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Email Etiquette: 5 Quick Tips For Writing Emails
As a full-time employee and a freelance word-nerd, I send and receive countless emails every single day. And every single day I am dismayed at the quality of some of the messages in my inbox. From difficult to understand to downright embarassing, I have seen some incredible emails being sent by professionals on all rings of the ladder. So, to avoid making embarassing mistakes, and to help establish your (serious) professional reputation, keep the following tips in mind before you hit the “send” button:
- Avoid being overly casual. You don’t want your message to come across as uptight and stuffy; however, you never want to assume a familiarity with the recipient when one doesn’t exist.
- Don’t use emoticons. I love smiley faces, frowny faces, and hearts as much as the next person. But save those for personal correspondence. They don’t belong in a professional communication–even when there is a long-standing relationship between you and the recipient.
- Use proper grammar. Now, I understand that words and their usage are not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you want to project a professional image you need to master the basics. For example, be sure your verb is correctly conjugated (i.e. don’t write “She brung” when “She brought” is correct).
- Write to a person. People are more prone to take notice and to respond to you when you address your email to them by name. The danger in addressing say, the whole department, instead of a specific member, is that your message comes across as a mass email (aka SPAM). And most people avoid spam at all costs. Take the time to learn who you need to contact before you send the email and make sure to use his or her name within the body of the message.
- Skip fancy fonts. There are countless fonts out there that range from artsy to plain boring. But when it comes to picking one for your professional messages, stick with something from the “boring” list. It may not be as nice to look at, but it’ll be easy to read and your message won’t get lost while the recipient is trying to interpret what you have written. As with emoticons, fancy fonts belong in personal correspondence–not professional.
As you can tell, a knack for writing isn’t necessary to successfully create professional emails. With some forethought, a little practice, and a desire to be taken seriously as a professional, you can quickly and easily get a polished message across to your recipient. Your professional reputation is definitely worth the effort.
(Oh, one last comment: your computer’s spell check program is a handy feature, but I strongly recommend against using it. It isn’t infallible and much like your smart phone’s autocorrect, it can lead to some interesting changes. A dictionary is never a bad thing to have on hand.)
Happy emailing, everyone! 🙂
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) After Domestic Violence
Many survivors of domestic violence, regardless of the “severity” of their situations, suffer from an anxiety disorder known as post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. I’ve been fortunate to not suffer from it (with the exception of an occasional flashback or mild “trigger”), but through my friendships with other survivors I have grown familiar with what it does to those who experience it on a daily basis. Left unaddressed or untreated it becomes a pervasive obstacle in their everyday lives, making it difficult to perform basic activities or experience life in a stress-free manner.
However, people who have experienced domestic violence are not the only ones susceptible to developing PTSD. Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, such as a sexual assault or robbery, a natural disaster or auto accident, military combat or other violence (among other things) can develop this disorder. In fact, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, “60% of men and 50% of women will experience at least one traumatic event” during the course of their lifetime. Of those, “8% of men and 20% of women” will go on to develop post traumatic stress disorder.
WHAT IS PTSD?
PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety disorder that develops as a result of experiencing a traumatic event. In basic terms, anxiety overwhelms a person’s ability to “cope” with the trauma, causing him or her to suffer a variety of negative experiences. These may include:
- inability to fall or remain asleep
- mood swings
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PTSD?
Symptoms last at least three months, tend to cause great distress, and disrupt normal life. They include:
- reliving or reexperiencing the event through flashbacks, nightmares, or “triggers”
- hyperarousal (being easily startled or constantly feeling “on edge”)
- avoiding certain people, places, or events that may “trigger” memories
- numbness of emotion.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT METHODS FOR PTSD?
Treatment for PTSD typically involves one or both of the following:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which entails addressing self-destructive thought processes in an effort to improve coping skills
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a new and somewhat controversial treatment that entails associating a repetitive motion, such as moving your eyes from side to side, with happy, safe feelings and memories.
By arming yourself with even these most basic characteristics of post traumatic stress disorder, you give yourself or your loved one the opportunity to seek appropriate treatment and resume living a mentally healthy lifestyle. Never feel ashamed or embarassed. PTSD is surprisingly common, with nearly 7.7 million American adults being affected every year. You CAN take back your mental health…and your life.
It is important to remember that this is merely a quick glance into post traumatic stress disorder. Anything written here is accurate to the best of my non-professional knowledge and I insist that if you or someone you know may be suffering from PTSD you not only research further on your own, but that professional intervention be sought. Only a properly trained mental health professional can accurately diagnose and treat this condition!!
For more information, visit:
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
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How To Give A Memorable Speech
If ya gotta give a speech….at least make it memorable! Follow my advice below to engage the audience from your very first sentence…..
- Skip the “Thank you for the introduction,” and the “I’m happy to be here,” and all those other fillers. It isn’t relevant to your message and quite frankly, your audience doesn’t care.
- Begin with an attention-grabber. Statistics and anecdotes are excellent ways to immediately jump into your subject. Jokes are good, as well, but ONLY if you’re good at telling them.
- Memorize what you want to say, but practice saying it as if you didn’t. Nothing causes an audience to lose interest faster than a speaker who sounds like a robot.
- Speak with enthusiasm and conviction. If you don’t care about what you’re saying, why would your audience?
And when all else fails…
- Fake it ’til you make it! It doesn’t matter how nervous you are or how unsure of yourself…when you stand in front of your audience, you own the stage. Act like it.
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