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How to Practice Good Phone and E-mail Etiquette at Work

How can we put this in a way you'll understand? Sending LOLs to your BFFs on company time is not KEWL.


  • Step 1: Remember you're at work First and foremost, remember you're at work. Now is not the time to call or email your long lost frat brothers, ex-girlfriends, or bookie.
  • Step 2: Don't use speakerphone Don';t use your speakerphone unless it's completely necessary. Otherwise, it's just obnoxious.
  • TIP: Remember: background noise can be heard when you're on a conference call from home—and that includes toast popping, kettles whistling, and toilets flushing.
  • Step 3: Keep voice mail short When leaving a voice mail, keep it short—you are not auditioning for Hamlet. Just provide the essentials: your name, your number, and a BRIEF reason for calling.
  • TIP: Have your message ready before you call. Nothing is more annoying than listening to someone stammer while they try to formulate a coherent thought. And remember to enunciate so the person doesn't have to replay your message 25 times.
  • Step 4: Include simple subject line Always include a simple, straightforward description in your email subject line so its recipient can quickly assess if it's important, and easily relocate it later.
  • Step 5: Be careful with email Remember that an email doesn't convey a context the way your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice would. What you write in a playful way may come across as harsh or insulting to your reader.
  • TIP: Always spell-check your email before hitting 'send'; It's easy, and may just save you a lot of embarrassment.
  • Step 6: Include explanation when forwarding Forwarding an email to a co-worker? Always include a brief explanation so they're not left to ponder what you may want from them. If you're totally swamped, at least include "FYI"
  • FACT: Eighty-two percent of what you communicate on the phone is non-verbal—in other words, what you say is far less important than how you say it.

You Will Need

  • A job
  • An email account
  • A phone with voice mail
  • Some common sense

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