The United Stellar Navy recognizes that communication is of vital strategic importance aboard a starship. The USN uses particular protocol when on mission, and officers are expected to observe this protocol.

General Guidelines

When addressing an officer of higher rank, use the officer’s rank as their title. Examples include:

“Captain, I’m picking up a distress signal.”

“Lieutenant, permission to leave the bridge?”

“Would you like me to scan their systems, Commodore?”

Avoid using gender specific terms like “sir” or “ma’am”. When addressing groups, do not call them “gentlemen” or “guys”, but rather “fellow officers”, and “the crew”.

When on a mission, and speaking to another station, it’s common practice to refer to the station, rather than the rank. For example:

“Can I get a boost to maneuverability, Engineering?”

“Tactical, use shield frequency D!”

Effective Communication

Particularly, effective communication must be these things:

  • timely
  • accurate
  • efficient

Timely

Officers should report to their captain if they are away from keyboard (afk) or leaving the ship, even if for a moment. They should also report back to the captain upon their return.

“Captain, I’m stepping away for a moment.”

“Lieutenant Playername is back on the bridge, Captain.”

Officers also must strike a delicate balance between sharing too much information, and holding it back. A good commanding officer (CO) will also tell you if she or he needs more or less information from you; there is usually a good reason they will tell you this. Listen to them, and follow their direction.

Accurate

Accurate information means that sometimes you must hold your tongue while you continue gathering the information. Telling the rest of the officers that ‘something is happening in sector F4’ is not enough information to be actionable. You are better off delaying the communication until you have accurate information to relay.

This is primarily an issue for the Comms officer, but other stations should take note as well.

Efficient

The bridge of a starship is no place for idle chatter or conversations that are civilian in nature. Please refrain from filling the communications space with personal chatter.

For the words you do say, consider what might be the shortest route to saying what you mean. Often, this means withholding your personal opinion and just giving the commanding officer (CO) the facts. For example, if the comms officer is receiving two distress signals in opposite ends of the grid, she can offer that information as facts to the CO. But it is not her job to advocate for rescuing one over the other; that is the CO’s job, and filling the airwaves with opinions about who to rescue first is not efficient communication (unless the CO specifically asks you, that is!).

Conclusion

Communication is of vital importance in the USN. Keep the airwaves clear, timely, accurate, and efficient!

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