The Add Me! Newsletter *** ISSUE #26 ***
"Free tips for promoting your website"
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>> First Impressions Count <<
April 6th, 1999 *** ISSUE #26 ***
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.....THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE.....
First Impressions Count
by Jennifer Stewart B.A.
If you're in business, your aim will be to sell a product
or a service.
So, how do you go about convincing your potential customers
to buy from you rather than from your competitor?
You must instill confidence; confidence in your ability
to deliver what you have promised to deliver, whether that
is a $5 booklet or a $50.000 company review.
** Personal Communication **
When you are dealing with customers or clients face to
face, you rely on making a good first impression in order
to win their confidence. Studies have shown that lasting
impressions are made in the first three or four minutes
of contact. We spend the rest of the time we know the
person - whether it's half an hour or a lifetime -
reinforcing or modifying that initial impression.
I knew I could trust him, from our very first meeting.
He seemed such a charming person; I can't believe
I was so taken in.
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These face to face encounters rely on a number of factors
to create the first impression:
- physical appearance - size, shape, age, colouring, sex
- eye contact (or lack of it)
- body language
- facial expression
- voice- tone, pitch, inflection, pace
So, we're using four of our senses - sight, sound, touch,
smell - to make a judgement about the other person.
** Written Communication **
But what happens when you have to rely on only one sense -
sight? What happens when all you have are words?
Consider the unfortunate baker who advertised:
TRY OUR HOT PIES. YOU'LL NEVER GET BETTER!
When doing business on the internet, you must make sure
that the message you mean to convey, is the message your
So always have someone else read your final copy before
you let it loose on the world. It's so easy to miss
these ambiguities yourself - after all, you wrote it,
so you know what you meant to say - others may not
necessarily interpret a sentence as you intended (as
with our baker above).
** K.I.S.S. **
I know this principle has been done to death - but
there's no better way of remembering one of the most
basic rules of communication - Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Author Mark Twain once worked as a journalist and was
paid seven cents a word for his articles. His rule for
successful writing was expressed clearly when he said,
"I never write metropolis for seven cents, because I
can get the same price for city."
- Avoid the temptation to show off by using big words,
when little ones express the same concepts and take
less time to read.
- Sentences should be short (a maximum of 25 words -
around 18 is better) and every sentence should have
something worthwhile to say. If it's just there to pad
out the page, delete it.
- Don't use qualifiers unless absolutely necessary
(absolutely is an example of a qualifier - it doesn't
add anything new to the sentence - delete it).
** Avoid Basic Errors **
How many times have you left a site before you even knew
what it was offering because the first words you saw were
something like this:
Click hear to recieve grate free stuff. Its you're only
chance to get infromation wich could of saved you heaps
if you'd of known wear to find it before.
Most recent word processor programs have spell checkers
and many also have grammar and punctuation checkers -
Nothing will create a bad first impression quicker than
careless mistakes with basic language. Why should I trust
you with my money, when you don't even care enough to
check your spelling?
** No Second Chances **
Remember - you only get one chance to make a good first
impression. Do everything you can to ensure that it's a
Jennifer Stewart B.A.
Director National Correspondence Tutorials
For help with your writing, visit How to Write Well at:
Jennifer Stewart has a degree in English Literature and
History and taught senior High School for over twenty years.
During that time, she was Head of Department, responsible
for devising and implementing teaching programs. After
leaving teaching, she wrote - and now markets - writing
courses for students and adults who want to improve their
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