Technology is an integral part of most of our lives - both professionally and personally. We use it to communicate with bosses, colleagues and customers. We use it to keep in touch with loved ones and to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings with those we know exclusively from our digital worlds. We can hardly remember what it was like not to have such easy access to everyone and everything. While there is increasing discussion about tech-timeouts (which we are huge fans of), we want to focus here on how to handle phone and email technology when we do use it.
It’s never okay to short-circuit manners and civility because we aren’t face-to-face with others. So the first rule is when you are face-to-face with someone, put the technology away otherwise you are telling the person right in front of you that they aren’t as important as the other person on the end of your device. Bad form.
When you are speaking on the phone, smile and focus on your conversation – don’t be distracted. You sound more pleasant this way. Speak clearly, loudly, and slowly so that the other person doesn’t have to strain to hear you. Find out how your employer wants work phone calls answered, and then follow the script. If you are the employer, share with your staff what your expectations are.
Be mindful of the noise level when using technology. That means when you are talking on the phone don’t yell. Others around you don’t want to hear half a conversation that they aren’t a part of.
Likewise, use speakerphone sparingly and do so only when it won’t disrupt the quiet working environment of your peers.
We aren’t quite sure of why this phenomena developed, but please don’t be that person who walks around with your mobile device on speakerphone. It just bugs everyone—and we mean literally everyone—who you walk by.
And speaking of noise levels, a ringtone you find nifty may irritate others as may videos you are viewing - so watch the volume. Consider putting your phone on vibrate instead of a ringer, and consider earplugs or earpods for video watching.
In addition to phone tech etiquette, when sending emails, remember to never write something you don’t want others to read. Assume if you are writing about someone, they will somehow see that email. Business emails are business so use salutations, watch your grammar, check your spelling, and close with a signature. How you communicate is part of your personal brand so be polished and make sure your writing conveys what you want others to think – and not think – of you.
Remember, we have the ability to use technology for both good and bad. We decide. How we use technology influences our behavior and what others think of us. One of the most important things we can do is to follow the rules of etiquette and maintain our personal brand across all the platforms on which we communicate.
Have a marvelous week -