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Communication and Technology

This section is about all the manners associated with communication – both new and old.  Even as we write this, a new device hits the market and everything changes – and yet, the etiquette involved won't be a complete reinvention of the wheel. Communication itself has not changed; just the technologies we use to engage with it. As new technology emerges, there are new manners associated with the new methods of communication. The important thing is to keep our priorities straight. Take mobile devices. It's great that cell phones and smartphones connect us to far-flung family, friends, and business contacts. But make the people who are present with your first priority. (For more on cell phones, see Top Ten Cell Phone Manners.)


  • The Good Conversationalist   ( 6 Articles )

    How we speak is just as important as what we actually say. And what we choose not to say may be just as powerful as what we do. People who converse well think clearly before sharing their thoughts and ideas and are able to respectfully listen when it is not their turn to talk. Whether you are speaking for pleasure, out of sympathy, or in business, remember that it takes more than one person to have a conversation.

  • Notes and Letters   ( 10 Articles )

    As technology advances, written communication continues to take various forms. In its smallest form, a text message or tweet is can be a source of writing. Sometimes an email is sufficient for transferring information, sometimes a written letter is preferrable. While it's not necessary to compose a letter in calligraphy, it is essential to consider what is the most fitting style and method for the occasion.

  • Social Names and Titles   ( 6 Articles )

    It may not always be clear how to address a person. Are they a "Mrs." or a "Miss?" Do you say "Mr." or "Sir?" Both on letters and in person, these titles can in fact make a difference in how a person is received. Although there can be many potential options, addressing someone by the name or title that he or she prefers is one of the most basic ways to show your respect.  For more on proper address, see our Forms of Address section.

  • Telephone Manners   ( 5 Articles )

    While today's phones are capable of countless special functions, remember that basic etiquette still applies. Being aware of who is with you and where you are when receiving a call is important, as well as having an awareness of your volume and tone of voice. If you don't want anyone to hear your conversation, chances are they don't want to hear it either!

  • Personal Communication Devices   ( 8 Articles )

    Considerate use of your smart phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) requires utmost responsibility and command of your device. It is often taken for granted that information and communication are always at hand, but it is also important to know when and where to access it appropriately, and (perhaps more importantly) of those times and places when it is best left alone.

  • Computers and Communication   ( 10 Articles )

    Using your computer to communicate with others involves acting with the same respect and consideration that you use in the non-virtual world. Human contact still matters, along with what you say and how you say it. Just because most forms of communication are now instant and quick, does not mean that grammar and spelling need be ignored. Always be aware of who's around you, whose time you're on, and always double-check before you hit "send."

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