In a world where you can’t buy a product without a newer version popping up a month later, and you need manuals and tutorials just to use your telephone, it can be hard to keep up with how quickly technology advances. These advancements allow us to explore new horizons, streamline processes, communicate quicker, and work more efficiently; what more could you ask for? However, technology can also add a few hidden hurdles that can trip you up and cause you to commit some big professional no-no’s. Embrace technology, but remember to avoid these technological snafus to keep your professionalism in tact!
Whether via email or text, reply all’s can be sneaky little devils that can cost you lost professionalism and a lot of embarrassment with the tiny click of the send button. When someone sends a mass text or email to numerous recipients, you have the choice to reply to the entire group or just to the sender. It is imperative to make sure you are clicking just “reply” and not “reply all” if your response is meant for just the person who sent it to you. Too often people make this minor mistake, and perhaps confidential or embarrassing information is exposed to people it was not intended to reach.
Skype Meetings and Interviews
With Skype and other forms of video chat making it possible for a “face to face” conversation to occur over the Internet, many business people are choosing this option for the convenience and conducting interviews and meetings through this method. One mistake commonly made is not understanding the technology itself prior to conducting the meeting. You should test out your Internet connection and web cam and make sure you understand all of the functionalities BEFORE you are on the line with a prospective employer for an interview. Also, just because you can conduct these types of conversations from anywhere, even the comfort of your own home, it is still imperative to remain professional. Make sure you are dressed appropriately for your interview (no hiring manager wants to hire someone who interviews in their pj’s) and ensure you have a quiet, distraction free area to engage in a Skype conversation (nothing interrupts a business meeting quite like a dog howling in the background).
Ringtones, Ringbacks, and Voicemails
Sure, it was kind of fun when it first became possible to replace a boring ring tone with your favorite song, but in the business world, what might have originally been thought of as “cute” can actually be unprofessional. What’s worse than your phone going off at all during an interview or meeting (we hope we do not have to provide advice on using your silent button) is your phone singing out “Baby Got Back” in an interview or meeting. Equally important is what people calling you hear. It was once trendy to provide “ring back” tones for callers to hear when they try and reach you. If you are a business professional, or especially if you are on the job hunt and are expecting numerous people to be calling your phone, it is important to make sure everything they hear, including your voicemail, are as professional as possible. It might have been funny in the past to have your outgoing voicemail message say “Hello? Hello?” pretending you have answered the phone, but chances are a hiring manager will not be amused.
Answering Emails on Phones
Smart phones have made it easier than ever to stay connected anywhere, any time, by having 24-7 access to your email. Unfortunately, they have also made it easier than ever to look silly when you respond with numerous typos throughout your email. Autocorrect have injected even more possibility of embarrassment into your email response, sometimes “correcting” a word you were trying to type into something you did not mean entirely. (Just google autocorrect nightmares to see for yourself). Even though you CAN receive and send emails while on the go, it is important if you are replying to a business email to wait until you have time to think it through and check it grammatically before hitting send.
Technology can be a beautiful thing, but it can turn very ugly in the business world if not handled with care! Watch out for these technology no-no’s to make sure you are portraying yourself in the most professional light possible!