Netiquette (Network Etiquette)
Copyright 2011 by TeamLogic IT
Have you heard the word netiquette, or network etiquette? It's a term that references how individuals that are using instant messaging or e-mail conduct themselves during these activities. Simply put, netiquette is an approved set of rules for behaving properly online. Have you ever thought about how your business netiquette, or lack thereof, is perceived by others?
First impressions are crucial and a professional e-mail address should top your list of items needed to operate a business. Your e-mail address creates an immediate impression with your customers, whether it is good or bad. Have you ever stopped to look at your email address? What is your address saying about your business?
In terms of communicating by e-mail, netiquette should be viewed no differently than writing on your company letterhead. While this seems rather straightforward, some company employees don't understand this concept. Business communication IS business. This is especially important because e-mails are subject to legal discovery and are potentially admissible in court. A professional tone should exist in both company letterhead and e-mail communications.
Most employees are generally uneducated about the virtually limitless reach of e-mail and are largely undisciplined when it comes to the appropriateness of using e-mail. One encompassing truth is that e-mails are not private and a certain degree of formality is required.
Let's revisit the concept of a professional e-mail address. Take, for example, two different e-mail addresses for John Doe, who works for ACME, Inc. Which of the following presents a more professional appearance of John and ACME: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com? If you knew nothing about ACME and only saw an e-mail address, between the two, whom would you want to do business with? Like it or not, your e-mail address does make an impression.
This aspect of etiquette is really no different than what most companies already establish for their dress codes and other rules of conduct for their employees. It would be embarrassing for a company to send its employees to a business convention dressed as if they were headed to a poolside cookout. Just as flip flops and cutoff shorts do not pass as appropriate business attire, free e-mail accounts (e.g. Hotmail, AOL, Google, Cox, Verizon, etc.) are unacceptable for business communications.
The bottom line is that if you use a free e-mail service for your business, you will be perceived as unprofessional-or at least a novice. Keep in mind that most people recognize that these services are free and, from a customer's perspective, using a free service makes a statement about you. If you are serious about being a professional, you should invest the relatively small fee to get a professional e-mail address set up for your company (generally less than $10/month).
Copyright 2011 by TeamLogic IT Woburn
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Woburn, Massachusetts 01801
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