Companies today insist on certain technological standards for their workforce because companies are legally and ethically responsible for all of the information that comes from their computers, fax machines, Blackberries, cell phones, etc. But beyond legal compliance issues, to create true credibility in business your techno-etiquette skills must match or exceed your personal etiquette skills when dealing with people.
People judge your character by the levels of civility and basic manners you demonstrate during any face-to face interactions as well as the technological interactions they have with you. For example, you may have impeccable etiquette skills when you are with people and you may treat all people with dignity and respect when they are in your presence. However, if you fail to return phone calls or emails or if you forward someone a barrage of inappropriate jokes with uninvited attachments via email, your character will be in question, and you will risk being deemed a superficial charmer.
* Your cell phones does not ring at inappropriate times and places.
* You avoid loud, one-sided cell phone conversations in public.
* You NEVER provide confidential information about company business over your cellphone, texting, IM's, or emails.
* You silence your audible ring tones such as songs or sounds.
* You avoid checking, reading, and sending IMs and emails on laptops or Blackberries during business meetings.
* You never send emails by using the CC feature instead of using BCC feature, thereby exposing all those on the list.
* You avoid overuse of the "reply all" feature in emails instead of selecting a specific targeted list for those to receive the email.
* You are very careful about not using emotional language or threats in texting, IM's or emails such as, "If I don't receive this report in the next hour, your job is on the line."
* You avoid the overuse of emoticons such as:>} in IMs or email.
* You avoid the overuse of shorthand to those who are unfamiliar with your shorthand terms, such as LM for left message or NW for next week.
Behaviors demonstrate levels of trust in business. Sometimes it is better to speak less and raise your levels of business decorum as a way to deepen rapport with clients and associates.