Is the F-Bomb Ever Appropriate in Business Communications?

In business there is an unending supply of stress and frustration inducing situations no matter what your position. The higher up your rank in a company the more pressure there is to complete your tasks in a timely manner and exceed the boss’ expectations. When you have to rely on outside contractors for project completion this only works to complicate matters. When things are coming down to the wire is it ever appropriate to lose your cool and use gratuitous profanity to get your point across?

Personally, I think this just makes you sound like a complete tool. Someone with little intelligence that is unable to properly express frustration in a professional manner. You may be an utterly capable employee and manager, but resorting to insults and profanity does nothing to lend to your credibility, management ability, and respect level from others.

What is the best way to express the urgency of a matter without losing your cool? Be very clear about timelines, what you are doing to get things done, what you expect of the third party and what the consequences will be for you and them if the project is not completed on time. Before you make a call or write a fax or email that could be considered hostile take a second to collect your thoughts and calm down. It may be helpful to make notes of your thoughts and read through them CAREFULLY before presenting them. Granted it doesn’t matter if you are friends in the end, but you still want to be respected by your colleagues when the project is finished. No need to burn bridges in the process.

What do you think? Is profanity, especially the F-Bomb ever appropriate in business communications?

2 comments for “Is the F-Bomb Ever Appropriate in Business Communications?

  1. Nikki
    April 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    There’s this whole thing with tech startup culture and being young, wild and free. So I’ve seen some pretty tasteless business communications.

    There are other ways to portray coolness without throwing swear words out all willy-nilly.

    But people do the most to be memorable. Even if they’re remembered for the wrong reasons.
    Nikki recently posted…3 Design Principles to Help You Choose the Best PowerPoint Presentation ThemesMy Profile

    • April 20, 2013 at 12:07 am

      Thanks for the comment Nicki. I think what this generation forgets is that this “coolness” ultimately translates to lack of respect. As you say people end up getting remembered for their shock factor and all the wrong reasons.

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