Instant messaging allows those connected by the Internet or an intranet to send real-time, typed messages. At work, instant messaging is the fastest way to receive and convey information, but it has its drawbacks. Messages can come so thick and fast that they’re intrusive. Here are some ways to keep IMs on track:

  • Be as cautious with IMing as you are with email. Make sure you know to whom you’re messaging.
  • Never offer any personal or private information via IM.
  • Choose your screen name wisely; gimmicky names are unprofessional and you should be easily identifiable.
  • If you IM and get no response, try again later. The recipient could be busy with something else or away from their computer, so don’t take it personally.
  • Respect “Do not disturb” status or “Be right back” messages.
  • At work, keep messages on task.
  • Keep track of your conversations.
  • Don’t IM from a friend’s computer unless you’re both in on the conversation.
  • Sign off clearly so that others know you’re exiting the conversation.

For information on Emily Post Business Etiquette Programs contact Steven Puettner, Director of Sales, at or 802-860-1814.