Monday, August 12, 2013

International Netiquette - What everyone should know

International email

        Billions of email users are generating a volume of more than 500 billion messages per day in 2013. Clearly a significant percentage of these are international. Netiquette considerations within a country are expanded when communicating globally. These considerations include the following:

  1. Time zones
  2. Terms of address
  3. Holidays and holy days
  4. Acronyms, idioms, colloquialisms, and special names (slang)
  5. Translations
  6. Culture
  7. Politics, humor sensitivities
  8. Censoring
  9. Formats of date and time
Many particulars in communication are far harder or nearly impossible to convey via email. With foreign emails, these subtleties and differences are more numerous. What may be standard knowledge or normal behavior in one country is unacceptable, confusing, or even insulting in others.

Time zones

Although most recipients understand that differences in time dictate when a message will be received, delays will typically be more numerous and pronounced. If immediate answers are required, the sender and recipient should accommodate time-zone differences.

        For example, the time difference between London and New York is five hours. If a sender in New York wishes to send a message and receive a same-day reply, this action should be taken early in the morning. The closer to early afternoon an email is sent, the less likely a full-cycle email transaction can take place.

Therefore, if the New York emailer sends a message at 1:00 p.m. EST, on a Friday, it is reasonable to assume he will not read the reply until Monday afternoon (or Tuesday afternoon, if the Monday is a holiday). If an email, such as a videoconference invitation, is sent to several different international invitees, it should be done so with probably two days’ notice in order to allow for ample time for everyone to reply.

        One should also be mindful of religious and national holidays in the country where the message is being sent. Additionally, one should make the recipient aware if a holiday is going to fall in the sender’s country when time issues are important. There are numerous lists of international holidays available. Microsoft Outlook provides one, and two Internet sources are and

        Acronyms can be doubly confusing to out-of-country contacts. When using any acronyms with an overseas recipient, it is critical to identify what the acronym stands for, particularly if it involves a technical entity or domestic organization.

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We will be publishing a book on Netiquette shortly entitled "NetiquetteIQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". 
Also there will be an email "IQ" test on our website:

#Paul Babicki
#Serkan Gecmen

Happy emailing and good Netiquette!

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