Chapter 10: Interpersonal Workplace Communication

Learning Objectives

Target icon1. Define professional behaviour according to employer, customer, coworker, and other stakeholder expectations.

2. Explain the importance of ethics as part of the persuasion process.

3. Define and provide examples of sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as strategies for how to eliminate it.

4. Identify and provide examples of eight common fallacies in persuasive speaking.

5. Plan and deliver short, organized spoken messages and oral reports tailored to specific audiences and purposes.

i. Use effective and engaging language and non-verbal behaviours
ii. Use verbal and nonverbal techniques to enhance spoken messages

We’ve been focusing so far almost entirely on writing in the workplace, but you can be a highly skilled writer and still not “make it” in your profession if you don’t have the oral communication skills to back you up. Despite all the sophistication of our skill with the written language and writing technologies, they are all extensions of a natural technology that we can’t do without. Just as a wheel improves upon what our feet do and a hammer upon our fists without replacing them, our writing technologies don’t replace our voice. Indeed, they make the uses to which we put our voices all the more important. When you look at the job application process, for instance, the written component (résumé and cover letter) will get you in the door, but it’s the in-person, face-to-face conversation you have for the oral component (the interview) that will ultimately get you the job.

In a world gone mad for technology, we still value the human element of our face-to-face interactions most. Though online shopping has stolen some of the retail market share from brick-and-mortar stores, the vast majority of business interactions require in-person contact—not just at the customer-to-business front end, but especially in the back end of internal office operations. The advantages of in-person workplace collaboration will protect those face-to-face interactions for a long time to come, as well as require that everyone in the workforce have high-level or communication skills. Divided into the following topics, this chapter focuses on the one-on-one aspect of those “soft” skills.

  • 10.1: Verbal Communication and Conversation
  • 10.2: Professional, Etiquette, and Ethical Behaviour
  • 10.3: Job Interviews and Follow-up Messages
  • 10.4: Intercultural Communication

This chapter is adapted from Chapter 10: Interpersonal Workplace Communication in Communication at Work by Jordan Smith.


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Communication at Work Copyright © 2022 by Julie Rivers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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