The ways people greet and interact with one another vary from culture to culture. Learners often take their local expectations with them into cyberspace as they write e-mail messages, post to discussion groups, and participate in chat sessions and videoconferences. For collaboration involving multiple cultures, we must carefully consider the proper formality, deference, and forms of address.

Nothing more rapidly inclines a person to go in to a monastery than reading a book on etiquette. There are so many trivia l ways in which it is possible to commit some social sin.

—Quentin Crisp, Manners from Heaven

11.10.1. Show proper respect

The breezy informality and immediate camaraderie common among Web-sawy Americans may seem rude and childish to senior business executives from a more formal, structured society. The world is not a classless society. Instructors and learners must show the proper degree of politeness and deference, especially upon first contact with strangers.

Here's a brief etiquette lesson for first contacts with new acquaintances.

When addressing...Take this approach initially
StrangerFormal politeness and slight deference until the person's status is clear
Higher level managerCourtesy and deference
Older personCourtesy and deference
Peer of the opposite genderFormal politeness but not intimacy
Peer of the same genderInformal politeness if well known with some intimacy permitted

11.10.2. Use the other person s name with care

Do ...

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