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It appears that working from home is the new normal, which means a new set of standards, expectations, and conventions. Whether meeting with clients or attending a virtual networking event, MLOs will need to put their best digital foot forward and promote professionalism. From proofreading emails to incorporating emojis, here are a few of our top tips for finding digital success.  

Perfect Your Zoom Presence

With remote work skyrocketing in popularity, Zoom and other video conferencing platforms have become integral in effectively doing business. Much like in-person meetings, video calls come with their own unique set of challenges and to-dos.  

Poor lighting, disruptive background noise, or a distracting background can greatly hurt your digital professionalism, so begin by choosing where to position your webcam. If a blank or minimally decorated wall is not an option, ensure that the space behind you is in tip-top shape. Remove anything distracting, inappropriate, or polarizing, like memorabilia for a specific sports team or any political messages. Position your webcam slightly above eye level, ensure there is adequate front lighting, and, when in a call, center yourself in the viewing window. Check your own feed periodically, to ensure attendees can still see you clearly as the call goes on.  

If your background isn’t particularly professional, or if you simply don’t want to display your home on camera, consider a virtual background instead. Your logo or other branding could be a nice touch.  

Get Creative in Conveying Feelings

It’s believed that a staggering 90% of communication is lost when we’re not interacting in person. If you’re regularly connecting with peers and clients over the phone, email, or video chat, you’ll need to make extra effort to effectively convey your message.  

Like all communication, good digital etiquette involves saying what you mean. We can no longer rely on body language or, in some cases, even tone to bolster our communication. Whether you’re drafting an email or providing feedback over the phone, make a point to say exactly what you mean, providing context, expanding on ideas, or asking for confirmation of understanding when applicable.  

Depending on your personality, the nature of the call, and who you’re communicating with, you could also stand to get a bit creative. Highly visual cues, like emojis and GIFs, can speak louder than words. Of course, you’ll need to be highly selective in your use. These modes won’t be appropriate in meetings featuring heavy subject matter, or with more traditional clients. Millennial clients, however, may actually prefer emojis to words.  

Don’t Overcommunicate

In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s easy to fire off a late-night email or send a quick weekend text, perhaps not even expecting an immediate response. Failing to acknowledge the concept of work-life balance, however, can come across poorly.  

To avoid overstepping in terms of digital communication, make a point to clarify communications expectations with colleagues, clients, and vendors. You can keep notes on preferred methods and times of communication and refer to them whenever a question arises. When in doubt, however, it’s always safest to stick to business hours.  

Double-Check Digital Messages

Of course, there is no ‘un-send’ button. Spelling errors, attaching the incorrect information, and sending messages to the wrong recipient can all tarnish your professional reputation. Plus, as MLOs deal with plenty of private information, one digital misstep could end in disaster.  

Re-read your message at least twice before sending, ideally out loud. This way, you’ll catch any small errors or inconsistencies that your mind may unintentionally skip over when reading to yourself. If you struggle with grammar and spelling, consider investing in some grammar check software to suggest edits for you. Then, always double-check attachments, links, and recipients before hitting send.  

While commute time has been cut and more flexible hours might be the new norm, the digital workplace comes with its own unique set of challenges. New norms, expectations, and conventions are fast emerging, and client-facing professionals like MLOs will need to hop on board. Luckily, with a little planning and creativity, your digital etiquette will be up to par in no time!  

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