Technology is a wonderful thing. It has opened up many new doors. Today people can connect with others in an instant.
We are also living in a time where technology lets us off the hook. If we forget an appointment, we can blame it on "the email I never received".
Technology is meant to enhance communication, not diminish etiquette. Here are a few tips that will keep technology from damaging your relationships and credibility.
Running Late- Occasionally there will be a time we will run late due to an unforeseen circumstance. Today people are using technology to let others know they are not on time. This can be through a text message, email or even social media. Technology has made it possible for people to get into a habit of running late simply because they know they can send a quick text. The correct thing to do is to pick up the phone and call to inform the other person that you are running behind, not to rely on any form of technology to pass along that message.
Cancelling- With over 6.8 billion cell phone subscriptions in the world, using technology as a scapegoat is now easier than ever. Technology has made it easy to ignore others and to not feel badly about cancelling plans. If you need to cancel plans, call the person as soon as possible. Whether or not you are meeting one person or a large group, if you must cancel, do it in advance... not showing up without a reason is unacceptable.
No Response- Have you ever heard someone say "Oh I didn't receive your message?" Well then, you have just been caught in the midst of:
- technology allowing us to be inconsiderate OR
- the downside to technology (sometimes messages just don't reach the intended person.)
Technology has enabled us to give an extremely delayed response or sometimes no response at all. If someone reaches out to you, please respond to them within a timely manner. If you are sending a message of high importance and you do not hear back from the person, a follow up message or phone call is due on your part. We should not automatically think that the person is blatantly ignoring the message.
Lost Art of RSVP- To email or text an RSVP instead of filling out the card sent to you is so rude. If someone takes the time to send you an invitation and they request a specific RSVP, then you need to respond in kind.
Delivering Bad News- Although a text message or email may be the easiest way to deliver bad news, it is not the correct way. Instead of sending out a mass message about a grievance, pick up the phone and call the individuals. Hearing the sound of your voice can make a huge difference.
Dishonesty- While technology has made it easier to cancel plans, it has also made some of us dishonest. If you have to cancel plans be upfront about it instead of making up an excuse. It is not ok to cancel plans and then use social media to show you at another event because you found it more "fun" than your original plans. Please consider the other person's feelings.
Technology is here to stay. It is our job to figure out how to use these forms of communication without letting them damage our relationships. One of the best ways to not let technology damage your relationships is to stick to your word. If you commit to being somewhere at a certain time, then be there.