Tuesday, April 21, 2009

InternEtiquette - Part I

A few topics deserve more posts. Like the "Iffy Situations" series that I started, I will dedicate a few posts to, ...let's call it InternEtiquette!

This is a topic hard to tackle due to its complexity. It involves so many aspects, applications, "places", things, words, information, web sites, logos, e-mails, social media, pictures, viruses, privacy, copyright issues,...Uff! But please, note, I am not a lawyer...I will focus on the politeness that is so often forgotten in the online world. My suggestions and advice come entirely from my experience in the Etiquette Business.

My first on the list: E-MAILS!

What I have been noticing:

  • People who don't greet others when e-mailing: By leaving out a "Hello, John! How are you today?" you send the message that the content is more important than your manners and respect for others. How do you speak to others on the phone? You greet them first, correct?
  • People who don't finish their e-mails with an appropriate closing note: By not saying "Goodbye!", "Have a nice day, and I'll talk to you later!" or "Thank you for your e-mail" you are definitely not considering good manners and god communication. It is like hanging up on somebody via e-mail!
  • People who misspell (and not by accident) and use wrong grammar: No excuses here. I only tolerate it when people are using English as their second or third language. If English is your first language, you should never, and I repeat, never, use wrong grammar and spell words incorrectly. It shows lack of care, lack of attention and lack of respect for yourself and others.
  • People forwarding your e-mails and e-mail addresses to others without your "permission": Here is a tricky one. I would never wrongly judge my mother for forwarding my e-mails with pictures of my daughter and us to her cousins and best friends! I know she does it out of love. Being far away, e-mail has become one of our main modes of communication. I appreciate my mom and friends caring!However, apparently my personal e-mail address was given out to a lady constantly sending out messages about events that, unfortunately, don't interest me. I don't know her well, but know a few people who know her. You get the idea.
  • People not answering your e-mails: Once I wrote about the time management excuse of "I don't have time". Thus, if you don't answer e-mails promptly (urgent ones on the same day and non-urgent ones within 48h, Internet access being available, of course), you are sending out the message that you don't have time for that person's issues, comments, questions etc. You are mostly, however, sending out the message that you have time (of course, we all have time!), but you choose to do with it something else than answering your friend, client, family member. If you have an e-mail account, expect people to e-mail you. Check it daily. Make it a habit! It has become one of the most common and convenient communication modes. If you have one, use it, or people will lose interest in e-mailing you!

These are some of the basic faux-pas of e-mailing that I consider mentioning. I have not gone into content yet. Next time, let's talk about e-mail content and social media! It is amazing, how social media has become part of our lives as people and business people. For now, have a good one, everybody, and I look forward to your comments and questions!

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