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Marvelous Business Etiquette Requires Discretion

Nothing is more dangerous than a friend without discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable. - Jean de La Fontaine

Judging from this quote, you can see how important some think it is to have discretion. We tend to agree. A successful personal brand rightfully includes discretion. By discretion we mean the important quality of behaving or speaking so as to avoid causing offense to others or revealing private or confidential information.

It’s important to protect sensitive and confidential information about clients, colleagues and your organization. Be marvelously well-mannered and a true professional by not talking about these sensitive subjects in cabs, Ubers, Lyfts or elevators. One never knows who’s listening – exercise discretion.

Indeed, whether you are taking the metro across town, taking the Acela up or down the seaboard, or taking a plane across country, doing work while on the road has become the norm. It’s important to be professional while doing this work.

You aren’t in your office. You’re out in public. Exercising good manners by not causing offense and treating others the way you would like to be treated helps everyone get along and makes things much more pleasant. And it’s good for business. Here are some helpful tips.

Don’t invade the sound space of others.

Help keep the peace by not having an annoying ringtone and keep the buzzing, chiming and ringing of your electronics to a minimum. Putting devices on vibrate is tremendously helpful.

Use your earphones and buds because no one wants to hear your audio. Quietly type instead of attacking the keyboard so everyone hears each key stroke and/or click of your nails. Remember, if you hear it, others do too.

If you can, move away from others while speaking into your mobile phone. If you are using your phone while seated and can’t realistically find a quiet corner somewhere, try to speak softly into your phone – no need to talk “yellular” (yelling into a cellphone). Cupping your hand over your mouth while speaking also helps reduce the distance your voice carries. Certainly never use speakerphone while out and about. Most of the time, others usually do not want to hear your conversation. However, keep in mind someone may have great interest in your conversation – especially if you're talking about sensitive business strategies and planning. Your boss, colleagues and clients expect you to be discrete and maintain confidences.

In the vast majority of cases, we believe people do not intend to be rude, bothersome or otherwise cause offense – they’re just not self-aware of the impact their behavior has on others. So be mindful and aware of your surroundings. And, if you see others giving you the stink-eye, you’re probably being too loud. Easily remedy the situation by quickly turning down your volume accompanied with an apology.

Keeping these simple business etiquette tips in mind can make for happy travels for all – how marvelous.

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