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Before Hitting SEND, Think About
Writing It Right (And Proofread!)
March 17, 2015

By Dave Courvoisier

Voice Actor & TV News Anchor

Think about it (if you’re old enough): How much did you write every day BEFORE social media came along?

Not everyone has made the transition to the New Media world with grace. Yet, in a day’s time, you (1) text (2) email (3) post on Facebook (4) post on some other social network and (5) create content of some other sort (newsletter, ad copy, bio, blog, etc.).

In most cases, you don’t have body language, facial expressions, voice intonations, or attitude at your disposal. You have your keyboard (and maybe some emoticons).

With those limitations, can you afford to be misunderstood?

Right. This is how flame wars get started on Facebook threads between two of the nicest people you thought were your friends.

Even more, can you risk your unique humor with a client prospect? It works - sometimes.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, but can you maybe insert the humor in a more diplomatic way, and still be safe?


Consider these two opening statements in an email to a possible client you recently met in a brief encounter at a conference:
Exhibit A:  Dear Joe, It was so cool running into you at VoiceCon … like, I could tell you were the MAN because you were so hard to get to after your talk with that long line of people … it was like, too much! Anyway, I wanted to let you know I’m available to work for you any time.

Exhibit B:  Dear Joe, My hope is you won’t mind my calling you by first name, as your talk at VoiceCon made everyone in the room feel like your best friend. Thanks for that! I learned a lot. Your approachability gave me the hope that you might consider me as a possible talent for your company.


Exhibit A shows enthusiasm and a certain colloquial flair, but since you really don’t know Joe, you run the risk of being too familiar and taking too much for granted with someone who is basically a stranger.

Exhibit B is more formal – yes – but remains in safe, cordial-but-reserved territory that is still universally accepted in the business world between client and prospect.


Here’s my bottom line in the world of written social media-attention-span writing:

The first few words of ANY written appeal are just as important as the first 10 seconds of your demo. If you don’t grab ‘em at the first opportunity, you’ll not likely keep their attention.

And here’s my "honorable mention” suggestion for writing believable, engaging, humanized messages that get attention (besides spell checking): PROOFREAD everything you write before hitting SEND. 

Even better, set it aside, go do something else, then come back with fresh eyes and read it again before sending.
Dave Courvoisier is an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, writer, producer, voice actor, and the main weeknight news anchor on KLAS-TV, Channel 8, the Las Vegas CBS affiliate. He also writes Voice-Acting in Vegas, a daily blog of voice over adventures, observations and technology.


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Comments (9)
Mary Laflamme
3/24/2015 at 2:35 PM
Great points you made, David. We all need these reminders in this fast paced world.
Mary Laflamme
3/24/2015 at 2:34 PM
Great points made here, Dave! Look before you leap. In this fast paced world, we need that reminder.
Howard Ellison
3/18/2015 at 4:01 PM
Very nice and, as Jack suggests: we can apply VO skills. My angle on that is first to find out something about the 'audience' - your recipient may well have a profile on Google/LinkedIn/Twitter that will warm up your opener.
Jack de Golia
3/18/2015 at 10:36 AM
Ironically, one good way to proofread is to read what you wrote...out loud...kind of like voice-over (think of your audience, understand the copy).
Lauren Holladay
3/18/2015 at 9:34 AM
Great subject,Dave! I think you hit this out of the park. I always double check my correspondence to my clients. The last thing I want them to think is that I am not professional enough to write them without correct spelling and a respect for their time instead of trying to be "cool." I enjoy your blogs, thanks so much!
Debbie Grattan
3/18/2015 at 9:22 AM
So true... how our world has changed, and keeps changing. I think with any potential client communication, the important things to remember are to be professional, polite, and yourself. I prefer authenticity in writing, and humor, over being too formal. But it's got to capture who YOU are.
3/17/2015 at 5:37 PM
Great reminder, Dave. And well edited too!
BP Smyth
3/17/2015 at 4:33 PM
Great advice, Dave. I hope everyone takes it.
Ron Whittemore
3/17/2015 at 4:08 PM
As always...well said, Dave...thanks!!
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