Maintaining etiquette across various communication channels

Before I start elaborating on the manners that we must stick to while using various communication channels, we need to understand how to pick the most effective communication channel to deliver your message to its intended audience.

  • Is it OK to send a text to your manager?
  • When addressing a quick question, should you email or drop a direct message?
  • Calling a colleague on the mobile for professional reasons, is appropriate or not?

These and many such questions make it overwhelming for us to decide which channel to choose for workplace communication. Fortunately, I have jotted down a few steps which can help you;

Choosing the most effective Communication channel at work:

Step 1 – Establish what kind of message is being sent.
Is your message formal or informal; Is this information time-sensitive or require urgent revert; Are you referring somebody specifically or it’s general; Is it a two-way communication (requires response) etc.
Once you are able to recognize what kind of matter it is, you can pick the most relevant channel to get your word across.

Step 2 – Identify your audience.
In-person meetings are preferred when sharing some sensitive information or getting to know a new employee in a one-to-one session. However, for the large groups and team meetings – video conference apps are favored. Pre-recorded videos and messages can also be sent if the time management is an issue due to teams working remotely.

Step 3 – Company’s culture.
How your organization makes decisions is one of the steps you need to keep into consideration while choosing a communication Channel. If your peers prefer immediate delivery of information, then direct call would be more comfortable than requesting in a message.

Step 4 – Use diversified communication techniques.
People you work with are diverse, they come various backgrounds, So the way you communicate with them should also be diverse. While one may be comfortable communicating only through written means, other might like audio call more. Always experiment with the way you connect with the other person(s).

Now, Let’s acknowledge the code of conduct in these Communication channels:

  1. When communicating in person,
two person in communication
  • Listen, listen, listen and make notes.
  • If you expect your conversation to take more than a couple of minutes, consider scheduling a meeting ahead of time to give the next person time to adjust their meetings accordingly.

2. When communicating via phone,

  • At first, avoid. Try using Instant messaging applications (e.g. Slack) to send your word across. If there is urgency, try dropping a message on Mobile phone apps. If you require swift revert, only then call directly.
  • Also, how your relationship with the next person is, will decide whether you may or may not call every now and then.
  • Do not keep calling for every small query, try covering most of the work initially, then, gather all your doubts and ask for availability of the next person. If they say yes, you are good to go.

3. When video calling,

  • Communication etiquette in a video conference should be as you’d expect in a regular meeting, so treat it with the same respect.
  • Try to look into the camera rather than at your screen.
  • When receiving a call, answer promptly, and be sure to keep your cell phone muted or on vibrate during meetings to avoid being interrupted.

4. When communicating in writing,

  • Pay special attention to overall tone – it can be hard not to appear patronizing, angry or impatient in an email; attempts at humor should be avoided unless it’s a personal message or you and the recipient understand each other very well. Tone is always more challenging to pick up on—and convey—in writing, so be sure to always reread your work and assess whether your tone is appropriate for the situation. 
  • Keep language and spelling correct. Remember, occasional errors are forgivable but don’t make it a habit.
  • Limit text abbreviations and emojis that might be more common for personal communications.

In closing, Let’s just say that Do not make your common sense rare, rather make it your superpower.

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