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Responsible Business Communication

In today's high-speed world, a careless moment is all it takes to create a simple piece of business correspondence that can cost your organization time and money and negatively impact its reputation.

Remember these guidelines for responsible business communication:

  1. Broaden Your Definition of Business Correspondence
    In today's digital world, even the most casual memo or note can be preserved or archived and become part of a communication chain that has far-reaching legal implications. Business correspondence also includes handwritten notes, draft documents, text messages, interoffice memos, social networking messages, and even sticky notes and annotations in a document.
  2. Understand the Blurring Line Between Formal and Informal
    These days, it's harder to separate work from our personal lives. Be careful what you write down. You may think it is private, but it might be considered business correspondence and therefore implicated in future legal investigations.
  3. Follow the Headline Rule
    Before committing anything to writing, just ask yourself: “Would you be comfortable with this communication or any part of it appearing as the front page headline in tomorrow's newspaper?”
  4. Beware of Contexts
    The risk of something being taken out of context is one of the primary risks of poor and irresponsible communication. The more time passes after you write a comment on a document, the less likely you will recall the meaning or context of the comment.
  5. Follow Basic Communication Guidelines
    Write clearly, carefully and concisely. Refrain from giving value judgments in your writing. Stick to the facts and write what you know, and never assume authority that you don't have; hence, don't make guarantees.

Taken from the "Responsible Business Communication" training program, part of the DuPont Sustainable Solutions human resources training curriculum. Watch a free full-length preview.