Creative Leadership

Basic Office Etiquette Makes a Productivity Difference

For a 24/7 connected generation, office etiquette that used to be assumed isn’t followed much anymore.  That’s a shame, because even though you may “feel” connected, you may still be dropping the ball on important issues or projects.  Here’s a few principles I follow which make a dramatic difference in my productivity and it might be worth sharing with your friends (or forward to people who don’t return your calls):

1.  Phone calls are the highest priority for a response.  I try to return phone calls the same day if possible – particularly those from clients, associates, or project partners.

2.  If the call is from someone I don’t know, then the call gets put lower in the stack.

3.  Emails are important, but if it’s critical – then pick up the phone.  Younger people aren’t using email much anymore, in fact last year Boston College stopped giving out email addresses to students – an indication of things to come?  Perhaps personally, but for business, email is still a very important part of your communications mix – at least in the near future.

4.  Twitter Direct Messages I respond to pretty quickly.  I’ve discovered a lot of leaders are now using Twitter’s Direct Message capability rather than email for quick messages.

4.  Facebook messages – lowest in priority.  They’re easy to send, if you’re on your profile page, but I don’t check FB nearly as much as email.

Bottom line – if you’re working with others on a project, return your calls the same day if possible and check and respond to emails about twice a day..  When you let it slide, you could be holding up something significant and hurting your team’s productivity.

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  1. Here is where rudeness from Christian communicators begins…

    In mid-December I was asked – out of the blue – about my availability to speak on filmmaking at a student workshop for a major Christian university. I responded saying I was up for the lecture and that any honorarium was up to them. Happy to help. No response.

    A month later I checked back. “Oh, we need to get the permission from the dean for the workshop.” Okay, I say. Let me know. This month, February…no update. Send an email. No response. Two days ago, leave a voice mail. No response.

    Next week – last week of February – is the supposed “workshop.” No courtesy call, no email, no update for something I didn’t even start.

    Phil is right – Email and return calls the same day. Courtesy is the answer.

  2. These concepts are too advanced. I remember years ago calling a mega church’s “Small group connection” number over 20 times and never getting a response. I could go further but I’ll leave it there.

  3. Alan…how true and how typical. I worked as a communications and fundraising consultant for years with mostly large Christian ministries. If you try to contact them by email or phone it is a miracle if they even bother to reply…. even when it is in their best interest, and I am not speaking of a situation where anyone was trying to “Sell” them something.

    But the WORST senerio of this is todays Human Relations Departments. The need for qualified people is great… I have known hundreds of people including myself over the years who sent in resumes and were qualified for the job Do they acknowledge they received your application? No! Do they even generate a generic email that tells you “Thanks but no thanks?” No! Do they let you know the job was filled let alone why they didn’t even interview you? No! Nor do they seem to want to tell you the parameters of their decision making.

    Several years ago I responded to an Ad for an Executive Communications Director. I had the precise experience and qualifications based on their Ad. After not hearing anything and 6-7 calls on the status of ths job I got upset and called the President Once he took the call, he responded, “Oh, we hired a young girl right out of college who has some great ideas for us!” Need I tell you what I thought of that situation?? Was that false advertising? Is that defrauding in a way? Of happy day!

  4. Basic Office etiquette??…now here is a novelty!!…brilliant reminder on the most basic people skills…or are people skills back to being a novelty too these days??…thanks for hitting the nail on the head, again, Phil…keep hammering!!

  5. Basic Office etiquette??…now here is a novelty!!…brilliant reminder on the most basic people skills…or are people skills back to being a novelty too these days??…thanks for hitting the nail on the head, again, Phil…keep hammering!!

  6. I can’t believe how much of this I just wasn’t aware of. Thank you for bringing

    moreinformation to this topic for me. I’m truly grateful and really impressed.

  7. Hey guys, I know this is old so it may not get noticed, but I was wondering about Project Management Applications that creative teams are using? There is Basecamp, Teamwork, Manymoon, just to name a few. Are there any success stories out there?


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