Business Etiquette

Use these business etiquette tips to ensure you are as professional as possible throughout your workday.

Business etiquette and electronic communication

Electronic communication has complicated the rules of business etiquette. To ensure you're doing your best to follow business etiquette when using electronic communication, consider the following:

General telephone etiquette:

  • Consult your organization's rules for telephone use.
  • Answer as quickly as possible.
  • Speak clearly and distinctly, stating your name and the name of your organization.
  • Use a pleasant but professional tone of voice.
  • Transfer calls to the correct personnel.
  • Take messages and deliver them promptly to the correct personnel. Return messages as quickly as possible.
  • When recording an outgoing message, say, "Hello, you've reached (your name) at (name of organization). I am either away from my desk or on the other line. If you'll leave your name, phone number, and a brief message, I'll return your call as soon as possible. Thank you. Goodbye".

audio icon Listen to an example of a professional-sounding voicemail message.

woman talking at home

Cell phone etiquette:

  • Consult your organization's rules for cell phone use.
  • Turn off your phone (or set it to vibrate) where ringing may disturb or offend others. Never take a call in the middle of a business meeting.
  • Try to avoid taking calls in the middle of social meetings, such as working lunches.

General email etiquette:

  • Consult your organization's rules for email use.
  • Include a subject line.
  • Keep it brief.
  • Pay attention to grammar and spelling.
  • Use a pleasant tone.
  • Don't forward junk mail.

Email etiquette is especially important because your work email is not private—many companies monitor their employees' work accounts for unprofessional conduct. To learn more about email safety at work, check out our lesson, Email Violations Can Jeopardize Your Job.