Office Technology Pointers

Cell Phone, Email and other Office Technology Tips

Posted by Liz Taylor Jun 14, 2013

Many people are upset over today’s rude use of cell phone, email and other office technology behaviors. After conducting a study surveying major executives, the following tips top the list of what your boss wants you to know.

Cell phones have become a major issue in business. People forget to turn their phone to silent (please note that even the vibration noise bothers others) and negate to check their phone discreetly. You should never check your phone, text or catch up on emails while at a meeting, during dinner or in any other professional setting. If you need to check the time, wear a watch.

If you conduct meetings through webinars, speakerphone or any other online program, plan an agenda that is brief and email participants a friendly reminder the day prior along with material that is related to your meeting. Pick a quiet place to conduct your meeting; not in your cubicle where you are bound to pick up background noise. If your office is located in your home and you have a dog or small children, make sure you find a quiet place to participate in the meeting. Announce everyone who is present at the beginning of a meeting. Avoid flipping through papers while in a meeting; it is distracting. Participate in the meeting. Others can hear you typing, answering other phone calls and multitasking. If you share your desktop, shut your email down to avoid confidential email blurbs from appearing at the bottom of your screen. Don’t interrupt others. Wait until there is a pause and then speak.

When it comes to any business phone conversation, you want the caller to think you are a world-class representative of your company.  You want your voice to reflect the company’s talent, your own talent and an overall level of professionalism. Phone etiquette is vital to your image.  The tone of your voice and the way you phrase and articulate your words create an image on the other end of the line. If you are calling someone, ask if they have a few minutes.  Nothing is worse than answering a call to someone rambling on the other end when you are in a hurry. Don’t eat or crunch ice while on the phone. If you are dialing a client, make sure you have notes prepared on what you need to discuss so you can clearly get your message across.  No one likes to hear 50 “ums” and “ah’s”.  Get to the point eloquently. Have a notepad on hand to take notes during the call.  If possible, avoid making calls from your car as blue tooth connections aren’t always clear, and you will not be able to focus 100% on your call.  Speak clearly.  We are conducting business all over the world so it’s important to slow down and articulate your words. Listen carefully.  Follow up is huge in business and you can’t service a client effectively if you aren’t listening.  Take notes and follow up when you say you are going to.

When using email, keep the following tips in mind. All work emails should be treated as public documents.  They can be forwarded, left on printers or accidentally sent to the wrong person. When crafting an email, write the body of the content, create a subject line and then put in the email address of the person you are emailing. Be conscious of your “voice” throughout the email.  Example:  ALL CAPS give the illusion that you are shouting where abbreviations can send off a message that you are lazy. Avoid emoticons at all costs.  Smiley faces are not appropriate in business emails.  You are a mature professional and deserve to be taken seriously. Watch the jargon as that is a sure way to have miscommunication. Pay particular attention to grammar.  People make judgments based on your writing abilities. It’s important to proofread your work before sending.  Also, pay attention to your word choices; choose words carefully, knowing that people may get offended easily. When creating a subject line, make sure it succinctly identifies and summarizes what you are writing about.  Make sure you proofread the subject line for misspellings. Anytime you aren’t sure about how to address someone, go more formal.  Ex: Dr. Smith, instead of Timothy.  Wait for them to correct you. When addressing four or more people, write “Hi Team” or “Hello Group”.  If it’s three or fewer people, use their names: “Hi John, Sandy and Paula” (entering their names by rank: President, CFO and Secretary). When closing, try to avoid “All the Best” or “Very Truly Yours”.  Stick to “Sincerely” or “Thank You”.  You don’t need people making value judgments on your level of sincerity, so stick to the basics. Never ever give bad news to a client over email. Call them. Also, if you value your clients you should get back to them within 24 hours of their email or correspondence. If you don’t have an answer, communicate to them that you will have an answer by x date. Emails can be misinterpreted easily. When in doubt, pick up the phone.

When you have agreed to talk to someone in person, give them your full attention. Turn your chair or body to face the person and don’t answer emails or your phone. Give the person in front of you priority to other distractions. If you are expecting an urgent call, let the person you’re meeting with know when you first sit down. Ex: “Brian, before we start our meeting I want you to know that I'm expecting a really important call from CFP company.  Would you mind if I take the call if they call in during our meeting?” (Of course Brian will say this is okay.) If the call comes in, excuse yourself and take it away from your coworker or client.

People love to do business with confident, professional people. Always remember to respect your coworkers, prospects and clients by keeping the following tips in mind.

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Testimonials

“How refreshing and timely. From the texting generation to the baby boomers—the art of etiquette is sadly disappearing. Whether you just need a touch-up or a full immersion, Liz, is the person to teach you the skills to appear confident, elegant and professional in any business situation. Her energetic and engaging style will make this one of the most enjoyable seminars you have ever taken! Liz is awesome!”

—Chuck Bokar, Principal, Design Resource Center

“Absolutely superb! Liz has an amazing knack for presenting her concepts in a thought-provoking and clear style. Her ideas and suggestions would enhance anyone's ability to bridge the gap between business and etiquette. She clearly has a deep understanding of not only the topic, but the thought processes that go into creating better interpersonal relationships out of socially awkward situations. I highly recommend her and her coursework...she will help your business!”

—Brad Guck, District Manager, Administaff

“Liz, Thank you so much for coming to Indianapolis to help us grow our skills as professionals and as people. Your presentation helped us address issues with grace, candor, sensitivity – as well as fun! You were fabulous!”

—Betsy Hamlett, Director of Sales for Kenra, Ltd.

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