Technology in our everyday lives has become ubiquitous; there is no getting around it. No matter your generation, at times, you might find yourself in unfamiliar territory.
But are you guilty of one of these Technology Etiquette Fails?
Reply-All Confusion. “Reply all” is a great invention, for you can have a conversation with a group over email. That is until the email is sent out as a mass notification, and not to get views from the group. You know, those people who reply all when there are 100 recipients on the email? Don’t reply all when you shouldn’t be and do when asked!
Not Replying at All. You know, that email you sent asking someone for information, and they don’t answer, and you forget it existed, and the email goes off to die a slow, painful death? In this time of junk mail, spam, focused emails, and others, we no longer know if you read the email. Reply. Please. Please? Hello?
Salutations. The definition of this word is “a gesture or utterance made as a grunt or acknowledgement of another’s arrival or departure.” When you see someone walking down the hall, you don’t start the conversation in the middle, you acknowledge them with a hello, and then get down to business. Why should email be any different? (Don’t let the robots win!) It was about fifth grade when we learned how to write a letter. And if you’ve forgotten, there is this fantastic browser called Google that can help you remember. Use salutations! Be friendly. Say “thanks” at the end of your email. Sign it. Be human.
Video Conferencing Microphone. When you’re in a video conference or audio conference, for that matter, when it is not your turn to speak, please mute your microphone. No one needs to hear the dog barking or better yet (she said with sarcasm) your clicking away on your keyboard, not paying attention. And we certainly don’t need to hear your heavy breathing. I promise you that in every audio and video conferencing software, there is a little icon of a microphone. Do us all a favor and mute it when listening. Thank you – from the rest of the team.
Bad Grammar. I am sure that if anyone who frequently reads my emails, or works with me reads this fail, they are laughing at me, for I am guilty of this one. (Thank you, great editors, of this article!) I often forget the “r” at the end of your and until recently repeatedly wrote the word “replay” instead of “reply.” Admitting and knowing your mistakes is the first step of recovery. Pro Tip – if you are a person that writes often, check out software tools like Grammarly, which checks for typos and grammatical errors before you release your words to the masses.
The Ping Pong Emailer. The client has an issue, so you email the client. The client is confused and emails you back. You reply with more details, and the cycle continues. At my company, we have a rule: after two emails, it’s time for a phone call. Different people communicate differently. While I may be happy to email all day long, some of my clients prefer to chat over the phone. As nifty as email is, communicating tone is tough. If you can’t get your point across with two emails, then give the person a call.
Reading your Smartwatch. We have all be there; you are speaking to someone, and they grunt while checking their smartwatch to see if something more important is happening. A great tool is to stop talking and stare at them until they realize they have created an awkward moment. (This is why I don’t wear a smart watch) I get it gang; it is hard to ignore that buzz on your wrist just like a winey child pulling on your sleeve. But try. Harder.
Mr. (or Mrs.) Most Important. Ever been in a long meeting and after each agenda item, there is a commenter? You know, the person who is not in charge, who has to give a long drawn out opinion about each item? I’m sure it feels great to have all of life’s answers, but we have other things to do. Save your brilliance for when it counts. One might say that is why we were given two ears and only one mouth. Okay, this one might not be tech related, but it is still wrong!
The Canceller. This is the person that cancels calendar appointments minutes before the meeting starts. Now, listen, we all understand that emergencies happen. But I’m talking about the person that does this over and over and over again. I worked out my day to meet, why can’t you? Like the scouts, be prepared. Let’s make magic happen!
The Stop In Guy. The rep or salesperson that fails to use any technology, not a phone, not a computer, not even a pager – stops by any time. They breeze in with no agenda whatsoever. What’s new? How are the kids? Meanwhile, you’re in the middle of something that might keep the company alive, and they want to chat about anything mundane. Please make an appointment, have an agenda, and then, let’s do some business!
Be honest, are you guilty of any of these? Did I miss any?