Some people seem to be missing the message

business etiquette

Sometimes people in office settings are rude.

Like the manager who always uses his phone on speaker so everyone gets to hear his conversations, voice mail, and hold music.

Offices are places that can inherently be noisy. People have conversations, phones are ringing, work is getting done. But why add to it unnecessarily? Besides, isn’t hold music pretty well known as the worst music ever, outside of elevators and doctors’ offices?

Before I make myself sound like a disgruntled employee again (I did a pretty fair job of that in my last post about control freaks), let’s put this into perspective:

Most of people complain about cellphone conversations taking place on speakerphone in public, why would you do it at work unless you’re on a conference call…which generally takes place in a closed door room.

I think basic manners need to be followed in a professional environment. One would think that we all know these common courtesies, but because others seem to be missing the message, here are a few things to consider:

– Keep conversations work appropriate. It’s surprising how many times coworkers have over shared about their kids or their date the night before. These are great happy hour stories, but details about your husband’s festering arm wound (oh yes, it’s happened) is not what I want to have in the background while making sales calls.

– Use an inside voice.  We learned those in elementary school and for good reason: nobody wants to feel shouted at or to hear everything you have to say at all times.

– In fact, don’t shout at employees in general. We’re all adults here, let’s act like it.

– Fish in the microwave.  Need I say more?

– If two people are having a business conversation, don’t interrupt. In fact, if two people are having a conversation in general it’s typically considered rude to barge in and start your own…the exception to this would be emergencies…but be sure you’re defining emergency properly.  Just because it’s important to you does not an emergency make.

– The previous point even applies to a junior employee talking to their boss.  Just because you’re in management doesn’t mean that your conversation topics are more important.

– If you’re talking to me about your child’s baseball game and my boss would like to speak with me about business, please don’t hang around my desk and wait for her to finish. She’s discussing business, you’re not.  I’ll ask you later to finish your in-field fly rule story.

– Please ask me about the pictures in my cube! I feel awkward when you lean over me, stare at them, and then walk away.

– Please put your cellphone on vibrate or silent if you’re going to have text conversations. The “beep beep beep” is a constant reminder that not only are you not working, but I’m being distracted from working.

I might sound like a pain in the neck, but I have a feeling I’m only saying what we’re all thinking.


2 responses to “Some people seem to be missing the message

  1. I couldn’t help laughing at your ‘venting’ – and couldn’t help agreeing with you 100%! Yes, everything you have said is annoying, to say the least. In particular, regarding phone conversations, with the geographically distributed workforce of today, 90% of workers are on conference calls (or one-on-one calls) 90% of the time. With the ‘cubicles system’ followed in most offices of today, there is no respite from the onslaught of micro level details of your coworkers’ personal lives! If you want to check out some corporate humor, please take a look at my blog at

    • Thank you for your comment! It’s amazing how often people don’t think about their conversations in an office! I will definitely check out your blog. We hope you keep reading ours as well!

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