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Five Tech Etiquette Tips

by The Creative Group

Rapid advancements in technology continue to create new ways to communicate, share –and slip up. Mistakes that at one time would have been quickly forgotten now have the potential to live forever online. Today’s high-tech world calls for vigilance, good judgment and excellent etiquette. In fact, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of human resources managers surveyed by our company said technical etiquette breaches can adversely affect a person’s career prospects. As such, here are five tips for avoiding common digital protocol pitfalls:

  • Don’t gripe or gossip. Many people have gotten into the bad habit of using social media sites as virtual complaint boxes. While it might momentarily feel cathartic to vent about workplace annoyances online, publicly complaining about your colleagues only makes you look bad.

The next time you’re tempted to sound off about a micromanaging boss or curmudgeonly client, count to 10 and consider the consequences. Just one ill-advised post seen by the wrong person can damage your reputation – or even cost you your job.

  • Skip the snark. Twitter, Facebook and online PR forums are great resources for sharing information and discussing industry trends. Unfortunately, some individuals use these platforms to showcase their sarcasm rather than their wit.

It’s fine to have a strong point of view about pitching techniques, for example, as long as your comments are informed, constructive and carefully worded; snarky criticism of mass mailing or cold calling adds nothing meaningful to the discussion.

  • Use your smartphone wisely. Until there’s an app available for good meeting etiquette, it’s up to you to mind your manners. Fixating on your BlackBerry during brainstorming sessions doesn’t send the message that you’re a proficient multitasker; it signals that you’re distracted, bored or just plain rude.

Be considerate of your colleagues and keep your smartphone out of sight. If you’re expecting an urgent call or message that will require immediate attention, tell the meeting facilitator at the outset that you may need to briefly excuse yourself.

  • Communicate clearly. Considering the high volume of email public relations professionals send, occasional misunderstandings are bound to occur. But you can cut back on unnecessary (and frustrating) back-and-forth messaging simply by slowing down and focusing.

Write clear and specific subject lines, break big blocks of text into bullet points, and proofread for clarity and grammatical accuracy. Avoid using texting shorthand and industry buzzwords that might confuse clients or coworkers from other departments. And don’t add to others’ overflowing inboxes by copying them on messages that aren’t relevant to them.

  • Give to receive. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn make it easy for you to reach out for recommendations, introductions, job leads, business advice or other forms of career assistance. But online networking is a two-way street that requires time and care. Self-serving networkers who surface only when they need help don’t establish many long-term connections. Remember: The more helpful you are to members of your network, the more likely they’ll be to return the favor.

* The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and TCG’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at creativegroup.com.