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Netiquette to Share With Anyone Who Has or Wants a Job

Net - i - quette (noun) The correct or acceptable way of communicating on the Internet.

I’ve never been much for doing things the "proper" way, however, when it comes to communication, I have a very strong belief in doing things in a way that authentically lands a job, keeps clients, engages employees and cultivates long-term relationships.

While most of this content references emails, you can apply much of it to texting, instant messaging, LinkedIn and other business platforms:

1. Don’t ever write anything negative - I put this as number one because it can ruin your career. Leaders - don’t ever reprimand anyone via email or text. Do it in person or over the phone and we call it "re-directing" not "reprimanding." For everyone - don’t email about someone behind their back or complain about your company or clients. We guarantee that it will come back to bite you in the butt.

2. Determine if in-person is easier - If you have a complex subject to discuss, schedule time with the person or people via email. Have your conversation, then do a quick summary via email on what was decided or next action steps so everyone is clear.

3. Proofread every single time - A simple typo will knock you out of the running for a new job or promotion. Grammatical errors make your content difficult to read. We don’t care if your boss or others send emails with typos and poor grammar. Don’t do it!

4. Insert attachments first and recipients last: Have you ever forgotten an attachment? If you attach it right away, that solves the problem. Ever put in the wrong recipient? If you put them in last, it gives you a chance to proof who you’re sending it to.

5. Keep reply-all to a minimum and bcc when you can: Does everyone need to see your reply? Probably not. Reply only to the person who needs your response. And to help people stay away from the reply-all button, bcc your outgoing emails when appropriate. Sometimes it’s important to show who is on the email. Other times, it’s not necessary.

6. Cut the jokes and know your audience: First, keep humor for in-person communication. Joking doesn’t translate well in writing because people can't hear your tone or see your facial expression. Make sure that your email is written with your audience in mind whether it’s your employees, someone on the other side of the globe, a potential boss, or new customer. When you proofread it, put yourself in their seat and read it from their perspective.

7. State your expectations early: We've seen long, rambling emails with "please have that report edited by Friday at noon." If you don't state your expectations in the first line or even in the subject line, you might not get what you want. Most people don't really read emails, they skim them, so make it easy for your expectations to be seen.

8. Set up Your Signature Line: Make sure it’s the same font as the rest of your email and put your phone number. I've had many instances when I needed to call or text someone and their phone number wasn't in their signature. You can also add the name of your company and title, but stay away from cutesie sayings.

9. KISS - Keep It Simple Silly - Keep your emails simple. Avoid extra words, words that others may not understand, and unnecessary details. You can put other important details in an attachment for those who want them, but for most readers, simple is better.

10. Take Action: Start with this list and add any other ideas you pick up from the articles and podcast below, then add this to your on-boarding process. Businesses train new employees on how to use systems and speak with customers, but they don’t teach them about how to handle email and other messaging platforms professionally.

This blog was inspired by:

Business Insider article by Allana Akhtar and Marguerite Ward

Bill Lampton's A Dozen Guidelines for Using E-Mail

How to Be Awesome at Your Job Podcast, Email Anxiety and Euphoria with Andy Mitchell

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