In business you are required to communicate with co-workers, clients and business associates in several different ways. It is important to both your reputation and the reputation of your company that you clearly understand the rules of business communication etiquette. These are simple things that should be easy to incorporate into your daily communications, both written and verbal, and are simply a reflection of good manners.
In business you want to avoid having your words, written or spoken, misunderstood. It is very important that the information you're sharing comes across clearly. Avoid using informal language such as slang, which may be seen as disrespectful to your boss, co-workers or business associates. Make sure that you leave your personal information at home. You may feel compelled to share the intimate details of your personal life with your co-workers but it's often inappropriate for the workplace. Even if you work with your friends, work to maintain a professional relationship at the office.
Emails and Faxes
When you're communicating with someone outside of your office two of the common methods are email and fax. When you're communicating by fax you should include a cover letter with your information, the company and a brief introduction to the attached material. Also make sure that you indicate how many pages are included in the fax. When communicating via email you should make sure to address the recipient by name. Maintain a formal tone to the email and make sure that everything is noted in a clear, concise format. You want to make sure that there are no misunderstandings.
You may receive many different emails and voicemails throughout the day at your job. When you receive these messages on a weekday make sure that you reply in a timely manner, usually on the same day. If you receive work messages on the weekend or a holiday it is expected that there is a lag time of approximately 24 hours between the email being sent and your response. When you break these rules of business communication etiquette, such as waiting two days or more to respond to an email, voicemail or fax, it may come across as lazy to your business associates.
There are a few different etiquette rules for when you attend meetings and when you host meetings. When you attend meetings plan to arrive no earlier than five minutes before the meeting so that you don't interfere with your host's preparations. If you're the host, make sure that you greet each of your guests by name. Listen to each person's ideas. As host of the meeting you should be prepared to provide the next steps to your business associates and follow up with each guest.