Business Comms: Two-Way Radio Etiquette


Two-Way Radio Etiquette

Learn about two-way radio communication etiquette and the language of smooth and precise radio communication for business users.

Nowadays everyone communicates using a portable device so there are essentially no rules, especially when using mobile phones. It is however important for users of two way radio systems to learn how to communicate correctly.

A wide range of companies rely heavily on radio communication to carry out their day to day operation, e.g. construction, security, engineering to name a few so effectively means a safer workplace.

The armed forces also use two-way radios to send important messages (often encrypted) and so should these messages be misunderstood, i.e. because they are ambiguous, it could result in a catastrophe and even loss of life. This is precisely the reason radio communication should be clear and to the point.

So today, we would like to talk about how radio communication should be done at your workplace because you never know when this knowledge could prove useful:

Prepare before you speak

  • It is important to identify for whom your message is intended and what you would like to say before making a radio call

Identify yourself at beginning of call

  • Generally radio communications involves more than two people who all communicate with each other over a specific radio frequency
  • Remember, not all radio systems provide the recipient with the callers ID so this is why it is imperative to CLEARLY identify yourself at the start of the call
  • So initiate the radio call by identifying yourself – for example “Bravo532, this is Echo7Charlie
  • Note that this is serious and not re-enactment of your favourite film scene

Be concise / to the point

  • Remember that radio is for sending and receiving important messages and not for gossip / small talk which can result in blocking the channel for other radio users
  • So, be precise and concise / to the point

Take your timeEMS_Hospitality_IMG_0438

  • It is regarded polite if you take time and speak one point and then say “break”… wait a couple of seconds… speak the next point… again say “break”… then wait again for a bit… etcetera… This is key if you have many points to cover
  • When you pause a couple of seconds after every point by saying “break”, this allows the other party to speak if they must
  • In addition, it is useful especially during a call on a two-way radio system to maintain the habit of Press, Pause, Speak. This means, the listener will never lose the first part of their communication with the speaker and prevents the possible ‘drop’ instead of ‘don’t drop’ scenario.

When you are finished and want a reply from other party

  • You should say “over” to indicate that you are finished and so the other party can speak / reply

Avoid using “repeat”

  • Use “say again” to request the other party to repeat the words if you have not heard what they were saying and don’t say ‘repeat’

Don’t use “yes” or “no”

  • We recommend you say “affirmative” instead of ‘yes’ and “negative” instead of ‘no’ in order to evade misunderstandings

Terminating the call

  • Terminate radio the call by saying “out
  • Don’t use ‘over and out’ because it means that you are passing control and terminating the call at the same time which is impossible!
  • It is common for the person initiating a call to terminate it. However, the senior person in the call hierarchy may take control and would then be responsible for managing and terminating the call
  • Once “out” has been communicated – nothing more should be said

Interrupting a radio call

  • Always patiently listen when it is the other party’s turn to speak as this is standard radio etiquette
  • However, if there is an emergency and you need to interrupt, say “emergency” and give the listener a brief description if necessary
  • Some radio systems allow you to initiate an emergency call by pressing a specific radio button. If this is the case, the emergency drill must be known to all radio users

Use NATO Phonetic Alphabet

  • Radio communications are often of a mission critical nature so any minor misunderstanding can mayhem and therefore it is recommended to spell out keywords using NATO Phonetic Alphabet
  • This alphabet is assigned to 26 letters of the English alphabet: “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.”

This is only an introduction to radio procedure. The simple rules are: keep it simple, be precise and maintain the correct procedure for your radio group.


We hope you found this helpful but if you need further information, don’t hesitate to contact our expert team on 01252 617116 /


Some interesting video from Motorola Solutions at Critical Communications World 2015 in Barcelona

#watchthespace #speakout

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,