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Transcript of COMMUNICATIONS BASICS
telling your story
Getting the tone right can be tricky business.
make every well chosen, correctly spelled word count
Too formal > stilted and strange,
Too informal > undermine professionalism
SHORT & SWEET
complain about lack of basic English grammar
and 'texty' style of written communications
Context is always important:
Identify yourself, why you’re writing.
attention to detail
START WITH RESEARCH
Targeted and concise
Talk to tutors, family friends, peers
email address = appropriate and [somewhat] dignified.
Subject: [BE SURE TO INCLUDE ONE]
And please don’t ramble....
NO TYPOS or misspellings
It was nice to see you the other day I went home and
tried to find out a bit more about your new company as
you are also one of the companies within the graduate
placement scheme and just wondered if you could tell
me a little more about your new company.
An Actual Student Email Query
Subject: [none; left blank]
What’s Wrong with It?
50-word sentence. Wow!
Vague, sloppy prose
Lack of research
Thank you very much for coming to talk to the UWE students on Tuesday about getting started in the industry. It was great to hear it straight from the insiders! I have applied to the Graduate Placement Scheme, and I recognised your name from the list of participating companies.
Having reviewed the description you supplied, I would love to find out more about Fabulous Media/Design Co. and projects that you have in the pipeline. A bit more about me: I just completed the BA(Hons) Graphic Design course with a real emphasis on motion graphics and 2D design. I would welcome the opportunity to hear more about GreenLit - and show you my portfolio, if you have the time.
Again, thank you for your time and insight.
Subject: Employers Forum & GPS Scheme
What’s better about it?
It' fine, it's cheerfully professional and the point.
It tells the recipient why she's writing and in what context (soon to be graduate, recognised the company from the scheme, etc.)
What a great surprise to see you at Tuesday's event. Thanks for help organise it -- we all learned a lot. Congratulations on the new company -- tell me more.
For me, the last year has been a busy one! Based in part on my experience at Fabulous Media/Design Co., I spent much of my final year on the UWE Graphic Design course experimenting with motion graphics and honing my skills on INSERT PROGRAM NAMES HERE.
From a professional perspective, I would like to focus on motion graphics and animation -- and am just beginning to explore my options. You were really helpful and generous with your insight and advice at Fab -- and I would love to continue our conversations in the future. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town for next Tuesday's Bristol Media event -- but hope to come to the next one.
Informal but Professional
What’s better about it?
Friendly and familiar while asking for his professional insight
Reminds the recipient of how she knows him and
brings him up-to-date about what she's been doing since they last met
Subject: Nice to See You at the Employers Forum!
A covering letter should be 3-5 paragraphs in length (about 500 words, max),
well researched, concise typo-free sentences, covering:
1. intro and how you heard about the company or project;
mention an online portfolio, if you have one
2. why you're interested
3. demonstrate knowledge of the company X - your applicable skills, what you can bring, what you hope to gain
4. thanks and you'll follow up
Key Things to Keep in Mind
Are you contacting a design studio? Ad agency? Post production house?
Busy, successful people
Most likely, the reader is looking through lots of other letters
(or emails, more likely) not dissimilar to yours.
Concise, well organized - with plenty of white space - most appreciated.
Remember Your Audience
100S PER WEEK
Always address a real person
To Whom It May Concern
Dear Sir or Madam
if you can't be bothered to find out who to write,
then why should they bother to read it?
Think about your audience
if you can't find someone on the site,
pick up the phone and politely ask for a contact name.
Then you'll know with whom to follow up!
KISS OF DEATH
make them count!