Etiquette in the wired workplace

September 25, 2000|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Want to get ahead in your career? Impress your clients? Here's what the experts say is the proper etiquette for the high-tech workplace.

E-mail

Don't write all in caps. It's the equivalent of electronic shouting. Don't write all in lower case because it's more difficult to read.

The subject line should be specific, one that will attract attention among the dozens of e-mails your recipient will wade through each day. When you receive a reply and send another e-mail, update the subject line so the reader won't accidentally delete it.

Be brief. Keep e-mail messages to the length of one computer screen. In general, people don't like to scroll, and they like to see what they're in for from the start.

Use appropriate grammar and spelling, as well as a proper greeting and salutation.

When you respond to an e-mail, include the message you're responding to. People are dealing with dozens and dozens of e-mails a day and may not remember it.

Don't send off-color jokes or offensive materials in an e-mail.

If you're going to be out of the office for an extended period, set up an automatic reply function on your e-mail to let people know when you'll return.

Voice mail

Plan what you're going to say.

Speak slowly when leaving messages and repeat your phone number twice, once at the beginning of the message and once at the end.

Keep the content of your message appropriate to business, especially if others tend to check voice-mail messages for the person you're calling.

If you need to leave detailed information, such as account number or lists of other phone numbers, send it in an e-mail or fax it so the person you're calling doesn't have to transcribe and risk making mistakes.

Update your greeting regularly. If you don't, it leaves the impression that you're not checking your voice mail.

Don't leave lengthy greetings, entertaining greetings or greetings that sound like advertisements for your business on your voice mail.

Wireless phones

Use wireless phones as a polite way to keep in touch with the office, not to be intrusive.

When in the office or in a meeting, turn your wireless phone off.

Before you make a call in a public place, consider whether you're invading someone else's space.

Use discretion about discussing certain business topics in front of others.

Wireless phones are not appropriate during business lunches or dinners. If you have to make or answer a call, step away.

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