Workplace Communication Etiquette

by Neil Kokemuller ; Updated September 26, 2017
Technology often hinders communication etiquette rather than enhancing it.

Workplace communication etiquette involves commonly accepted norms and behaviors used while communicating with others in the workplace. Some aspects of workplace etiquette relate to basic standards of appropriateness when communicating with others. Increased reliance on technology for communication has contributed to heightened expectations for workplace etiquette through certain communication tools.

General Purpose

Norms of etiquette are intended to serve as a guideline for behaviors that are generally acceptable and expected in certain environments. By adhering to basic etiquette, you help make those around you comfortable. Workplace etiquette improves your working relationships. Workplace communication includes a number of basic norms about appropriate ways to communicate with superiors, colleagues and subordinates. It also offers some standards for effective communication through certain communication devices.

Common Etiquette Tips

A key point to understand about communication etiquette is that much of the message impact with communication takes place through nonverbal gestures and vocal tone. Certainly, what you say or put in writing has impacts others; however, the website A to Z of Manners & Etiquette points out that the way you dress and your hygiene convey messages open to interpretation by others. Regarding specific things to say -- or not -- simple polite manners like saying "please" and "thank you" go a long way. Avoid sexist, racist or otherwise discriminatory comments about others. Do not interrupt others. Apologize for misstatements or wrongdoings.

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Telephone Etiquette

Telephone etiquette includes a basic consideration for the fact that the other person cannot see you. You have to exercise patience and listen before attempting to speak. While you inherently cannot see the other person, your tone of voice and energy transcend the phone line. Colleagues often do spend a lot of time on the phone in organizations with big buildings or campuslike facilities. People that work together must often show the same commitment to service with internal customers as they do with external customers of the company.

Email Etiquette

Email is another common communication tool used within companies. Unfortunately, colleagues often neglect basic standards of written communication and get too informal in interoffice emails. Do not write emails when you are angry, as you may regret the message the next day. Use appropriate grammar, sentence structure and punctuation. The reader appreciates it. Make concise points, as people at work may have limited time to read emails. Reply to others promptly to show consideration for their initiative on communication.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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