By Karen Davies
Most of us have heard of “netiquette” and can quote some of the basic rules yet these rules are frequently overlooked in both a professional and a social setting.
Many of us grew up before access to computers, smart phones and the flurry of social media. Etiquette and how to behave with others was ingrained in us from childhood. Then it seemed that overnight the World Wide Web created a portal for instant messaging, tagging photos and sharing of information. Technology has developed and moved so quickly; it is now accessible to 34% of the population (http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm) including very young children and young adults.
The tools we have gained by the technological advancements of the last 20+ years are incredible, have changed the way we do business and contributed towards globalization. However, few of us have been indoctrinated with the internet rules of engagement.
Here are some of the golden rules I like to be reminded of:
- Don’t post or send anything when you are upset or angry
- Make yourself look good – poor grammar, lack of subject lines, slang, clichés, verbosity does not entice someone to read your message and will distract from the content and not impress
- Think before you hit ‘Reply All’ – does everyone want to hear what you have to say?
- Don’t write anything you would not be comfortable saying face to face with the recipient(s)
- Don’t write or post anything you will ever regret; anything on the internet can be found by anyone who wants to find it and knows how – the internet is not forgiving.
- With no visual clarification verbal communication can be misinterpreted. Studies suggest that up to 93% of information gained in a face-to-face encounter is via body language. With the written word all of this is lost – keep your message clear and concise to prevent misinterpretation
- Respect others. Freedom of speech may give you the right to express your opinions but you can offend and upset others
- Global communication and culture awareness. Be very cognizant of different cultures and communication etiquette in that culture
- Don’t forget human interaction and relationship building. There are times when picking up the phone or talking to someone face-to-face is far more efficient and rewarding than using technology.
“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is is true?’ At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?’ ” – A Sufi Saying
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