Remember as a child when you were scolded by your parents for not following proper table manners? They were part of behavioral standards that were expected and respected.
In the past few years, I've noticed a dramatic decent of proper behavior ethics in business communication happening across the board. Not only does it bother me, it also impedes on the basic principles of "good" business and shows downright lack of respect.
Business communication ethics are always important in any official setting. Being able to communicate effectively helps to build very strong relationships within the workplace.
Truth is, not many people apply good business communication ethics. To thrive in the workplace as well as in life in general, there are some etiquettes to master.
1. Phone Etiquette
Knowing how to speak on the phone is a great skill. Tone matters a lot in conversations. Let's remember that on the phone, our true emotions could be misconstrued from the tone of our voice. We should be able to maintain a well-balanced tone (not too low or not too loud).
Where we are a bit unsure if we are coming across appropriately, we can ask the other party questions like “Am I getting across to you fine?” or “Would you like me to go over it one more time?” or “Will you prefer I go slower?”
Questions like this will clear the air on your true well-meant intentions, and make it easy for the other party to feel a lot more comfortable talking with you.
2. Answering Messages On Time
One great business communication ethic to cultivate in the workplace is to return messages, e-mails, and missed calls on time. Not responding to messages on time shows lack or respect and poor etiquette. Whenever you get a message or call in your absence, endeavor to return the message as fast as possible. When we do not have a definite response to such messages, we should nonetheless acknowledge receipt of the message whilst indicating that they will get a response within the shortest possible time. But please, please, answer!
3. Always Come To Meetings Prepared
We must learn to develop a habit of researching whatever it is we hope to present in every meeting. This does not only help to be better equip us for a presentation but also instills in us a spirit of responsibility and independence. When we learn to research beforehand, we become in full control of the situation, and that will be the first step of the journey to acing our public presentation. Ill preparation shows poor judgment and can cost us a business deal.
4. Give Your Full Attention
When interacting with a colleague or having an in-depth conversation with a business partner, we must give our full undivided attention. Never be in the habit of fiddling with our phone. This indicates that we are either not paying full attention or a loss of interest in the conversation. Either way, we come off as disrespectful to the other party. Whenever we are in a meeting or having a serious conversation within a business environment, we should make it a habit to always keep our phone in our pocket or purse. Better still, we could switch it off, to avoid the temptation of checking it whenever a message comes in.
5. Handshake, Gestures, and Body Language
Handshakes and gestures are great communication ethics that everyone striving to be a good business leader or professional should learn. A firm handshake with a slight pat on the shoulder of the person we are shaking shows a healthy dose of confidence while displaying friendship and goodwill.
Also never refrain from using gestures when making your point. Good use of gestures does not only let us communicate better; they also make us appear intelligent and confident. They equally give us a certain level of class.
The key to communicating with good body language, especially when making presentations is to first believe in what we are speaking about. We must carry ourself in such a way that displays a firm conviction on the subject. An audience can immediately perceive poor confidence, and when this happens, the credibility of our presentation will automatically be in question.
6. Reduce or Eliminate Slang
Slang is known to ease up tension and add flavor to any business setting. While incorporating slang and humor into our business communication is a good thing; we should try making it as brief and spontaneous as possible. This shows wittiness in our conversation skills and makes everyone in the room feel more relaxed. But note that this should not be done at almost every interjection. Learning to keep slang and humor to a bare minimum maintains seriousness and credibility in our conversations.
Let's all make an effort to return emails, phone calls, texts, Slack messages or any other tools used nowadays on time. It not only shows that you are organized, it also shows RESPECT, and without respect, there's really nothing worth spending time on...
To your success always,