The (Previously) Unwritten Rules of Office Messaging Etiquette

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Real-time messaging applications have become extremely popular in the workplace. As you use any tool more frequently, there’s a greater possibility of making mistakes.

It’s so easy to just type out a message to your boss or co-workers and send it without considering the consequences. Save yourself from embarrassment by following these simple rules.

Don’t Flood the Feed

It is annoying to receive multiple messages from the same impatient sender when you step away from your phone for a minute. It is just as annoying (if not more so) when it happens at work.

If your coworker isn’t responding at first, don’t keep prodding them. They will answer you when they have a moment, and will appreciate you giving them time to respond.

Don’t Overuse Emojis

Emojis shouldn’t be part of every message. It’s okay to use one occasionally, but your coworkers don’t want to see forty laughing emojis when you think something is funny. One has just the same effect.

If someone has done something great, then emojis can give expression to your enthusiasm. When you use emojis judiciously, and thoughtfully they enhance your communication. However, using them for everything is unprofessional and not effective.

Emojis are like salt. Adding them to your conversation in moderation makes it flavorful, while overdoing it leaves a bad taste.

Punctuation and All Caps

One exclamation point or question mark will do. Also, as with most online communication, if you use all caps it’s as if you’re yelling.

Don’t Forget You Can Still Email

If you have large attachments or huge blocks of information you need to pass along, put it into an email instead or a text. When you clog the feed with huge verbal chunks, people can’t keep up with all the details.

Carefully crafted email allows for important information to be more appropriately organized. Readers can easily find the information later when they need to remember what the sender said.

Be Aware

  • Don’t use swear words – It isn’t uncommon for people to use curse words in their texting. With your friends and family, it may not be a big deal. At work, you should avoid even acronyms that stand for swear words. Mainstream phrases and abbreviations that are funny outside of work don’t always seem that way in professional conversation.
  • Use caution with slang and acronyms – Stick with plain English and standard grammar unless you’re positive the receiver will understand what you’re sending and the language nuances behind it.
  • Remember everyone can see it – Your coworkers and your bosses can see the conversation, so don’t share personal information about yourself or others. Avoid gossip and refrain from criticizing your coworkers.
  • Tailor your speech – Be aware of who you are speaking to. If you’re talking to your coworkers, it’s usually okay to be a bit more casual than you would be if you were talking to your boss. Don’t let the form of communication take away from your level of respect.

Every Bit Counts

Everything you say to your boss and coworkers can be recorded by office messaging applications, so keep that in mind when you communicate over text. Apps can be a tool that helps you work more efficiently, or they could waste time and damage your professional image.

Don’t let your instant messaging take away from the hard work you put in. Be your most professional self when you’re on the job and save more relaxed communication for after hours.

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