Point. Click. Profit. (As published in The Business Journal)

8 Top Tech Taboos, Part 2

Take off your bluetooth in meetings

(If you haven’t yet read Part 1, you can get it here.)

Last time, I shared four tech habits to avoid. Because of the impressive volume of suggestions from connections on Facebook, the full list had to be split up. Here are the rest of the most popular suggestions.

Wearing Bluetooth to Meetings

I don’t care if you’re the President of the United States. If you are sitting down with a group of people for more than five minutes and still have a blue light emanating from your ear, you’re giving the impression that you’ve got someplace better to be and that you’ll be headed there just when your earpiece lights up with the next call. It’s rude.

Just stuff it in your pocket, that’s all you need to do. Sometimes calls are important. You can always leave the room and ask the caller to hang on a moment while you restore your earpiece. They called you; they’ll wait.

Taking Notes on your Phone

Etiquette on electronic devices in meetings is bound to change in coming years. I’ve already witnessed a sea change since the introduction of the iPad where note-taking is concerned. Indeed, some groups may be less tech-savvy than you and be uncomfortable with you taking notes on your tablet. If you’re the only one in a small group, you may want to take temporary notes on paper and digitize them later.

If you’re not a tablet user, then you really want to bring a notebook. I keep a small one in my bag, along with a pen, so I can quickly jot down meeting notes without looking like I might just be distractedly texting someone.

Going it alone

Even if you’re a sole practitioner, it’s helpful to get a second read-through before you send off that proposal or contract you just finished writing. No matter how many times you’ve read through the document, your perception of its accuracy and tone is colored by your familiarity and self-interest. That may blind you to minor details that could add up to serious consequences when the document is in force.

Get a second pair of eyes on it, whether you turn to a parent, spouse, friend or passing street urchin. Even if you got it all right, you’ll gain peace of mind that will come in handy when you still haven’t heard back from the other party after three weeks. At least you’ll know it wasn’t because of something you inadvertently said.

Carefree Spelling

In this age of instant updates and cozy online chatter among friends, it’s easy to get complacent when it comes to spelling and grammar in emails. Yet, the ability to clearly and effectively communicate is one of the most critical traits in business today.

There’s hardly an excuse for misspelled words, with the widespread availability of spell-check tools built into email applications, mobile devices, browsers and word processors. Take an extra moment to run the spell check and review any spelling or grammar suggestions.

I know a colleague who has his auto-signature set to “Sent from my iPhone, please excuse any typos.” While disclaimers may cover your butt, they won’t win you any admirers. I always take an extra moment when sending email from my phone to proofread it for flubs.

Another tactic is to speak your emails. Most smartphones now have the talk-to-text function, and since you want to carefully review mobile messages anyway, why not save your fingers and proof your text at the same time? (Don’t have talk-to-text? Check out these options from the industry leader: http://www.nuance.com/for-business/by-solution/mobile-application/index.htm)

Finally, if you are prone to grammatically switch-ups, confusing it’s and its or their, there and they’re, tune into the Grammar Girl podcast for a weekly lesson that will help reduce your error rate over time:  http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/


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