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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

30 potent netiquette tips to boost personal brand & effective communication: Safety@Work

30 powerful netiquette tactics to build your personal brand & powerful communication: A Safety@Work initiative

Be yourself image courtesy of
An former work colleague, Ruth, rang me a couple of days ago and said, “Can you do me a favour and write a quick blog about work netiquette, pleeeeeease?”
I said, “Sure, what’s up?” Ruth manages a legal branch in a government agency.
“It’s all these “time poor” people who consistently respond to my legal emails with “yep,” “K,” or a smiley face,” she explained. “I just think people have forgotten, or don’t realise, ALL online communications at are official documents that support  things like Freedom of Information Act requests, staff investigations and what not.” Ruth was also concerned about a rise in email templates when dealing with external clients and said, “We’re starting to look and sound like a bunch of stuffed shirt, with no thought into how our online communications support the agency’s brand and reputation.”
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Use netiquette to create a personal brand

Let’s face it, one of the most powerful things you can do for your career or business is to create a personal brand that make you stand out from the crowd. If you are known to be highly professional, respectful, and consistently deliver great support, and are a pleasure to deal with, then you will simply attract more business and success.
So, here are 30 potent netiquette ploys listed under four key takeaways.

Key takeaway #1: Use design thinking in your communication to build rapport, credibility and interest with your clients
  1. Use design principles to create value by simplifying complex ideas into digestible parts, consistency, attracting attention through emotional response and creating opportunities.
  2. For email, design an email’s subject line to let the reader gain an understanding of the correspondence. Give a descriptive phrase in the subject line of the message header that tells the topic of the message such as “12 August  meeting | Agenda items.”
  3. People are more likely to read something that is personalised with their name, and this helps build rapport. However, you will quickly turn people off by misspelling their names, gender or honorifics. I know myself that receiving an email to Mrs Lawrence is a turn-off because I associate that with my mother. This can be key in mass reach-outs.
  4. Roblyer and Doering recommend clearly identifying yourself and your role or position in the introductory sentence (this can also be reflected in your  signature block). Begin messages with a salutation and end them with your name.
  5. Avoid using knick names.
  6. When first introducing yourself, use the stakeholder’s full name initially (such as Dr Smith, or Ms Harvey). Subsequent correspondence can employ first names IF the client’s email response uses their first name .
  7. Pawel Grabowski, recommends including a signature (a footer with your identifying information) at the end of a message that includes
    1. Include a link to your Linkedin profile. It will help a prospect validate that you’re a real person,
    2. Show any accreditations you may have.
    3. And link to your latest blog post to let them think about you as a knowledgeable resource.
8.     In the body of your email or message
    1. Avoid sarcasm. People who don't know you may misinterpret its meaning.
    2. Respect others' privacy. Do not quote or forward personal email without the original author's permission.
    3. Resist the temptation to embed data and tracking links to track clicks or inserting generic anchor text, such as “click here” to entice a response. This can make your polished copy look like spam, as people may become diverted away from your email or become worried about the information hidden under the link. Instead, provide the link’s full URL or be specific about link’s information, thereby satisfying potential privacy and security concerns while still preserving your call to action.
  1. Acknowledge and return messages promptly.
  2. Copy with caution. Don't copy everyone you know on each message.
  3. No spam (a.k.a. junk mail). Don't contribute to worthless information on the Internet by sending or responding to mass postings of chain letters, rumors, etc.
  4. Be concise. Keep messages concise—about one screen, as a rule of thumb.

Key Takeaway #2: Take time to build credibility, integrity and authenticity

  1. Use appropriate language in line with your client’s professional environment.
  2. Make use of the grammar and spelling software prompts.
  3. For new clients, stakeholders or co-workers, introduce yourself and build rapport in the first paragraph.  Maintain consistency and quality in ongoing communications.
  4. If relevant, existing current clients, particularly those viewed as highly reputable, and past achievements,
  5. List key sponsors, Board members or investors that are relevant to the issue at hand.
  6. Be clear about the issue you are writing about. Your topic should directly link to the subject line.   
  7. Keep your email short and attach any information, guidance, information that extends over two or three short paragraphs.
  8. And close off with a clear call to action.
  9. Be cautious about using emoticons (emotion icons) or common acronyms (e.g., LOL for "laugh out loud") in professional emails, and keep in mind the organisation culture the client is working in. Emoticons may be viewed as unprofessional and can undermine your credibility if you don’t know the person well.

Key Takeaway #3: Display respect, professionalism and trustworthiness

  1. Use appropriate intensifiers to help convey meaning and avoid coarse, rough, or rude language, even if you client does.
  2. Avoid typing words or sentences typed in all caps.
  3. Draft it. If you are angry or frustrated about something and need to vent, save the email as a draft and save it for later, When you’ve calmed down, read it and decide if it’s really necessary as once you send an angry work email it can’t be retrieved and it may later be used as proof of cyberbullying.
  4. Use asterisks surrounding words to indicate italics used for emphasis (*at last*).
  5. Use words in brackets, such as (grin), to show a state of mind.

Key Takeaway #4: Show that you’re different by personalising and customising corporate templates

  1. Template sections of your email enhances efficiency, outreach, and avoids grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that may otherwise creep in. Be careful here! Rmail templates are generic, formal, and impersonal, and are generally used when launching a particular product or offer.
  2. Pawel Grabowski suggests the language in your email naturally flow and be somewhat personalised to suit the receiver. This is important for existing clientele who use jargon or expressions specific to their milieu, such as the legal or medical professions. This personalisation elicits an emotional response from the reader.
  3. Retain elements of the template relating to the launch or product offer.
  4. For new or irregular clients, a templated email is more likely deleted as spam. We all receive too many of these emails in our inbox these days so you now need to catch a person’s eye by quickly providing you’ve researched their business “pain point(s).”
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"20 Killer Tactics to Staying Sane in Toxic Workplaces" ** Dr Flis has a BA SSc and a PhD in organisational social psychology and works with individuals and organisations as a consultant, speaker and trainer. She uses her social science expertise to enhance interactions between organisations and the people who lead and work in them by fostering new insights for diagnosing organisational problems, and build new capabilities and culture.

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