Workplace Communication

In an era of Casual Fridays and work-from-home colleagues, how can you maintain effective office communication in a changing business climate?

We’ll steer you through changes in business etiquette, and help you successfully navigate through the new realities of workplace conflict and office politics.

Question: I know that applicants should send a thank-you note after a job interview, so I normally fax a letter within one or two days. However, I have some questions about the process. When I’m interviewed by several people, should I include all the names on one letter or send an individual note to each person? If I send separate letters, can they all have the same wording or should each one be different? -- Puzzled

What makes the difference between productive workers and those who simply think they’re productive? Doing vs. talking. Here are four quick tips on how to set yourself up for action: 1. Jolt yourself into action by trying something. 2. Prototype your ideas. 3. Replace update meetings with "huddles." 4. Create testaments to progress.

It’s a myth that good work makes a good career—rather, good office politics makes a good career, says career columnist Penelope Trunk. Here’s are four common-sense rules to follow. They'll make people want to work with you, and boost your credibility and influence in the process.

Quiz yourself to see how much you know about international business etiquette:

“I feel like I’m talking to a wall!” Judy told her co-worker over lunch. “Whether at home or work, I find myself repeating my requests as everyone is just too darn busy to stop what they’re doing and truly listen!” Do you often feel as if your words are falling on deaf ears? Learn to listen with L-O-V-E.

As far as you’ve come in this life, people still try to impose limits on you. That’s what Kamala Harris, district attorney for San Francisco, warned newly minted graduates at San Francisco State University last year. Her message: Ignore those people.

Make your résumé more cutting-edge with these tips for 2010: Example: Don't put an objective statement at the top of your résumé. “Ditch it immediately,” advises Jack Williams, vice president of national sales and recruiting for Staffing Technologies. Employers don’t care what a potential hire wants to do. “They care whether they can do what the employer needs them to do,” he says. Other tips:

Making a “cold call” can shake the nerves of even a seasoned pro. Engaging with a person you’ve never met is even more challenging if you land in the individual’s voice mail. On his blog, Never Eat Alone author Keith Ferrazzi suggests “warm calling” instead. His four rules for making a warm connection in a 15-second voice mail message:

The widespread use of blogs and social networking web sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter has employers worried about what their employees are keyboarding and texting. Employers must develop electronic communications policies to cope with the new technology.

Do women have to be better than men to succeed in the workplace? Nearly half (45%) of all working women answered “yes” in a survey by Cisco and Gender IQ. Only 26% of men agreed with the statement. Other findings: