Speech Etiquette

People working whether in a small non-profit organization, a well established company, or someplace in between no matter where they work, there are some mandatory work-place manners that they need to follow. The etiquette includes carrying a proper conduct be it in dressing; eating and drinking ; interacting with colleagues subordinates, seniors and clients; at a meeting or at a social gathering. There is also a proper etiquette to be followed when speaking.

In a professional environment, one needs to be sensitive to others when he is speaking on a phone, or in a face-to-face conversation. He needs to pay attention to his voice and tone.

Here are some suggestions from senior executive of leading organizations regarding how one should speak during various scenarios:

Interacting at work:

Keep voice down while talking to colleagues; take care not to disturb others.
Don’t barge into someone’s office, disrupt a meeting, or interrupt a work conversation.

Do not talk with a raised voice when at work, no matter how bad is the work situation is.

Respect others’ time. The proper way to start a conversation is to make a request for taking his time. Don’t start discussing a problem without preamble or a short synopsis, after ascertaining that the listener has time to hear you out.

Keep personal conservations on telephone to a bare minimum. Nothing irritates a colleague or a client more than being kept waiting while the caller finishes the social conservation.

Don’t start making a personal or social phone call when someone is present even the call is terribly important.
Shout for clarifications to a colleague across the office is bad manners and it will only invite awkward stares and ire.

For and in a meeting:

Be on time. If you are the facilitator, start on time and end on time. Pay proper attention even if the meeting is pointless and boring. The participant in the meeting must not do thinks like sending messages, read mail or catch up on work when the meeting is in progress and the subject of discussion is not pertaining to his area. By paying attention he may come up with some good suggestion. Keep up with the conversation in the meeting.

As a participant one is expected to follow the agenda created or planned for the meeting. Be polite. Talk softly. Aggressive and loud talk often puts off the other person. Listen completely to what the other person has to say, before speaking and don’t interrupt, to prove your point. Aim to be a good listener as well as a good speaker.

The meetings must not be turned into screaming contests particularly when people of different or disagreeing nature of opinions are present. A loud voice, should be kept low and do not unnecessary dominate the proceedings simply because of position and voice. Even as the chairperson of the meeting it is appropriate to speak whenever required and during conclusion.

Putting forth a new idea or expressing difference of opinion with someone, try and start politely with something like “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that …” without making loud noises.

At a social meet smile and try to be pleasant to others in the office, especially to clients. Greet people with a pleasant “Good morning / good evening, hello or how are you?”

All of us often face frustration at work. Being frustrated, stressed out or irritated does not give the right to swear, curse or use bad language at work. It speaks badly of one’s upbringing and character, and not everyone will tolerate bad language with equal patience. One should restrain his ‘letting off steam bad language’ at work place. If one cannot contain his negative emotions he can unwind the same after work hours at a bar or suitable such place.

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