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.

Become an effective networker even if you’re an introvert, writes Devora Zack, author of Networking for People Who Hate Networking ... Know when to use—and when to skip—skycaps while traveling ... Track your personal spending with two free online tools ... Give your “audience”—the people around you—a new, great story.
Q. Our company intends to provide gift baskets to valued customers during the holidays. Are they deductible and tax-free?

Social media can help you collect industry-based knowledge, reach new customers and build your brand. But those benefits come with their fair share of legal risks. You need a comprehensive social media policy to guide employees on your expectations about their online behavior, especially when that conduct occurs in the name of the organization.

Diplomacyposter A good piece of conventional wisdom for leaders used to be to never do, say or write anything down that you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.  Times have changed though. As this week’s WikiLeaks release of more than 250,000 U.S. State Department documents shows, there’s a pretty good chance that your recorded thoughts and actions can end up all over the internet in no time flat.

As reported in the New York Times and other major publications, the State Department memos contain some rather embarrassing details of how diplomacy gets done and some very candid assessments of individual world leaders.  For example, according to a summary in the Financial Times, the documents describe French president Sarkozy as having a “thin skinned and authoritarian personal style,” Russian president Medvedev  as “Robin” to Prime Minister Putin’s “Batman,” Afghan President Karzai as “an extremely weak man who does not listen to facts,” Italy’s PM Berlusconi as “feckless and vain,” and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il as a “flabby old chap.”

Since most of those observations could be made firsthand by anyone who follows international news, you sort of have to wonder what the value was in writing them down.  In any case, they were and now the apologizing is underway.  While it’s unlikely that your closeted skeletons will suddenly appear on WikiLeaks (although the probability of someone’s Facebook page or blog is much higher),  you’ve likely faced situations as a leader where your true thoughts inadvertently come out (You’ve probably learned the hard way that the recall button on that e-mail you just sent by “Reply All” doesn’t actually do anything).  In spite of all the lessons you’ve learned, it will probably happen again in the future.  If not that, then you may end up on the receiving end of someone else’s unintended candor.

Here are some suggestions on how to apologize in the first instance and why and how you should accept the apology in the second:

Next time someone asks, “So, what do you do?” toot your horn. Don’t hem and haw and answer with something like, “You probably won’t find this interesting, but ...,” Carol Roth writes.

One way for American Airlines employees to get the bosses’ attention is to compete for it. The airline created its “Customer Cup” contest to spur competition among employee teams at different airports in an effort to improve processes and products and upgrade customer service, said Mark Mitchell, managing director of customer experience.

Just 32% of employees have private offices, down from 36% in 1997, according to the 2010 survey of 414 office-space managers by the International Facil­­ity Management Asso­­ci­­a­­tion.

Some people would never “friend” a co-worker on Facebook; they try hard to keep work and personal lives separate. Others blend the two—letting professional and personal contacts co-exist on social media sites. If you’re attempting to let your friends and co-workers mingle on your Facebook page, keep this tip in mind:

Ten people to include in your network: 1. The Mentor 2. The Coach 3. The Industry Insider 4. The Trendsetter 5. The Connector 6. The Idealist 7. The Realist  8. The Visionary 9. The Partner 10. The Wannabe.

What’s the best way to get a job right now? Networking. What's the best way to network? According to many experts, via LinkedIn.com. The online service offers innovative ways to interact professionally with colleagues and build your web of contacts and connections. Here are six ways LinkedIn can advance your career.