Month: October 2016

Connecting on Instagram

Welcome to Day 27 of 31 Days of Connection! Stop by Day 1 if you have missed any posts – all the the links are there for you.


Connecting on Instagram

We’ve covered Facebook and Pinterest, so how about Instagram? How can we connect through Instagram? The connection happens through our photos, of course. But connecting through our photos can only happen if we reach out to people. Here are some ways to reach out on Instagram.


Follow people. When you are on Instagram, you should follow as many people you know as possible – this can happen by letting Instagram check your contacts for friends to follow. If you tap the upper right icon in your profile, you’ll find where you can let Instagram find contacts for you to follow. The more people you follow, the more connections might happen. Though if you keep your profile private, you will mainly connect with people you already know. If you want to connect beyond your circle of friends, it’s better to have a public Instagram profile (I don’t recommend this for young people) but then keep in mind that anybody can see your photos. That may limit what you decide to share. It’s completely up to you how you want to use Instagram.

Find new people. You can find new people to follow and connect with by tapping the icon (+ and a person symbol) in the upper left of your profile. It will give you a long list of suggestions. You can tap each one to check out their profile and see if they are somebody you would like to follow. Tap Follow for each on that you want to add. Some of these people may follow you back and you will also start appearing in more suggestion lists which will lead to new people following you.

Post, comment, mention, tag. The more you post pictures on Instagram with a caption or explanation and the more you comment and like others’ photos, the more connection can happen. If somebody comments on your post, be sure to comment back and mention them when you reply. To mention them, you need to put @ followed by their user name.You can also tag photos with users if appropriate and use hashtags in your text to help even more people find you. Search for hashtags to use by tapping Search, tapping inside the Search box, and then selecting Tags. Start typing in the subject you’re looking for in the search bar and a list will populate of possible hashtags along with how many times they have been used. When you tap on a hashtag, you will see the posts that have used that hashtag and you can go look at any that interest you.


Direct message. You can Direct Message on Instagram. You can send posts, profiles, and more. You can also message people that you are not following (it will show up as a request), so this yet another way to reach out to new people to build relationships. To directly send a post to somebody, tap on the arrow underneath the photo. It will bring up a list of people that you can send it to and after you select them, you can add a message. To review direct messages, tap on the icon in the upper right of the feed, and then you’ll see them listed. If you’ve been sent a message, you’ll see a notification.

Stories. Instagram also has Stories. Stories are the opportunity to record a bit of video to post instead of a photo. These very short video posts work very similarly to Snapchat in that they disappear automatically after 24 hours. You’ll see a selection of them across the top of your feed and can tap on any one to watch.

There are a few ways to find people and interact on Instagram and you can always use it improve your connection and relationships with your current circle of family and friends.

Day 27 Daily Connection Challenge:
Search for suggested people to follow on Instagram and follow at least a couple of new ones. Also search for people and pages that you enjoy following on Facebook to see if they are on Instagram and follow them. Add at least one hashtag to the text of the next picture you post on Instagram. Comment on at least 3 Instagram posts this week. Try direct messaging a post to a friend. If you’re not already on Instagram, check out some FAQ here and see what you think about joining!

Thank you for stopping by for Day 27 of 31 Days of Connection! Are you an Instagram user? Have you tried reaching out and connecting with new people? What other ideas do you have for connecting on Instagram? Let me know in the comments! See you again for Day 28, friends!


Ways to Connect on Pinterest

Welcome to Day 26 of 31 Days of Connection! Stop by Day 1 if you have missed any of the series – all the links are right there for you.


Ways to Connect on Pinterest

We discussed connection on Facebook, but you might wonder how much connection is possible on Pinterest when you just stop there and pin your favorite ideas onto your own boards. But there is opportunity to create and improve connection there – it is after all, another “social” media network. The main way that brands and blogs try to connect on Pinterest is to share pins that you will like and share and then click over to the site, which helps with traffic and may lead you to connect further. This post is focused on how to connect on Pinterest as a user that’s not trying to promote a site.


There are ways to connect with other people on Pinterest, especially those who have similar interests and enjoy pinning the same things you do. You can also further connect with your own friends and family on Pinterest. How? Here are a few ideas:

Send Pins or Profiles. When you find a pin you love, send it to a friend! Hover over the pin, click the paper airplane symbol, and then you can put in the name or email of who you want to send that pin to, along with a message. Or send a profile to somebody you know. If you love everything somebody on Pinterest shares, then click the 3 dots in the upper left of that person’s profile, where you can select to message that person or Send Profile.

Send Messages. Talk to your friends while you’re pinning away. You can message them without ever leaving your happy Pinterest world. Click on Notifications on the upper right side and Messages. Type in the name/email and your message – super easy.

Comment on Pins. If you like a pin or want to add some info or ask a question, click on the pin and then click Comments near the bottom. Leave your comment in the box. You might strike up a conversation with the pin owner or other Pinterest users.


Follow Pinterest’s Recommendations. Pinterest sends you emails about pins you may like and Pinterest users who are pinning similar things to their boards. Follow these people and you may find some great new ideas or connect with somebody new.

Start a Group Board. A group board is a wonderful way to have a group of friends, family, or colleagues all pin things together to the same board. It could be used for planning a project, sharing recipe or fitness ideas, and more. When you set up a group board, you can add collaborators to it. If you have under 20 collaborators, there is some group chat functionality as well so you can message the group.

Use Pinterest for more than pinning your favorite ideas and inspiration. It’s another opportunity for you to build connection into your day right where you’re already hanging out.

Day 26 Daily Connection Challenge:
As you’re pinning this week, leave comments on at least 3 different pins. Find 2 pins that you know friends would enjoy and send them. Try sending a message to a friend just to say that you thought of them because of something you just pinned. If you have an idea that you would like group participation for, start a group board, add some collaborators, and start pinning. Not on Pinterest yet? Check out the Pinterest Guide and get started!

Thank you for joining me for Day 26 of 31 Days of Connection! Are you a Pinterest user? What kind of pins are your favorite? Have you used it to connect with people? Let me know in the comments! See you back here for a Day 27 post!


How to Connect in Facebook Groups

Welcome to Day 25 of 31 Days of Connection! Remember, you can find all the posts from the series linked on Day 1.


How to Connect in Facebook Groups

When we talked about the 10 ways to connect on Facebook, I mentioned Facebook Groups. Facebook Groups are a way of connecting within Facebook that allow greater opportunity for interactions now that Facebook has so many users and posts that you don’t actually see everything your friends and liked pages post. Since you’re interacting with a group of people who have very similar interests or goals, you are more likely to bond and connect with your group. It’s a bit more personal than connecting on Facebook in general. It’s easier to connect in groups because the setting is a little more intimate and you see all the notifications of group activity, making it easier to respond and participate, which leads to more connecting and creating better and new relationships.

Facebook groups

Joining a Facebook Group

Have a clear reason for joining a group. You can join a Group by someone in it adding you, by receiving an invitation, or by adding yourself or requesting to join. If you are automatically added to a group, you will receive a notification. To find new Facebook groups to join, click on Groups on your left sidebar, and then click Discover at the top. You’ll be shown a selection of groups that your friends belong to, a selection of local groups, plus groups in different categories. For each group, you’ll be shown which of your Facebook friends are already members of these groups. Note that secret groups and members won’t be shown.

When you want to join a group, click on the group’s page, check out the description and any rules, the privacy setting to make sure you’re comfortable with it (I’ll discuss that in the next section), and then click on the Join button. Depending on the type of group it is, an administrator may look at your request and approve it. Once you’re approved, you’ll be notified on Facebook that you’ve been added to the group.

Once you’ve joined a Facebook Group, you’ll get the most benefit and connection from it by participating regularly. Post in the group, respond to others’ posts with comments, and encourage others. Always be kind and courteous. Don’t self-promote unless encouraged to do that. Be sure to read the rules of the group and follow them. If at any point you decide that the group isn’t right for you, just click the button that says Joined and click Leave Group. You’ll be removed from the list and the group removed from your groups list. Members will not be notified that you left.

Facebook group

Creating a Facebook Group

There are many wonderful reasons to create your own group: friends with a common goal, membership to a community, mentorship and education, buying and selling, connecting family members, class reunions, etc. And it’s simple to create your Facebook Group! Once you decide what kind of group you want and what the purpose is, you should come up with a description first. Also, find a couple friends who would like to be a part of the group before you actually create it so you can add them when you start it. On the left sidebar under Groups, click on Create Group. Choose a goal, then enter a name, add a person or two who has already told you they would like to be a part of it, and choose your privacy setting.

There are 3 privacy settings. A Public group is one that anybody can find, anybody can see who the members are in the group, and anybody can see what the members are posting in the group. A Closed group is one that anybody can find and request to join, anybody can see who the members of the group are, but only the members can see what is being posted. A Secret group is one that nobody can find through searching, only members can see who the other members are, and only the members can see what is being posted. After you choose your privacy setting, you can click Create to start the group, but you’re not done with the setup yet.

You’ll want to add your group description, a cover photo (check this post for info on optimum sizing of the group cover photo, but if it’s a small private group, you don’t have to stress over it – just add a photo that’s at least 400 x 150 pixels), and take care of a few other additional settings that Facebook will walk you through. Then invite members to your group! You can instantly add your own Facebook friends – I recommend never instantly adding anyone without getting their permission first. I have been added to groups without giving my permission and even though they are great groups, I want to make the decision whether or not to join first.

To add members to your group, you can share about it personally, in email, or on Facebook (try clicking Share from your group). Any Facebook friends that give you permission can instantly be added by putting their name (if they are your FB friend, their name will pop up to select as you begin typing) in the Add members box and clicking Add. Instead of instantly adding people, you can invite specific people to join by putting their email address in the Add Members box and then clicking Add. Facebook will send them an email telling them that you invited them to join the group. They can click the Join Group button in their email and be added that way. Simple!


Day 25 Daily Connection Challenge:
If you are already a member of a Facebook group, make it a priority to participate this week. If you have started a group and have been neglecting it (like me), get in there this week and start posting. If you’re not in any groups, follow the directions in the post to search for a group you would like to be a part of and join up or create your own group if you have an idea for one (it’s free, you know!). 

Thank you for being here for Day 25 of 31 Days of Connection! Facebook groups are a fun and easy way to connect with people. Do you belong to any groups currently? Have you created any groups? Got questions? Let me know in the comments! See you soon for Day 26!

I’ve got two different Facebook Groups going right now that you can join, if interested – click the links and request to join:
Find Your Smile (A place for happy, encouraging, uplifting posts – a place to find your smile again.)
Whole 30 With Lisa Marie (A place to learn more about Whole 30, get support while you do it, or follow for recipe ideas & tips.)

10 Ways to Connect on Facebook

Welcome to Day 24 of 31 Days of Connection! Have you missed some of the posts? No worries – you can always click over to Day 1, where all the post links are listed for you. And have you become a From Lisa Marie subscriber so you don’t miss any posts?

Now, let’s talk about Facebook!


Connecting on Facebook

Facebook opened up to everyone in 2006 ( I joined up sometime in 2008) and now has over 1.7 billion monthly active users worldwide. The largest percentage of users range in age from 20’s to 30’s, though there are still plenty of users in their 40’s and beyond (my 86-year old dad is on Facebook). Teens are the lowest – you’ll find them on other social media networks instead. With this large of an online social network that’s free, there are so many opportunities to connect with people. It’s amazing how many different ways you can achieve connection through Facebook!

Facebook connecting

10 Ways to Connect on Facebook

There are many different pieces to Facebook now, so you have multiple methods to connect with other users. Here are 10 different ways you can connect on Facebook:

1 – Profile. Your personal profile is the way you connect with friends and family. Not only do you get to connect with your close friends and relatives, but you can connect with people you don’t see often. Tip: Try searching for distant relative names in the search box. Send them a friend request along with a message explaining who you are. It’s a fun way to reconnect with different parts of the family.

2 – Messenger. This is the opportunity to use Facebook like an instant chat. It’s a faster way to communicate and connect with your friends than emailing. You can even message questions or information to page owners. Tip: Try the new $ icon in Messenger which allows you to send or receive money for free. Pay back somebody you owe or gift some money. You and your friend will need to link up your debit cards.

3 – Games. There are many interactive apps and games available on Facebook. Sometimes you make new friends by playing online games and sometimes you increase the amount of daily connection you have with another person by playing regularly. Tip: If you are getting overwhelmed with gaming requests from friends, you can click the little arrow in the upper right corner and choose to have Facebook stop showing you any notifications from that game.

4 – Events. You can set up an event and invite all your friends or specific people to it. It’s a great way to share event info as well as keep a conversation going within the comments. Tip: Find fun stuff happening near you by going to Events, Discover, and searching by time, location, or categories of events.

5 – Pages. Public pages give you the opportunity to connect with brands, public figures, or be a part of communities with common interests. By Liking a page, you see some of the posts and can comment and end up connecting with others who like that page as well. Tip: Make sure you don’t miss what your favorite pages post. Click the dropdown arrow on the upper right of your Facebook top toolbar; Click Newsfeed Preferences; Click Prioritize Who to See First. Now choose up to 30 pages or people who you want to see posts from at the top of your timeline when they do post.

Facebook connecting

6 – Live Video. Live video is fairly new and up until recently was only available to pages and through smart phones. Now you can do live video on your personal profile and from your computer! Live video comes close to connecting personally and lets you share an experience instantly with others. Tip: Try the Facebook Live Map to see live videos from around the world. Sure, there’s going to be some nonsense, but it can be fascinating to see who is posting what right at that very moment anywhere you can think of!

7 – Groups. Facebook groups are a wonderful way to bring together people with common goals. They can be public or private. We’ll talk more about groups in the next post. Tip: Be sure to use the correct privacy setting when creating a group – choose between Public, Closed, or Secret.

8 – Tagging. When you post photos that include friends, or want to share your post with specific people, you can tag them in the photo or within your post. This assures that they will see the post and most likely interact with you. Tip: If you’re tagged in something you don’t want showing, you can hide the post from your timeline or remove the tag. Change your settings to review all tags of you so you can approve them before they show up on your timeline for all to see if you have any concerns.

9 – Hashtags. When you use a hashtag on a personal profile post, it will only show up for your friends. If you set your post to Public, or use hashtags on page posts, then the hashtag can be searched to see what others might be saying about it. Tip: Go into the search bar and search for hashtags that interest you and you might find some new friends or pages to follow.

10 – Ads. Ads are the best way for brands to connect with their target audience as well as that audience connecting with others who have that same brand interest. Facebook is one of the most effective places to advertise because they have the best developed user info. Your first thought about ads may be negative, but when brands connect to the right consumers with the right ads at the right time, there’s nothing negative about it. If I see an ad that totally applies to me and appeals to me, I am likely to want to connect then and there. Tip: Give feedback on ads in order to see ads that are most relevant to you. When you see an ad that you like or was well-targeted to you, click the arrow in the top right corner of the ad and select “This ad was useful.” When you see an ad that is either offensive to you or completely doesn’t apply to you, then click the arrow in the top right corner of the ad and select “Hide ad.” Facebook may ask you additional questions in order to refine your preferences.

Facebook is constantly changing and you may be missing out on some of the newest ways to connect. Stay up-to-date and try new things!

Day 24 Daily Connection Challenge:
Choose 2 ways of connecting on Facebook that you have either never tried before or have rarely used. Try them out today. If you get confused about how to navigate to what you’re looking for, click the top right drop down arrow, select Help, and go from there. If you find a fun new way to connect, share it with your friends on Facebook!

Thank you for stopping by for Day 24 of 31 Days of Connection! Have you used all of these ways to connect on Facebook? What tip did you find most surprising or helpful? Let me know in the comments or stop by and tell me on my Facebook Page! See you back here for Day 25!

Connecting Through Images

Welcome to Day 23 of 31 Days of Connection! Be sure to catch all the posts by clicking over to Day 1 to get all the links.


Connecting Through Images

You know they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And it’s so true that images can make you recall memories, feel emotions, imagine stories, and more. But is it possible to connect with someone just through an image? Yes, because it’s another way of sharing yourself and then having somebody see the image and feel something in common with you, bringing a sense of connection.

The image could be a graphic, a painting, or a photo. Each has the potential to speak right to the heart of another person. Images can lead you to want to know more about the picture itself or about the person who took the picture or about the person who shared the picture. When you are moved by images, you should reach out and tell that person – start a conversation about it. But images can also help you connect with yourself. A picture may inspire you to write a story or a poem, may help you to recall childhood memories, may cause you to reflect on your life and goals, may lead you to research a topic, and on and on.

I don’t have graphics or artwork to share, but as an experiment, I pulled a few images of my own and am sharing them below. Look through them and think about these questions: Which ones bring up more emotions? Which ones do you look at the longest? Which ones get your imagination going? Which ones make you want to travel or have an adventure? Which ones make you want to connect?

connecting images
connecting images
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Day 23 Daily Connection Challenge:
Share an image online today that you love looking at. See if it triggers a reaction with anybody and brings about connection. When you see an image today that causes you to react in some way, take the time to let somebody know. Look at a selection of your own images and see which ones you feel the most drawn to. Come up with some thoughts about what that tells you about yourself.

Thank you for joining me for Day 23 of 31 Days of Connection! What kinds of images are your favorite? Are you drawn more to images of people or inanimate objects? Let me know in the comments! See you again for Day 24, friends!

Connect by Commenting

Welcome to Day 22 of 31 Days of Connection! If you’ve missed out on any of the posts, click on over to Day 1 to catch the rest of the links.


Connect by Commenting

Commenting happens mainly online on articles, blog posts, and social media posts. While you may not think it’s much of a way of connecting, it’s a way to begin a conversation online and connect with people you know as well as with complete strangers. These connections can even lead to new friendships and partnerships. Leaving a comment is like opening the door a crack. Commenting back and forth opens the door further until you shut it, leave it open, or invite in a new friend!

When you react or feel a connection to something you read online or feel a connection with the person who wrote it – write a comment! Comments let the person who posted know that you reacted to what you saw. It’s good will for the person who posted and they will be more likely to comment on something you post. When you leave a comment, you might start a conversation with the person who originally posted, and sometimes conversations and new friends result after a back and forth exchange in comments. It’s worth the extra few seconds or minute out of your day.


If nobody ever commented on blog posts, my friend Kim from Homesteader’s Heart and I may not have connected and become good friends! In fact, for years, we never missed commenting on each other’s blog posts (honestly, some blogging platforms, comment settings to reduce spam, and smart phones make it more difficult now to leave comments on blog posts, but don’t let it stop you from trying)! And did you know that Facebook algorithms reward posts with more activity? But the activities they look at now are shares and…yes, comments (that’s right, post likes are good and help people in your own timeline see what you have liked, but Facebook does not generally increase how much it shows your post to people based on post likes alone)! So if you enjoy someone’s posts and want to connect with them as well as encourage them, start commenting more often.

Day 22 Daily Connection Challenge:
Stop lurking online (that’s what it’s called when you scroll through and read everything but never comment)! Comment on each social media post that moves you in some way today. Read a blog post or two from a favorite blogger or from somebody new to you and leave a comment to let them know what you thought about the post. Respond back to people commenting on your own posts to keep conversation and connection going.

Thank you for being here for Day 22 of 31 Days of Connection! Do you consider yourself a good commenter or are you more of a silent lurker? Comment (HA!) and let me know! See you back here for a Day 23 post, friends!

Connect by Blogging

Welcome to Day 21 of 31 Days of Connection! Missed any of the posts? Stop by Day 1 for all the links.


Connect by Blogging

Sharing your words through blogging is a bit like writing a story or book, but it’s more interactive. You’re still putting your words out there and hoping that somebody will connect with your words, your story, your worldview, your life. The evidence of that connection happens through blog traffic, comments, social media interaction, emails, and discussing posts in person. Sometimes you connect with your readers and sometimes with fellow bloggers.

I’ve been blogging on and off since 2008, if you can believe that! My main blog through many of those years (I started additional blogs here and there as well as contributed to a couple of group blogs) was Stop and Smell the Chocolates. Because there were fewer blogs back then and SEO wasn’t a concern and blogs were simpler, people had more time to actually read and comment on blogs. There was time to link up to weekly blog parties and browse blog directories looking for new reads. Did I connect through my blogging? YES – so many wonderful connections and dear friends!


I wrote a post once on the Blessings of Blogging and listed the first 3 blessings off the top of my head, which were these:

~ My blog has provided me with a creative outlet.
~ Blogging has given me a sense of community.
~ I have made new friends through blogging.

You’ll notice that 2 of those 3 are absolutely about connecting – making new friends and a sense of community. The ability to connect may seem harder in these days when blogging involves so much more effort in order to be found and to be valued. That is partly true – though the solution is to blog smarter, not harder. But really, you’re seeing less of the evidence of people connecting and that makes it harder to know that there are people who need your words and are touched by what you have to share. The relationships may take more time and effort, but don’t shy away from putting your words out there and doing what you can to make sure that they are found – your voice is important and you will connect eventually.

If you have been considering starting a blog, I say do it! There are many great resources to help you with blogging, but I do recommend Debi Stangeland and Amy Lynn Andrews. And if you are struggling with blogging and need a little push to get going again, you might try reading some of the posts in my Encouraging Bloggers series on my old blog.

Day 21 Daily Connection Challenge:
If you have a blog, write a post! Write something that you’ve been wanting to share from the heart or something that you’re passionate about. Share the post as many ways as possible so it can be found and see who connects with you. If you don’t have a blog, but are thinking of starting one, do some research and list out the steps you need to take. Come up with a name and search to make sure there are no big blogs or websites already branded with the name. If you don’t have a blog and are not interested in starting one, take some time to read blog posts from your favorite writers or find an interesting post that has been shared on Facebook. If you feel a connection with that blogger’s words, let them know through comments or email. 

Thank you for joining me for Day 21 of 31 Days of Connection! Do you have a blog? Or have you been thinking about starting one? Let me know in the comments!

Connect by Writing Books and Stories

Welcome to Day 20 of 31 Days of Connection! Click over to Day 1 with links to all the posts in case you have missed anything.


Connect by Writing Books and Stories

When we’re talking about ways to connect, many of them overlap in some way. Connecting through the written word can happen is so many different ways, whether through handwritten cards, email, blogging, or writing books and stories. Writing books may seem to be a one-sided way of connection, but it is still a way to connect and can even lead to deeper connections and relationships.

Have you ever read a book and felt like the author was speaking directly to you? That’s what the author hopes for. When someone writes a book or story, they are reaching out with words in hopes that somebody out there will benefit from them and connect on some level with what they have to say. Sometimes you are compelled to share the book or story with others and connect by sharing a common bond. Sometimes you feel such a connection to the story that you will reach out to the author to let them know through social media, email, or by talking to them at a book-signing. That could start up a conversation and then a relationship.


Why You Should Write Your Story

Many people have a desire to share a story or write a book, but never follow through due to fear or feeling that it can only be done a certain way. Is that you? You should be bold and take that step out into the unknown – share your story. There are so many ways to share your writing these days. You might write your book or story and just share with your family. You might self-publish an ebook or publish an article in a magazine. You might get a printed book deal or have your story included in a published collection.

You have something to say and something to share. There are people out there who want to hear what you have to say and maybe you are the only one who can say it in such a way that they connect with your words and your story. You can help create meaningful connections by writing your book or story. If you are struggling with wanting to take that next step, there are many writers who can give encouragement, like Michael Hyatt and Jeff Goins. You may want to check out Jeff’s book, You Are a Writer.

Day 20 Daily Connection Challenge:
Write down 3 story or book ideas that you have (it could even be writing your memoirs for your children). Read Jeff Goins’ post: Why Everyone Should Write a Book. Schedule a time this week to write something – anything! Also, think of a book or story that you have really connected with. Either recommend it to a friend who may connect with it as well, or send a message through email or social media to the author to let them know what their words have meant to you.

Thank you for joining me for Day 20 of 31 Days of Connection! What books or stories have you connected with lately? Share them in the comments! See you back here for Day 21, friends!

10 Best Practices For Connecting Through Email

Welcome to Day 19 of 31 Days of Connection (and sorry for the delay)! If you have missed any posts, stop by Day 1 for links to each post that has been published.


Connecting Through Email

We talked about the importance of connecting using phone calls and handwritten cards, which are wonderful ways to connect, but it is impractical to do all of our connecting and communicating in those ways. Much of our connecting will happen through email. What’s so great about email? Almost everybody has an email address (even my 86-year old dad uses email!); it’s free; you can connect with people you know and people you don’t know; you can use it personally and professionally; and the communication is instant or almost. You can email somebody on the other side of the world and they will be able to read your message and respond right away – an amazing way to communicate and connect in our busy world.

I have seen enough email over the years to have learned some best practices. Some of these tips may seem obvious to you and if they do, then you are doing a great job! But there are definitely some of us who could use a few tips or reminders to improve our emails in order to do a better job of connecting. You should put the same care and effort into creating and sending an email that you would put into creating and sending a handwritten letter. Follow some of these best practices and see if you get better responses, results, and reactions to your emails.


10 Email Best Practices

1 – Make it personal. Don’t just start off the email with “hey” (save that for your immediate family), but use the person’s first name in your greeting. Include some information within the email that is specific to who you’re sending it to so it doesn’t sound like a cut and paste email sent out to several people (that may be the case, but it would be more effective to take time to slightly personalize each one).

2 – Start with a positive. Whether your email is for personal or professional purposes, it’s a good idea to start out with something positive. It could be general about your own life, something that you’re complimenting the person on, a positive memory associated with that person, or even that you’re glad to have the opportunity to send them a message today. When you start out with a positive, you help the person want to continue reading your email as well as feel like they are connecting with you.

3 – Be careful what you say. Sending an email is not an excuse to say things that you wouldn’t say in person such as unkind words or gossip. If you wouldn’t be willing to say it to a person’s face, then in most cases you probably shouldn’t say it in an email. Remember that email is never as private as you think. Though you send it to a specific person or group, you have NO control after that with who copies that message, sends your email to somebody else, or even uses it against you in some public or legal way. Your words are in writing and are out there and somewhat permanent once you hit Send. Always read through your email and make sure you are comfortable with your words going out just the way you have said them.

4 – Make it easy to read. Keep email messages on point and somewhat brief, if possible. People have a tendency to skim through and may miss important parts if you get too wordy (an issue that I struggle with). Put double spacing between groups of sentences or short paragraphs. Long blocks of writing with no white space are very difficult to focus on and read. And use a reasonable font size (not teeny tiny) in black or darker grays. Always help make life easier for the reader!

5 – End with a question or call-to-action. This applies whether it’s a personal or professional email. Whatever is at the end of the email is the last thing on the mind of the reader. If it’s a friend, you might remind them of what you asked about earlier in the message, “So please let me know what night next week we can connect over coffee!” or if it’s professional, you want to include the point of your email, “Sign up now to receive your free ebook – click below.” You get the idea – it’s a reminder of why you emailed in the first place, like a conclusion in an essay.

6 – Use proper grammar and punctuation. This doesn’t mean you can’t use slang and skip worrying about exact grammar rules when it’s appropriate. It does mean that you shouldn’t treat email like texting – all lower case and no punctuation. Email represents you and when you don’t bother with capitalization, punctuation, or making sure sentences make sense, it implies that you don’t care enough about the person you’re emailing to spend an extra minute or two on your message.


7 – Proofread and double check. At the most basic, you should spell check your message. But you should also read it through carefully before sending. Make sure you haven’t left out words or made the meaning of a sentence unclear. Double check who you are sending it to and who you are copying. It only takes a few seconds to a minute to check these things before your email goes out and can never be fixed!

8 – Sign it. When we send emails from work, we often have an automatic email signature with contact info, which is great. But if you are sending out a personal message, don’t forget to sign it at the end so it’s clear who it’s from. Sometimes our email addresses don’t contain our actual names and people may not realize right away that it’s you if you don’t include your name at the end.

9 – Use bcc (blind carbon copy) cautiously. There are times when bcc should be used. If you are sending out an email to a large group of people that don’t all know each other and may not want their email addresses publicly shared, you should bcc all of them so they don’t have access to that info, but address them as a group so they know you are sending to several people at once. But making it a habit of including a bcc when sending a more sensitive email because you don’t want the person receiving it to know that you are copying someone on that email can backfire if that person hits reply all. Now the original people that were sent the email will know that somebody else was copied but hidden for some reason. There are some good explanations out there of the dangers of using bcc – I recommend thinking about it carefully.

10 – Send at the best time. Okay, so what is the best time? It all depends on who you are sending the email to. You should try to send it at a time when the person will be checking email so that it pops up near the top of the list. For many people, that’s first thing in the morning. For some of us night owls, we might take more notice of an email coming through at 11pm. And for some, they only check personal emails when they have more time, like on the weekend. Keep in mind that people can see what time your email was sent out. If you are sending an email to clients, you may not want them to see that you sent it at midnight – better to save it in draft and send in the morning. If it’s a personal email, some people get notifications with sound on their phones so you may not want to send at a time that would be disruptive in some way.

Bonus Best Practice – Include a subject line that is specific. Don’t make your subject line “Miscellaneous” or “Hi” or “Read Now!” – include more info that explains the purpose of the email. If it really is just to say hi, then “Just Saying Hi!” might work. If it’s more complicated, try to be specific. And don’t bait and switch by saying something in the subject line to get me to read the email but then writing about something different – that leaves me with a bad impression and I will be far less likely to react well to the email.

Day 19 Daily Connection Challenge:
Write and send at least 3 emails in the next 3 days, but check through your messages carefully, following all of the best practices. Find an old email that you sent and read through it to see what changes you would have made based on these best practices. 


Connect Over Coffee Giveaway!

Speaking of connecting through email…I would like the opportunity to connect more with you through email! The best way to do that is for you to sign up as one of my subscribers. You’ll receive my blog posts and in the near future, newsletters and any special offers.

From now through November 1, sign up using the giveaway widget below, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing for 1 $25 Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee (your choice) Gift Card (1 winner). You must be at least 18 years old and live in the U.S. to enter. The winner can use it to invite a friend or family member out for coffee and a chance for connecting or reconnecting and improving a relationship. Connect by email and then connect over coffee! Enter below!

From Lisa Marie Connect Over Coffee Giveaway

Thank you for joining me for Day 19 of 31 Days of Connection – glad to have you here! Do you follow these best practices for email? Do you know people who send you emails that might need to read these tips? Let me know in the comments! See you soon for a Day 20 post!

Connect by Sending Cards and Letters

Welcome to Day 18 of 31 Days of Connection! Stop by Day 1 to catch up on any posts that you have missed so far.


Connect by Sending Cards and Letters

Its sounds simple – obvious, even. Sending or giving handwritten cards or letters is a wonderful way to create or deepen a connection with another person. But giving or mailing cards and letters is becoming more and more unusual now that we have the ability to connect so easily online. Stop and think about it – when is the last time you gave somebody a handwritten card (photo cards where you did not include a personalized message to the specific receiver do not count)? How many cards or letters have you sent out this past year?

When somebody hands you a card with a handwritten message or sends you a letter, it makes most of us feel special to receive it. It feels even more special since we don’t get much mail these days, other than junk mail! In this day and age of instant everything, knowing that someone took the time to think of what to write and put that message on paper just for you gives you a sense of worth and a connection to that person. A handwritten card or letter feels so much more personal than an email or text. Think about the past: people wrote letters back and forth to each other and pen pals became friends for life or even fell in love.


Maybe this is the time to break out the cards or stationery and write out a thoughtful message to a friend or a newsworthy note to a distant family member. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – even lined binder paper sent in a security envelope will do. Or make a card with paper – you can even involve the kids to create some fun cards for you to use. Think about who you know that could really use a special card and handwritten message and set aside time to write it out and send it or hand deliver it.

Day 18 Daily Connection Challenge:
Pick 3 friends, family members, or acquaintances, that might like to receive a card from you. Choose cards or stationery that you already have or buy some inexpensive cards. Hand write a message to each person in a card or on stationery, with a minimum of 5 sentences. Mail or hand deliver the cards within the next 2 days.

Thank you for joining me for Day 18 of 31 Days of Connection! Do you like receiving handwritten cards and letters? Do you send out Christmas cards? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! See you back here for Day 19, friends!