Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why do you need email etiquette?
A company needs to implement etiquette rules for the following three reasons:
Professionalism: by using proper email language your company will convey a professional image. Efficiency: emails that get to the point are much more effective than poorly worded emails. Protection from liability: employee awareness of email risks will protect your company from costly law suits.
What are the etiquette rules?
There are many etiquette guides and many different etiquette rules. Some rules will differ according to the nature of your business and the corporate culture. Below we list what we consider as the 32 most important email etiquette rules that apply to nearly all companies.
32 most important email etiquette tips:
1. Be concise and to the point2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation4. Make it personal5. Use templates for frequently used responses6. Answer swiftly7. Do not attach unnecessary files8. Use proper structure & layout9. Do not overuse the high priority option10. Do not write in CAPITALS11. Don't leave out the message thread12. Add disclaimers to your emails13. Read the email before you send it14. Do not overuse Reply to All15. Mailings > use the bcc: field or do a mail merge16. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons17. Be careful with formatting18. Take care with rich text and HTML messages19. Do not forward chain letters20. Do not request delivery and read receipts21. Do not ask to recall a message.22. Do not copy a message or attachment without permission23. Do not use email to discuss confidential information24. Use a meaningful subject25. Use active instead of passive26. Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT27. Avoid long sentences28. Don't send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks29. Don't forward virus hoaxes and chain letters30. Keep your language gender neutral31. Don't reply to spam32. Use cc: field sparingly
1. Be concise and to the point.
Do not make an e-mail longer than it needs to be. Remember that reading an e-mail is harder than reading printed communications and a long e-mail can be very discouraging to read.
2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions.
An email reply must answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions – If you do not answer all the questions in the original email, you will receive further e-mails regarding the unanswered questions, which will not only waste your time and your customer’s time but also cause considerable frustration. Moreover, if you are able to pre-empt relevant questions, your customer will be grateful and impressed with your efficient and thoughtful customer service. Imagine for instance that a customer sends you an email asking which credit cards you accept. Instead of just listing the credit card types, you can guess that their next question will be about how they can order, so you also include some order information and a URL to your order page. Customers will definitely appreciate this.
3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation.
This is not only important because improper spelling, grammar and punctuation give a bad impression of your company, it is also important for conveying the message properly. E-mails with no full stops or commas are difficult to read and can sometimes even change the meaning of the text. And, if your program has a spell checking option, why not use it?
4. Make it personal.
Not only should the e-mail be personally addressed, it should also include personal i.e. customized content. For this reason auto replies are usually not very effective. However, templates can be used effectively in this way, see next tip.
5. Use templates for frequently used responses.
Some questions you get over and over again, such as directions to your office or how to subscribe to your newsletter. Save these texts as response templates and paste these into your message when you need them. You can save your templates in a Word document, or use pre-formatted emails. Even better is a tool such as ReplyMate for Outlook (allows you to use 10 templates for free).
6. Answer swiftly.
Customers send an e-mail because they wish to receive a quick response. If they did not want a quick response they would send a letter or a fax. Therefore, each e-mail should be replied to within at least 24 hours, and preferably within the same working day. If the email is complicated, just send an email back saying that you have received it and that you will get back to them. This will put the customer's mind at rest and usually customers will then be very patient!
7. Do not attach unnecessary files.
By sending large attachments you can annoy customers and even bring down their e-mail system. Wherever possible try to compress attachments and only send attachments when they are productive. Moreover, you need to have a good virus scanner in place since your customers will not be very happy if you send them documents full of viruses!
8. Use proper structure & layout.
Since reading from a screen is more difficult than reading from paper, the structure and lay out is very important for e-mail messages. Use short paragraphs and blank lines between each paragraph. When making points, number them or mark each point as separate to keep the overview.
9. Do not overuse the high priority option.
We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf. If you overuse the high priority option, it will lose its function when you really need it. Moreover, even if a mail has high priority, your message will come across as slightly aggressive if you flag it as 'high priority'.
10. Do not write in CAPITALS.
IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING. This can be highly annoying and might trigger an unwanted response in the form of a flame mail. Therefore, try not to send any email text in capitals.
11. Don't leave out the message thread.
When you reply to an email, you must include the original mail in your reply, in other words click 'Reply', instead of 'New Mail'. Some people say that you must remove the previous message since this has already been sent and is therefore unnecessary. However, I could not agree less. If you receive many emails you obviously cannot remember each individual email. This means that a 'threadless email' will not provide enough information and you will have to spend a frustratingly long time to find out the context of the email in order to deal with it. Leaving the thread might take a fraction longer in download time, but it will save the recipient much more time and frustration in looking for the related emails in their inbox!
12. Add disclaimers to your emails.
It is important to add disclaimers to your internal and external mails, since this can help protect your company from liability. Consider the following scenario: an employee accidentally forwards a virus to a customer by email. The customer decides to sue your company for damages. If you add a disclaimer at the bottom of every external mail, saying that the recipient must check each email for viruses and that it cannot be held liable for any transmitted viruses, this will surely be of help to you in court (read more about email disclaimers). Another example: an employee sues the company for allowing a racist email to circulate the office. If your company has an email policy in place and adds an email disclaimer to every mail that states that employees are expressly required not to make defamatory statements, you have a good case of proving that the company did everything it could to prevent offensive emails.
13. Read the email before you send it.
A lot of people don't bother to read an email before they send it out, as can be seen from the many spelling and grammar mistakes contained in emails. Apart from this, reading your email through the eyes of the recipient will help you send a more effective message and avoid misunderstandings and inappropriate comments.
14. Do not overuse Reply to All.
Only use Reply to All if you really need your message to be seen by each person who received the original message.
15. Mailings > use the Bcc: field or do a mail merge.
When sending an email mailing, some people place all the email addresses in the To: field. There are two drawbacks to this practice: (1) the recipient knows that you have sent the same message to a large number of recipients, and (2) you are publicizing someone else's email address without their permission. One way to get round this is to place all addresses in the Bcc: field. However, the recipient will only see the address from the To: field in their email, so if this was empty, the To: field will be blank and this might look like spamming. You could include the mailing list email address in the To: field, or even better, if you have Microsoft Outlook and Word you can do a mail merge and create one message for each recipient. A mail merge also allows you to use fields in the message so that you can for instance address each recipient personally. For more information on how to do a Word mail merge, consult the Help in Word.
16. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons.
In business emails, try not to use abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) and LOL (laugh out loud). The recipient might not be aware of the meanings of the abbreviations and in business emails these are generally not appropriate. The same goes for emoticons, such as the smiley :-). If you are not sure whether your recipient knows what it means, it is better not to use it.
17. Be careful with formatting.
Remember that when you use formatting in your emails, the sender might not be able to view formatting, or might see different fonts than you had intended. When using colors, use a color that is easy to read on the background.
18. Take care with rich text and HTML messages.
Be aware that when you send an email in rich text or HTML format, the sender might only be able to receive plain text emails. If this is the case, the recipient will receive your message as a .txt attachment. Most email clients however, including Microsoft Outlook, are able to receive HTML and rich text messages.
19. Do not forward chain letters.
Do not forward chain letters. We can safely say that all of them are hoaxes. Just delete the letters as soon as you receive them.
20. Do not request delivery and read receipts.
This will almost always annoy your recipient before he or she has even read your message. Besides, it usually does not work anyway since the recipient could have blocked that function, or his/her software might not support it, so what is the use of using it? If you want to know whether an email was received it is better to ask the recipient to let you know if it was received.
21. Do not ask to recall a message.
Biggest chances are that your message has already been delivered and read. A recall request would look very silly in that case wouldn't it? It is better just to send an email to say that you have made a mistake. This will look much more honest than trying to recall a message.
22. Do not copy a message or attachment without permission.
Do not copy a message or attachment belonging to another user without permission of the originator. If you do not ask permission first, you might be infringing on copyright laws.
23. Do not use email to discuss confidential information.
Sending an email is like sending a postcard. If you don't want your email to be displayed on a bulletin board, don't send it. Moreover, never make any libelous, sexist or racially discriminating comments in emails, even if they are meant to be a joke.
24. Use a meaningful subject.
Try to use a subject that is meaningful to the recipient as well as yourself. For instance, when you send an email to a company requesting information about a product, it is better to mention the actual name of the product, e.g. 'Product A information' than to just say 'product information' or the company's name in the subject.
25. Use active instead of passive.
Try to use the active voice of a verb wherever possible. For instance, 'We will process your order today', sounds better than 'Your order will be processed today'. The first sounds more personal, whereas the latter, especially when used frequently, sounds unnecessarily formal.
26. Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT.
Even more so than the high-priority option, you must at all times try to avoid these types of words in an email or subject line. Only use this if it is a really, really urgent or important message.
27. Avoid long sentences.
Try to keep your sentences to a maximum of 15-20 words. Email is meant to be a quick medium and requires a different kind of writing than letters. Also take care not to send emails that are too long. If a person receives an email that looks like a dissertation, chances are that they will not even attempt to read it!
28. Don't send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks.
By sending or even just forwarding one libelous, or offensive remark in an email, you and your company can face court cases resulting in multi-million dollar penalties.
29. Don't forward virus hoaxes and chain letters.
If you receive an email message warning you of a new unstoppable virus that will immediately delete everything from your computer, this is most probably a hoax. By forwarding hoaxes you use valuable bandwidth and sometimes virus hoaxes contain viruses themselves, by attaching a so-called file that will stop the dangerous virus. The same goes for chain letters that promise incredible riches or ask your help for a charitable cause. Even if the content seems to be bona fide, the senders are usually not. Since it is impossible to find out whether a chain letter is real or not, the best place for it is the recycle bin.
30. Keep your language gender neutral.
In this day and age, avoid using sexist language such as: 'The user should add a signature by configuring his email program'. Apart from using he/she, you can also use the neutral gender: ''The user should add a signature by configuring the email program'.
31. Don't reply to spam.
By replying to spam or by unsubscribing, you are confirming that your email address is 'live'. Confirming this will only generate even more spam. Therefore, just hit the delete button or use email software to remove spam automatically.
32. Use cc: field sparingly.
Try not to use the cc: field unless the recipient in the cc: field knows why they are receiving a copy of the message. Using the cc: field can be confusing since the recipients might not know who is supposed to act on the message. Also, when responding to a cc: message, should you include the other recipient in the cc: field as well? This will depend on the situation. In general, do not include the person in the cc: field unless you have a particular reason for wanting this person to see your response. Again, make sure that this person will know why they are receiving a copy.
How do you enforce email etiquette?
The first step is to create a written email policy. This email policy should include all the do's and don'ts concerning the use of the company's email system and should be distributed amongst all employees. Secondly, employees must be trained to fully understand the importance of email etiquette. Finally, implementation of the rules can be monitored by using email management software and email response tools.

E-mail Etiquette
Email Etiquette - Why Is It Important?
Email Etiquette - The OWL at Purdue
Email Etiquette - Improve the way you communicate by mail
Using E-mail: Etiquette
Email Etiquette

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Netiquette (Internet Etiquette)
Every few months a plague descends on Usenet called the spelling flame. It starts out when someone posts an article correcting the spelling or grammar in some article. The immediate result seems to be for everyone on the net to turn into a 6th grade English teacher and pick apart each other's postings for a few weeks. This is not productive and tends to cause people who used to be friends to get angry with each other.
- Chuq Von Rospach, Gene Spafford, Mark Moraes; A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Community, 1983-1995.
"Netiquette" stands for "Internet Etiquette", and refers to the set of practices developed over the years to make the Internet experience pleasant for everyone. Like other forms of etiquette, netiquette is primarily concerned with matters of courtesy in communications. The following sections provide more information.
Netiquette Basics
Help the newbies
Research before asking
Remember emotion
People aren't organizations
Netiquette Of Sending:
Be brief
Use white space
Use descriptive subject lines
Stay on-topic
Be careful sending attachments
Copy the minimum number of people
Include your email address
Respect non-commercial spaces
Avoid flaming
Netiquette Of Replying
Replying and forwarding
Summarize for the group
Check current information before replying
Reference past communications
Acknowledge important communications
Netiquette Of Confidentiality
Don't publicize other's email addresses
Never send what you don't read
Remember archiving
Respect copyright
More Netiquette Information.

The Core Rules of Netiquette are excerpted from the book Netiquette by Virginia Shea. Click on each rule for elaboration.
Rule 1: Remember the Human
Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life
Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace
Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth
Rule 5: Make yourself look good online
Rule 6: Share expert knowledge
Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control
Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy
Rule 9: Don't abuse your power
Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baby Center
How can I get through baby showers?
Coed Baby Showers
Baby showers around the world
When can my baby go in the shower?
Baby shower party themes
Baby shower refreshments
Baby shower favors

Highlights Who should throw a baby shower?When should the shower be held?Who should be invited?What kind of invitations should I use?When should I send them?
Who should throw a baby shower?Anyone except the expectant couple — though Miss Manners might disagree. Formal etiquette says that someone who's not a relative must throw the shower to avoid having it look as though the family is asking for presents. Our advice? Ignore traditional rules. Any relative, close friend, or close co-worker should feel perfectly okay about planning a baby shower.
When should the shower be held?Most baby showers are held before the baby is born. Any time after conception is fine, but a shower makes for a welcome diversion toward the end of pregnancy. Besides, it just doesn't seem real if the expectant mom isn't sporting a big belly.When setting a date for the party, consult with the parents-to-be first. They may be able to warn you about scheduling conflicts. You may have to accommodate the schedules of grandparents, for example, even if they aren't the guests of honor. Nothing is worse than planning a party and sending out invitations (see below) only to find out that the most important people can't make it.If you decide to schedule a shower for after the baby is born, that's fine, too. Then guests can bring gifts specific to the baby's sex. And with a baby as the centerpiece, you'll have a surefire icebreaker and conversation topic.
Who should be invited?If you're hosting the shower, you may have some ideas about the guest list, but it's best to consult with the guest or guests of honor before finalizing your list. That way you avoid leaving out someone important or inviting someone the mom (or dad) would rather not include.What about hosting a shower for the expectant mom and dad? Although many baby showers still follow the "for women only" tradition, coed parties are growing in popularity. It all depends on what sort of gathering you're planning. If the shower is for a second or subsequent baby (these babies deserve a celebration, too!), the guest list is usually made up of close friends and family and anyone who was, for whatever reason, not invited to the first shower.Another party-planning consideration: Think long and hard before choosing to throw a surprise party. If your guest of honor doesn't like surprises, you may be putting her in an awkward position. Besides, if you let the future parents in on the arrangements, you can be confident that they'll be pleased with the outcome.
What kind of invitations should I use?In addition to including the basic who, what, where, when, and RSVP information on the invitation, it never hurts to spell out the theme of the shower inside. If the expectant parents are registered for baby gear anywhere, it's fine to mention that, too, but it may be easier (and even a bit more tasteful) to offer that information when guests call to respond.
When should I send them?Plan to send invitations out early enough to give the guests at least a few weeks' notice: This allows them enough time to work the shower into their schedules and shop for the perfect gift.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Perfect Baby Shower Etiquette
Baby shower etiquette is not written in stone. Anyone can host a baby shower! There are no specific set of do's and don'ts, but there are a few general rules of thumb.
Your baby shower is going to be a huge success! Just follow these few guidelines below.
Note: Baby shower etiquette is slightly dependent upon the culture and region where you live. Most of the baby shower concerns addressed below are appropriate for and apply to most cultures. However, if you are in doubt about a certain issue in your culture, ask friends or family for their recommendation.
Baby Shower Etiquette

What timeline does a typical Baby Shower party follow?This timeline is a suggestion and one possible order of events for a baby shower. Use this as an outline for yours and mix up the order and duration of the events, or add or remove events according to your preferences and needs.
• A baby shower typically lasts about 2 hours.• Guests arrive.• Greet them at the door.• Welcome Everyone there.• Recognize the guest of honor (the Soon-to-be-Mommy), and let her make any comments that she might like to make (warn her ahead of time).• Make introductions, or have each guest introduce themselves and how they know the expectant mother, or have the expectant mother introduce each guest, and how she knows each one.• Serve any snacks or appetizers and beverages you have.• Play 2-3 baby shower games. This helps the guests get to know each other and gets everyone into a "party" mood.• Serve any main dishes and/or desserts or baby shower cake.• Gather everyone around to watch the expectant mother open her gifts.• Ooh and Aah. :]• Chat, have fun, eat more, giggle and laugh as needed :] Guests often chat awhile after gifts are opened, and then gradually they will begin to leave.• As guests begin to leave, pass out your baby shower favors.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________Is it OK to have the Baby Shower after the baby is born?Of course! There are good reasons to hold the baby shower before birth, and there are good reasons to hold it after birth. If you hold the baby shower before the baby is born, it gives the expectant mother gifts that she will need before the baby arrives. It also gives her strength, support, and love that she will need as her due date draws near (it can be an unknown and scary time). If you hold the baby shower after birth, it gives the opportunity to friends and family to meet the baby and congratulate the mom and dad. Plus, guests can know for sure if they should get a girl or boy gift. So, what you should do if you are undecided is talk to the expectant mother and ask her when she would like to have the shower. After all, mommy knows best!
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________Is it OK if an expectant mother has more than 1 baby shower?You bet! Only you shouldn't plan more than 1 of them. It is becoming quite common for an expectant mother to have 2 baby showers or more. Her family will plan one and then she'll have one from her friends. Don't feel obligated to throw a 2nd shower if she is already having a 1st, but don't feel prohibited from throwing a baby shower for her if she is already having another! The most important thing is that the expectant mother feels loved and supported. A 2nd or 3rd baby shower might be just what the doctor ordered to help strengthen her. Many times, if a family is having a baby shower for an expectant mother, her friends feel like they couldn't interact and bond with the mommy-to-be as much as they wished. So friends and family often have separate baby showers. Which is a fun way to do it. If the expectant mother is having another baby shower, you might want to consider making yours a little more intimate baby shower by inviting only her closest friends and/or family. You could do a "scrapbooking" baby shower , or a "pamper mommy" baby shower , or any other cute and personal baby shower theme.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________What about a baby shower for an expectant mother who already has one or more children?Traditionally, a baby shower is given only for the 1st child. Most mothers have most of the essential baby items after the 1st baby (like a crib, stroller, child safety items, baby monitors, etc). But each child is special and unique, and so it is very common for an expectant mother to receive a baby shower for each child. And there is just something about a baby shower that makes having a baby more exciting and the mother feels strengthened and loved. Regardless of how many children a mother may have, pregnancy is hard and scary EACH TIME! A baby shower helps in many unspoken and unseen ways. Because a 2nd time mommy already has the "big" essentials, gifts of diapers, burp cloths, baby lotion, formula etc. are excellent. Also, gifts to pamper the expectant mother are wonderful and fun ideas.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________Should you have a baby shower for a mother who is adopting?Definitely! Adoption is a miracle for the expectant parents and they need to be honored, loved, and supported just as much as others. A baby shower is the perfect way to celebrate an adoption. Take care to be sensitive about the baby shower though, no references to pregnancy, 9 months, or other related issues, unless the expectant mother doesn't mind or brings it up herself. Also, be sure to host the baby shower only after the adoption is complete. Sometimes adoptions don't work out and it would be even more disappointing to have already held the baby shower. The first few weeks should be time for the new parents to spend some quality time with their new baby. So hold the shower after 4 weeks or so. Here are some helpful hints and ideas for an Adoption Baby Shower ...
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________Should you invite a guest who is having trouble having kids, or had a miscarriage?There are 2 sides to the issue. On one hand, you don't want to hurt any feelings by being all excited about babies, what to name the baby, and what cute outfits the baby will wear while a girl who can't have children is listening to everything. You don't want that to come across as rubbing salt into a very real and tender wound. But on the other hand, you don't want to hurt any feelings by NOT inviting her and excluding her from the fun. That is almost worse because she might interpret that as everyone perceiving that she has a problem. And by not inviting her, it may seem that you are trying to tippy-toe around her and having fun without her. It is best to be on the safe side and invite her. Then the decision is hers to decide if she would like to come or if it would be too hard for her.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________Are you thinking of hosting a surprise baby shower?If you know for positive that the expectant mother would enjoy a surprise baby shower, then it would be a lot of fun. If you think that she maybe or might like a surprise baby shower or if you aren't sure one way or another, then it is much better (and easier!) to not surprise her and host a normal baby shower. That way, you could include the expectant mother in all your decisions and questions about the baby shower. If you are going to have a surprise baby shower because you know the expectant mother would love it (there are some) then be sure to include someone close to her in your planning - maybe her husband, or mother, or sister. By including someone else, you will have someone that can help you know who all it invite, what she likes for colors, and themes, baby names, etc. Also, in your invitations include that it is a surprise baby shower and not to mention it to the expectant mother. Good Luck!
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________Should you invite only women, or should you invite the men too?It depends on the expectant mother. The baby shower is traditionally for her. But couples baby showers are fun too. So ask the mother-to-be what she prefers. Some may not feel as comfortable with other men there. OR she may like having her own husband there (who might enjoy the shower) and would enjoy having other couples there also. The expectant parents might be close friends with a several other couples, so a couples shower would be a lot of fun. Most baby showers have only the women there, but ask the expectant mother what she would enjoy the most.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________How do you begin planning a baby shower?Click here for excellent directions and suggestions on how to plan a baby shower .
Baby Shower Etiquette
Who should plan the Baby Shower?Basically anyone but the expectant mother. Traditionally, a friend (not a family member) plans the baby shower. However, more and more often, family members are planning and hosting baby showers for the expectant mother. Often, several women will co-plan and co-host the baby shower. This really helps share the cost, the work, the stress, and the Fun!
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________Who should pay for the Baby Shower?Usually, the hostess pays for the baby shower. This is a great reason to co-host the baby shower with another friend or family member of the expectant mother.
Baby Shower Etiquette
Who should you invite to the Baby Shower?It really depends on the group of people that you invite. If it is a close group of friends, you may only have 4-8 guests. Other groups of friends or family might have 15-20 guests. So it all depends. Just ask the expectant mother who she wants to invite.
Baby Shower Etiquette
When should you have the Baby Shower?Talk to the expectant mother and father about what day would be convenient for them. Usually a baby shower is 6 weeks before the delivery date. Holding the baby shower after the birth is becoming more frequent and is a fun time for the mother to do it as well. Weekends are usually easier for most people. Fathers are usually home to watch the children while the women can go to the shower. However, many people find that weekdays and nights are just as convenient. Most people can plan around the day you and the expectant parents decide on. Keep in mind people who may have to travel. Also, talk with the expectant mother and father about the most convenient time for the shower. Usually, any and all times on the weekends are good. Mid-day is usually preferred when planning a baby shower. Weekdays are also an option if no one works during the day. Week nights usually are a good time if some people work during the day. Husbands are usually home to be able to watch the kids in the evenings. Take into account any potential holidays, school schedules, kids' practices, doctor's appointments, etc.
Baby Shower Etiquette
How long should a Baby Shower last?Plan on the baby shower lasting about 2 hours. It's long enough to feel like you've gotten to know people and that you've bonded with the expectant mother. But it is not too long so that guests are all "partied" out. And usually the expectant mother is pretty tired after 2 hours of fun! Some guests might want to stay a little longer to talk, so plan on ending the baby shower at 2 hours and then let everyone leave as they want to.
Baby Shower Etiquette
Where should you have the Baby Shower?Most baby showers are held in the home of the hostess. They are more casual, more relaxed, and usually more intimate. However, it depends on what kind of feel you (and the expectant mother) want to have. A restaurant or a reception hall can give an elegant, pampered feel. But that usually costs quite a bit. Consider the number of people you are inviting, how much space you will need, parking, noise level (an apartment party might upset the neighbors). Do you want it outside or inside?
Baby Shower Etiquette
Should you have a theme for the Baby Shower?Having a theme is VERY helpful in planning a baby shower, because it helps make it easy to plan your invitations, decorations, favors, food, etc. It is usually best to consult with the soon-to-be mother about the theme. Choosing a theme will really get your creativity going! A great idea for a baby shower theme is to have the same theme as the baby's nursery. Click here to see some of the cutest Baby Shower Themes .
Baby Shower Etiquette
What should you know about Baby Shower invitations?Get them done early! Nothing is more stressful than mailing out the invitations late. Click here for excellent tips and examples of cute baby shower invitations . Consider the baby shower theme and incorporate it into the baby shower invitations. This is the first impression that your guests will have with the baby shower. So make it fun from the get-go with your invitations! Be sure to include the date, time, location, and directions to the Baby Shower party. Also include when and where to RSVP. You will want guests to respond no later than 2 weeks before the baby shower. Indicate how to contact you with their RSVP (i.e. by telephone, email, or mail). Also, include any instructions for participation in any of the baby shower games.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________How should you invite the guests?You can invite the guests to the baby shower in any number of ways. Your options are: (from least expensive to more expensive)
• Email• Phone Call• Free printable baby shower invitations • Make your own invitations• Printed invitations with blanks that you fill in with the baby shower party details• Printed, personalized invitations that have all the baby shower details printed on themTraditional baby shower etiquette is to send an invitation by mail, but that is not a requirement.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________What is a "Grandmother Baby Shower"?A Grandmother Baby Shower is a New Baby Shower trend, and a lot of fun for the expectant grandmother. It is basically like a normal baby shower, but it is held by friends of the expectant grandmother who want to celebrate the arrival of the 1st grandchild. Gifts may be items that a grandmother would need at her house to care for and entertain a new grandbaby. Grandmother Baby Showers are usually not as big a party as a normal baby shower, but they are a lot of fun for a brand new grandmother.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________What is a Baby Registry?A baby registry is a list of necessary and helpful items that an expectant mother (and expectant father) makes at a baby store. An expectant mother should register at a baby registry about 2-3 months before her delivery date. This helps friends and family know what an expectant mother needs for her new baby. A baby registry is kept on-file at the store, and has all of the items that the expectant parents will need for their new arrival. If someone else has already purchased an item on the store's list, the baby registry will indicate that as well.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________What Baby Shower decorations should you use?Click here for some great baby shower decoration ideas and tips. The theme you have chosen will decide what type of decorations you will have. If you have not chosen a theme and just want to do a general "baby" theme that is easy too! Think about how you want to decorate and decide what decorations you will need. Do you want a few simple and tasteful decorations? Or do you want to go all out and decorate with everything? Above all, remember that this is a party and the decorations create a fun atmosphere for the entire party.
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________What Baby Shower Games should you play?Here is an excellent selection of all types of baby shower games ...
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________How many Baby Shower Games should you have?There is no "required" number of baby shower games that need to be played. Some baby showers don't have any baby shower games at all. Others have 3 or 4. Any more than 4 baby shower games and most guests are "gamed out." At most baby showers, there are 2 to 3 games. Ask the expectant mother for her preference. Consider the guests who are coming. Would most of them prefer to chat the whole time? Or would it help enliven the baby shower by playing some fun baby shower games to get everyone involved?
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________What Baby Shower food should you serve?There is no baby shower etiquette rule that specifies what you should and should not serve. Consider the number of guests, time of day, the baby shower theme, your budget, any health considerations the guests may have (diabetes, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, etc) and whether you want to serve a complete meal or just appetizers, snacks, and beverages. Remember to always have more food than you think you will need. It's best to have too much than to run out halfway into the shower. Read all about planning a baby shower menu and food here...
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________Do you need to have baby shower favors for the guests?I have been to Baby Showers where there HAVE been baby shower favors and to others where there were NOT baby shower favors. Guests come to a baby shower to celebrate an expectant mother's new baby, not to receive a baby shower favor. SO, baby shower favors are certainly not a requirement, and in most cultures not expected. But they are a fun idea and they make guests feel appreciated that they came to the baby shower. If you are not sure as to whether or not to have baby shower favors, it is better to have them than to not have them. Shower favors can be something small and inexpensive. To be on the safe side, you could have something simple and sweet and inexpensive to give the guests before they leave to thank them for coming. Click here for excellent and creative baby shower favor ideas .
Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________Baby Shower etiquette is ever changing. What was once improper baby shower etiquette 15 years ago is now acceptable and even the norm sometimes. If you can't follow or don't want to follow some of the baby shower etiquette above, you will be just fine. Again, these aren't written rules. They are more of a guideline of what the "norm" is for baby showers.

Baby shower 101 was created for new moms, friends and family members who are going to throw the baby shower. I wanted to make a portal where everyone can go to get free content in helping make planning less stressful for everyone as well as add some creativity to the baby shower if needed. We also launched a new baby shower store for decorations, gifts and much more. You can see the online store by clicking here. A key fact to remember is that you are throwing this party for a good friend, sister, daughter, or family member and that being with good friends and family is the biggest value of the party. It does not have to be over the top (unless that is the way the mommy-to-be likes it to be :) Just make sure to have a good time with memorable things planned for the party since the biggest value during the baby shower is friendship, love, and excitement of a new little one joining the community of friends and family!
Please email us your ideas since we would love to hear your experiences and comments in making our site better! We've already had over 1000 mom's and friends of the mommy-to-be email us with their experiences which has added great information to the site for others who are planning a baby shower to benefit from. We do read all of our emails and hope to hear from you as well as give you some new great ideas that you can use at any baby shower you plan!
We are your place to find games and other information with the click of a mouse! Throughout this site my friends and I have researched and used our own experiences in creating an informative site about one of the happiest types of events. Whether you are throwing the baby shower or just helping, we hope our site gives you creative ideas and reduces the stress of planning the party!
After taking a look at our free baby shower ideas, also take a look at our sponsor who makes some adorable diaper cakes that can be used as baby shower centerpieces.
Our Baby Shower Information section gives you the history of baby showers as well as general information on basic expectations. We further go into everyone's role in throwing a shower in the Etiquette section. Furthermore, we help you plan an itinerary in our Planning section where you can copy off our checklist in getting ready for the party and a timetable of how long in advance to plan.
Our Games and Ideas sections give you many ideas in throwing a very memorable and fun baby shower! We cover the most popular games and themes as well as some new and creative ideas to add some excitement to the party!
Another important time to plan for the Mother-To-Be and her family is sending the baby shower invitations as well as what type of invitations to order and when to send out the thank you cards. We will help you with the planning process including help in choosing gifts. You can also visit our national baby shower retail directory for additional help. This can be a great help for the Mother and Father to be to get practical and helpful items that will make their lives easier in the months to come.
Be sure to visit and add to our new baby shower Bulletin Boards!
We hope you find this site helpful since when I was planning my baby shower, there was not a lot of places to get all types of ideas to make the planning stress free! We will keep adding to this site as much comprehensive and helpful information so you can find everything in one place! Planning should be fun and a stress-free time, especially for the mommy-to-be and her family.
We have included a links and resource page for you as well to make our site a great place to find everything you will ever need to know when planning a baby shower including games and ideas!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Golf Etiquette

This section provides guidelines on the manner in which the game of golf should be played. If they are followed, all players will gain maximum enjoyment from the game. The overriding principle is that consideration should be shown to others on the course at all times. The Spirit of the Game
Unlike many sports, golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be. This is the spirit of the game of golf.View Honesty & Integrity Animation

Golf Etiquette is about More than Just Manners
Etiquette is a word that's often heard in relation to golf, moreso than with any other sport. But it's not just about manners.
The rules of golf etiquette are what they are for several very important reasons: Many of them relate to the safety of golfers, many relate to pace of play (which helps keep the game enjoyable), and other rules of golf etiquette relate to maintaining the quality of the golf course.
In other words, golf etiquette is an essential part of the game. And it's something that newcomers to the game often learn as they go - on the course, when playing with more experienced golfers.
If you are new to the game, or just need to brush up on your golf etiquette, here are some basic rules of the road that will help keep the game enjoyable for you and those around you.
Keep It Safe• Do not swing your club until you know that others in your group are at a safe distance. Likewise, keep your distance when others are swinging. Be aware to steer clear of trouble.• When practicing your swing, never swing in the direction of another player. There may be pebbles or twigs or other matter in the grass that could fly up and injure a playing partner.• Do not hit the ball until you are certain that the group ahead of you is out of range.• If your ball appears headed toward another player or another group, give them a warning by yelling out, "Fore!"• Observe the safety suggestions posted in golf carts and drive carefully. Golf etiquette requires keeping your cart off the grass as much as possible.• Never throw clubs in anger. In addition to being rude and childish, it could also be dangerous.
Maintain a Good Pace• Keep the round moving by being prepared to hit your shot when it is your turn. You probably don't like waiting on other groups - don't make other groups wait on you.• The player who is away hits first in a group. However, in friendly matches (as opposed to tournament play), this rule can be ignored in favor of "ready play" - players hit as they are ready. All players should agree to "ready play" before it is put into effect.• Do not spend too much time looking for a lost ball, particularly if there is a group behind you ready to play. If you insist on taking the full five minutes alloted to look for lost balls, golf etiquette says wave up the group behind to allow them to play through.• Always try to keep pace with the group ahead of you. If space opens in front of you, allow a faster group to play through.• When two players in a cart hit to opposite sides of a hole, drive to first ball and drop off that player with his club, then drive to the second ball. After both players hit, meet up farther down the hole.• When walking from your cart to your ball, take a couple clubs with you. Taking only one club, then having to return to the cart to retrieve a different club, is a huge time-waster.• Always leave the putting green as soon as your group has finished putting.More Tips for Fighting Slow Play
Be Kind to the Course• Observe cart rules. Some courses will post "cart path only" signs; others will ask you to observe the "90-degree rule." Do as you are told.• Keep carts away from greens and hazards.• Repair all divots.• Repair all ball marks on the green.• Always rake sand traps after hitting to erase your footprints and damage to the area where your ball was.• Never take a divot on a practice swing.
And a Few More Golf Etiquette Hints• Quiet, please! Never talk during another player's swing.• Do not yell out following a shot. Even if boisterous behavior doesn't bother your playing partners, there are other people on the course who may be within earshot.• Be aware of your shadow on the putting green. Don't stand in a place that causes your shadow to be cast across another player or that player's putting line.• Never walk through a playing partner's putting line. Your footprints might alter the path of a partner's putt. Step over the putting line, or walk around (behind) the partner's ball.
Suggested Reading
Poll: How good is golf etiquette?Golf for Beginners
Related Articles
Ten Basics of Rules and Etiquette For Your First Round ...Equipment - Definition from the Rules of GolfGolf Etiquette - Statement on Etiquette from The Rules ...Forecaddie - Definition of ForecaddieTips for Fighting Slow Play on the Golf Course - How to...

Golf etiquette refers to a set of rules and practices designed to make the game of golf safer and more enjoyable for golfers and to minimize possible damage to golf equipment and courses. Although many of these practices are not part of the formal rules of golf, golfers are customarily expected to observe them.

1 Topics in golf etiquette
1.1 Fairway divots
1.2 Walking
1.3 Golf carts
1.4 Honors
1.5 Ball identification
1.6 Line of sight
1.7 Pitch marks on the green
1.8 Putting lines
1.9 Bunkers
1.10 Slow play
1.11 Tee box
1.12 Tee times
1.13 Silence
1.14 Attire
1.15 Close Putting
2 External links

Topics in golf etiquette

Fairway divots
Divots are part of the game, and should always be repaired to keep the game enjoyable for all those playing the course. A golfer should have buckets of sand used for repairing divots. A suggestion is that golfers should carry divot tools to help fit the new sand in. Regardless, golfers should fix any damage inflicted on the course.

Golf demands concentration, so noise should be minimized on the golf course. Golfers should not run during play, which can be annoying and distracting to other players and may cause damage to the course. Golfers should walk quickly but lightly during play.

Golf carts
Golf carts are a convenience, a luxury even, and should not be used to annoy or distract other players. The cart should be parked on the cart path when at the tee box or putting green. Carts should normally stay only on the paths, and are required to do so on many courses. When a golfer gets out to walk to the ball, they should take a few extra clubs along to save an extra trip should a different club be needed, thereby keeping the pace of play moving along.
Should carts be permitted off the paths, golfers should observe the "90 degree rule": make a 90 degree turn off the path towards the fairway to a given ball, and return straight back to the path, not along the path of greatest convenience. Carts inflict wear and tear on the course, and can be accidentally driven over another player's ball. Golfers should keep the noise of backing up to a minimum and must always set the brake when leaving the cart.
Moderate speed should be maintained when driving a golf cart. Experienced drivers are the best choice to drive a cart first; more inexperienced drivers should observe before attempting to drive. Drivers should remain alert for other people or structures, and should observe signs or lines indicating areas that are not to be crossed by a golf cart.

The player with the best score on the previous hole has the honour of teeing off first. Playing out of turn is considered ill-mannered and runs counter to the spirit and history of the game.
If there is no outright winner of a hole, then the order of play does not change from the previous tee.
In informal games one can play ready golf and not wait for the best score on the hole to tee it up first. Also to speed up play drop off your partner when riding in a cart then go to your ball.

Ball identification
A golfer should always know which brand of ball they are using to avoid confusion during play. It can also help to mark or otherwise distinguish the ball, so a golfer can identify it more easily without having to pick it up. Not only does this save time and help avoid penalties, it also helps to demonstrate organizational skills and seriousness about the game.

Line of sight
In the tee box, other players should stand alongside the person playing, safely out of the way and not behind the player getting ready to swing. Golfers should never take practice swings when other people are nearby, to avoid hitting other persons with the club or with flying rocks and grass. Golfers should accept bad shots calmly, in practice or actual play, and should avoid inappropriate language or the throwing of golf clubs.
While another golfer is playing, playing partners should not select a club or replace one in the bag, cough, sneeze, or make other noise and distractions. Even small movements are frowned upon, as they might be seen in the player's peripheral vision. Should the player about to play the ball ask his partners to move, the request should be honored. In fact, the USGA recommends: "Players should not stand close to or directly behind the ball, or directly behind the hole, when a player is addressing the ball or making a stroke."
When getting ready to swing, a golfer should make sure that no one is behind them, or in the path of the swing. A golfer should remember to pick up the tee after a drive.

Pitch marks on the green
A ball hitting the green often leaves an indentation, a pitch mark, where it strikes the ground. These need to be repaired to keep the green in good condition. After golfers have arrived at the green, they should make a point to find pitch marks and repair them. The process is simple, fast, and painless.
The golfer should insert a turf tool into the ground on the high side of the pitch mark, then press the tool forward to push the soil back into place, not backward. A backward motion pulls the roots loose and further destroys the grass. If needed, the process should be repeated on the other side of the mark, redistributing the soil evenly. The golfer should finish by gently tapping the spot with the putter.
To help speed up play always be ready to hit your shot. It doesn't matter who hits first safety is the only concern don't hit directly in front of someone else.

Putting lines
On the green a golfer should be aware of many things. One of them is the putting line of each player. Every ball is connected to the cup by an imaginary line, the path the ball will (hopefully) travel into the cup. Walking, standing, or stepping on these lines creates footprints that can deflect the ball off its path toward the cup. Golfers should note each player's putting line, and avoid stepping on it as they play on the green. The through-line is the extension of the line beyond the hole. It is also considered good form to avoid stepping on another player's through-line since if the player misses their putt they will have to putt back along that line. A golfer should walk around the lines or step over them.
A second but related concern involves the hole itself. A golfer should avoid stepping within at least a one-foot radius of the hole. Golf instructor Dave Pelz, among others, has described a "doughnut effect" around the hole caused by players’ footsteps pressing down the ground around the cup, especially when a player goes to retrieve a ball. While subtle, these footsteps interfere with the path of the ball and can cause missed putts.
Thirdly, one should not stand on a line of sight, that is, in the line of sight either ahead or behind a player who is attempting to putt. Standing in this position puts you in the peripheral vision of your playing partner and for some this is very distracting. If you notice that you are standing in one of these positions you can discretely and quietly move to one side.

According to the rules of golf, a player is not allowed to "ground" the club in any type of hazard. This means that a player getting ready for a shot cannot allow the club to touch the ground, sand, water, or anything else during a practice swing. A player is allowed to thrash as much sand, water, etc., as necessary during the actual shot.
A player should always enter and leave a bunker from the low side. After the shot, a player should rake the sand smooth again to leave a fresh surface for other players. Normally, the rake should be replaced alongside the bunker, not inside it.
An important rule is that loose impediments inside hazards cannot be touched or removed. Sticks, grass, leaves and the like must remain. Rakes are also considered a loose impediment, which is why it is important to place them outside the bunker after use. Trash and other debris such as cigarette butts or beer cans, can be removed and discarded. Should the ball have landed in casual water within a bunker, a player is permitted to move the ball to a dry area of the bunker, provided it is not moved closer to the hole.
A golfer should always be aware of their pace of play. In informal play, if a golfer has attempted two or three times to get the ball out of the sand and failed, they should surrender to the hazard. The golfer should pick up the ball and drop it outside the bunker for further play. While not allowed under tournament conditions, this will help move the game along in informal play.

Slow play
Slow play is a critical problem with the game of golf, and has little to do with skill level, age, gender, or experience. From the first drive to the last hole, each player should be ready to play when it is their turn. Normally, the player furthest from the hole (being "away") plays first, and continues until another player becomes "away." While this is a good tradition to follow, golfers may play out of turn if their playing partners agree that it will speed up the pace of play. A golfer should avoid taking unreasonable time over their swing, which might well produce a bad shot.
Golfers should try to follow closely the group ahead of them, and not to be "pushed" by the group behind them. One rule of thumb is that golfers should have to wait on the group in front of them to hole out as they are teeing up. Otherwise, their pace of play may be too slow.
A golfer should not waste time after a poor shot before hitting the next one. Although professional golfers often seem to take long amounts of time before each shot during televised tournaments, they have their careers on the line. And even the professionals are subject to penalties for extremely slow play. A quicker pace of play makes the game more enjoyable for all golfers.

Tee box
A golfer should choose the correct tee for their skill level, regardless of where the other members of the group are playing. The different tee lengths are one way to help even the playing field. A golfer should tee the ball between the two markers for their given distance. The ball must be even with or behind the markers. Should a golfer swing and miss, it counts as one stroke. Should a golfer knock the ball off the tee during a practice swing, they are allowed to re-tee the ball without incurring a penalty.
Even in informal play, a "mulligan" is not automatic. If a golfer wishes to take one, they should ask permission and not waste time about it. A mulligan is technically not part of the game and goes against the very essence of the game.

Tee times
Golfers should call ahead for tee times, especially on weekends or holidays, when many other golfers may be playing. Golfers are advised to come at least 45 minutes before their assigned time. If golfers are unable to play at the assigned time, they should inform the staff at the golf course.

Golf requires concentration, so silence is recommended on the golf course during actual play. Speaking among golfers should be conducted in as low a tone of voice as possible. Golfers should refrain from talking to other players when they are about to hit the ball. Cell phones should not be used on the course. A loud tone of voice is recommended only to warn people of imminent danger, such as an errant golf shot.

Some golf courses mandate policies regarding attire, so golfers are recommended to inquire about clothing rules. The usual golfing attire for men are slacks, a collared shirt, and golf shoes. For women, a golfing outfit usually consists of a knee-length skirt, a collared shirt, and golf shoes. Many golfers also wear golf hats, which differ depending on players' needs and preferences.

Close Putting
If a person has successfully putted a shot within a foot or two of the hole, it is often proper etiquette to assume they would make it on their next shot and say that they can pass the shot and add one hit to their score in compromise for the last shot. If the shooter asks for a pass and it is refused, this can add stress to them and cause worse playing.