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December 16, 2006

Lack of Etiquette Is Not Limited To E-mail

My recent post on e-mail etiquette (or lack thereof) and the impact on clients led me to check out other technologies which, without policies regarding their use, offend clients and people in general.  There was a great article in Missed Manners , a section of the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine, which discusses the impact of poor etiquette when using Blackberries, PDAs and Smartphones as well as e-mail. 

It's worth a read because most people don't realize they are behaving rudely.  As business people we have to be extra-aware or risk our professional and personal reputations and relationships.

Technological advances give us new freedoms.  But they also come with a whole new set of rules regarding their use. If inappropriately used, those very freedoms can impact our behaviors and destroy our relationships. 

If I am talking to a friend or colleague and am expecting a call (through call waiting...not a secretary) that I need to take, I let the person I am talking to know in advance that I am expecting that call and to please not be offended if I need to interrupt our conversation.  Otherwise, all other calls go into voice mail. Prior to call waiting, this was not a dialogue I would have had to consider. 

If I receive a call while I am driving in the car, I will also let people know in advance that our call may be interrupted if I know I am coming to a known dead zone.  If I am initiating the phone call, I don't even dial until I've passed the dead zone.  Prior to cell phones and their use while driving, this was not a dialogue I would have had to contemplate.

Upshot: You must create policies with all your technologies so your behaviors are not deemed rude.

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