Email Etiquette – the holiday version – hits the big time

By December 15, 2008 No Comments

Market Watch.  NBC News Channel 6.  Phoenix (and Boston) Business Journal.

Business to Business Holiday Email: Why Generic Is Worse Than Doing Nothing
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Dec 11, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Sending your very best is more important than ever. But reaching out and touching someone requires both creativity and meaning, or you might be better off not sending a holiday greeting at all.
“The question used to be, ‘Is it appropriate to send holiday wishes in an email?'” says Sue Hershkowitz-Coore, sales trainer and author of How to Say It To Sell It ( With the current economy, that question is moot. The issue, she says, is figuring out how to do it well.
1. Be meaningful – from their viewpoint
“The most important thing is to make the message meaningful to the other person,” suggests Hershkowitz-Coore. Sending a generic “Wishing you happy holidays from all of us at fill-in-the-blank” can actually backfire. According to Hershkowitz-Coore, “The goal is to help recipients feel good about themselves and your relationship. Mention something they’ve accomplished that you’re proud of them for, something accomplished together that impacted their company, something that reminds them that you have a successful relationship.”
2. No business
“Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to ask for future business in your holiday greeting,” says Hershkowitz-Coore. “Looking forward to our paths crossing soon,” is as close as you can get, she says.
3. Sound like yourself
Make your message heartfelt, conversational and concise. Don’t copy a message someone else wrote. If your company style is edgy, use that edginess in your holiday greeting too. No rule says you have to be serious.
4. Don’t sip and send

If you haven’t made your email holiday list, don’t start after a few glasses of eggnog. Drinking and sending email never work well together. “Being friendly and familiar are different. After a few cocktails, it’s easy to forget that customers aren’t our best friends forever.”
5. Be political
You’re likely to offend someone regardless of what you call the holiday season. “Happy Holidays” seems to be the least annoying. Be cautious of including religious quotes, too. “Keeping church (temple and mosque) separate from business is good business, even in a holiday message,” she says.
6. Consider another holiday
If you don’t like these guidelines, send your message at another time. December is the typical time to send holiday greetings and that is exactly why it may not be the best time. “To stand out, send a meaningful New Year’s greeting or a Happy February note. Sending an authentic message full of gratefulness is perfect anytime of the year.”
Sue Hershkowitz-Coore is President and CEO of High Impact Presentations, a sales training consultancy specializing in communication skills.

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