Posted on July 1, 2019 by Jorie Helms

Netiquette — etiquette for the digital world — is where common courtesy meets the Internet. Netiquette is necessary since business communications have evolved and become Internet-based. Telephone and snail mail are no longer the primary forms of business communication; texting, instant messaging and social media have taken precedence.

People often wonder how the various generations like to communicate. Knowing each generation’s preferences can make a world of difference in business.

Gen Z

  • Direct, visual and succinct
  • Communicate with images and multitask across several screens
  • Short attention spans, communicate in bite-sized snacks with punchy headlines, emoticons, photos and images


  • Hate talking on the phone
  • Prefer texting or messaging apps
  • Like thought-out responses afforded by texts, unlike personal conversations or phone calls
  • Will use email, although it is seen as less urgent than a text

Gen X

  • Adapt quickly to new technology
  • Grew up with the emergence of the PC, lived through the dot-com bust and the introduction of the cell phone
  • Can be reached with a variety of technologies
  • The most technologically versatile


  • Prefer face-to-face meetings
  • Talk on the phone
  • Use email, video conference, text, etc.; varies by individual, so their tech knowledge shouldn’t be underestimated
  • Stay accessible and visible

Above all, ask how someone wants to communicate. Once you know that, follow the eight rules of business communication:

  1. Know what you are going to say before you say it
  2. Less is more; keep it simple
  3. Use bullet points
  4. What’s in it for me? (WIIFM)
  5. Don’t get bogged down (tangents, lose focus)
  6. Call to action (again, what’s in it for me?)
  7. Edit, spell check and review once more
  8. Follow up

For more information on Netiquette, read the full article, “Manners for Digital Communication,” in the current issue of Building Women magazine authored by Carol Morgan, MIRM, CAPS, CSP. NAHB Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) is offering a free webcast to PWB Council members on Netiquette featuring Morgan today, June 27, at 2 p.m. ET. For more information about the webcast or PWB, contact Sheronda Carr.

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