Communication etiquette at work

The changing dynamics of the corporate world have made stiff collar and formal attitude a passé. However compromising on basic communication etiquette will bring you disrepute.

Most of us would identify the cases cited below. Communication etiquette at work whether on phone chat or e-mail, should always be dealt with gravity. No matter how lenient an organization is or how open the company’s culture is, flouting etiquette is definitely not permissible. Here’s a closer look at the different ways if using medium of communications effectively and appropriately:

While mobile have proved to be boon for busy people on the move, they can be highly infuriating and disruptive if not used appropriately. You should be aware of the protocol while you use it.

* Speak softly and avoid disturbing your co-workers. If possible walk out of the work area before you attend the call.
* If you are in a meeting either switch off your mobile or put it on the silent mode. Avoid answering calls or responding to text messages. If it is absolutely necessary to do so, be courteous and explain the situation before excusing yourself from the room.
* If you are with colleagues or clients inform the caller about the same as s/he may prefer a more private set up.

E-mail etiquette is important because they are vehicles of communication that convey the image of the company. Consider the following points while you draft a mail:

* Always use a signature line with contact details
* Try to keep sentences to a maximum of 15-20 words.
* Large attachments should be avoided as they tend to clog servers
* Avoid using emotions and cyber space abbreviations in business mails as they could be interpreted as lack of professionals as lack of professionalism and not everyone may understand what they mean.
* Maintain templates for frequently sent mails.
* Add disclaimers it helps to protect the company from liability.

Any organization encourage instant messaging (IM) and other live chat software within and outside the organizations as this helps them cut down on costs. However, just like any other firm of communication, IM also has best practice guidelines. We list down some of them:

* During an official conversation always introduce yourself with your name if your screen name doesn’t reflect it. Commence a conversation as you would in a formal telephone call.
* In a business environment most people do not want to chat just for the sake of it. Before you try to get their attention ensure you know exactly what needs to be discussed.
* There is nothing worse than receiving a 1,000 word message in a chat window. Remember you don’t know what’s happening on the other end nor the other person’s reading abilities or attention span.
* Jargons and abbreviation are best avoided when you need clarity in communication. In fact in business conversations steer clear of jokes unless the other party initiates them, but always exercise restraint.
* Always remember it mute your computers before proceeding on a long chat.
* Instant messaging and live chat applications are not very secure by default. If you need to relay or receive confidential information help file for that features.

Having a formal approach and displaying thorough professionalism at work is a must if you want to ascend the corporate ladder. Learning the tricks of this trade is not easy, but some head way can be made if one is consistent and always ready to learn.

Case 1
SJ who works in the operations department of a private bank, receives many phone calls. To the disgust of many of his colleagues he is unabashed about loud ring tone and even louder banter over it.

Case 2
RV a creative designer is on chat throughout the day. Every time a new message pops up, his computer makes an alert sound that irritates his neighbor, who now plugs in his earphones and listens to music just to avoid the distraction.