Mind Your Grammar (& Visuals) With New Staff Intros

www.RuthlessEditor.comIt’s good business to introduce new staff members, whether they work directly with customers and clients, or whether they make the business hum behind the scenes.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this first impression. Choose your words and images with care.

Here is an introduction that I consider memorable — but for the wrong reasons.

A new member had joined a team of financial advisers.

What do you look for in a financial adviser? Hmmm … trustworthiness, credibility, specialized knowledge, experience, good judgment, professionalism.

Here was part of the profile for this new associate, who shared his education and some personal information (details changed to protect privacy):

While on vacation in England, I proposed to Allison and we married in April of 2015. Our dog, Rover, is adjusting well to life in our new home. Currently pursuing a master’s degree in family financial planning through Oklahoma State University.

My initial reaction: That’s one smart dog!

Although a young financial adviser might want to be presented as especially appealing to younger clients, a person in that position should be able to attract and serve all ages.

His introductory photo maybe should have been more nuanced than it was: a guy in a black zippered shirt (maybe fleece?) with sleeves pushed up, arms crossed (considered a defensive posture), and a rim of red T-shirt showing at the neck.

Nor did the cut-off intrusion of something hanging on the wall behind him add sophistication or professionalism. It smacked of a quick smartphone afterthought.

I hope the financial-services firm seizes the opportunity to re-introduce this new associate as soon as an achievement of some kind warrants it.

Introducing new staff members gives you an opportunity to communicate with your constituents — always a good thing.

But make sure your grammar — your words and their arrangement — and your visuals complement rather than detract from your message.

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Kathy Watson

Kathy Watson has a love/hate relationship with grammar; she loves words and the punctuation that helps them make sense, yet she hates those pesky rules. A self-proclaimed ruthless editor, she prefers standard usage guidelines of The Associated Press Stylebook. Her easy-to-use Grammar for People Who Hate Rules helps people write and speak with authority and confidence. She encourages and welcomes questions and comments. (Email)