If you conduct business via Skype, it's important to follow these "etiquette" rules when chatting with clients or colleagues. Skype is free to use - just download the software to your computer. Skype offers low-cost calling plans, but instant messaging and Skype-to-Skype calls (including video calls) are free.
1. Don't "shout" when you type. Shouting is the equivalent of typing with all caps. Just be careful when you instant message and make sure your caps lock is turned off. "Shouting" in the cyber world is considered rude.
2. Don't have a one-sided conversation with yourself. Don't blast out twenty instant messages at once. Remember that not everyone is tied to their desk, and the other person may have stepped away. Wait patiently until you receive a reply, and then continue your conversation. If you need to review a conversation, Skype archives your instant messages, and you can go back (even a year later) to review the conversation.
3. Be respectful and courteous. The same professional rules apply when you use Skype. Use appropriate language, grammar, etc.
4. Don't call someone until they are ready to receive the call. Send an instant message first and politely ask if the other person is ready for the call. The person might be away from their desk, in a meeting, or on another call. Also, don't assume that everyone wants to participate in a video call, and some people may not have a web cam. It's polite to ask first - would they prefer a phone or video call? Video calls are a great feature, especially if you want to personalize the call and see the other person's happy, smiling face.
5. Use the "away" feature when you are busy or step away from your desk or phone. This lets your contacts know you aren't immediately available. If you set yourself to "Do Not Disturb" you will not see the other person's instant messages, so use this feature sparingly. You can also set yourself to "invisible" if you don't want your contacts to know you are online (but you are able to see your online contacts).
6. Download the free Skype app to your smartphone. The app makes it easy to catch your clients on the go, and is a handy feature if you don't want to use up your mobile minutes.
7. Include your professional contact information on your Skype profile - email, mobile number, website link, and don't forget to add a smiling photo.
8. Skype offers a low-cost international calling plan so if you work with clients in other countries, this might be a reasonable option. Take advantage of Skype's call forwarding feature - forwards Skype calls to another phone number of your choice.
9. Use Skype for small group/conference calls. Conduct the Skype call as you would any conference call. This feature works well for smaller group calls. You can also upload and send files during the call.
10. Create groups within your Skype contacts. This feature allows you to instant message a group of your contacts at once. If you work with multiple people at the same location, this is a convenient feature. You can conduct a three or four-way conversation, and you don't have to go back and forth in different screens.
If you don't use Skype, add it to your communication tool box. Skype is user-friendly, and it's an easy way to stay connected with your business contacts.