Technology is a wonderful tool that has innovated the way we communicate, whether it is internally within your business or externally to your clients and customers. While it is much easier to reach out to someone now than it was ten years ago, business communication etiquette is still important to know.
Business Communication Etiquette is Still Relevant Today
What is business communication etiquette?
How you communicate with others reflects yourself and your business, and your etiquette reflects the way you conduct business. Communication can help develop your relationship with current clients and potential clients, but can also help develop your business relationships internally as well. Always communicate politely and respectfully no matter what method of communication you are utilizing.
A few things to consider when communicating with others:
- Timing: What is the urgency of the matter? Would it be more beneficial to call the person rather than send an email?
- Confidentiality: What is purpose of the message? Does the message contain sensitive information? If so, what would be an appropriate method of communication? How can you ensure the message remains confidential?
- Content: Ensure you are providing any necessary information the other person may need. How much information are you delivering? Be sure to provide what you need, and not much more.
Different Methods of Business Communication
- Phone: Communicating over the phone allows for more information and details to be exchanged quickly in a short amount of time. However, talking on the phone lacks documentation. When answering a call, briefly and politely introduce yourself. When placing the person on hold or transferring them, let them know what is happening and why. While ending a call be sure to thank them for their time, and address what the next steps are (if there are any). Ensure there is a professional voice mail greeting in the event someone is unable to reach somebody. Lastly, when leaving a voicemail, be sure include necessary contact information in the event they need to contact you. Also considering following up the phone call with an email as well.
- Email: When emailing, your subject line should short and direct. A good practice for emailing is communicating as if your message is on company letterhead. Address recipients formally and begin a new thread if you are starting a new conversation about another topic. Be sure to always proof-read your emails and include greetings and sign-offs. Your signature should be limited to 5-6 lines. Be sure to discuss only what is relevant to the topic.
- In Person: When meeting in person, being punctual and prepared is respectful. Dress appropriately for the occasion. Be sure to introduce yourself as well as anyone new whom may be attending. Show interest in the conversation and that your body language and actions reflect your interest as well. It is never a bad idea to take notes on what is being discussed. When ending an in-person meeting/discussion, ensure that they have your contact information and thank them for their time and efforts, as well as what the next steps are if applicable.