Workplace Communication Etiquette: 6 Rules To Communicate Effectively
Who this micro-class is for
* Employees, managers, and professionals
What you’ll learn
* How to effectively communicate in the workplace
* The appropriate tone, language, content, and channels
* Less than 8 minutes to complete
About this micro-class
Effective communication is essential for success in any organization. The key elements of workplace communication etiquette, including tone, language, content, channels, and timing, help us communicate with clarity, professionalism, and consideration.
1. General principles of workplace communication
The importance of communication etiquette
Effective communication fosters a positive work environment.
- Communication improves teamwork and collaboration.
- Proper etiquette reflects professionalism and respect.
Communication in the workplace must be strategic
Workplace communication is meant to achieve a goal, such as asking for an action from a coworker or clarifying an issue with a partner.
Always adapt the content, the form, and the channel of communication to our goal. Make your goals clear to your audience.
Understand your audience
Adapt your communication style, content, and channel to your audience. For example, communicating with clients may require a more formal tone, while an informal style may be more effective with coworkers.
Several factors can influence the most effective way to communicate, such as the company’s culture or industry practices.
When in doubt, observe how others communicate and mirror their style.
2. Tone and demeanor
Positive and respectful tone
Use a friendly and professional tone.
Avoid negative or confrontational language.
Be polite and considerate in all interactions.
Pay attention to others.
Show empathy and understanding.
Avoid interrupting or dismissing ideas.
Maintain eye contact in face-to-face meetings.
Be mindful of body language and facial expressions. Manage your professional presence and respect the appropriate dress code.
Apply good judgement when using emoticons in written communication.
3. Language and word choice
Clarity and conciseness
Use clear and simple language. Avoid complex words or long and complex sentences.
Avoid jargon and acronyms that others may not understand.
Be concise and to the point.
Avoiding offensive language
Refrain from using discriminatory, offensive, or inappropriate language.
Be aware of cultural sensitivities and potential biases.
Proofreading and editing
Review written communication for spelling and grammar errors. When writing an email or letter, double-check the spelling of the recipient’s name.
Check for typos to maintain professionalism.
4. Content relevance and clarity
Purpose of communication
Clearly state the purpose of your message. Ensure that your audience understands your goal.
Ensure that your message aligns with your objectives.
Try to anticipate how your audience will react to your message. Adjust your content or style accordingly.
Use a logical structure for emails and documents. Think about the best logical order to explain your content to your audience.
Highlight the key points and action items.
Don’t overwhelm the recipient with unnecessary details. Keep it short and to the point.
Prioritize information based on importance.
5. Appropriate communication channels
Choosing the right channel
Consider the message and its audience when selecting a channel.
Use email for formal documentation or request, instant messaging for quick queries, and face-to-face meetings for important or personal discussions.
Use group chats for quick updates and discussions.
Respect group chat norms and be mindful of excessive notifications.
6. Timing and responsiveness
Respond to messages and emails within a reasonable timeframe. It is best to respond to direct messages within 1 or 2 hours, and to emails within 24 hours.
Set clear expectations for response times within your team.
Managing urgent vs. non-urgent communication
Use “urgent” or similar labels sparingly.
Respect others’ time and prioritize urgent matters.
Professional out-of-office messages
Use informative and polite out-of-office messages when you’re away.
Workplace communication etiquette worst mistakes
Avoid the most common workplace communication mistakes.
- Pay full attention when someone is talking.
- Moderate the volume of your voice at any time.
- Don’t interrupt others.
- Don’t antagonize and avoid confrontation.
- Avoid negative remarks and derogatory comments.