Proper communication at workplace is crucial aspect. Businesses thrive and prosper with proper communication internally among employees and externally with customers or clients. Constant and active communication creates understanding among individuals and strengthens work relationships.
As modern technology starts to dominate the manner of communicating in the workplace, interaction has become more sophisticated and becomes broader in coverage. At any rate though, working individuals should demonstrate proper etiquette in communicating regardless of the means or medium used to communicate.
Determining the Right Tone for your Email Message
Email messaging is the most commonly used medium of communication in almost all kinds of businesses. Although email can be generally informal, it is important to set the right tone for your reader. Before composing your email, consider who the recipient is. Are you addressing the email to your boss or anyone in the higher management, your fellow colleagues, or to business clients?
In order to use the right tone for the recipient, imagine how it is when you are in a face-to-face conversation with the person. The way you talk to your teammate is probably not the same way you talk to a customer or your manager. With this, you can determine the right tone and level of formality for your email.
The way you “speak” to your reader in an email reflects on the level of courtesy and professionalism you manifest through the choice of words and level of language used. An email correspondence in the workplace can vary from formal to conversational to friendly.
In setting a formal tone, the email must start with “Dear” or similar salutations and the name of the person with the appropriate title. The language to be used must be formal and respectful. Avoid the use of contractions in your sentences. Make use of a complimentary close such as “Sincerely” and “Yours truly”, then indicate your signature containing your name, job title, company name, and contact details.
An email message that is conversational starts with an informal greeting like “Hi” or “Hello” then the name of the recipient. The tone can be friendly but professional. Some contractions are fine like “I’m” for “I am”. A brief and friendly closing indicating first name in the signature will do.
A casual and friendly email that we usually address to fellow work mates is similar to that of sending emails to friends. You may use jargons and slang but these words should not be considered professional, and therefore, not used when emailing a person who is regarded with much importance. In closing it, first name basis will be fine.
General Etiquette in Telephone Communication
Even though email is the most common form of communication in the workplace, the telephone can still be more effective when the need to relay a message is urgent and requires instant response. The telephone at these modern times does not just limit to landline phones but encompasses mobile phones as well.
Ideally, the number of rings in an office telephone must be limited to two. Cellular phones must be kept in a silent mode or vibration mode when inside the office. When you promised a callback, never miss to do so. Return phone calls to people who left important messages in your voicemail.
Online Chat Etiquette
Workplace conversations are now done online, too. Online chats are used by most companies to allow the employees to easily nudge each other for a quick question that does not really need to be talked about over the phone or through email. Sometimes, conferences or quick departmental meetings are done through instant messaging. However, this method of communication is not suitable when talking to customers.
Always assume that the people in your messenger list do not just stare at the IM and wait for someone to start a chat with them. They have more important things to do at work. So, be patient enough in waiting for a reply. If the reply is urgent, nudge or buzz the person but do it only once. The responses must be brief and concise and the exchange of replies must be alternate instead of sending a message in bulk. You might just want to do that through email or call the person instead if you have a lot to say to your colleague. Just as you start with a casual and friendly greeting in your chat, end the conversation with a quick goodbye and pleasantries as well.