There is such a large variety of tasks that a virtual assistant can do, and its impossible for me to cover them all here, now. So, I’d like to pick just one for today and talk about it. Email. Back in the early days, email was a lot easier. You were happy to open and answer the few emails that showed up in your inbox each day. But now, email is a big part of our lives and takes up a lot of time.
One way to alleviate the email stress is to allow your Assistant to help you gain control of your email.
How can a I help? A huge amount of time is spent scanning through your email trying to eliminate the spam. I can do this, while ensuring that nothing important gets deleted by mistake.
If you usually leave everything in your Inbox until it’s dealt with, then you know what a horrendous task it can be to start your day faced with hundreds of emails and not knowing where to start or where to find the important ones.
By setting up filters and folders I can ensure that your email is controllable.
I can make sure that inquiries are dealt with efficiently and quickly
Always according to your instructions, of course.
Your past, present and potential clients are being dealt with.
Flag emails that only you can deal with
Depending on your business, there are many more ways I can help with your email; whether it be fulfilling orders, organizing your daily calendar or just acting as your contact person when you are busy elsewhere.
Imagine coming into the office and realizing that you only have to deal with the important clients and get on with running your business. No more email backlog, no more searching in vain for an email you haven’t filed away and no more wading through spam to get to the important stuff – I take care of your email while you follow your dreams.
Text messaging is rapidly increasing around the world. We are becoming a species of thumb typers.
The following three tips will help you speed things up and save you from possible musculoskeletal disorders that can be caused by long term texting.
Good posture will give you the stamina you need to keep on texting without feeling tired or cramped or doing permanent damage to your musculoskeletal system. A study was undertaken by the Source Department of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA where they watched young adults texting in a public place. They found no difference in style by gender, but there was a difference in posture. Most young women tend to keep their elbows at a 90 degree angle and tucked close to their bodies. The men rounded out their shoulders and both genders (for the most part) extend their neck out. Over one third of the people typed with only the right thumb. A long term study is needed to see what effect these unusual postures will have on our bodies.
By turning your phone sideways for the ‘landscape’ view you have a much larger keyboard, which is more suitable for thumb typing. Not every app will work in landscape mode but most do.
Practice, Practice and you will be amazed at the speed you can type with using only two thumbs. Memorize the position of your home keys by touching your thumbs together over the G H keys and then spreading them apart so they are over the F J keys. These are your home keys. Pick a simple combination of words and functions and type them over and over again in a sample text. You could start off by capitalizing the first letter of each word and then hit the return key. Say you pick the words ' Are You There? '. Type them repeatedly into a message and hit the enter key after each sentence. Look at the screen not at the Keys! It is supposed to look like a complete mess at first, but believe me it will get better and you will be amazed by the quick results you achieve.
Patience and persistence pays off. After a while this method of thumb typing will be second nature to you. Your friends will be amazed. So, don’t give up keep trying and let us know how you are progressing.
Writing your business correspondence in a confident, polite, sincere and unbiased tone makes your letters or reports easier to read and puts you in a more favorable position with the reader.
If you have prepared yourself to write knowledgeably about your subject then you will be better able to assume a confident tone in your writing. Organize your documentation with the intent of persuading your reader to accept your point of view and then put your points down in order of importance.When you are fully prepared and confident in your written word and sure of your abilities or product the reader will be more likely to agree with your findings.
Don’t however be overconfident as this can easily be interpreted as arrogant or presumptuous and a definite turn off. Instead of saying, “my product is exactly what you want” you could say “your needs can be better met by using my product.”
Courteous and Sincere
Your letter or other forms of correspondence should have a polite and sincere tone. These two go hand in hand because without sincerity in tone courteous would sound condescending. Instead of saying, “Before I was rudely interrupted I was going to explain our new benefit plan in detail.” Re-phrase that and say “Before you implement our new benefit plan, you should keep the following details in mind”.
Politically Correct or Unbiased Tone
Unbiased language treats all people equally. All words, remarks or ideas should show equality, which means respect for all. Discriminatory language based on factors of race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation or disability, interrupts the flow by coming between you and your reader. Use neutral job titles and genetic pronouns such as; letter carrier instead of the mail man or administrative assistant instead of Girl Friday. But, if you try too hard to be politically correct with your terms and call the paper boy a Media Distribution Officer you run the risk of disrupting your whole point of view.
A confident, polite, sincere and unbiased tone sets the stage that allows your points to flow smoothly off the page and be highly regarded as an honest and expert opinion.
Valediction is simply the act of saying farewell in a letter or email, and a way of showing respect to the intended recipient.
The words or formal phrases you use to say goodbye depend on whom you have addressed it to. For business purposes, if your salutation is the generic Dear Sir/Madam, then you would end with Yours faithfully or Faithfully yours, but if you know the person's name then close with Yours sincerely or Sincerely yours. Emails and less formal business letters could end with: Best regards, Yours truly, Very truly yours and Best wishes. Just make sure that when using a two or more word closing that only the first word begins in the uppercase.
In days of yore, people would use entire sentences like: I beg to remain, Sir, your most humble and obedient servant, but in Jane Austen's books some letters are signed with just: Yours. Abraham Lincoln's informal letters ended: Yours respectfully and sincerely.
I think it is time we evolved into a new era of complimentary closings and brought in phrases that are meaningful to us. Today, when emails are more outgoing than written letters and have a more casual tone and style, we can be a little more creative in the closing. Use one that suits the subject and is in good taste. Here are a few of my favourite.
· Polite: As you wish; Word to your mother; Kindly; At your service
· Spiritual: In body, mind and spirit; Grace and peace; Walk in light
· Fun: Film at 11; Onwards; Straight up; Yours until further notice; Exit stage right
Remember that the closing must match with the opening address, and be in the same tone or style of the letter. Always, follow the set rules for your business letters and keep using the same formalized phrases preceding your signature, which express your loyalty, best wishes and respect to the recipient. Otherwise, have fun and be creative as you sign off.
Great letters take people's intentions, and use those words of criticism, introduction, sales, marketing, etc. as the gateway leading to a successful venture. I help people by writing their letters for them or by giving them enough tips and tricks to write their own letters. Letters that produce successful results, where everyone is a winner, and we all have cause to celebrate our good fortunes.
Salutations are found just above the body of a letter and mostly start with the word Dear and follow with: Mr./Mrs./Madam and the persons first and last name; or their officially recognized title (President, Prime Minister, Lady, Dr. Professor, etc.); or on a more personal note the recipient's first and last name or first name only.
If you wish for more than one person at that address to read your letter then you should address a letter and envelope, separately to each person. As a courtesy, you can list all the recipients' names at the bottom of your letter, after your name and beginning with 'c.c.' then followed by the people who received a copy.
Emails, being a less formal way of writing, usually begin with 'Hi', or just the persons first name. If you wish to send to several people,they are copied in the original email address bar. The subject line is sometimes more important than the salutation because it can determine where the email is filed, who it is forwarded to, and whether it has immediate priority.
Fax Letters have a different method of address, and either use a separate cover sheet or a header with blank fields for filing in: the recipient's name, department and fax number; your name along with your contact information; the number of pages being faxed; the names of the people who are being copied on this letter.
Strive to have your salutation addressed to a specific person instead of the generic Sir/Madam. Search company or government websites to find the correct title, department and spelling of their name, but don't rely on this information entirely it may not be current. Phone their customer service desk to verify if that person still holds that position or has someone else taken his or her place. The recipient will appreciate your attention to detail and will hopefully read your letter with a more positive attitude that could bring about favorable results
A letter of recommendation is a personal endorsement, usually detailing the positive traits and values of an individual and used in support of a person for a new company position or public office.
When recommending a person, use the first sentence or two of your letter to spell out the persons full name and after that refer to them only as Mr. or Ms. and last name, or he/she, but never use the first name only. Also, give the reader your connection to this person: employer, teacher, neighbor, friend, or through volunteering.
Focus on specific job accomplishments, skills and experience. You should also express your opinion of her moral character as an employee or an upstanding member of the community. Keep it down to two or three qualities at the most and support your statements with examples but do not undermine your credibility by using to many magnificent adjectives. Try to match your compliments and praise to the specific needs of the new potential employer.
Here are a few good phrases you may want to use: works independently and as a team member; do not hesitate to recommend; successfully completed all tasks; creative problem solver; energetic and enthusiastic employee; works well under pressure; organized and attentive to details.
Warning: Make sure you check with your company policy on employee information. Defending a defamation lawsuit can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars so it is no wonder they are wary about giving out any information. Many personnel departments need written permission from their employees before providing recommendations and even then they may only be allowed to verify that the person actually works there and the dates of employment and nothing else.
In the closing paragraph, summarize your recommendations and confidence in this person. Offer to answer any questions or provide more information if necessary.
Include your Name, Address, Phone Number and Email address as a letterhead or underneath the complimentary closing.
Insert the neatly folded letter in an unsealed envelope and give it to the person who requested it. This way, if they wish to, it can be read before sealing and mailing.
Writing business or personal Thank You notes can be difficult for some people so, unfortunately, they may not be sent at all. If you follow these 7 steps then you will be able to produce proper notes of appreciation that reflect your good taste, smart business sense and will leave a lasting impression on others. This could make the difference between standing out in the crowd and winning the deal or just blending into the background and being overlooked.
In 1922 Emily Post wrote, “In writing notes or letters, as in all other forms of social observance, the highest achievement is in giving the appearance of simplicity, naturalness and force”.
Keep it Short – Only one or two sentences at the most. Anymore than that and you are running the risk that it won’t be read at all.
Sound sincere and enthusiastic – Did you enjoy yourself, then say so:
Thank you for taking the time out to give me a tour of your factory, which I found both fascinating and educational. I look forward to meeting with you next week and discussing matters further.
Post It - Always use the traditional mailing method for your notes. There is more of a chance that they will remember your note if it is delivered in an envelope, more so than they would if it is just another email on a long list of emails.
Time it Right – Write your note immediately or as soon as you get back to your desk. Mail it out that day so they will receive it in a day or two and you will once again stand out in their mind.
Stationary –You want good quality paper preferably on a memo size sheet or a correspondence card with just enough room for a short note and your name at the top.
Keep it Positive – Keep your thank you notes on the positive side by not even mentioning any negative details. If the basket of fruit they gave you was rotten or the flowers arrived wilted, then thank them for their kindness and thoughtfulness without mentioning the defect of the gift.
Smile – Smile while you are writing the note because it will put a positive slant on your words and your happiness and enthusiasm will be conveyed to the reader.
Such a small gesture of appreciation and gratitude should be a habit in everybody’s personal life and used as a valuable tool in the business world
A letter of introduction is meant to get you an appointment and hopefully a sale. By breaking the ice in this way, the potential client has time to think about you and will more likely grant your request for a meeting. On the other hand, a quick phone call may not even get you past the front desk receptionist and an email could be instantly met with a quick rejection reply that ends any possibility of a sale.
Send a Private & Confidential letter addressed inside and out to the person you wish to talk to. Make sure you have their correct title, spelling of their name and a proper mailing address. This is where a quick phone call is best, by calling her assistant or the receptionist and simply asking for accurate contact information. Divulge as little as possible at this time, or you may risk a roadblock being set up and your letter getting treated as junk mail.
Make sure you present a professional look; always print on your company letterhead, using white or slightly tinted paper of very high quality.
Construct your letter using these four easy paragraph guides, designed to get your future clients to open the door:
The opening is a now or never attention grabber, so use it wisely. Go on-line and search news articles for points of interest and recent developments of the company, or even better, reports of individual accomplishments, awards and recognitions. Use this in your opening sentence, by telling them just how impressed you are for all they have done.
The second paragraph of your letter is where you can help the reader envision what your company can do for their company to bring about a rewarding experience for all. Keep this down to two sentences in length, or three if you want to impress them by referring to their own Vision Statement.
In the third paragraph, state that you will be in the area next week, and would like to drop in to speak to them regarding this matter. From there, go on to say that you will phone them the day before and make the final arrangements. So you don't sound too pushy finish with, "I hope this meets with your approval". Now, when you do phone them, as promised, you should have no problem getting past reception and can say with confidence, "Yes, so-so is expecting my call".
In closing, use a short sentence of no more than fifteen words to convey how much you are looking forward to the meeting and talking about your mutual interests. End it with the usual; yours truly, followed by your name and title. Don't forget to sign it! Make sure you keep a copy and send the original.
Now, that you have picked which area you'll be covering next week keep sending out letters to other potential customers in the same vicinity. Stay organized, maybe keep a worksheet showing the dates and details of phone calls and meetings. It all starts with a well-constructed letter and hopefully ends with a well deserved sale.