This week is National Business Etiquette Week (June 7-13). Let’s all spread the word that it is important to have good manners and know the rules of etiquette. This knowledge makes us more comfortable in all situations both professionally and personally.
When we follow the rules of etiquette we give relationships a chance to grow, we give ourselves the chance to flourish, as we are able to present ourselves with confidence and authority both professionally and socially.
Here are some leading etiquette blunders in the business world.
1. Not following tech etiquette. First and foremost, focus on those physically in front of you, not on the other end of the technology. Do not text, email or answer unimportant calls when with other people. Respond to work emails and texts within 24 hours. Do not use all CAPS – everyone will think you are yelling. Be professional and watch the grammar and spelling. Let’s be nice with our words – whatever the mode of communication.
2. Not sending thank you notes. Email thank you notes are ordinary. Handwritten ones are extraordinary. Address and stamp envelopes before the event to incentivize you to quickly write one and mail it off.
3. Failing to dress to impress. Society’s tilt to the casual is obvious. But it should not lead to sloppy attire. Be clean, neat and pressed. Take cues from the leadership in your office. Your appearance sends a message. Weekend attire is not the same as business casual in most work places.
4. Invading the space of others. People need – crave – their own space at work. Please knock before entering cubicles – imagine there is a door. Don’t listen in on calls and conversations that don’t involve you. Don’t peek over cubicle walls. Don’t touch items on desks and don’t be a snoop.
5. Having rude telephone manners. Be professional and pleasant on the telephone. Respect the person on the other end of the line of the phone – speak clearly, pleasantly and politely. Respect others working around you when you are on the phone – they don’t want to hear your conversations.
6. Forgetting the magic words. Use the magic words – please, thank you and you’re welcome. They make life so much more pleasant.
7. Using foul language or sloppy words. It is not professional, cool or nice to listen to unprofessional language. Don’t use swear words, or sloppy filler words such as “ums,” “like” and “ya know”. Sometimes silence is golden.
8. Not knowing how to Introduce yourself or others. Don’t rush through your name when introducing yourself. Make eye contact, smile, extend your hand for a firm handshake and say your name so others can understand you. It is your duty to introduce yourself at work functions. Learn that the introduction of others is based on power and precedence – gender does not affect the order of introductions.
9. Not being punctual. Respect others’ time and don’t be late. When you are late you tell people your time is more valuable than their time. Please give yourself enough time so you have time for common courtesy.
10. Not respecting the break areas and common work equipment. Many work places have a common break room, microwave, sink, and refrigerator. Be neat and clean up after yourself –throw old food away. Don’t bring in and cook smelly food. And do not take what isn’t yours. Help keep common equipment ready for others – clean out the paper jam you cause on the printer, refill paper trays, etc.
Have a marvelous week - Catherine