TCG 411: iBad and Blackberry Blunders

Rules of the Digital Road

By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group

iFans and BlackBerry users beware: More than three-quarters (76 percent) of managers polled by our company said technical etiquette breaches can adversely affect a person’s career prospects. As such, I want to share with you a few common faux pas uncovered through our research, and lessons you can learn from them.

  • Gadget gaffes: 51 percent of chief information officers said they’ve seen increased instances of poor etiquette due to more frequent use of mobile electronic devices in the workplace.

The takeaway: Be discreet. Those who continually fiddle with their smartphones and tablets send the wrong message. By appearing distracted, you’re essentially telling the coworkers in your presence that you’re uninterested.

  • Meeting etiquette missteps: 45 percent of advertising and marketing executives confessed that they frequently do other things, such as answer email or surf the Web, during conference calls.

The takeaway: Whether you’re attending an in-person get-together or connecting with others remotely, it’s best to turn off your iPhone or PDA. If you’re expecting a truly critical call or email that you must respond to immediately, use the vibrate mode and notify the meeting facilitator that you may need to step away momentarily.

  • “Send” button slip-ups: 78 percent of executives admitted to sending someone the wrong email or copying a colleague on a message without intending to.

The takeaway: Given the vast number of emails most professionals send, it’s reasonable to expect that a few will go astray. You can minimize the likelihood of committing major mistakes by simply slowing down. Make sure your messages (and subject lines) are crystal clear, and double-check your recipient list and the names of any files you’ve attached before hitting “send.” A trick I use is to type and proofread the email first, and then enter the recipients’ names.

If you’re interested in additional tech etiquette insights, I encourage you to check out Robert Half’s new guide, Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age, which offers advice on successfully using online networking sites, social media, mobile devices, and more, for professional purposes. You can download a free copy at

Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at

One thought on “TCG 411: iBad and Blackberry Blunders

  1. Kirsten

    How about the breach of etiquette in using the phone while on the toilet? Newsflash to those of you who do that: we can hear what you’re doing while you’re talking to us. And it’s disgusting. So put down the damn phone, finish your business, wash your hands, and THEN call me.