An Exercise in Electronic Etiquette in Business and at Work
My son Noah and I attended a non-business dinner this past Friday night at the invitation of a business friend. We had a great time, and my friend and his wife very kindly provided Noah with a memento of the occasion. I had already sent my own thank-you note, and I provided Noah with my friend’s email address so that he could send a thank-you note, too.
I noodged Noah a couple of times to compose and send the note, and an hour later, Noah reported that he had sent the note. I asked to see the note, and Noah proudly showed it to me. He had sent it on his mobile device, and I winced a bit – Noah has access to our home computer, and yet he chose to send his note on his mobile device – not necessarily a choice I would have made. Noah beamed proudly. “I erased the ‘Sent from my mobile device’ system signature, and signed my own name,” he reported. I was impressed, and pleased. And then I saw the subject line of Noah’s note – the mobile device had auto-corrected an esoteric word in Noah’s thank-you email, and sent the note with the word misspelled. Noah saw it, too. “You might want to send my friend a follow-up email and let him know that your auto-correct messed up the spelling,” I coached. Noah agreed, and sent a follow-up email. My friend promptly responded, cordially reassuring Noah by letting him know that Noah was luckier than the guy who got fired over an alleged auto-complete error in Google Search.
I am pleased with the net result of this weekend’s coaching, as Noah at the age of 12 is learning the nuances of electronic communications etiquette that many adults have yet to master. It is those nuances that will support his success, no matter what path he chooses, in business and at work.