Workplace Communication: What Not to Say at the Office

Analyzing marketing and communication from an external perspective is a priority for most businesses. However, it’s just as important to evaluate, practice, and encourage effective internal communication. This is because employees are your most loyal brand advocates!
Work is oftentimes filled with tension, complex relationships, and office politics. One way to make the workday less stressful for both you and your associates is by knowing what not to say.

The words you use to communicate with employees and customers matter, and a level of professionalism should always be maintained on the job–even if you consider the individual to be a close friend.

Here are six things that should never be communicated at the office, (no matter how difficult it may be to bite your tongue):

  • “It’s just a small account/sale.”

Treating large accounts different from your small ones can have serious consequences. Not only will it lead to poor customer service, it can create tension amongst employees split up on the accounts.

  • Constant negativity

Excessive cursing and/or complaining can get in the way of effective communication and even keep you from being taken seriously by employees. Staying positive will help keep workplace morale high.

  • Unprofessional emails

Keep messages concise, and take time to proofread your emails before hitting send. Also, to ensure your messages are read, write subject lines that are as specific as possible, and limit your use of “high importance” indicators.

  • “I doubt that will work.”

According to what? Employers or those in leadership positions who frequently shut down creative ideas can appear overly negative.  The next time a strategy concerns you, try asking questions about the process to better understand why the employee thinks his or her idea will, indeed, work.

  • “A rabbi, priest, and Lutheran minister walk into a bar…”

Be careful with the jokes you tell at the office. Not everyone shares the same sense of humor, and jokes can sometimes be misconstrued and viewed as a derogatory or discriminatory statement. Always gauge your audience, and avoid joking about gender, religion, and other taboo topics.

  • “Do you and your husband attend church?”

Questions about an individual’s age, sexuality, or religion should be avoided at work, and invitations to church can be taken the wrong way if the employee is practicing another faith or atheist.

Final Thoughts
Many lifelong friendships begin at the office, and it’s to be expected that a bond will be formed with the team with which you’re spending around 40 hours a week. However, when communicating during office hours, it’s important to always speak with tact, kindness and forethought.

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