Electronic Etiquette and Helpful Hints

Welcome to STTI's online communities. To ensure this is a positive experience for all, please read these helpful hints for online communicators.

Shared Language for Communication

STTI's goal is to be internationally inclusive in all printed materials and correspondence. Members should strive to be aware of those for whom English is a second language. Here are some general guidelines for international writing:

• Speak and write in simple, straight-forward language.

• Avoid all of the following:

    • Idioms (It’s raining cats and dogs.)
    • Slang (That’s cool.)
    • Euphemisms (My car has seen better days.)
    • Sports terminology (When in doubt, drop back and punt.)
    • Abbreviations and Acronyms (We need a reservation ASAP.)

•  Avoid positional language, such as “overseas” and “domestic.”

E-Etiquette – A few simple rules

• Communicate clearly and politely

• Be brief

• Keep to the topic

• Do not scream – Please do not write in all capital letters.

• Use a subject line

Four Tips to Avoid Online Misunderstandings

– adapted from article by Mihaela Moussou and Nancy White, 2004 

1) Make "I" statements, not "You" statements

Use these statements instead of telling the other person what you would like them to do or not do. "I would be more comfortable if you first stated your personal goals about the plan." vs. "You didn't state your agenda and confused the rest of us."

2) Check assumptions
Assumptions are our interpretations of what we hear or read. They are the result of our trying to fill in information that is missing. Checking assumptions is very important. Ask. 'In reading your statement, I am assuming that... Is that so?''

3) Actively "listening"/Reading
Building rapport with another depends on the quality of our attention during the act of communicating. Communication occurs at different levels. For messages to be accurately received every level needs to be acknowledged and understood.

4) Acknowledging perspectives
People's perceptions of reality can be very different and individualistic. We need to recognize that the other person believes as strongly as we do about the history of the events even when our views of what may have happened are quite different. These different personal perspectives are equally valid. We need to start by respecting the other person's perspective, discuss our views and come to a useful agreement.

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