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What is Netiquette? Business Etiquette Tips for Online Interactions

Around the globe, people are creating their own, personalized best practices. Did you know that business breakfasts are common in Mexico City? Or that gift-giving is a popular tradition at Japanese meetings? One thing is always universal: manners matter. And as apps, text and email alerts keep us on task and give us an all-access pass to instant information, they also give others an increasing amount of access to our attention. In a business world where round-the-clock availability is a valuable personal selling point, it’s important to be aware of excessive technology use, especially in meetings. Introducing “netiquette,” a set of rules for online interactions and communications; these simple tips were created to help guide forum discussions and have evolved to cover PDA use, multitasking and more.

Is checking your email in a meeting the Emily Post equivalent of interrupting a speaker or zoning out? Is it acceptable to take a call in the middle of a presentation? Is texting during a meeting ever ok? Depending on your industry, these habits might be allowed, even necessary. It’s up to your business to develop a personalized internal netiquette policy to fit your meeting style and the technology you use. We’ll help get you started with a few basic guidelines:

In-Person Priority
Whether at a conference or in a meeting, the people you’re interacting with in the flesh deserve your full attention.

Virtual Presence
If you’re participating in a video conference or web conference, indicate that you have stepped away and mute your audio line.

Explain Emergencies
If you’re expecting an important message or call, let your meeting host know before they begin their discussion.

Keep It Quiet
Yes, turning your favorite “Godfather” line into a ringtone was clever — but that doesn’t mean your coworkers want to hear it 25 times a day. Make sure your alerts are set to silent, whether you’re at your desk or in the conference room.

Not sure if your tech habits toe the line? When in doubt, keep the Golden Rule in mind — if you wouldn’t want your meeting-mates Twittering during your presentation, return the favor. It’s amazing how much more you’ll get out of your meetings when your BlackBerry is out of sight!

Image courtesy of EduBlogs.

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