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NOW HEAR THIS!?!? Thoughts on Written and Verbal Business Communication

Hi!!! And welcome 2 another blog from De Novo HRC!!

Was that opening a little unexpected coming from a professional? Today there are more ways than ever to communicate. Email, texting, direct messages, video calls (and even blogs)…the list seems endless. We use so many of these in both our professional and personal lives, do you feel sometimes the lines get blurred? Should you really respond to an email or text message from a supervisor, colleague, or client the same way you would respond to a friend? While business communication is not as formal as in years past, an effort should be made to adhere to some basic rules and etiquette.

Email, Texting, and Other Written Communication:

  • Spelling still counts: While autocorrect has taken away some of the burden of this, it’s still advisable to proofread as automated spell and grammar checks don’t catch everything. For example, it may not catch the difference between it’s and its; two, too, and to; your and you’re.

  • Be conscious of punctuation: Yes, it’s okay to show excitement with an exclamation point; however, it is unnecessary to use more than one. When writing a more formal piece of communication, remember to use a colon rather than a comma. i.e.: Dear Ms. Jones: not Dear Ms. Jones. And it is not necessary to indent paragraphs, double space will do.

  • DON’T YELL: Do not use all caps, it’s yelling. Large type can be interpreted as yelling as well.

  • Speaking of Fonts: Use a neutral font, Comic Sans might be fun for invitations and parties, but let’s stop using it in business.

Video Conferencing:

  • Prepare your space: Clear your desk, make sure there is nothing distracting visually around you. Remember to close out any programs or applications you may be using on your phone or computer. Especially those that may reveal professional or personal information that should remain confidential.

  • Prepare yourself: Be sure your video conferencing app is working ahead of time. Also, if you need to connect with someone via Skype or Zoom, be sure you’ve shared your contact information ahead of time.

  • When speaking: Look directly at the camera. It is tempting to see what we look like as we speak, but looking at the camera will give the appearance of eye contact while looking at the screen makes it appear that you are looking down. Also, keep body movements to a minimum; they are not as noticeable in person but can be very distracting over video.

On the Phone:

  • Can You Hear Me Now? Be conscious of the volume of your speaking voice. Not only for the person on the other end of the phone, but also for those who may be affected around you by a loud conversation.

  • Am I On Speaker? It is advisable to let a person know when you have them on speaker phone, especially if there are other people within earshot of the conversation. If someone is in the room, it is courteous to let them know who is listening.

  • Hold On, I Just Need to Answer This Text: There are few people who conduct business who don’t have a cell phone, and usually those cell phones are with us at all times. If you are meeting with others in person, be considerate and put your ringer and notifications on silent or off. Also, be respectful of other people’s time and refrain from checking your phone or leaving it on the table.

Etiquette is defined as the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group. While this blog was intended to be tongue in cheek, there is an importance to maintaining a certain level of business etiquette. It lets us know what to expect in our business dealings and is courteous and respectful to those around us.

Check out our other blog about business etiquette in our digital age:

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