Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Hi-tech Helping Business Etiquette to Go Down the Drain
This is the view of Microsoft's unified communications manager Mark Deakin, as reported in The Times recently.
Yes, he says, for sure we're becoming savvier every day in terms of applying IT, but our appreciation of the subtleties of each technology stills lags behind. And confusion over which method is appropriate for each business task is widespread.
By way of citing just one or two examples of many unanticipated but common pitfalls, Deakin points out that humor and sarcasm can very easily be misconstrued in e-mails. So can potentially ambiguous abbreviations. (What do the letters LOL stand for? "Laughing Out Loud", or "Lots of Love"?)
Penny Edge, managing director of the Finishing Academy, which teamed up with Microsoft to produce a list of the Top Ten do's and don'ts of electronic messaging , warns us that the cardinal rules of remote communication - to be brief and be businesslike - are being consistently flouted.
Here are the Top Ten Tips that Microsoft together with the etiquette experts at Finishing Academy produced:
1: Respect other people’s chosen form of communication.
2: Use IM for short requests and immediate responses.
3: Use e-mail sparingly and don’t expect an instant response.
4: Use the telephone for building rapport or discussing delicate matters.
5: Use IM and e-mail settings to show whether you are available or not.
6: Humour, sarcasm and flirting may not be appropriate at work.
7: Be careful when using “emoticons” in a business context.
8: Don’t say anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
9: Don’t read e-mails or send an SMS if you are with other people. Turn phone to silent mode.
10: Keep records of all-important decisions reached over the phone or IM and print out vital e-mails.Finally, "if we are to avoid becoming robots," adds Deakin very pointedly, "good old-fashioned phone use needs to be encouraged so that we can continue to sharpen up our verbal communication skills."