October 6, 2015 Leave a comment
Digital etiquette are guidelines on how to use the internet to increase engagement, productivity while not annoying people. In other words, how office etiquette can build – not hurt your reputation.
As with face-to-face communication, one of the best things to remember when considering digital etiquette is there is a real person receiving your message. This means they have their own needs, pressures, time constraints and frustrations… just like you. So, communicate with them with patience and thoughtfulness just like you want others to use when they communicate with you.
Digital etiquette protects your reputation and by extension is important for your productivity. If people see that you demonstrate respectful and trustworthy behaviours, they will not only want to work with you – they will go out of their way to work with you. Digital etiquette will also increases the chances that people will give you the information you need when you need it and therefore improving your productivity even further.
Here are a few of my favourite digital etiquette / office etiquette best practices
Keep Your Computer Virus Free
You don’t want to be the person / company that sends a client an email with a virus. Even if you are lucky and their system catches it before it does harm, you will have lost personal and professional trust – maybe so badly you may lose the relationship (especially if it did infect their system).
Digital etiquette when it comes to computer viruses is very important because the result can be very costly in many ways.
Use Consistent And Approved Technology
If your office uses PowerPoint for presentations, don’t begin to use another package. You may be more familiar with the another package and perhaps it does have more flexibility… but by using it your co-workers may see you as arrogant. Also, your fantastic presentation may not get seen if your associates and/or clients don’t have the software needed to run it.
If you feel strongly that the company would be better off with different / new technology, follow smart office etiquette by submitting to your executive team asking for approval. That’s how you get a reputation as a visionary not a trouble maker.
Digital Etiquette Means Using The Phone – Not Email
One of the most important business email etiquette best practices is to not use email.
It is often better to use the phone (or walk down the hall), especially if you have complicated things to discuss. Phone calls and face-to-face are also much better ways to build personal relationships.
In urgent situations, phone calls or face-to-face is also better. I recommend sending an email and phoning; this way email is a great back-up because they may see it if they are in a meeting – and therefore can step out of the meeting.
Only Open Email When You’re Ready
Email comes in 7/24 and if you have all of your alerts on it’s very tempting to interrupt what you are doing and look/answer. That is a hugh negative impact on your productivity (and perhaps relationships).
Another email etiquette best practice is to turn off your personal email notifications. My recommendation is to only check email a few times per day (I know – easier said than done). The objective is to plan on spending a few hours each day (especially in the morning), without email or phone notifications so you can focus on your Important Work. It is proven that almost everyone of use is at our strategic / intellectual best in the morning, so, the last thing you want to do is lose that brainpower responding to email.
Confirm Your Objective Before Hitting Send
Especially if you are angry it’s important you reread; anger will come through loud and clear… and you may not want to share your anger with your clients. Doing this is a life-saver when it comes to digital etiquette and your reputation.
Even when you are having a terrific day, take some time and be sure you are meeting the important objectives before you hit send.
BONUS Digital Etiquette Best Practice
We all know that email can be a huge waste of time so I hope that these tips will help you out. Here are a few more quick digital etiquette / business email etiquette best practices.
- Don’t assume the recipient knows all the details. Remember – the person you are writing to doesn’t have your knowledge or experience; so did you give them enough information… or too much? Tone can be easily misconstrued.
- Make sure your subject lines are relevant. Conversations about different subjects are more easily tracked when you use a relevant subject line… especially when you get email on different topics from the same person – which us common at work.
- Use email signatures. A great email signature has your name, title, company name and phone number. Sometimes they include a link to your company’s website, but be careful – some company servers are blocking email that have web links.
Happy communicating using digital etiquette.
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