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HOW TO

First Impressions Count
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-02-19

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    First Impressions Count
    by Jennifer Stewart


    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
    tea towel 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. These
    face to face encounters rely on a number of factors to create the
    first impression:

    - physical appearance - size, shape, age, colouring, sex
    - dress
    - smell
    - eye contact (or lack of it)
    - body language
    - gesture
    - facial expression
    - voice- tone, pitch, inflection, pace
    - words
    - surroundings

    So, we're using four of our senses - sight, sound, touch, smell -
    to make a judgment 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 Web, you must make sure that the
    message you mean to convey, is the message your readers receive.

    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 - use them!

    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 good one!

    _____________

    Jennifer Stewart offers professional writing services for web pages, press
    releases, advertising material, business reports, content for
    autoresponders, technical booklets and articles for newsletters. For those
    who want their own writing double-checked for accuracy, Stewart offers proof reading or full editing.
    Website: http://www.write101.com Free writing tips:
    mailto:WritingTips-subscribe@onelist.com?subject=Tips

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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