A lesson in e-communication etiquette

Computer Savvy with Devon Zito

I would like to make some simple suggestions with regard to proper and improper communication practices in our ever-changing, always connected environments. The following list is certainly not exhaustive given the rapid growth of social media, however it will certainly provide some general guidelines in utilizing some common communication media:

Voicemail Messages – When recording a message on your system, keep it short and simple.  Be pleasant and maintain an attitude of business.  This is not a time to be wordy so refrain from telling your callers anything that is not useful information in the message.  When leaving a message for others, be certain to state your name, company name and an appropriate call back number. It’s a good practice to repeat your name and number at the end of the message.  Remember when recording your messages that you should speak slowly and clearly as most people have a tendency to rush through it.

Speakerphones – Utilizing speakerphones in business is a very common practice, but mistakes are very often made here.  Always remember to ask permission before placing the other party on a speakerphone call.  Insure the environment is conducive to a speaker call as well:  free from ancillary noise or listening co-workers.  In addition be sure to make the other party aware if there are others with you in the room.

Mobile phones – While mobile phones are now commonplace and have been proven as valuable tools in business, they can sometimes present challenges.  Be aware of your surroundings (car radios, wind, crowds and noisy environments) as it may be unbearable for the other party.  Also, always make sure to ask permission if you must take a mobile phone call while in meeting with someone.  It may even be helpful to explain the urgency of the call if it is necessary that you answer it.  Turn off your ringer in most public settings as well.


Devin Zito of Teknarus provides innovative technology solutions for websites, software and databases, systems interfacing, hardware and software support, network and server administration, email and web hosting, offsite backup and design and branding. See teknarus.com or call 225-243-7099. This column and all others, including archives, are available online also at www.livingstonbusiness. com.
Text messaging – Texting is often deemed as personal and informal, but it has now become useful in the business place as well.  A general rule is to only use text messaging with those that know to expect communication from you in this manner.

E-Mail – Sending e-mail can also be informal but it has become a major form of communication to be depended upon in business.  When utilizing e-mail for business be sure to maintain a “tone” that reflects professional business communication.  You must remember that e-mail as well as any other written communication is void of inflection, so choose your wording wisely to limit confusion.  Always check your grammar and spelling as this reflects upon you as well as your employer.

I hope these communication tips will guide you to more effective electronic communication.  See you next month!