Netiquette and everyday business

The digital revolution flourished at the beginning of the 21th century and as soon as communication became instant, simpler and more spontaneous, it also changed the traditional forms of message transmission, together with their etiquette rules. By no means, the Internet and digital communication represent the social evolution and influence the business world, but how do we keep up with the etiquette principles nowadays?

Golden rules for your mobile phone

At one point or another, we have all experienced the offences or faux pas the inappropriate use of mobile phones can cause. Whether it is someone talking loudly in the waiting room at the dentist or a ringtone going off in the middle of an award ceremony, it is best we keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Make sure your ringtone is appropriate for the business environment. I have once met a CEO who had the quacking of a duck as a ringtone. For business occasions, it is best to keep your phone on vibrate and stick to the ringtones set by the manufacturer.
  2. Turn off your phone in social situations. The people present deserve more of your attention then a gadget. In business situations, always keep your phone in your pocket or bag when dealing with a customer or a business partner.
  3. If you expect an important call, let them know and apologise in advance.

To text or not to text? That is the question…

Don’t text your clients to set up or cancel a meeting. Always call.

If you want to call a business connection after business hours (in most countries, from 10 A.M to 6 P.M) always text them first to ask if they can take your call.

Composing a text when you are in a face to face conversation is just as rude as taking a call.

Handwritten thank you letters should never be replaced by a text message.

“Thank you” messages, bad news, apologies and condolences should never arrive by text message.

Business e-mails how to:

Ever since the first connection between computers, at Stanford University, in 1969, information exchange has been made easier with the help of e-mails. However, we must never forget that business e-mails should always follow protocol. Think of it as a letter that will instantly arrive to its destination.

  1. USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS LOOKS LIKE SHOUTING and should be avoided.
  2. A business e-mail address is like a business card. You won’t be taken seriously with an e-mail address like funnygirl2007@gmail.com.
  3. If you send an e-mail to the president of a company or a member of the Government and want to make an impact, think again and opt for a traditional letter.
  4. Use appropriate language, you would never write “Hi there” in a business letter so an e-mail should be no different.

Social networking and the entrepreneur

  1. LinkedIn is the appropriate social network for business. Always choose it in favour of Facebook or Twitter.
  2. You don’t have to make friends with people you don’t know. Find an offline way to get in contact, it will be much more appreciated.
  3. When requesting someone to be a social network friend, add a personal message along with the request.
  4. Think carefully about your profile picture. It should be business oriented.
  5. Aggressive tweets are rude and will lose you followers.
  6. Retain a sense of decorum. Keep personal chats private.

Never underestimate the power of the Internet. Once you put out there the information, it will always be online, even if you decide to delete it. Adjust your privacy settings so you have boundaries between your personal and professional life. You would never invite your boss to the family pool party, would you?

In the end, as much as I applaud all the perks of being able to use the Internet, we must remember the words of Charles Dickens: “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who, with their soul, encourages another person to be brave and true.”