Communication Etiquette

Etiquette, it seems, is a dying art form. As a society, we get so wrapped up in ourselves and “the now”, that we tend to forget that in some cases, it’s still important to follow protocol. After all, we’re all still human, and we should all have a sense of working together.

Lately, I’ve been wondering what proper etiquette for communication is, specifically when it comes to the vehicle used (phone vs. text vs. email, etc). I get a little frustrated sometimes when I send someone a text to ask a quick question, only to find that the other person will call me to give me the answer. That’s fine normally, because I like to think I’m a social person. The problem is, I rely on texting/emailing as a time-saver, and when I text or email, it usually means that I need a quick, concise response (one that you can’t give on a traditional phone call).

After searching the web, I decided I didn’t really find anything definitive on the subject. So rather than conveying what I have learned, I thought I would share my brief thoughts on this aspect of communication.

In short, he who begins the dialog wins... in the sense that they are the ones who decide the vehicle for the dialog. If Person A begins with a text, the rest of the dialog should be handled via text. If Person A begins with an email, the rest of the dialog should be handled via email. If Person A begins with a phone call... you get the idea.

There are, of course, always exceptions to the rule. For example, in some cases, it’s difficult to efficiently/effectively convey all the information necessary via a text message or email, so a phone call can be more appropriate. In that case, either party can make that determination and change the rules on the fly, but the change has to be justifiable, and not random.

So, a call to action... let’s do it, starting now. Let’s start the trend and spread the word! I think it will help us all to be a little more efficient.

Posted on April 1, 2013 and filed under Opinion.