When I place a call (yes, young ones, phone calls still exist) to set up an interview, make an appointment or check on a story, I strive to make a good first impression. That all starts with a “Hello.”

I hate to break this to you, but salutations and closings are not only necessary for phone calls and in-person chats, but are also a fantastic idea for email (the caveat for this is if you’re having quick back-and-forth emails with someone, you can leave off a traditional “Hello Sandy,” but a “Thank you,” “Sincerely” or even “Thanks” can make all the difference).

The more I feel like a grown up, the more important this type of nicety becomes to me.

In addition, the clearer you speak, the more professional you sound. For instance, the “likes,” “ums” and “uhs,” and even the “awesomes” and “lols” can keep others from taking you seriously – whether you realize you’re saying them or not.

Here’s a trick: Record yourself talking on the phone for a day and play it back once you’re home. I promise, you’ll be amazed at what you said versus what you think you were saying.

Another trick: Use voice recording for your text messages. If Siri can’t figure out what you’re saying, chances are those you’re speaking with cannot either.

Most of the above may seem directed at those under 30, but they aren’t the only ones who could use some vocal and email etiquette. So quickly: 1) Not all text needs to be in bolded font; 2) though exclamation points in speech are very useful, more than two in an email is overkill; 3) check the font size of your email – you can always zoom in if you have trouble reading, but the recipient cannot zoom out as far; 4) all-caps is yelling, so just don’t; and 5) please, no email full of colors – if you want to make your signature a color then OK, but just leave the color to your desk or personal stationery.

As conversations turn more digital, niceties are even more important because you cannot rely on tone of voice. So take a moment to say “hello,” “please” and all of the words your parents taught you when you were little, no matter what your age.