Business etiquette

Business etiquette

“etiquette is what you are doing and saying when people are looking and listening. What you are thinking is your business”
-Virginia Cary Hudson

Ø As we become a more high-tech society, the need for a sensitive, personal touch in business increases.
Ø As John Naisbitt says in Megatrends, “whenever new technology is introduced into society, there must be a counter balancing human response”.

Ø No matter how intelligent or accurate your computer is, you must still interact with people.
Ø “Good manners are cost effective. They increase the quality of life in the work place, contribute to optimum employee morale, embellish the company image, and hence play a major role in generating profit.”

Ø A U.S. office of Consumer affairs’ study showed that “up to 90% of unhappy customers never complain about discourtesy, and 91% will never again do business with the company that offended them. In addition, the average unhappy customer will tell the story to at least nine other people, and 13% of unhappy customers will tell more than twenty people.”

“A company becomes a company you want to do business with because of people who work in it, so business etiquette has a very definite relationship to the bottom line.

*Good etiquette is good business!

ØWhen viewed in this light, etiquette is more than which fork to use, or how to smile nicely, when to wear a tuxedo.
ØToday’s business people must know how to walk into a room full of strangers and feel at ease.

ØThey need to able to introduce themselves and others without feeling apprehensive.
ØThey should know when-and how-to make a phone call to cheer or congratulate someone, or when a handwritten note or an e-mail is in order.

ØThey must know how to conduct themselves at company social functions and receptions, and understand the complexities of the business lunch.

Some etiquette basics
Ø Train etiquette what about the rule that on a bus, or subway men or younger people must give up their seats to women or older people?
Ø Not any more-unless the people are handicapped or pregnant.
Ø Of course, offering your seat is still a nice gesture.

Holding doors
Ø Yesterday’s etiquette dictated that a man had to back up and let a woman pass through a door first; a younger person had to do the same for an older person.
Ø But today’s common-sense etiquette dictates that the person in the lead holds the door for the person in the rear.
Ø It is that simple.

ØIf people of the same gender approach the door together, the one in the higher position or the considerably older usually enters first, while the other person holds the door for them.

Ø What about revolving doors?
Ø If the woman is in the lead, she enters first and pushes; the man follows and pushes and vice versa.
Ø If the person in the rear wants to push a little harder to help out, that’s great.
Ø The point is not who goes first, but that everyone gets through the doors easily.

ØJust remember that common sense rules.
ØIf someone is carrying an armful of files or packages, the other person takes the lead in all situations, regardless of sex or age.

Automobile etiquette
Ø It’s nice but not mandatory, for a man to go around to the passenger to assist a woman into the car when they travel together.
Ø It’s especially appropriate when the car is locked.
Ø If someone does unlock the door from the outside, please be polite enough to unlock the driver’s door from the inside!

ØGetting out of the car is another story.
ØSome women find it embarrassing for a man to come around and open their car door.
ØWhat do they do while waiting?

Ø If, however, a woman is dressed for a special event and might have trouble maneuvering her dress and wrap, then of course a man should help.
Ø If you’re a woman with a man who insists on opening your door, good manners dictate that you allow him this tradition without a show of resentment.

Ø It is still good manners for a man to walk a woman to a car if it is parked in a dangerous area; at night time he should accompany her in any area.
Ø Of course, it’s smart for a man to walk a man to his car as well!
Ø And a woman should always walk into parking lots in groups, if possible.

Elevator etiquette
ØCommon sense dictates that the people closest to the elevator doors get on first.
ØIf you want to be at the front when it’s time to get out, go in and stand by the buttons, out of the way.
ØOr go in last.

ØOr if you are in the very front waiting for your floor, however, you show good manners if you move outside the doors to allow people to exit from the back

ØConsideration of the entire group should always come before formal etiquette to one person, especially in an elevator.
ØIf you’re using the escalator or the stairs instead of the elevator, the man usually follows the woman.
Ø If you would be happy for one hour, take a nap.
Ø If you would be happy for a day, go fishing.
Ø If you would be happy for a month, get married.
Ø If you would be happy for a year, inherit a fortune.
Ø If you would be happy for life, love your work.
-Chinese proverb

Principles of impeccable work behavior
ØBasic guidelines the guidelines apply to all employees, just not newcomers.
ØMany veteran workers also need to be reminded occasionally of these basic principles of business professionalism.

Be careful with your appearance
ØThese are just a few general guidelines for the most effective business appearance:
Dress appropriately
Ø You want to be noticed, but you don’t want to stand out.
Ø And there are different rules for different situations and work styles.
Ø Again, your own organization’s style will dictate what is “appropriate”.
Dress for the position you want, not the position you have.
Ø Others tend to believe that you are what you appear to be.
Ø So when it comes time for promotions, management usually looks first for the people who need the least amount of grooming for the new position.
Dress conservatively
Ø For most businesses and most business occasions, conservative is best.
Ø You will have more credibility in a jacket than without, more credibility in long sleeves than in short, more credibility in conservative colors than flashy.

Expand your knowledge
Ø Knowing how to learn is the skill most needed by employees
Ø Learn as much as you can about your job and your manager’s job, and hoe each fits into the organizational structure.

ØFind out what other departments do.
ØRead the trade publication of your industry and profession.
ØBe the one who people turn to for expertise in your area.

Honor your working hours
Ø Working nine to five doesn’t mean that you arrive at nine and leave at five.
Ø It means you work from nine to five.
Ø Socializing at the coffee pot or eating breakfast at your desk does not constitute working.

Ø Five minutes may not seem like much to you, but it may seem like stealing to your manager or CEO, especially a small or a busy office.
Ø Spending 10 minutes on a personal phone call is only a small part of an eight-hour day, but 10 minutes a day equals 50 minutes a week-almost an hour of unproductive time

Ø If you start getting ready to leave at 4:45, charge out of the office at 4:49, and screeching out of the parking lot, you’ll give the impression that you can’t wait to leave-not a professional attitude.
Ø If you cut short a telephone conversation with a customer because it is quitting time, you may lose business

Ø If you arrive at a meeting late your actions say, “my time is more valuable than yours; you aren’t important to me.”
Ø Those few extra minutes may make a big difference in a way you are considered for promotions or raises.
Ø Be honest .
Ø How many hours do you really work?

Be friendly
ØWhen you are new, you need people to help you with your duties, explain procedures, and show you where to get information or material you’ll need.
ØMake an extra effort to get along with everyone, but don’t try too hard.

Ø Ask your new coworkers to have lunch with you; lunch is a great opportunity to get to know each other.
ØRemember that offices work best when individual efforts supports the team effort.
Keep personal information to yourself
Ø Friendliness aside, don’t let your life become the office soap opera.
Ø When someone asks, “how are you?” don’t spill your guts.
Ø Some of the information could be used against later
Ø If you can’t control your mood or your mouth, be quiet

ØThe same advice goes, of course, for sticking your nose into others’ personal business.
ØNever discuss or question salary or any other confidential or personal information with co workers.

Be positive and supportive
Ø When your day isn’t going the way you hoped it would, try to look at the positive side of things-and people.
Ø You’ll be surprised how quickly you can turn a bad day into a good one.
Ø Believe in your co-workers and back them up in public

ØWhen your manager makes a decision, give your wholehearted support to it, at least in front of others.
ØMake others look good at every opportunity.

ØManagers, especially need you to look, talk, write, and act like a positive, supportive representative.
ØYour professionalism reflects both on your manager and your organization

Keep an open mind
ØMake informed judgments, avoid jumping to conclusions, evaluate what you see in addition to what you hear, and don’t be party to gossip
ØEstablishing yourself as professional means that you show respect for others

Follow through
Ø We all get a little tired, especially by late afternoon, but the job you tackle at 5:00 P.M. means as much as the one you start at 8:00 A.M.
Ø Cover every angle of a project, and don’t wait to be reminded that you need to finish a project.
Ø Be accurate.

Ø Check and double-check to make sure things are going smoothly and the way you planned.
Ø Be realistic about how long an assignment will take, and let others know ahead of time if you anticipate a delay.
Ø Set deadlines and meet them.

Ø Our job knowledge ranks above communication skills as a factor for workplace success.
Ø Keep people informed in a succinct and a useful way.
Ø Every wants to know what’s going on-not every little detail of every day, but what is happening on major projects

Ø Your coworkers want to know about the status of assignments.
Ø They want to know immediately about any problems or mistakes.
Ø Most of all, if a conflict arises or if someone makes a mistake, remember that everyone is human.

Ø Managers want you, however, to go through the channels of communication.
Ø Don’t go over their heads, and don’t bring things to them that don’t concern them
Ø If you want to disagree with them, do it tactfully, with a positive alternative, and during a high point in a day.

Ø Speaking and listening are twin skills in communication.
Ø Both sides must play a part for communication to occur, and you can learn best by listening to what others know.
Ø Ask questions.

ØHear how other people organize their ideas, how they respond to changes in procedures.

Solve your own problems
ØWhen you do have to present a problem, bring possible solutions, too.
ØDon’t complain about things that can’t be changed, and don’t blame others when you make a mistake.

ØAccept responsibility when you have made a mistake, and work harder to make sure that it does not happen again.
ØLearn to accept criticism gracefully without defensiveness.

Work hard
ØBe ready and willing.
ØTake on new responsibilities, and do more than others expect.
ØDon’t be content to do only what’s expected of you or use the excuse that “it’s not my job”.

ØLook for areas in which you can do more and make yourself more valuable.
ØVolunteer for special projects.
ØThose who wait to be told what to do continue to be told what to do, and their value seldom increases.

Be assertive, but not aggressive
Ø What’s the difference?
Ø Assertiveness is appropriate behavior for the situation at hand.
Ø It’s standing up for your rights without infringing on the rights of other people.
Ø Aggressiveness is strong, overpowering, often abusive behavior.
Ø It’s rude, crude, and abrasive

Don’t be in too big hurry to advance
Ø Learn as much as you can in the job you have now.
Ø Think ahead. Plan.
Ø It’s like growing up: no matter how eager you are, it takes a certain amount of time.
Ø Try to enjoy what you have while it is yours.

Leave gracefully
Ø If you don’t have the job very long, keep your disappointment-or your extreme happiness-to yourself.
Ø Just be cordial and say your good-byes quietly.
Ø Never bad-mouth the people who have put money in your pocket.

ØIf some one leaving, respect that person’s privacy as much as your own.
ØEven if they have resigned, and you can’t understand why, respect their opinion.
ØThey are still the same people-they just chose not work there any longer.

Meeting people
Good manners are always important in contacts in life, but they must spring from real kindness of spirit or they will not ring true.
-Eleanor Roosevelt