Last week, OGR explored 10 etiquette tips for improving electronic communication with families, vendors, and colleagues. Here are 10 more.
Not everyone knows which fork to use when the salad arrives, and even fewer people, it seems, are familiar with business communication etiquette, especially when communicating electronically. Use the following to avoid offending or confusing people when sending faxes (believe it or not, that’s still a thing in many funeral homes) or when using your cell phone to send text messages for business.
Rules of etiquette for texting overlaps with that for mobile devices. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind for business texting.
- Keep abbreviations abbreviated—Urban legend has it that a man whose wife was gravely ill texted an update on her condition to his children. His children were puzzled when he ended the message with LOL (“Laugh Out Loud”). He thought it meant “Lots of Love.” Use abbreviations only when you’re certain the recipient will interpret them as you intend.
- Complete that sentence—People often interpret short sentences as abrupt or even harsh. Taking the time to complete a sentence may save complications in the long run.
- I have some bad news…—Texting is a casual form of communication. Never use it to send bad news to someone.
- Be wary of time sensitive messages—Older people tend to check for text messages less frequently than younger people. Unless you’re certain that the recipient is waiting to hear from you, avoid sending time-sensitive messages by text.
- Watch out for the dreaded auto-correct—Auto-correct features are great when they catch misspellings. They’re not so great when they turn a word into something unintended. The other day my autocorrect inexplicably changed the word “settle” to “copper”. Check for unexpected changes before sending your message.
You may not send faxes very often, but when you do, follow these fax etiquette tips.
- Tag, you’re it—Identify who you are, your company’s name, your name and title, your contact information and the recipient’s name.
- Can the SPAM—Not only is sending unsolicited commercial messages annoying, but can subject you to steep fines per the United State’s Federal Trade Commission and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation.
- Keep it confidential—Unless you’re certain that a fax will go directly to the intended recipient, never include anything confidential in a fax message.
- Assign a fax messenger—If you receive faxes, assign a person to route messages to the appropriate staff member.
- Incoming faxes deserve etiquette too—If you share workspace with others, be considerate by quickly routing incoming fax messages to the appropriate person. NEVER share information you saw in a fax with others.
You may not agree with all of these tips, and that’s okay. Choose the ones you’re comfortable with and use them consistently. Over time, you’ll begin to notice that recipients of your electronic messages will misinterpret them less frequently and respond quicker.
By Mark Allen
CEO & Executive Director
Email Mark with questions.