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Digital Etiquette: How To Keep Online Chit-Chat Friendly

You had me at Hi

May 05, 2020 | 3 min. read

And just like that, we’ve gone from exchanging pleasantries in an actual office to pinging messages back and forth online. It’s fast and efficient, but sometimes things get lost in translation.

In trying to get straight to the point, we may say things in a slightly rude way. So its more important than ever to take care with what we write and not sacrifice politeness for directness.  

Lets look at a few ways we can keep things cordial on Slack, Teams or email and make the working day a little more pleasant for everyone.  

Always start off with a ‘Hi’ 
Or Hi thereHeyHello. This simple greeting immediately softens the tone of the conversation and allows you to get down to business gently.  

A big no-no is launching straight into things with someones name – Sarah, when you have time…, is too blunt. A simple Hi Sarah will make the online atmosphere less strained and formal.  

Be patient 
While we know were all at home, working away on our laptops – its important to remember that people arent always immediately available.  

They could be on a call, focusing on a particular task or simply taking a break. So if you reach out to a coworker, try not to hit them with this: 

Hi James, you free? 

Are you there? 

Helllooooo 

Even if something is really urgent, just wait until they get back to you. Whether on chat, email or in the workplace, patience is a key virtue – hounding people will only heighten stress levels. Patience brings calm.  

Keep things simple 
A lot of people are on edge these days. Its hard to let all the news soak in and juggle the different types of work. Thats why its better to ease into the business talk.

Explain what youre looking for clearly in just a few sentences. And mention you can jump on a call whenever suits if you need to clarify things.  

Bombarding people with paragraphs of information is extremely off-putting. If you cant get your message across in a handful of sentences, pick up the phone and explain it verbally.   

Mind the language  
We sometimes tend to get lost in corporate lingo and overcomplicate things. A simple chat becomes a swamp of alignleverage and touchpoints.  

Just be yourself and talk like you normally would. Lets align can become Lets work together on this. If youre not sure how to phrase a sentence, just think How would I say this to a friend or family member? 

Watch vowels  
Signing off an email with Knd Rgrds just looks lazy – nobody is too busy for vowels. Instead, why not use a sign-off that acknowledges the situation were in like Stay safe or Hope youre hanging in there.  

Go easy on the exclamation points  
When used correctly, exclamation points convey enthusiasm. However, if theyre at the end of a blunt message, it can be quite rude. For example, The files need to be sent tomorrow! – this adds an unnecessary element of stress and urgency.  

And if youre going to use an exclamation point, just use one. Otherwise it looks like youre in a panic and yelling something!!!!! 

 

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