IM Etiquettes

IM is a good thing.. it brings people together in an almost face to face like situation. Given the large no. of IM communications that I regularly have, I thought I would share some good practices.
they are as follows:

Good behavior
The following guidelines fall into the category of office politeness when using IM.
· If you are initiating the IM, it’s generally considered polite to ask the other person if they have time to “talk” with you. This may not be necessary with someone you work with frequently and when the question is quick, as opposed to something requiring discussion.
· Avoid non-business-related multi-person conversations. People who aren’t invited may feel left out if their colleagues are laughing about a private joke over IM.
· Don’t invite someone to join a conference in progress without first asking the others in the conference if it’s OK to do so.
· Don’t use all capital letters to type your message. It’s the IM equivalent of shouting.
· Be professional. Limit your use of jargon, emoticons, abbreviations, and acronyms. Type normally and use full sentences as much as possible. An exception with regard to using abbreviations might be when you are typing text from a phone or pager.
· Try to avoid having too many “goodbyes” as you and your colleague attempt to end the conversation. A good rule of thumb might be that the first person to indicate an end to the conversation is enough.
· Set the preferences on your PC so that the sound accompanying an IM won’t be disturbing to others who might be meeting with you, either in person or on the phone. Or turn off the incoming sound altogether while you’re on a conference call.
· Instant messages are not replacements for serious, face-to-face communications; for instance, it might not be appropriate to use IM for resolving a conflict with a colleague.


Managing presence information
This section provides some guidelines for managing your own presence status, as well as taking heed of that of others.
Working with others
· Avoid messaging someone repeatedly when they don’t respond. Just because someone’s status shows as “online” doesn’t mean they have the time to talk to you.
· When a colleague has set their status to “busy” or “on the phone,” this is an indication they are busy—so unless it’s urgent, message them later.
· If you’re carrying on too many IM conversations at once, those you’re corresponding with may feel that you’re not giving them the proper amount of attention. No more than three conversations at a time is a general rule, though your individual capacity may vary.
Your own IM status
· Set your IM status to “Busy” or “On The Phone” when you are busy so others know that you may not respond. You may wish to let your colleagues or those you work with frequently know that you’re on a deadline or in a meeting, so that they know you’re not just ignoring them.
· If/when applicable, provide information in your status that provides information on how you’d rather be contacted—for instance, your cell phone or pager.
· Set the timeout to less than five minutes (meaning that if you’re not actively using your PC for a certain period of time, your IM will automatically change your status to “Away”). Less time than that is generally not considered a good indicator of your availability.

Managing Contact Lists
· Try to limit your contact list to those with whom you anticipate communicating regularly (at least 2-3 times per week); for instance, members of your immediate team, or those with whom you’re working on an ongoing project.
· When do you need permission to add someone to your contact list? If they are a member of your team, your manager, a partner, or someone you work with a great deal, it’s generally considered all right not to ask for permission. However, if they’re not someone you work with regularly, or if they are several layers higher within the organization than you are, asking for permission is the polite thing to do.
· If you have a great number of contacts or anticipate that you will, use the organization tools included as part of your instant messaging application to put your contacts into categories (team members vs. customers vs. partners, for instance).
· On the flip side, don’t be offended if someone drops you from their contact list; it just means that they are trying to trim their list to those with whom they communicate regularly. Anticipate that your list will be dynamic and that you’ll need to add and delete people as you add new projects and complete old ones.
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This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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