How do you ensure that customers will react well to an e-mail sales letter? Similarly, what if you're soliciting a job via e-mail, pitching a book idea or any of 100 other situations that are increasingly handled by e-mail? How do you write e-mail that will gain trust and confidence of your readers?
Will your good looks help? Having lots of money? Being tall?
The answer to all these questions is, of course, no. While these things can be a definite advantage in real world, in e-mail, these factors are invisible. No, when it comes to e-mail, YOU ARE WHAT YOU WRITE. (A scary thought for some of us!)
In everyday world, trust and confidence are influenced by many things. These include your occupation, signs of affluence, height, dress and looks. It may not be fair, but we *are* judged by these criteria. Tall men *do* have an advantage. Well-dressed people *are* treated better in shops.
In an e-mail message, though, these visual cues are not present, so how do we earn trust and confidence? Here's a posting to a newsgroup that I noticed many years ago. It's as true now as it was then.
From: xxx xxx Newsgroups: alt.culture.usenet Subject: Re: Musings on readability (longish response) Date: 12 Apr 93 04:53:35 GMT
xxxx xxxx writes: > ... > On internet, "you are what you write" defines > how people are perceived. > ...
Electronic communications *does* become something of a "you are what you write" situation. Someone who doesn't have ability to speak clearly will generally do only slightly better when writing. Non-sequiters and poor logical organization will make readers think less of author as a person to be respected. ... Formatting is *not* wasted bandwidth. Without assistance of body language and other sideband information available in visual contact communications, other means are found to evaluate sincerity and intelligence of person "speaking."