Almost every New Year's resolution is based on improving attitudes and changing habits. From loosing weight to getting out of debt to trying to live a happier life, almost each of us has some sort of conversation with ourselves in regard to the New Year and changes we have the control to make. If we follow through on 50% of them, we're ahead of the pack!
So, here is your online version of New Year's Resolutions. Everyone can improve on their skills, if they are willing. I am constantly working on my grammar and writing style to ensure my points are clear and that my e-mails are received and understood in manner in which they are intended. Remember, perception is the only reality online! And, whether you agree or disagree with this topic, perceptions are made all the time which are within your control - positive and negative alike.
For whatever reason, these issues in particular, are those that I notice are not practiced on a daily basis. Make a commitment to improve on the issues below. It won't hurt; rather it will only add to the positive impression you will make with those you communicate with. The perception of the type of person you are, and whether you are a fish out of water online or not, will certainly be apparent by efforts made in these areas:
I will not forward a single e-mail unless it specifically applies to the person I am sending to. I will include a personal note to that person so they know why I am forwarding that e-mail their way. If I must send or forward the same e-mail to a group of contacts, I will be sure to put their e-mail addresses in the BCC: field to protect their privacy.
I will take the time to make sure that my sentences are complete, capitalized and include the proper punctuation. This goes a long way to making communicating with me easier and has the added benefit of helping to avoid misunderstandings.
I will not send a large attachment of any kind, even the ones I think are very special photos of [insert here: my grandbaby, my child, my pet, my car, my vacation...] until I ask when would be the best time to send it to the intended party first. This way, I do not fill their e-mail box without notice causing all their other e-mail to bounce. If I do not know how to determine an attachment's size, I'll learn how before I send it by e-mail!
Every e-mail I send will be courteous and include a proper greeting and closing which includes my name. My extra effort in this area, when many feel these details are not necessary, will ensure I am viewed as someone who "gets it" and is a pleasure to communicate with.
I will understand that not everyone will have the same opinions as I do and that is A.O.K.! I will make a point of only sending e-mail that clearly states my opinions without personalizing the issues at hand. Constructive conversation and exchange of ideas is one of the great things about being online and not everyone will agree with my POV. Boy, wouldn't that be boring!?
There is no place online for profanities, accusations or rudeness. If I run into problems with another onliner in a chat room, message board or by e-mail who does not communicate with clarity and courtesy, I will simply cease communicating with them. If I need to respond, I will take the high road and not stoop down to the level of personal digs and innuendo. I will report ongoing abusive e-mails or threatening behavior to my ISP for proper handling.
I will be very respectful about how I use my employer's technology resources understanding they are paying the bill and I am on their time. I will make a point of reviewing my employer's policies then following them to avoid any problems.
I will avoid formatting my e-mails with colored text, bolding, italics because I know it may not look the same as I intended when received on the other side. I understand that many prefer plain text in their communications and that if I communicate with clarity formatting really is not necessary.
If I do use my "leave mail on server" feature of my e-mail program, I will be diligent about unchecking it and clearing my e-mail account's inbox so that my e-mail box does not become full and bounce/return e-mails to those making an effort to communicate with me.
I will make a point of understanding each online service or Web site I choose to use by reading their Frequently Asked Questions or Help area. I understand that if I do not review these areas, I could misunderstand or do something incorrectly and need to eliminate my actions or lack thereof as a possible cause of a perceived problem before pointing fingers at others. If in fact something does appear amiss, I will e-mail with courtesy asking for their assistance in resolving my difficulties rather than making blunt demands or accusations.
There you have it! Your 10 Little Courtesies to work on for the year ahead so that folks don't cringe when they see your name in their inbox. Just imagine if everyone online made these efforts? Joy, joy! ;-)