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Below is an exerpt of an article I wrote about 5 years ago. I came across it recently and thought I would share it, since much of it is still is valid today.

Electronic Manners

Even though we are in a computer-dominated society, the same business manners that worked for companies in 1930 work in the 21st century as well.

Here’s a short list of my favorite rules:

Acknowledge your messages. Whether you receive an email, voice mail, fax, instant message, letter, FedEx, page or loud speaker announcement, the person who sent it would like to know you received it and that you understand what they have said.

Don’t burn bridges. Even in a heated email exchange, always show a respect for the other party. You may not be allies in this issue, but you never know when the next big deal might include you. Re-read emails before hitting the send button. In an especially heated or intense debate, have another party review messages before they go.

Be available, at least electronically. No one can expect business people to be sitting at their desks waiting to take phone calls. But many people will prefer contacting you via email or voice message if they know you’ll respond quickly. Instant messaging can be the ultimate in tool in availability, if staff can be trusted to keep it to business. If your fax machine is always busy, add another, or a fax server.

Don’t waste people’s time. I don’t necessarily believe in anti-advertising rules, but a company or salesperson shouldn’t keep bothering people who don’t want to talk to them. The best rule is, if you send something unsolicited, leave them a way to opt-out, whether by email, Web site, fax, instant message, or phone. That is the only complaint I have with local email advertising: no way to stop a firm once they’ve started to send ads except to add them to the spam filter, which precludes me from getting any mail from them at all.

Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Not “Do unto others before they do unto you,” which is the current business climate.

Copyright © 2003 by Jack Huber

Jackhuber.com
Where poetry meets photography

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