Etiquette

The Right Way To A Healthy and Respectful IM Chatting

Internet messaging, or IM as it is most commonly referred to nowadays, is one of the main reasons people go online. This live chat software enables you to ‘chat’ with your friends or people you meet online, regardless of wherever both of you maybe in the world. It is therefore a useful communication tool in the modern world such that people can keep in touch despite the geographical distance.

Sadly though, most people are unaware of the right ethical practices in chatting. Here is how you can avoid those unethical chatting practices and build a healthier communication pattern online.

Choosing Your IM Avatar

Avatar serves as the visual representation of yourself, such that the person you are chatting with online will have an idea of how you look like. For casual chatting, you can opt for funky and creative avatars. But if you are chatting in a business environment wherein other business associates or your superiors will be able to see your avatar, then you must opt for something more professional. This will earn you more respect from the person you are chatting with on the other end.

If possible, you can use a different instant messenger account for your friends or casual chatting. While another instant messenger account must be alloted specifically for business or professional purposes.

Proper Introduction

Figuring out how to start of an IM conversation with a client online is really challenging, especially when their status indicate they are busy online. If they don’t have your IM screen name yet, make sure to provide a brief but concise introduction about yourself. Always attach it with polite greetings. A good introductory line would be “Hello there” then insert your full name and other vital information next to it. Avoid opening up your message with “Hi there!”, unless if you are chatting with a long-time friend.

Willingness to Chat

Be sensitive. Personally, it can be irritating if you are busy doing something on your computer and an IM window pops up. Then, the person begins to send all these messages without even bothering to know whether you are busy or not. Moreover, there are even those who “buzz” their IM contacts in case of a late response. This could be an indicator of only two things: either the person is too busy or they are uninterested in chatting. Be polite in your approach such that the person will take the time to respond politely about whether or not they’d be willing to chat. But NEVER force them to chat with you unless they want to.

Choosing Topic of Discussion

When you are chatting for business matters, chatting is done with a definite purpose. And most business personnel are too busy for you to keep them waiting. Thus, you must have figured out already what to discuss prior to interrupting them to chat. When sending messages to the client or business associate on the other end, be brief and concise with your point. After all, the chat box only allows limited space and characters, so you have to maximize that.

More importantly, avoid sending chat messages in all UPPERCASE. This is considered rude in instant messaging ethical practices.

Ending A Conversation

Once you have finished chatting with either your friend or a business associate, do not just leave the conversation and assume that the chat is over. The other person might be awaiting for a response still, so you have to let them know if you want to already end the virtual conversation with them. If you are discussing something, politely ask them if they have any more clarifications or questions.

Then, explain to them properly why you have to leave and always leave a greeting.

The Basics Of Telephone Etiquette

In the evolving and competitive world of business, it is necessary that we provide our customers with proficient services. The need for proper telephone etiquette in the office has become a major necessity in order to compete effectively with other businesses in the industry.

Customers are the ones who contribute a major profit into any business. They do not appreciate being treated with discourtesy and they are not pleased by rudeness. Therefore, it is essential that a receptionist or secretary provide the best services to their clients to keep them for a long time.

Here are some of the fundamental things you should remember.

Important Rules:

• Never place the receiver on the desk without pressing the “hold” button. The person on the other line can hear everything that’s being discussed inside the office.

• Discontinue any activity before answering a call. Remember not to chew a gum since this can be disturbing to your caller.

• Directly speak to the mouthpiece in a soft but firm tone.

• Consider using the headset for more convenience. Such device will leave your hands free in case the caller decides to leave a message.

• Remember to be polite and courteous at all times. If you encounter a rude caller, remain calm and answer his / her questions in a considerate manner.

• Answer calls within two to three things. Prompt answers are always appreciated by the caller.

• There are several ways to answer a call. Usually, the answers are based on how huge the organization or department is.

- Large establishments typically answer their callers this way: “Thank you for calling ____ (the department’s name). How may I direct your call?”

- For smaller departments, they normally answer the phone by introducing themselves and asking how she / he may be of help to the caller.

The Use of Answering Devices

A huge company often uses an answering machine to take calls. The receptionist is required to save a message in the recorder so callers are prompted when to leave their message. Here is what you should include:

- Your name
- The department’s name
- The reason why you are out of the reception desk at the moment
- A simple instruction of how the callers should leave their message followed by a “Thank you.”

Returning Calls

Individuals find it frustrating when they are unable to reach a person in the company. It is necessary for the receptionist to take such calls this way:

• Inform the caller when to ring the office back again.
• Take messages as necessary or ask if the caller prefers to leave a note over voicemail.
• Schedule return calls in specific times.

Proper Phone Language

A secretary or receptionist should choose their words carefully when using the phone. A negative message can be very discourteous to the caller. Therefore, you need to be prepared and equipped with the right words to communicate more efficiently with callers.

Avoid the following short sentences at all costs:

- Hang on / hold on.
- Who is calling?
- Speak up, I can’t hear you.
- Your complaint / your problem
- I cannot do that.
- That is not my job.
- I cannot help you on the matter. You have to speak with someone else.

If you commune properly with your clients, you are guaranteed to have a prosperous business ahead. Be sure to follow the advices listed above to achieve better communication with your clients.

Telephone Etiquette 101

Answering calls may seem like a less important matter to pay attention to. In reality – however – many companies have flourished because of their effective communication techniques. Today, one of the most important means of communication is the telephone. It is suggested that every worker in a company be taught how to manage calls efficiently. Here is a guide to get you started.

Department Calls

Calls come in various departments inside an office. Wherever you are assigned, it is important to follow the steps listed below:

1. Answer calls before the third ring. Prompt answers always make individuals satisfied of your services.

2. Before hurrying to pick up the receiver, drop any activity or conversation with another party. It is essential that you remain focused on your task.

3. Speak distinctly in a pleasant tone of voice.

4. Be courteous at all times. If a caller has mistaken your department for another one, offer him help and it’ll be much appreciated.

5. First impressions last. The caller will always be reminded of the call he / she made.

6. When transferring calls, remind the caller of what you are about to do and where you’re going to transfer the line.

7. If there is a need for you to leave the line, be reminded to press the “hold” button so the caller cannot hear noises on the other end of the line.

The Right Responses

There may be times when the called party is not in or may not be available to take the call. In such cases, the following responses should be given:

1. When the caller is out
“He is not here at the moment. Would you like me to leave a message for you?”

2. The receptionist does not know the location of the individual being called by
“He went out of the office for a moment. Would you like to leave a message?”

3. Individual being called by is on a holiday / day-off
“He is out of the office for a holiday / for the day. Can someone else help with your queries?”

4. Person being called by is late
“He hasn’t come in yet, but I am expecting him very shortly.”

5. Individual does not want to be disturbed or is busy
“He is unavailable at the moment. You can leave a message on his voicemail instead.”

How to Properly Take Messages

There are many instances when you have to take messages from the caller. Here is how to properly do it.

1. Always have a pen and paper on your desk.

2. When the caller prefers to leave a message, be sure to ask for the following:

- the caller’s name and its proper spelling
- the caller’s contact number including the area code

3. Ensure that you’ve taken the right message by repeating it to the caller

4. Note down the time and date of the message and sign the paper with your initials

5. Place the piece of paper on top of the called party’s table.

6. You may also transfer the caller to the voicemail. Remember to ask the caller where he / she wants to leave the message.

How to Handle Rude Callers

A receptionist can sometimes encounter rude or impatient calls from another party. If you come across such situation, be reminded to do the following:

1. Keep yourself calm. Remain polite and diplomatic despite the rude behavior of your caller.

2. Show that you eager to solve the problem by helping him out and by answering the queries politely.

3. Remember that the caller’s concern may be a very important matter.

If you do the steps listed above, you are sure to keep the line of communication effective between callers. You will also provide the best customer services to your clients.

Telephone Etiquette – Tips To Remember

Although instant messaging and email have become a standard form of office communication, the telephone still plays a vital role in the industry. Telephone calls should follow certain rules of etiquette to help make the experience a productive and pleasant one for the people involved.

Presenting a professional image to your caller is of utmost importance inside the office. Making your customers well-informed makes them feel taken care of by the entire organization. The following tips will help establish better communication with your clientele.

Being Prepared

Preparation is necessary when taking calls. You have to be mentally and physically prepared at work so you can listen and communicate more effectively.

It is important that you have a strong start to better establish a rapport with the caller. Greeting in an impressive tone can help put you to a good start and can make things right all throughout the conversation.

Techniques may be used to build a better rapport with callers. Read on several techniques and apply them at work each day.

Effective Techniques to Use

On hold techniques are available to maintain a polite conversation with clients. One of the commonly used sentences in the office today is, “May I put you on hold?”

When transferring calls, it is important that you inform the caller of what you are about to do. Remember to tell the caller where you are going to transfer or redirect the call.

How to Speak

There are certain tips that help achieve better communication. Here are some few important things to remember:

• Speak clearly – Enunciate the words clearly and distinctly.

• Use the proper tone – A nonverbal component in communication is your tone of voice. Use a soft but firm tone so the caller can understand you better. Such tone will also make a polite answer to the individual. Cell phone calls tend to produce a louder noise. Be sure to lower your voice when answering calls from a mobile phone.

• Effective listening – Drop any activity before taking a call. These activities can be disturbing to you and the caller as well. Listen intently and patiently to the person speaking so you can get the right message imparted by the caller.

Distractions can come from anywhere or from anybody once you are on the phone. It can come from a blinking message on your computer or from an officemate chatting behind. It is essential to avoid these distractions so you can concentrate better on your task.

• Positive speech – Language can make or break a call. Some words can immediately turn off a caller and should therefore be never used.

• The golden rule – Treat the caller in a way that you want to be treated when making a call.

Keeping Matters Private

Some issues are not to be discussed on phone. When taking a private message from a caller, be sure to provide him / her with utmost privacy. Be sure that there is no noise in the background so you can both concentrate on your tasks. If necessary, you can put the individual on hold and wait for the called party to answer the call.

You may also redirect the call to voicemail so the individual can leave the message from there. For many customers, privacy is a delicate and important matter. It is therefore appropriate to provide them with the confidentiality they need.

Social Etiquette And Romantic Date Encounters

Some of the most embarrassing date moments spring from the fact that people tend to make their own social rules and forget that there are protocols to be followed. If you are going out with someone, make sure that you understand the rules perfectly. Get the needed information and prepare everything to have a fun and memorable night. Here are some tried and proven tips from the experts.

Scheduling

Plan ahead when you are going out, how long you will be staying out for and where you are going. You will need to ask permission and let other people know about the plans, so that they can stop worrying. You have to be ready 10 to 15 minutes before the time your date plans to pick you up. Men should be at their date’s house early, but not too early.

You may send a text message or call your date to let her know that you will be on your way. When men pull up in front of their date’s house, never honk the horn and just wait for the girl to enter your car. Get down, knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Meet your date’s parents if they are available. This shows a lot of respect. Also let them know that you will be bringing their daughter back on time. Open the car door for your date as well.

How to Dress and Behave

Where do you intend to go? You have to wear the right clothes for the occasion. If you’re going to a formal dinner, make sure you dress appropriately. Practice some table manners and how to eat in a fine dining restaurant. If you’re going to the beach, make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Plan your activities ahead so that you can bring the necessary items.

Make eye contact several times during your date. This makes the other person feel important and the sense that you are listening intently. Let the other person finish talking before you respond. Listen more and ask questions about the other person, instead of just talking about yourself all the time. Make sure you give your date compliments from the moment you see her. Try to make her feel special by saying you like her dress or shoes. Laugh at jokes, even if they’re not very funny. Respond by telling a joke of your own. Jokes have to be decent and clean during dates.

Some Romantic Manners

It is a good idea to shut your cell phone off during the date. Do not answer your phone unless it is very urgent. Do not talk very closely or talk about sensitive stuff until your date opens the topic. Also keep your hands to yourself, especially during the first date. Be a gentleman by offering your jacket or giving your date more choices in the activities.

Keep flirting simple and set limits. Try to gauge and observe your date’s observations. Do not be too forward or aggressive with your statements and questions. Get to know your date more before you move on. Finally, end the night formally by saying you have a nice time and bringing your date home safe and right on schedule.

Restaurant Manners

People need to visit the restaurant once in awhile. However, you need to master a number of etiquette and social manners to fully enjoy the experience and avoid getting embarrassed in front of other guests and the host. You will quickly pick up the rules as you practice these time and again. Here are some more tips on how to look your best while dining.

Basic Rules

Always arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. Never come to an event late. Once seated, position your table napkin neatly on your lap. Place it beside your plate whenever you need to be excused from the table. Instead of passing any item hand to hand, set these on the table. Examples of the items to be passed are the bread basket, salt and pepper shakers and butter plate. Do not intercept a pass. Do not snag a roll out of a bread basket or use a shaker when still en route to another person at the table. Food should be served from the left, while dishes are taken out from the right side of the diner.

Before you eat or spread dips, butter and spreads, transfer these from the serving dish onto your plate first. Do not turn your wine glass upside down just to decline wine. You should allow the wine to pour to avoid drawing any more attention. You can also hold your hand over the wine glass to indicate that you do not wish to be served any more wine. Scoop food away from you at all times. Before you season the food, give it a little taste first. Try a little bit of everything on your plate. If your food is too hot or cold, wait for it to cool off. Do not blow on the food.

More Basic Manners

Keep your elbows off the table at all times. Also keep your left hand on your lap, until you need to use it. Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with it full. Cut only food that is enough for your next mouthful. Eat in small bites slowly. If you’re eating steak, do not cut the meat into several pieces.

Slice one piece at a time then chew. Do not clean up spills using your napkin. Do not touch things that have dropped on the flour. You can use the napkin to keep spills away from you. You can wait for the server to clean up any mess or bring you a replacement of any item that has fallen on the floor.

Switch your cell phone off before entering the restaurant. Never answer your phone during the meal. If it is very important, you can excuse yourself from the table then take the call outside the restaurant. Do not use a toothpick, comb your hair or apply makeup while still seated on the table. When a women leaves the table or comes back to be seated, all men at the same table should stand up. Avoid pushing your dishes away from you once you are done. Do not stack them, but wait for the server to remove these.

Proper Etiquette When Meeting Someone for the First Time

If you’re meeting a person for the first time, it is vital that you show some manners as a form of respect and politeness. This applies whether you are the one visiting a new place or you have new guest to attend to. The objective should be to make the other person as comfortable as possible. You can get ahead by following a few simple guidelines.

Initial Actions

If you are already expecting the person, make sure you do your research. Find out more about the person and get information such as his full name, the place of origin, occupation, reason for visiting and other connections. This will help pave the way for a smoother conversation. Use this information to ask the person and start new discussions. It will make him more comfortable, as well as give the impression that you really were anticipating his arrival.

If you are casually introduced to someone, look the person in the eye, smile, then offer your hand. As you are shaking hands, introduce yourself and get the other person’s name. Repeating the name will help you remember better. Do not forget the person’s name. If you still do, ask a common friend quietly to get you back on track.

When Visiting

If you’re the one coming over a new person’s place, try to bring a little something to show respect, such as flowers, a bottle of wine or a pie. Greet the person warmly as he opens the door. Do not enter the house until you are invited in. Once you are inside, establish your space and wait until you are invited to sit. Do not touch items and other decorations inside the house. Stick to the people you came in with and wait for the perfect time to mingle.

When dining, always practice good table manners. Do not eat until the new person or host has started to eat or insisted that you begin first. You can share jokes and tell stories at the table, as long as you consider these appropriate and decent. Avoid green jokes and other offensive remarks when meeting someone for the first time. Keep some of your opinions to yourself. You should think and review your possible comment before blurting it out.

If you want to move around the house or check out the space, always ask permission. If you need to go to the bathroom, ask for directions. Remember to keep the bathroom clean at all times. Feel free to ask about photos and other items that can be a good topic for conversation. If you land upon a sensitive topic, such as the death of a friend, give your sincerest apologies then move on.

The Way to Behave

If you meet someone for the first time, it is a good idea to keep topics light and open-ended. This way, you can gauge if the person may react positively or otherwise towards certain topics. Do not gossip with the person or you might get the impression of being someone not to be trusted. When it is time to leave, give you warmest thanks and say that it has been a pleasure getting to know him. Shake hands and look the person in the eye again as you bid farewell.

Internet Etiquette

The internet has become common ground for millions of people all over the world to communicate. It is equally important to know that there have been rules and etiquette established to ensure that the online world continues to be safe and fun for everyone to hang around in. Internet etiquette or « netiquette » is very easy to learn, provided you have the right background and manners for it.

Common Courtesy

Always be respectful and courteous to others when chatting inside a chatroom or sending an email. Include the words, « Please », « Thank you » and « Good morning » when writing. The internet will become a friendlier environment if you practiced politeness more. Use emoticons to convey your expressions, since people usually cannot see your face when communicating. There are plenty of emoticons available to help you share your feelings and expressions.

Informative and Brief

Keep your messages short, especially when chatting or writing an email. Try to cut your message into several short paragraphs, so that these can be easy to follow. Use acronyms and other online abbreviations to help others understand your message faster. If you’re speaking to a friend or a online beginner, you can make messages longer, provided that you stick to the topic at hand, so as not to confuse the other person.

Shouting and Flooding

Writing in all capital letters is shouting in the virtual world. This can be considered very rude by a lot of people. You can capitalize proper nouns and a word or two to emphasize your point. Also avoid flooding or following up one thread or post after the next. Other people can no longer type in their messages if you occupy all the spaces available. This is also considered to be very rude. Spamming is another invasive and rude action wherein you get into a person’s email and send too many messages, clogging the entire inbox.

Never speak in inappropriate or profane language when inside chatrooms. You can get banned or kicked out temporarily if a moderator discovers your rude manners. If you are talking to people from other countries, be sensitive about some of their language and try to help them understand you better by using the right language, tools and emoticons.

Privacy Matters

Never post personal information in the wrong location to avoid online predators. Always watch your kids if they are on the internet, since they can divulge useful information for dangerous individuals. Always obey copyright laws. Cyberbullying is existent online so you have to watch out for your kids carefully. Report any offensive action to moderators and web site owners.

Do not pose outrageous photos of yourself or other individuals on the internet. You can be charged with libel or slander by spreading gossip and other offensive remarks about another person online. Always be courteous and hold your tongue even when getting into fights online. The best thing to do would be to report to the right authorities and not getting in contact with the offensive party by deleting the account or cutting any links.

How to Behave in a Date

Some people have had their most embarrassing moments during a date, simply because they weren’t following instructions. If you are going out with someone, make sure that you understand the rules perfectly. Get the needed information and prepare everything to have a fun and memorable night. Here are some tried and proven tips from the experts.

Scheduling

Plan ahead when you are going out, how long you will be staying out for and where you are going. You will need to ask permission and let other people know about the plans, so that they can stop worrying. You have to be ready 10 to 15 minutes before the time your date plans to pick you up. Men should be at their date’s house early, but not too early.

You may send a text message or call your date to let her know that you will be on your way. When men pull up in front of their date’s house, never honk the horn and just wait for the girl to enter your car. Get down, knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Meet your date’s parents if they are available. This shows a lot of respect. Also let them know that you will be bringing their daughter back on time. Open the car door for your date as well.

How to Dress and Behave

Where do you intend to go? You have to wear the right clothes for the occasion. If you’re going to a formal dinner, make sure you dress appropriately. Practice some table manners and how to eat in a fine dining restaurant. If you’re going to the beach, make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Plan your activities ahead so that you can bring the necessary items.

Make eye contact several times during your date. This makes the other person feel important and the sense that you are listening intently. Let the other person finish talking before you respond. Listen more and ask questions about the other person, instead of just talking about yourself all the time. Make sure you give your date compliments from the moment you see her. Try to make her feel special by saying you like her dress or shoes. Laugh at jokes, even if they’re not very funny. Respond by telling a joke of your own. Jokes have to be decent and clean during dates.

Some Romantic Manners

It is a good idea to shut your cell phone off during the date. Do not answer your phone unless it is very urgent. Do not talk very closely or talk about sensitive stuff until your date opens the topic. Also keep your hands to yourself, especially during the first date. Be a gentleman by offering your jacket or giving your date more choices in the activities.

Keep flirting simple and set limits. Try to gauge and observe your date’s observations. Do not be too forward or aggressive with your statements and questions. Get to know your date more before you move on. Finally, end the night formally by saying you have a nice time and bringing your date home safe and right on schedule.

How Does Business Phone Etiquette Affect Your Business Performance?

Before and During the Call

It is important for someone to constantly practice their tone before making an actual phone call to ensure that they can achieve the right pitch, volume and tone of voice when speaking over the phone. This will help the listener over at the other end to interpret what is actually being said beyond the verbal cues.

When you make your phone call for business matters, always begin by identifying yourself, your position, and what company you belong to. Then, indicate the name of the specific person you wish to talk to. But take note that you have to be polite when requesting to speak to that person because you’ll never know when they might be busy attending to something equally important.

On the other hand, if you are the one answering a phone call, make sure to assume a professional but pleasant tone. As when you are the one calling, identify yourself and your business organization. This straightforward approach of phone communication is preferred in the business setting wherein almost everyone works at a rapid pace.

Answering or Responding to Phone Calls

Another important etiquette feature in a business phone system is the hold feature. This particular feature produces dual results such that it will enable you to attend to urgent cases and still be able to maintain your communication with the person on the other line. However, there is a specific way to do this right to avoid offending the other person on the phone and to avoid wasting their precious time.

If you are about to put someone on hold, make sure to ask them first if they would allow to be kept on hold for a short while. Wait for their answer before you leave and attend to an urgent task, leaving them with no idea where you just went.

If they are indefinite about being kept on hold, calmly and clearly explain to them the necessity of attending to another matter while you are talking on the phone. Make them feel that this does not render them unimportant, but that there is a sense of urgency about this other matter. If you are going to cause inconvenience to the person you are speaking to, make sure that you explain it to them fully. However, make sure to not keep them waiting beyond 30 seconds and be quick when addressing the urgent matter that you promised to respond to while you keep the other person on the line waiting.

Leaving Voice Mail or Messages

The voice mail option is available for most business phone systems, which enables one to leave a message to someone informing them of what you are up to such that you are not available to answer the call. Hence, it informs the caller instead of trying to guess why the call is not being responded by the person on the other hand. This is especially useful in a business setting wherein people you are communicating with lead a hectic schedule such that they cannot waste even a few minutes trying to connect to you via phone call.

When you leave a voice mail message though, keep it brief and straight to the point. Make sure you speak the words clearly for the person on the other line to understand the message clearly. If you have a playback feature when recording your voice mail, you can play it again to see for yourself whether it is clear enough. Any business professional will appreciate getting a return message to let them know you cannot respond within the time needed.