The Ten Commandments of Communication

Smoke signals

http://www.shanelavalette.com/journal/2009/11/28/johan-bergstrom-smoke-signals

INTRODUCTION

For as far back as I can remember there have always been certain things that were considered appropriate and not acceptable for communicating between humans.

These include guidelines within a particular type of communication as well as when what type of communication is most effective and preferred.

Let’s start with types of communications. It may be impossible for many of us who literally walk around with the world in our pockets to imagine a time when contacting another person was more than a fingertip away.

INDIGENOUS COMMUNICATION

Anyone who has ever watched a ‘cowboys and Indians’ movie knows the basic etiquette of smoke signals. The Indians mastered them and the cowboys were always giving away their location by lighting fires that created ‘here I am’ smoke signals at the least opportune times.

There were also the signals that resulted from catching the sunlight on a piece of mirror or glass. I don’t know the science behind it. But it seemed to have its good points too unless it was cloudy, raining or nighttime.

Mores Code Chart

International Morse Code Chart © http://kboo.fm/node/28249

THE QUANTUM LEAP

According to John Perry Barlow, the telegraph was the signal of the technological leap that begat the types of communication we have today. With ‘Morse code’, messages could be transmitted by wire (or cable) over great distances both across land and sea. They were ‘translated’ from code to an understandable language.

That worked well except for when some a cable broke or some ne’er do well cut the line and interrupted the then vital means of communication.

THE TELEPHONE

Then came the telephone, with operators. Invariably in a small town, the telephone operator was the best-informed citizen, even though one was not supposed to listen in on private conversations. The same shortcoming existed where people shared the same phone number called a ‘party line’. The person being called knew by the type of ring tone which party it was for. There again one could listen in their neighbor’s call and violate their privacy.

If you remember the movie, Driving Miss Daisy, there was one phone in the first floor hallway. There was a piece of furniture it sat on and on a shelf with the paper phone book. Well you can wipe out that nostalgic memory along with all the great ‘telephone tables’ I painted as a decorative painter. They were a combination of bench, table and shelf. Some of them were quite lovely and a modern facelift made them quite the collector’s item.

But then, every room had a phone. Phones came in every color to match any décor. There were princess phones for the ladies of the house, wall phones for the kitchen and the standard table or desk phone. They were all made by one company and they were made to last. In fact, they outlasted the technology they were made to serve.

FAST FORWARD

telephone table painted by Alison Gilbert

Telephone table from the © 'Recycled with Love' Collection. Painted by Alison Gilbert

Now let’s fast-forward from operators, to dial phones, to touch tone phones, to huge mobile phones, to car phones, to the cell phones of today. That’s lots of kinds of phones. There is also faxing, texting and the myriad of ways we can communicate by Internet.

We have so many choices. Do we call someone and on a landline or by cell? Do we e-mail them? Or should we text them, message them on Facebook, or use Google +? How did people manage before? Many people in countries where landlines are not laid use cell phones as their major line of communication. Most of us, in what we consider ‘civilized’ countries, cannot live without our cell phones even though we have landlines too.

But have you noticed that given the nature of the relationship, it is sometimes a challenge to know which is the most appropriate way to contact someone? Is a phone call too familiar? Sometimes it can be. I have even noticed that an email can be intrusive too. In fact, it is not so easy to get someone’s e-mail address anymore. Many businesses have a form to fill out so they can contact you.

WHAT TO DO
So far there does not seem to be an official etiquette book on the do’s and don’ts of present day communication. I find a lot of it is common sense. Just about as often, I go by what feels right to do. Sometimes, I will have many choices, which makes it more difficult. Other times, the situation limits my choices and makes my decision easier. Here’s a general rule of thumb or ‘Ten Commandments of Communication’ that I have developed:

http://brutishandshort.com/2012/04/18/dont-be-a-dick-unless-youve-got-his-watch/

The Dick Tracy Two Way WristTV
© http://brutishandshort.com/2012/04/18/dont-be-a-dick-unless-youve-got-his-watch/

  1. Do what is least invasive. You can always move onto another less formal means of communication once the groundwork is laid.
  2. Email in all caps is considered yelling, so use your indoor voice.
  3. Unless someone is your sweet heart or it is an emergency, call at a reasonable hour. What is reasonable does vary from person to person.
  4. Do not call someone’s cell number unless they gave it to you or it is on their business card.
  5. Personal email addresses should be given the same consideration.
  6. Ever think of sending a letter? I mean a personal letter, not spam.
  7. And speaking of spam, the verdict is still out on bulk email in my book. Even people on a permission-based mailing lists can find one newsletter after another rather tiresome. Unless you have something of real value and importance to say, I say, don’t send it.
  8. When you leave a phone message, speak slowly. Repeat your information, you name, your phone number and the reason for your call. You name, your phone number and the reason for your call.
  9. Respect other people’s privacy. That may seem like a joke these days but do your best.
  10. Do not talk on your cell phone in a restaurant or other public place as if it were your private space.

I hope you find these guidelines helpful. Please let me know what you think, agree, disagree, have another or better idea. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks.

AUTHOR:

Alison Gilbert is the Digital Age Storyteller. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. Located on Long Island, New York, MARKETING BYTES serves clients virtually everywhere.

Their boutique style – very personal service – hybrid company specializes in helping local/small biz generate sales leads by transitioning from traditional advertising to online marketing. Contact MARKETING BYTES at info@marketingbytes.biz or call 516-665-9034 ET

SOURCES :

Is Your Business Website Ready for Mobile?

Is your small business website ready for mobile? I am referring to the smartphones people have been overwhelmingly converting to.   According to a recent Google Study using research firm Ipsos they quantified what devices costumers across five key global markets are currently using. Not surprisingly, the numbers show that smartphone ownership is on the rise. What caught some analysts off guard was the finding that in each of the countries polled, use of mobile phones had edged out use of personal computers in 2011.

According to a study by Compuware 71% of global mobile web users expect websites to load as quickly, almost as quickly or faster on their mobile phone compared to the computer they use at home.

Nearly 60% of web users say they expect a website to load on their mobile phone in three seconds or less, and 74% are only willing to wait five seconds or less for a single web page to load before leaving the site. 50% are only willing to wait five seconds or less for an application to load before exiting.

Below are some best practices for mobile websites suggested by GoMO:

1. Keep it Quick   Mobile users want their information fast. To help them, design your site to load fast and make copy easy to read. Prioritize the content and features that mobile users need most. Use your desktop site analytics to see what mobile users are doing

2. Make it Easy to Convert No matter what your site’s objective is, your customers need to be able to do it with a virtual keyboard and no mouse. Make it easy to buy something or contact you!

3. Simplify Navigation  No one likes to be confused. Clear navigation and, on large or complex sites, search functionality, will help your customers easily find what they need

4Make it Local – Consumers look for local info on their phones all the time—from locating the    nearest gas station to finding an open pizza place. Include functionality that helps people find and get to you.

5. Be Thumb Ready – People use their fingers to operate mobile devices – especially their thumbs. Design your site so even large hands can easily interact with it.

6. Make it Seamless – People now use multiple screens throughout the day. Convert as much of the functionality of your desktop site to mobile as you can to create a seamless experience.

7. Design for Visibility – A mobile-friendly site gets its message across without causing eyestrain. Make it easy for your customers to read – remember they may be in a place with low light.

8. Use Re-Directs – A mobile site redirect is code that can automatically tell if visitors are using a mobile device and send them to the mobile-friendly version of your site. Have your site developer implement this redirect code so your customers get the best version of your site for their needs.

9. Make it accessible.  Your mobile site should work across all mobile devices and all handset orientations.

10. Good mobile sites are user-centric, which means they’re built with input from your audience.

It is time to consider all modes of electronic media in your business marketing plan.  Mobile users will continue to play an ever growing part of how you will gain your customers.  Start incorporating these processes now.

Author:

Marilyn Zayfert is a passionate digital strategist implementing online and mobile applications. She is a results-driven sales and marketing strategist with a proven track record of achievement and demonstrated success. Marilyn founded illumiNET Creative Media in 2009. illumiNET Creative builds and implements online marketing strategies for local businesses. Twitter @mzayfert

Website http://www.illuminetmedia.com

Sources:

http://www.investorplace.com/2012/01/google-study-mobile-phone-use-tops-the-pc-goog-aapl-dell/

http://www.ipsos.com/

http://www.compuware.com/d/release/592528/new-study-reveals-the-mobile-web-disappoints-global-consumers

http://www.howtogomo.com/en/d/why-go-mo/#mobile-best-practices

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