Do you use IM (Instant messengers) at work? I started using MSN towards the starting of my career and then shifted to YIM and AIM. I still use YIM most of the time but Gtalk is also in the list for some of our officials. Most of us learn the IM usage from a different school, the “masti ki patsala (School of fun)“. When asked to use IMs for official talks the old habits stay but here is a chance to learn the basics to stay politically correct.
Here are 10 Unofficial commandments for official IM use:
- Use “all upper case” fonts sparingly: Upper cases often reflects shouting, anger, extra emphasis and importance. Don’t use all upper case with your seniors, neither on IM nor for emails. Different people have different perception towards all upper case sentences but more often it is taken as a command with shout/anger. “COME HERE” implies your boss is not happy with you and want to point some mistakes, so be prepared 🙂 .
- Smilies: Different people use different smilies but more often you will end up hitting the wrong definition. So use smilies carefully. Most safest smiley is :). Then comes 🙁 and the list will continue. You can spend some time in understanding what different smiley means and how differently people can interpret it.
- Abbreviated talks: Don’t try this with corporate heads they are really bad at it. To be safe use proper and complete sentences and if possible with proper punctuations. Be grammatically correct to avoid hitting the wrong button.
- Type fast: You need to type fast. If you are not good that, practice, practice and practice. This matters a lot. I used to chat using multiple windows to train my fingers and now I am very good at that.
- Expect unexpected: I have seen many love birds breaking off due to IMs. Girl sent a YIM offline, “I will be there at pulia(this is the where we spent most of our time) at 5:00, see you there” and the poor boy did not get the message. She waited for the day and the boy for rest of his life. They never expected technical problems in love life but it certainly happens in techno world. Office being no exception runs on similar unreliable IMs. So make sure to reconfirm the sentences in case you smell something wrong.
- Use proper status: A proper status helps. It acts like an answering machine. If you are not at your desk then put the status else a senior may feel denied for delayed messages. If you are going out or going for lunch you can put the time you left and expected time of return. You can be really creative over here.
- Avoid IMs: If you can avoid IMs with the next door team member, avoid. There is so much positive energy when you talk face to face and communicate eye to eye. IMs CANT REPLACE HUMAN TALKS, they act as gap fillers. Turn around, walk to, run to but avoid IMs whenever you can, it certainly helps.
- First timers: Be careful when you are talking to someone for the first time, like your client. Don’t tickle your funny bone, sometimes they are not in the same mood as you. Know them and then use the right bone.
- Don’t talk too much: It hurts your fingers and others time. Also it can hurt your performance and relationships. Talk less and talk sense, be funny with known members. Be witty but not silly.
- Stealth options: Explore the stealth options, sometimes it is really helpful. Online to few and offline to others. I use it when I am working from home.
Happy IMing! Sorry I don’t use personal IMs for various reasons. If you want to talk to me on Gtalk (add email@example.com), YIM (ajiissac1) and drop me mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with the time you want to talk.