Messenger Netiquette: 12 rules for good communication and collaboration

We know from practice that messaging communication can sometimes be misleading due to the short text messages. The correct introduction of a tool is not the only criterion for success. That's why today we'll tell you what successful messenger netiquette looks like in practice.

Teamwire, Jan 27 2023
What is “netiquette” and where does the term come from?


A netiquette basically explains rules of conduct for a good, respectful and appropriate tone in communication. It is primarily about communication on the Internet and the rules should be taken into account above all for collaboration in the professional world. These are not mandatory or statutory rules, but rather a recommended communication etiquette. For this reason, netiquette is also referred to as etiquette for the Internet.



Why is a netiquette important for a messenger?


So that a business messenger supports your organization in the best possible way with communication, coordination and collaboration in all areas of application relevant to your employees, some communication rules are usually of advantage – the netiquette. Such communication rules also exist in a similar form for other channels of daily internal communication, such as e-mail, telephone, personal conversations, etc. Especially with a business messenger, a netiquette helps to communicate more effectively and efficiently and to work together more successfully.



What is the netiquette for a messenger and how do the members of an organization communicate correctly?


The 12 golden rules of netiquette for an efficient and effective exchange with a messenger are:



1. Keep messages short:


Concise sentences are the be-all and end-all when it comes to messaging. If the information cannot be conveyed in a few sentences, a voice message or video call is recommended. If there is a lot of information, you should think about alternative media. Because sending extensive information via text message is not only annoying for the recipient, but also misses the purpose of concise transmission.



2. Answer as a whole:


Some people have the habit of sending each word or half a sentence of a text message individually. For the recipients, this means many consecutive signal tones, which can rightly disturb them. It is better to send whole sentences and structure information with the help of paragraphs.



3. Stay professional:


Since the messenger is used here for professional communication, it is worth remembering that any text sent reflects one’s professionalism. When making first contact, it is also advisable to briefly introduce yourself in one sentence. Capital letters or bold text are usually out of place. You should also refrain from exaggerated punctuation such as “???” and “!!!”. Because it would imply shouting a message or giving it undue importance.



4. Use emoticons:


Emoticons and emojis have established themselves in messengers and everyone knows and uses them. Emoticons also have their place in the professional use of a messenger and can support communication and collaboration. In some cases, emoticons can also loosen up communication and contribute to a positive atmosphere. It is important to use emoticons in moderation and to complement them with text. Because everyone interprets emoticons differently and does not necessarily know all emoticons, so this can also lead to confusion.



5. Use group chats sensibly:


Group chats act as a central communication environment so that employees can exchange information directly and from any location. Sometimes the entire department or all members of a team are stored in the chats. Basically, one should ask oneself whether messages are relevant for all participants in a group chat or should be communicated better in a smaller circle. It can also be important to separate professional and leisure-related communication. Chain messages, voting on events, silly videos, etc. should be shared in a separate group chat.



6. Answer promptly:


Often there are unconscious “rankings” in the head, how quickly colleagues react to a certain communication channel. If you receive a message in the messenger, you should reply promptly. Because the chosen communication channel implies that the sender wants a quick reply and direct exchange. If a timely reaction was not possible, you should perhaps apologize briefly in the reply.



7. Write at appropriate times:


Despite flexible working hours, it’s good practice to send text messages during official working hours. Because for some people, receiving news late in the evening or very early in the morning is downright a red rag. Sometimes notes about the priority such as “not urgent, but important” help to avoid unnecessary pressure.



8. Keep patience:


Situations can always arise in which the other person cannot answer immediately – even though the message has already been received and read. Follow-up is of course allowed, but depending on the urgency you should wait two to three hours before doing so.



9. Pay attention to the expression:


A text message can only be read and not supported by gestures or facial expressions. The more precise the expression, the clearer the communication. For example, sarcasm or harsh words are generally not recommended as they can be misunderstood and lead to misinterpretation. It is therefore advisable to use neutral formulations and good expression.



10. Proofreading should not be forgotten:


Text messages stand for a quick answer. Nevertheless, there should always be grammar and spelling are checked. Autocorrect should also be checked regularly.



11. End dialogue clearly and politely:


Once the topic to be discussed has been dealt with, it is advisable to end the conversation with a thank you or a promise of an early report.



12. Select a suitable profile picture:


The profile picture should match the organization and personality. A serious photo or – very simply – the initials of the employee are a good choice here. Depending on the corporate culture, profile pictures such as those used in social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) can also be suitable.



Anyone who internalizes the netiquette and its 12 basic rules will be able to better exploit the full potential of a business messenger in internal communication and collaboration.



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