Written communication

March 02, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

CuriousCurious Written Communication Can be a Challenge

Written communication to co-workers, clients, and even friends can be a challenge. Words can mean many things to many people depending upon background, area in which people live, their experiences as well as many other things. Communication within the modeling and photography industry can include quite a bit of jargon not always found in other industries. Here are some thoughts when sending out a email or physical letter to either a new client or even a long term business colleague.

  • Who is your audience? 
    • This will often determine how structured and detailed your letter or email may be written. For example, reaching out to a new client may require an introductory letter, avoiding overwhelming the contact with jargon. The introductory letter may well invite them to view your work or visit your website for additional information if they are interesting in contacting you. Even a long term colleague may have different levels or understanding such as a photographer may not understand details that a makeup artist may think is second nature.
  • Structure
    • It almost goes without saying that planned communication should use proper punctuation and grammar. Spell and grammar checkers can be worth gold for someone who sends out daily written communication. It's amazing sometimes in social media communication how I may need to read a sentence over again begin to understand what the author may be attempting to say. This tends to cast a unprofessional light on the person sending a poorly constructed message.
  • ​​​​​​​Templates
    • ​​​​​​​There are volumes of templates on the internet covering practically every known business use. Are these for you? They could be especially if you are sending out similar information to a relatively large number of people. They can improve your workflow. An important aspect to consider with templates is to personalize them based on your audience. A Salutation that begins with "Dear Mr or Mrs ..." is likely to be deleted from email or thrown away in paper form. People often receive volumes of sales emails or letters and may be quick to dismiss them. A letter that begin with 'Dear Bob..." ( a personal greeting) may at least stand a chance of being read.
  • ​​​​​​​Purpose
    • ​​​​​​​Why are you sending the information? To inform someone of your service? To follow-up on a service already rendered? People tend to have busy lives these days and failing to make your point early in a message can be frustrating to the receiver. Some people may have seen on-line advertising that seems to drag on for pages without providing critical information to the viewer. When sending an email providing critical information in the subject line can get the message read quickly such as:
      • " Photo estimate for Monday March 2nd"
      • "Invoice for photography services on March 2nd"
      • " Message from Bob Barford Photography"
    • If your communication is of a legal matter, have the communication reviewed ideally by an attorney.  A misplaced comma, a imprecise word or even omitted details can create problems. Laws can vary from state to state and certainly if dealing with international business. 
    • Regardless of the purpose, have a friend or colleague read your newly drafted letter to see if it makes sense. If it does not make sense to them, chances are you will need some revisions.
  • Your Signature
    • ​​​​​​​This is especially important with emails.  Many email programs will allow you to develop a standard signature block that may include details such as:
      • ​​​​​​​Your name (Bob Barford)
      • Position (Photographer)
      • Business name (Bob Barford Photography)
      • Location (Street address as necessary, but at least city and state)
      • Telephone (Business and Cell)
      • Email (select ONLY one for clarity, you don't want to miss a response) 
      • Website or social media reference (your on-line portfolio)
  • ​​​​​​​Copies
    • ​​​​​​​Who else needs to know about the communication that you have send? Do you need to send an extra copy to yourself to remind you that you have mailed out correspondence? Do you have associates such as MUA that need to know the details of a project?
    • Be careful about using the "Reply All" function found in many email services. It can be useful, but can also be very annoying or even embarrassing if a message is forwarded to the wrong people. In some cases, can have adverse legal consequences.
  • ​​​​​​​Thank you notes
    • ​​​​​​​People like to be thanked for their participation, regardless of whether or not it is deemed part of their job. Even a friend likes to be acknowledged for participation within a project!





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