Using communication equipment

Your organisation will use many different modes of communication, and there will be policies and procedures around each of these.

Communication methods may include:

  • sending and receiving email
  • sending and receiving faxes
  • printing or copying material for distribution
  • using a two-way radio
  • making and receiving telephone calls
  • participating in video or audio conferences
  • writing meeting or case notes
  • recording interviews
  • writing reports.

Policies and procedures developed around these communication methods often relate to how the equipment is used, and who can use it.  You will often find these on the computer or in a file accessible to all staff members.

If you are aware of a rule – for example, not using the telephone for personal calls – there is most likely a written policy that underlies this.

Case example

Kathryn’s visiting client needs to make an urgent long distance phone call to her mother who lives in the city.  The client lives two hours away on a cattle property.  She does not have the money to use the nearby public phone.  Kathryn discusses this with her supervisor, who explains that there is a procedure that will allow her, under these circumstances, to make the call from the office.  However the Use of the Telephone policy is very strictly enforced and she should never make such a call without following the protocol.

Sometimes there may be an unwritten rule or protocol, such as not using a speaker phone in an open office, and not discussing client information over the telephone within hearing of others, for example, in a reception area.

Care needs to be taken when using email. It is important to remember that an email in the workplace is an official document and must be presented in an appropriate manner with appropriate language. Many times people have responded inappropriately via email, sent the message off to recipients, only to regret the content or inferences that may have been made in the "heat of the moment".

For information and protocols on writing and sending emails, see the weblinks on Communication and Email provided by Mindtools:

http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/EmailCommunication.htm (external)
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/RhetoricalTriangle.htm (external)
http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/WritingSkills.htm (external)

Activity

Communication policies and procedures

Section 4 activities (Word Document 62KB)

Last modified: Tuesday, 22 October 2013, 2:30 PM