to keep her wits about her. For informality is the default setting now and it's very easy to get it very wrong in business. Where once we wrote a formal letter to a company, remembering which "Yours ..." to use with "Dear Sir" or "Dear Mr ..." and informal letters that had kisses on the bottom to those we loved most - today the world has moved on.

Or has it? It's still worth taking a second to re-read the email or, possibly even a text, that you're sending to business contacts. Have you been too friendly? Is it too chummy and lacking a business tone.

When all of our communication seems to be done within seconds and electronically, it's so easy to look on helplessly as a note to a potential customer disappears from view with a big, fat LOL at the end or - and this is where Sarah no doubt struggles - a few kisses at the end.

Always read through what you're going to send and ask yourself if you'd expect to receive a message of that tone through the post from a business, client or fellow professional. We are all a lot more informal these days, but maintain a sense of business being done rather than a lark with your mates.

And remember that you can't resort to the old fashioned method of getting a message back that was taught to me many years ago when I accidentally hand delivered a very important letter through the wrong letterbox at an office block. My supervisor advised going out and buying a lollipop, sucking it for a while, then attaching it to a piece of string and dangling it through the letterbox until it the letter was safely retrieved.

Did I? Well, you'll just have to keep guessing ... LOL!

Until next time ...


More about Judith Halliday ...

My writing career began under the bright lights of Gateshead in 1986 - who wouldn't love a job that offered the chance to listen to Gateshead Borough Council's Public Waste Committee debate the introduction of wheelie bins for three hours? It was the start of a working life that taught me what makes a good story and how to tell it and, although I don't have a news editor lurking ready to throw things at me any more, or so much of an interest in wheelie bins, my love of writing and a fascination with talking to people and telling their stories is as strong as ever.

Today I work for Business Times in Northampton and the Northants Evening Telegraph as well as providing copywriting services and press releases for a number of local companies.

When I'm not doing that, I indulge in the things I love most, which include, in no particular order: my teenage children, Sunderland football club, my husband, chocolate, QI, Chinese noodles, my closest friends, Test Match Special, red wine, reading in bed, The Sound of Music and growing vegetables.


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