Technology is changing how we communicate in our daily lives. The technical advancements vigorously influenced communication etiquette and lead to establishing of new rules. It caused a clash between our retro habits and the rapidly changing personal environment surrounding us.
So when interacting with others keep in mind in mind to never jump to conclusions and create assumptions when it comes to unpublished communication protocols related to communication technology , speed of confirmation and response , as well as a time frame. A decade ago, faxing was standard, ICQ was a marvel and people thought call-waiting was rude. Today, we text at meetings, find phone calls intrusive and send e-mails to the guy in the next cubicle. As communications technology rapidly advances, social protocols can barely keep up.
E-mail occupies that space between the formality of a letter and the breeziness of a text message. There is certain expectation of privacy when communicating via emails and the public distribution and forwarding of private emails to others often leaves the taste of bitterness and betrayal of trust. It is fair and wise to confirm with the originator if the email can be published or forwarded if you want to build a positive and constructive relationship flowing power of the two way communication.
Social media have much more relaxing restrictions and even most businesses now have Facebook pages. The professionalism approaching other must still reign. Consider LinkedIn connections like business cards; some will be useful, others you’ll forget. Google yourself once a month just to be sure “what happened in Vegas will not stay in Vegas”. Be aware about hate pages where failures express their own frustrations about others success just like the Boston Marathon bombers.
In a world where everyone is Google-able and smartphones can exchange info by touching, most people still find it useful in exchanging business cards. Keep your card simple and use your card wisely. Don’t clutter your card with every address, number, online profile, blog and website you have. Just the basics. The rest is online.
Chances are, these days you’ll get the quickest response to an e-mail or text message but to create more personable relationship always use the phone. Voice communication if useful to clear mis-communications based on the wrong assumptions. Never jump to conclusions about the state of mind of another person without personal confirmation. Research shows that voice spending on phone plans is on the decline, while text spending is up. But audible communication can still win out on efficiency, especially when dealing with multiple, complex or very personal matters. Voice is also good for discerning tone when emoticons don’t cut it. Sometimes If you must call it may be wise to send a warning e-mail and ask if it’s a good time to talk scheduling a conference call.
Face to face meetings are inevitable, and are especially important with clients. People still find it disrespectful if can’t stop tapping on your phone.
Unless you’re serving legal documents, faxing is practically offensive in its antiquity. It’s too uncertain where a document ended up and who else read it. However once serving legal documents by email should be considered stalking and not serious. According to the local police if a legal document is not send in the mail then it is highly questionable. If you must fax , check via email or phone if it was received.
Though texting and messaging offer speed, ease and the ability to get straight to the point, they often don’t offer a record of correspondence that comes with e-mail, and can feel too informal for business communication. Keep in mind, though, that 90% of people under 30 will respond to a text message within an hour.
The use of letters beyond supermarket flyers, court and legal documents, the odd passport application or bank statement, it’s all gone digital.
Voice mail is being driven into obsolescence by caller ID and text-based interaction. Recent research found that 20% of people rarely retrieve their messages. Until it completely disappears from the workplace, however, keep in mind that voice messages left on a cellphone are even less likely to be heard. No one wants to dial in just to hear “Hey, call me back.” Caller ID may be just enough. If you must leave a message, never natter on for longer than 30 seconds.