Having strong communication skills is tremendously important for life and in the workplace. You will need to be able to explain yourself both clearly and effectively, but also know how to do so in a professional manner.
When it comes to the workplace, you need to be able to state yourself in a professional manner. This applies to both colleagues and customers. Fortunately, this is a skill that manner can pick up on as they are developing into their role.
Below are several methods of communication that require you to use a professional manner when communicating.
Communication via letter can be a good starting point for writing and communicating professionally. Writing things out allows you to consider what to say before sending them off. There are many ways to write a business letter, but there are some fundamentals that are good to follow:
- Use an appropriate salutation (To whom it may concern, Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Sir, or if you have a closer relationship, you could use their first name).
- Letters should be left justified.
- Use formal and professional language.
- Make sure to use proper grammar and paragraphs.
- Make sure to use a closing salutation (Typically people use: Respectfully and Regards, avoid using phrases like ‘All the best’ unless you are close with the recipient).
Letters can be a good way to convey information professionally. They are sometimes appropriate for needing to convey serious information, such as a cover letter, or even a resignation letter. If you need any tips on how to write a resignation letter, then we can help. Knowing when to use a letter or email is important to recognising professional workplace culture.
Email usually follows the same rules as letters. You must maintain a level of formality when communicating via email to clients, colleagues, and managers. You can be slightly less formal, asking the recipient how they are wouldn’t fit into a letter, but emails can allow a much faster response, so including that in an email makes more sense.
Clients/Customers are anyone who you do business with. You are selling to them, so impressions matter.
- Retain formality as much as possible, and always remember your salutations.
- Always use their title.
- Try not to use informal language.
- Speak respectfully, remember that you are carrying your company’s image.
Colleagues are considered to be anyone in your team who are on a similar level to you, so you usually can be a bit more informal with them.
- Salutations are important but can be slightly less formal.
- You may be on a first-name basis.
- Language should remain professional but doesn’t have to be as strict
Managers are people who you report to, so it is important to remain professional.
- Always use salutations
- Speak formally and professionally
- More informal speech can vary, depending on your relationship with them.
Phone communication needs to be treated just as importantly as a face-to-face conversation. In the business world, you need to know how to talk with clients, colleagues, and managers whilst on the phone.
Professional communication with clients is very important for a company’s image. As soon as you start any communication with a client, you are now representing your company. This can be amazing for your job prospects if you can leave a positive impression. However, it also means that any slip-up can damage both your and the company’s reputation.
As a rule, always speak formally. Creating a professional image should be your priority. Do not refer to clients by their first name and remember to be well-spoken and speak clearly.
Next, you need to get into the customer service mindset. You are here to help the client however you can, and sometimes clients can be difficult, but you need to remember to always keep your temper and respond as helpfully as possible.
This can entirely depend on your friendship with the colleague. There will always be a certain level of professionalism expected when communicating at work. However, if you are close with a colleague, using informal language and making jokes should be fine. Going by a first name basis is usually okay.
You should always try and be formal when communicating with any manager, referring to them as Mr/Miss/Mrs/Sir, unless they give permission otherwise. Like with clients, these kinds of phone calls can affect your reputation. You should speak and act in a more professional manner to create a more professional image of yourself.
Social media is a fantastic opportunity for reaching your client base in a more informal way. If done right, you can grow your social media massively. Social media allows you to drop many formalities and speak in a way that comes across much more naturally.
Social media is expected to be more informal. Being too formal on social media can make your company seem out of touch. Using slang and simpler language is usually expected.
It is important to keep the subject of your business in mind. Your tone should match your business. If you have a more serious business, like a funeral director, then you should keep the tone of your social media serious.
However, there are still some things you need to be wary of. You should always think through what you are going to post before sending it. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, whatever you send will be there forever, even if you delete it. With that in mind, you should always think about maintaining your company’s image when posting to social media.
Speaking in person adds another factor to behaving in a professional manner, which is body language. Factors such as eye contact, how you stand and your expression all come into play with body language.
Maintain a professional image of yourself through your outfit and body language, try and avoid slouching and make sure you are well dressed. Always use the client’s title, speaking clearly and formally.
Your body language and image shouldn’t have to be as strict, speaking to colleagues in person can be more laidback and jovial. You should still always maintain a certain level of professionalism (I.E., not slouching, not using crude language, keeping a respectful image of yourself) But you don’t need to worry about being as formal.
This can depend entirely on your friendship with a manager. Some managers may be more lenient with how you can act, but a certain level of professional manner will always be expected. Use their titles, make sure your appearance and body language are respectful, and speak formally.
Clients should always be spoken to with respect and formality. They do not have a close relationship with you, and while some clients may enjoy more informal speaking, others will not. As a rule, you need to always maintain a professional image when communicating with clients.
Colleagues on the other hand are spoken to more informally. You have a more personal relationship with them, so doing things like using their first name and being playful is okay, but a level of professionalism is always expected.
A good way to go about speaking to managers is to match their level of professionalism, except for a few details such as titles. They may refer to you by your first name, but you should stick with their title (Unless stated otherwise). If your manager speaks to you in a more laidback manner, that might be your opportunity to do so as well.