Be on Your Best E-Havior

Posted on April 22, 2020

What do technology and etiquette have in common? They both can build your brand. With almost 65% of business professionals preferring email for work communications* and the skyrocketing growth of working from home and video conferencing, virtual impression management is more important than ever. Following these tips can help ensure that your “E-havior” delivers the right message.

1. Reread and Edit before Hitting “Send”
Written communications say volumes about your brand. Luckily, our phones and computers provide tools right at our fingertips to check spelling and grammar. Make a habit of always proofing your emails, not only for misspellings but also font size and style. The copy/paste function may save us time, but when the font and color don’t match the body of the email, the message looks sloppy and ill-prepared. And avoid using ALL CAPS unless emphasizing a particular word or thought. It comes across as shouting at the recipient.

2. Know Your Audience
As in any business transaction, knowing your audience determines not only what you say but how you present it – and present yourself. A casual email to coworkers is fine but you probably shouldn’t use emoticons in a reply to a senior executive. Working from home allows casual dress but doesn’t mean you participate in a client webinar in your tee shirt. In short, approach your e-communications with the same thoughtfulness as you would an in-person interaction.

3. Be Respectful – Words and Tone are Easily Misinterpreted
Everyone has a different communication style, particularly with emails and texts. Many people are very brief in emails, sometimes replying with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. That doesn’t mean they are angry or upset. If you aren’t sure about the content or tone, ask for clarification. Or call the sender directly. One verbal conservation can stop hours of unnecessary emails.

4. Manage Distractions
Before participating in a video conference, tidy up your workspace, whether that be in your work cubicle or home office. Your background functions as a frame, visually presenting you to other conference attendees. The less clutter, the better. And don’t forget about ‘audio interference’. Wear headphones or earbuds to block environmental noise, particularly when in your car or in a busy location, such as an airport.

5. You Are What You Post
Pay attention to what you post on social sites. How does it support your personal brand? Does it align with your image or that of your employer? It’s beneficial to review your social platforms and delete the posts that are not appropriate. Know your social ‘friends and followers’ and group them accordingly to separate private from social messages.

Source: | March 2020

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