Ten Rules for using Google Talk at Work - Part 2

Some time ago, we wrote about the first five rules of Google Talk. In case you’re not familiar, Google Talk is an enterprise communication system - wrapped inside of Google Apps.

It’s a great way to collaborate and take charge of things during your work day. However, some people are not really used to chatting during work. This can be a troublesome experience at first, but once you get used to it you’ll likely never want to go without it. Here are some more rules that can help to guide the way.

6. Think Before You Chat.

Never chat something you may regret later, what you say in chat can end up public information.

Chatting can be more informal at times, but it is important to still watch what you are typing. Chat history is stored, and therefore, can be referenced at a later time. If there is something that you would like to say, but don’t want it to be saved, you can always go ‘Off the Record’. (See Rule #10 below.)

7. Don’t Assume Someone Can ‘Talk’ Just Because They Can ‘Chat’.

Ask for a voice or video chat before initiating one. Never just call someone.

Prior to initiating a voice or video chat, verify that the other party is available to ‘talk’. The other party may be in a meeting, on the phone, or in a public place, and unable to voice or video chat at that time. You can send a quick chat, such as, "voice chat?", or "can I call you?". If yes, proceed with calling. If no, ask the user to let you know when they would be available to speak.

8. Don’t Expect An Immediate Response Every Time.

It is important to update your status and to respect the status of others.

You may send a chat to someone, but you cannot always expect an immediate response. The other person may be away from their computer, or unable to respond at the time. If you do not receive a response, you should follow up with an email to that user. Which bring us back to another rule in part 1, always respond to important questions.

9. Don’t Be Sarcastic Without Some Flare, and Only When Appropriate.

Use emoticons when there could potentially be a misunderstanding with what is typed, but use them sparingly.

Chatting lacks non-verbal communication such as eye contact, voice inflection and body language. Therefore, sarcasm can be interpreted as something much different then intended. Emoticons (i.e. smiley faces) can be used when appropriate to help avoid these misunderstandings. However, it is important that these are used sparingly, since you would not want to come off as unprofessional.

10. Understand Your Chat Privacy Options.

Go “off the record” for chats with sensitive information.

If you value your privacy, it's best to consider keeping certain chats out of your inbox, since they will be indexable via search in your mailbox later on if you don't do this. Have you ever used any sort of chat at work? If so, what type? Are you using Google Talk with success already? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you!

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