By Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC
I recently delivered a keynote address on Electronic Etiquette for a national conference of the Construction Owners Association of America.
Many people shared stories during and after the program about people making really bad choices and impressions regarding their email and cell phone habits.
What does your electronic etiquette say about you?
- Greetings: Always use a name greeting and closing
even if you are going back and forth or are on a smartphone. You don't later
need the niceties of Hello or Sincerely, but any courtesy greetings will show
you as friendly and professional rather than abrupt.
- Subject Lines: Always have one, or your email can be viewed as spam.
People spend 3 seconds to decide whether to open it. Limit subject lines to 40 characters.
Change the subject line when the topic changes.
- Signature: Always have an automated signature line with complete contact information.
Someone may actually want to pick up the phone and call you, or perhaps send you a thank you note by snail mail.
Watch not to include too much advertising or controversial quotes.
- Replies: Increasingly etiquette experts are saying to reply within 24 hours, although 24-48 has historically been the guideline.
Some advocate for answering within the same day, and at least one of my etiquette training clients has that as an official policy.
Reply even if you don't have the complete answer to the question.
- Correct grammar, correct capitalization, complete sentences: Use them!
©2010, Litzinger Career Consulting. Permission granted
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Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC, owner of Litzinger Career Consulting, provides career
counseling, job search advising, outplacement consulting, and business etiquette
training. More information is available at