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Dancers, Let’s Be Honest: Professional vs. Personal Life

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separating professional and personal life

Dancers, Let’s Be Honest…

Do you keep your professional life separate from your personal life? With apps like SnapChat and Instagram soaring in usage by millennials, it can easily feel like the lines been personal and professional are blurred. Most of us spend hours documenting our days sharing our morning fitness routines, our cute new puppy, every meal or shake we consume, and fun times with our friends. We want the world to see our every move and while this has been a great new way to connect with people, it has caused many people to no longer know the difference between personal and professional interactions online.

A couple of weeks ago I received the following email from a dancer who had signed up for an event, but didn’t show up. This was her response to my follow up email:

I am so sorry. I got a double ear infection and upper respiratory Infection. And then the flu. Ugh.

Let me share what my initial email said:

Dear XXXX,
I’m writing to follow up on your sign up for the XXXXXX event. I noticed you weren’t able to make it to the webinar live. Did something happen on the technology end of things? Since you showed interest in this webinar topic but didn’t attend, I’d be happy to assist you with any questions you may have. Is there something in particular I can help you with?

 If you have any feedback you’d like to share with me, please reply to this email.

 I hope to see you at a future event and look forward to hearing from you.

Catherine Mancuso

Now, I don’t know this dancer personally and this is the very first correspondence I’ve received from them ever. If I was there friend, this may have been an appropriate response. However, as a complete stranger and industry professional, I was a bit taken aback by their response. Responses like this are becoming more and more common in my inbox. As a society, we have seemed to have lost the art of the importance of making a good first impression and writing professional messages. While you may be used to the informal use of texting or snapchatting throughout the day with friends this language and format is inappropriate for using when emailing professional contacts.

When writing back to anyone in the industry it’s important to ask yourself, “Is this how I want to represent myself as a professional?” People are always watching and the dance world becomes very small very quickly. If there is one I have learned over the years, it’s that EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYONE. Do you want to come off as unprofessional? Or do you want people to think, “Wow, this dancer is really organized and detailed. I’d like to learn more about her/him.” Most of us I’m sure are hoping for the latter.

So how can you best represent yourself over email? Here are 3 key things to keep in mind when you are corresponding with industry professionals:

  • Formally address the recipient. A simple Dear Jill or Hi Mark shows that you know who you are talking to.
  • Don’t talk to the recipient like your texting with you best friend. That means leave out the emojis, sighs, ughs, OMG’s, etc… If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to show that you are mature enough to hold a clear conversation.
  • Sign your name on the message. Use a simple signature closing like Cheers, Best, Warm Regards, or Sincerely. An XO with a wink emoji or not signing your name at all is too informal. Additionally, you want your recipient to know who you are.

With so many talented dancers it’s important to showcase yourself as a stand out professional from the get go with anyone you may be interacting with in the industry. People remember and take notice of those who show initiative, respect, and professionalism in their correspondence. So remember, before you send that next email,  ask yourself, “Is this how I want to be remembered?”



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