DOs and DON'Ts

The Importance of Good Netiquette

Most professionals understand the importance of interpersonal communication ~ good "people skills" ~ in day to day interactions. The way that people communicate with others shapes the perceptions that are formed of them ~ whether they are friendly or rude, professional or amateurish, intelligent or unintelligent, good team players or self involved.

What many professionals are not as cognizant of, however, is that in digital communication (email, text, IM, etc.) it is much more difficult to control the perceptions that are formed. In addition, it can also can be more difficult to change an initial impression after one has been formed. For these reasons, it is imperative that professionals are well aware of the DOs and DON'Ts of network etiquette - or netiquette.

Netiquette DOs

Proofread Before You Send
  • Spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors or are representation of you; the amount of time that you are willing to spend as well as your ability to communicate clearly. Take the time to proofread before you send.
Always Send a Reply
  • Even if it is simply an acknowledgement of receipt with a promise to respond in greater depth at a later time, always take the time to promptly let the person who has contacted you know that the message has been received.
Remain Mindful of Your Recipient's Identity
  • If you are sending a message to numerous recipients or are forwarding a message along remain mindful of the identity of all parties.
Think Before You Send
  • After a message has been sent it cannot be taken back. Before you send think about the tone and wording of the message and the various ways that it might be perceived. Consider whether the recipient might misunderstand or misinterpret. If necessary, take some time away and come back to the message to re-read before actually sending the message.
The Opening and Closing
  • Always take the time to include a greeting and closing within email messages. Without these two components email messages may be perceived as overly blunt or uncaring.
Include a Representative Subject Line
  • This may determine whether your message gets read or the speed with which the recipient responds to the message.

Netiquette DON'Ts

Do Not SHOUT At Your Recipient
  • When all capitol letters are used this is perceived as shouting.
Do Not Use "Text Talk"
  • If you would not say it in face to face conversation do not type it. "Text talk" such as LOL or OMG is not appropriate in formal communication with another professional whether written or spoken.
Do Not Overly Format
  • Odd fonts or an excessive amount of color, images, etc. can be distracting to the reader.
Do Not Send Numerous Large Attachments in the Same Message
  • This may result in your message not being received.