NETIQUETTE DIGITAL WORLD
The word ‘Netiquette’ is derived from a combination of two words, Net and Etiquette. So netiquette is the basic set of rules that are supposed to be followed by an individual while communicating or interacting online on various platforms.
Netiquette is very important in these times particularly because most of us are either doing work online or attending classes online. In both cases we are ought to interact with our peers, colleagues, and teachers. Many of us have not even met the person we are interacting with and thus have very little idea about the person’s behaviour and the way he/she reacts. That is why following Netiquette is very important.
Apart from the professional part, we are also interacting with people on various social media platforms. And more often than not the people we are interacting with are complete strangers. In those situations as well the basic Netiquette can play a very important role.
“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot” – Clarence Thomas
“There can be no defense like elaborate courtesy” – E.V. Lucas
“Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude” – Maurice Baring
STATISTICS – What Numbers have to Say?
- The incidents of companies firing employees because of an inappropriate post on social media are not new to us. In similar lines, in 2009 a company in New Zealand fired their employee for writing emails to co-workers in all letters.
- 69% of email recipients report the email as spam based on the subject line
- 35% of the email recipients open the email based on the subject line.
DESCRIPTION – Let’s take a Deep Dive
Importance of Netiquette
It is often said that, while we communicate face to face, 55% of the communication is based on body language, 38% is based on the tone of voice or voice modulation and only 7% is based on the actual words that we use.
While communicating virtually we miss 93% of the part of verbal communication that is body language and voice tone and thus making a good impression virtually depends solely on the words that you use. So it is really important for an individual to follow all the rules of Netiquette while interacting with people online.
There are so many articles and reports available on the internet saying a lot of companies look for the information about the candidates that they are going to hire online. The information may include the comments that you’ve made on a post or anything that you have posted over the internet. One needs to understand the fact that what you write on the internet also creates a perception about you. So you need to be very careful about what you are posting on the internet.
Netiquette Rules to be followed
There are basically two mediums through which a person can interact with others virtually. The first one being text messages, emails, etc and the second one being video call over the platforms like zoom and Cisco WebEx. While interacting with both these mediums, you need to follow different sets of rules.
Let’s take a look at the rules you need to keep in mind while drafting a mail-
1) Putting the appropriate subject line is the key- It is very important to put a subject line that aptly describes the reason for drafting the whole mail. It is mentioned in one of the reports that 69% of the recipients report the email as spam by just reading the subject line. So this proves how important it is to put a good subject line while drafting a mail. Another thing to keep in mind is that you should include “URGENT” only when the mail is really important and requires immediate attention from the recipient, including it very often in the mails may create a very bad impression. Also do not put the subject in all capital letters, that’s the worst thing you can ever do while drafting an email.
2) Use proper greeting- Salutation while writing emails are very important. Greeting depends on the recipient of the mail. If you are replying to one of your colleagues, then you don’t need to use formal salutation every time. Just a “Hi” would work in this situation. But if you are writing to someone for the first time or to anyone who is higher to you in the hierarchy you must use formal salutations.
3) Always check for Spelling and Grammatical errors- An email that is grammatically correct and has no spelling mistakes increases the credibility of the sender also makes the sender look professional. We need to understand the fact that, many times you would be writing to someone who is not a native English speaker. Writing correct spellings and grammatically correct sentences will help these people to comprehend the matter of the mail.
4) Reply in a timely manner- Always try to acknowledge the email within 24 hours. This shows that you are professional.
5) Do not use short forms, slangs, emoticons and Jargons- Using short forms like Tnx for Thanks, Gr8 instead of great are really not acceptable while writing business emails. Also one must avoid using emoticons in the formal emails. All this will make you look unprofessional.
Netiquette during a Video call
Now let’s take a look at the etiquettes that one needs to follow while attending the video calls over various platforms like Zoom, Cisco WebEx, etc.-
1) Make sure you have a good internet connection- Having a poor internet connection may affect the way you are delivering the message and in some cases, it may change the meaning of what you want to say. It also disturbs the flow of the meeting. That is why having a good internet connection is very important.
2) Use a neutral background- Your background makes a lot of difference in the meeting. If there are people roaming around in your background that looks very unprofessional and creates a very bad impression. If you don’t have a neutral single colour background try using the zoom feature that allows you to put a virtual background behind you.
3) Dress according to the meeting- Treat the online meetings as if they are real meetings or in person classes, so that you look the best and dress appropriately.
4) Unmute before talking- Talking while your mic is muted may give out a message that you are not focused in the meeting. Sometimes it may also happen that your audio isn’t working because of some technical glitch. So make sure you audio works before you join the meeting
5) Join the meetings on time- Even if you are attending the meetings or online classes from your home, you must be punctual while attending the classes.
6) Host Hospitality- If you are the host of the meeting, make sure you don’t leave the meeting unless everyone else has left it, doing so might make you look rude.
Some General Rules
- Don’t say anything which you won’t say in person
- Don’t spam the message box’
- Be punctual
- Dress well
- Check the credibility of the facts that you are sharing
- Let the person who is speaking finish before you start talking
As we are facing a pandemic that doesn’t seem to end very soon, online classes and virtual meetings are going to be a part of our lives for quite some time.
If we want to excel in the professional and social lives, we must learn this basic netiquette and use them wherever needed.
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Author – Tanmay Laturkar (Welingkar Bangalore)