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Tone and Type

Ever since I can remember I have enjoyed the process of writing.  The magic that comes from well-phrased descriptions and clarity of written thought is like a harmony that touches our inner being.  Words are powerful, and used thoughtfully, they convey not only ideas and information, but a bit of who we are, too.  Even the most stoic journal article reveals a well-guarded element of the human behind the alphabet soup.

In chat, our voice can easily resound through with the conversation we have with our customers. When we are genuinely interested in the question our enthusiasm bubbles up.  Our friendly assistance denotes a partnership with our customers as together, we head down the search path and include them in the journey.  Through our words we can be inviting!  The simple use of, "Let's take a look at..." gently encourages our customers to join along.

What we bring to our reference service, virtually or in person, enhances our interactions.  The who, what, and how can be as dry as an August field or as lush as a tropical oasis.  It all depends upon our motivation to go that extra step, and a professional who concentrates on having conversations, finding options, and explaining processes with customers is more likely to have a rewarding experience (and so is the customer!).

We have two another important elements to express our helpful tones:  our typing and grammar skills (yes, technology is also a variable, but better left for another time.)  Typing well enough to feel comfortable while chatting to a patron is essential for the librarian's ability to communicate, as described on our "Guidelines for Chat Sessions/Communication".  We don't have a minimum speed or accuracy rate; it's just important to be able to convey the messages quickly without compromising the librarian's quality of information due to poor typing and keyboarding skills. 

If anyone is curious about their own finger-tapping abilities, there are free online tutorials available, such as from "Typing Web:  Free Online Typing Tutor" (you can skip registration, or register if you want to keep track) and Peter's Online Typing Course (which is very basic and has info about good ergonomics, too). 

So what about grammar?  This is a long-standing issue and has as many answers as their are personalities.  The place where we all meet, however, is on the plane of good customer service.  As models for professionalism, I believe it is also important to do our best to present good sentences with punctuation and correct spelling, but not to be stodgy about it.  But others do just as well with phrases, texting, and emoticons!  It all depends!

Equally important is to bring our voices to our messages - to write as we speak, in other words - and to bring out our great personalities as we help our online customers.  If our online presence were a food, I'd liken it to the enticing scent of freshly baked bread with a hint of sweet apple pie and cinnamon; so warmly inviting!  Who could resist that?
 

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