Monday, June 5, 2017

Manners Monday - National Business Etiquette Week - June 4-10, 2017


Sunday marked the beginning of a week-long period devoted to national business etiquette.  At a time in history where an inordinate amount of chaos and turmoil continues to reign, demand for business etiquette training has held a steady climb. This is no surprise to us.

The casual way employees engage, the loss of articulate writing, the inability to read subtle social cues has caused concern among many business owners. Couple this with the mass appeal of social media and a Pandora’s box of ways in which executives and employees can go awry, it's no wonder the corporate tide is leaning towards a return to a more conventional style of conducting business. This couldn't have come at a better time, especially when we're experiencing a zero margin for mistakes.

National Business Etiquette Week 2017 may be just seven days, but its purpose is to raise our awareness in the workplace and uphold the standards of civility and courtesy all year long. Restoring these simple acts of kindness and respect to their primary position is the only way to earn trust and gain credibility both nationally and within the global arena.

Whether silencing a co-worker for badmouthing the boss or learning how to give a world-class handshake, business manners do matter and this particular skill-set has become an increasingly valuable commodity for new hires as well as job retention. To test your etiquette quotient, we have compiled a list of 25 questions and answers that should give you a jump start on good business this summer. Good luck!

1. Preparing for a night out of networking? Be equal parts interesting and interested. Listen more than you talk. Think before you speak. End the conversation as graciously as you initiated it.
2. Attending the weekly marketing meeting and expecting an urgent call?  Notify your colleagues beforehand. Put your phone on vibration mode, place it on your lap or in your pocket and give your co-workers your undivided attention. When the call comes, excuse yourself and handle it quickly.
3. Courting a prospective client with an invitation to lunch?  Arrive early to set the stage and hand your credit card to the host so that they may process payment and avoid presenting the check at the end of the meal.
4. Should you accept your boss’ invitation to ‘Friend’ you on Facebook?  Yes, however, do so with care and create a separate group for work and tag it with the name of your company then filter only professionally related content.
5. Wondering whom should shake first in the workplace? In a professional setting, the host or the higher ranking person should initiate the handshake regardless of gender. The first to thrust their hand out is always perceived to be the most confident.
6. Where should you seat your honored guest when hosting a business meal? The honored guest is always seated to your immediate right.
7. Want to avoid miscommunication when sending a text or email?  Since you are unable to see the person face-to-face, avoid firing off a flippant answer. Read your messages and responses for tone and send complete, clear communications.
8. Important interview for your dream job? Scour your social media for any red flags. Anything that defames your image should be wiped clean.  
9. Want to look polished and present when speaking to the boss? Give it to them straight by minding your posture when sitting or standing. You’ll appear engaged and alert, two highly appreciated qualities.
10. Having trouble remembering names? Remembering names is an excellent skill to cultivate. Commit a name to memory by repeating it at least three times. Once during the introduction, a second time when making conversation, and finally, when saying goodbye.  
11. Want to outclass your competition? Become best friends with your stationery and write thank you notes. Whether you are following up on an introduction, interview or meeting, nothing conveys your appreciation better.
12. Should a male work colleague offer to seat a female co-worker at a business lunch? It is a thoughtful gesture, but not necessary as men and women are considered equals in the workplace.
13. Can I make casual Friday’s an everyday occurrence? Whatever your work, you want to be taken seriously. It’s always best to dress for the job you aspire to possess. Take pride in what you wear, especially in formal professional situations.
14. Where should you wear your nametag? Your nametag is always placed on the right side of your chest to make shaking hands and reading someone’s nametag one smooth action.
15. Working from home?  Get out of your PJ’s! Don’t let comfort get the best of you. Dress to create an atmosphere of professionalism, it will upgrade your phone voice and you’ll be ready to head out the door for a breakfast meeting in a moment’s notice.
16. Care to improve your phone conversations? Smile. Notice how the tone of your voice instantly changes making you seem pleasant and accommodating all at once.
17. Working in an open floor office environment?  Before popping those earbuds in your ears, be mindful of the office culture and limit useWhen away from your cubicle or desk, remove them altogether.
18. Want to present your business card to a work colleague?  Before handing your card, ask for his or hers first, then present the card with your right hand and with the type facing toward the recipient.
19. Wondering how to approach your co-worker in their cubicle? Knock verbally when walking into their open office, especially if they are focused on their work. Step into their line of vision so they don’t have to scan the entire room to find you.
20. Tempted to respond to your boss’ weekend email? Don't be available 24/7. It’s perfectly okay to establish boundaries and respond the next day. It will set a precedent and your boss will respect you for it.
21. Making an important business introduction? Show respect by standing for all introductions. Adhere to the rules of the established hierarchy from top to bottom. Remember, the client always comes first.
22. Want to convey confidence and authority in all business transactions? Don’t withhold when it comes to handshaking – the ultimate greeting. For a world class handshake, extend the right hand with the thumb facing up and fingers extended out. Shake with two pumps and then release.
23. What cannot be compromised in a highly competitive marketplace?  Unethical behavior of any kind. There is no margin for dishonesty, lack of integrity, disloyalty, harassment or breaking the law.
24. What is the best way to deal with a challenging customer?  Remain calm, listen from their vantage point, express empathy, and begin active problem-solving.
25. Conducting business with individuals from other countries? Err on the side of formality. Address them by their titles and full names. Familiarize yourself with a few key facts about their culture and customs, and educate yourself on their cuisine and dietary restrictions.